On military education in Russia

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A new educational season began in the military higher educational institutions of Russia on September 1. Lieutenant General Nikolai Vasilyev, senior deputy director of the main personnel department of the Armed Forces, reported that about 19,500 first-year students started studying in higher educational institutions of the Defense Ministry. At present, officers are trained by 57 military educational institutions: 10 academies, 9 universities, 38 institutes and 22 branches within the leading educational institutions. In higher educational institutions of the Defense Ministry, students are trained according to 300 specialties. In 2002, they trained 19,000 military specialists. In 2003, Russia received more than 8,000 applications for training officers from CIS countries such as Germany, Greece, Denmark and China.

In 2002, the Defense Ministry worked out and the government approved the federal program “Reforming of the military education system in Russia for the period to 2010.” Its main goal is the creation of an optimal network of higher educational institutions complying with the needs of the military organization and capabilities of the federal budget. More than 400 million rubles is allocated for the implementation of the federal program between 2003 and 2005.

There are more than 18,000 lecturers working in military higher educational institutions. They account for about 70% of the entire educational potential of the Defense Ministry. More than half of the lecturers are specialists with the highest qualification. The share of lecturers with scientific degrees grew from 45% in 1999 to 56% in 2002.

Along with this, there is a problem connected with the resignation of lecturers who are servicemen. This trend is explained by the decreasing prestige of military service, low salaries, everyday life problems, etc. A salary of an experienced lecturer-officer is almost 50% lower than the salary of his civil colleague in a similar state institution.

New tariff qualification requirements to the posts of lecturers were worked out for equalizing of the situation. Starting from 2007, a doctor of sciences will receive 1,500 rubles a month additionally and a candidate of sciences will receive an additional 900 rubles a month. Managers and officers of the academies of three branches of the Armed Forces also receive bonuses to their salary for the difficulty and importance of their tasks (20% and 30% respectively). The organization of payment of similar bonuses to lecturers of other academies and universities is waiting for its turn. The transition of military higher educational institutions to the educational standards of the next generation became one of the steps in the training of officers capable of commanding professional contract servicemen.

Another line of activities is the use of dual-purpose state standards that provide for high military professional skills of the graduates and guarantee their social adaptation after retirement from military service. The first such standard in specialty “personnel management” is already being implemented in some educational institutions.

Another peculiarity of study in the military higher educational institutions is connected with the fact that the Defense Ministry dramatically reduced the quantity of military departments in civil institutes. Only 68 of 229 such departments remained in Russia. Obligatory military service for at least 36 months is implemented. In 35 of the remaining military departments they are transformed into military educational centers.

Two significant changes will happen in the manning of the Russian Armed Forces in 2008. First, civil higher educational institutions will supply active officers to the Armed Forces (formerly they trained an excessive quantity of lieutenants of the reserve). Second, the group of people with higher education who can be drafted to military service will grow in the country. Already in 2007, the percentage of people with higher education among the conscripts drafted to the troops grew from 5% to 15%. However, the mass inflow of soldiers – graduates of higher educational institutions to the army will begin after 2008 when the presidential decree abolishing obligatory two-year service for lieutenants of the reserve comes into effect. Recently, the President of Russia signed a decree that said that all graduates of higher educational institutions who received military education at military departments of civil institutes would be included into the mobilization reserve from 2008 and will not be drafted into the army.

Military education in civilian higher educational institutions will be done mostly in the military educational centers. According to Nikolai Pankov, State Secretary and Deputy Defense Minister, it is planned to recruit about 3,000 students to the military educational centers annually starting from 2008. This is not much and this should be an elite. To each representative of this elite the Defense Ministry will pay a scholarship of 1,500 rubls a month (fivefold more than to civilians). However, if a newly graduated lieutenant decides to quit the military service after graduation from a military educational center or a military higher educational institution, he will have to pay an indemnity of 300,000 to 700,000 rubles to the state. According to Pankov, the government already signed a resolution on a mechanism of material responsibility and methods for determination of payments for all categories of servicemen willing to quit the army ahead of schedule. The resolution will come into effect in January 1 of 2008.

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