Two structures focused on the problems of Russian servicemen this week. The 2nd all-Army meeting discussed the problem of barrack hazing in Moscow on April 4-5. The council of the Public Chamber also discussed this problem and issues of social protection of servicemen on April 6.
To all appearances, it’s no coincidence that the Defense Ministry and society focused on the problems of young officers. The topic of the all-Army meeting linked with strengthening of military discipline is topical for the Armed Forces and society, which is concerned about the problem of barrack hazing. Young captains and lieutenants discussed this problem in the central departments of the Armed Forces on April 4 and met with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on April 5.
A similar meeting was held three years ago. At that time officers discussed the problem of terrorism. However, the tragedy with Sychev showed that Russia must strengthen the morale and discipline in the Army. This must be done by officers who work with soldiers.
Young officers have a lot of social problems. This is why their performance as low. Social organizations are concerned about the problems of young officers. Maria Bolshakova, chairperson of Union of Families of Russian Servicemen, said that “over 30% of officers and ensigns live beyond the poverty line; 66% of servicemen are not satisfied with their well-being.” She noted that this undermines morale in the Army.
Such conclusions were drawn as a result of an opinion poll organized by the sociological center of the Armed Forces. The defense minister and other military leaders know about these problems. However, no one hurries to increase servicemen’s wages. The Defense Ministry uses some other measures to improve the prestige of military service. The defense minister acknowledged that junior commanders will soon be promoted to higher military ranks and receive other incentives.
In addition, the government recently approved bills according to which officers who break contracts with the Army will be fined. Bolshakova said that many officers leave the Army due to the unsatisfactory social status. Fines for breaking contracts will not be able to stop this trend. However, it’s always easy to find loopholes. Officers will resign because of problems with healths, for instance.
Alexandra Ochirova, chairperson of the Public Chamber’s commission for social development, noted: “It’s disgraceful that 30% of officers live beyond the poverty line. The government and the Presidential Administration must solve this problem as soon as possible.”
It’s good that the Public Chamber is concerned about young officers’ problems. However, it’s possible that the state will not listen to its arguments.