Streetwise Professor

January 5, 2008

From the Horse’s Mouth

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 10:07 am

My conjecture that dedovshchina is a major motivation for the reduction in the term of service of Russian conscripts received confirmation from Vasily Smirnov, Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff:

“Our assessment of the facts of hazing in the armed forces is very harsh,” General Smirnov says. “I believe the gradual reduction of the military service period will allow us to substantially reduce the shameful phenomenon, which now exists.”

To me, this betrays a true sense of desperation. Reduction of the term of service will greatly reduce the training and experience of the Russian soldiery, but at the same time will exacerbate the Army’s already acute difficulties in manning (that arise in large part from demographic trends). The Russian government would only resort to such a measure–and the Russian Army would acquiesce–only if the effects of hazing on readiness and morale were truly devastating.

What a choice: an army of dubious effectiveness because of morale devastated by brutal hazing of its soldiers, or an army of dubious effectiveness because its soldiers are minimally trained short timers.

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