The Tragicomedy known as the Russian Army

Paul Goble reports:

For four years, a Kamchatka journalist says, draftees from Koryak district have not been able to show up for military service because there has been no money from the government to pay for the air fares needed to bring them to central dispatch places, one measure of the difficulties involved in connecting parts of Russia not linked by roads.

But as Vyacheslav Skalatsky shows, the combination of cutbacks in air service to distant locations within the Russian Federation and rapidly increasing prices for air fares has broader consequences, both preventing young men from getting better jobs that military experience can open for them and meaning that people who are ill cannot get medical attention.

When he first reported this, the Kamchatka journalist says, he and his colleagues “understood that the bureaucrats might have not been able to deal with this problem just as with others. But we were not prepared to plumb the depths of their unprofessionalism. Now that has happened, and Skalatsky notes that “the task of bringing draftees to the kray center is only part of a large social problem of the entire Koryak district. Young people [from there] cannot be called to military service as is guaranteed by the Constitution. And then they cannot find more or less attractive work because of the lack of such service.”

But instead of addressing this problem, regional officials have sought to shift responsibility for and place blame on anyone but themselves. And when Koryak residents have complained, the bureaucrats have often routed their letters to the wrong officials who in turn have either ignored them or answered with “empty” promises.

One appeal, he said, complained that the situation had deteriorated since the Koryak district was amalgamated into the Kamchatka kray as part of then-President Vladimir Putin’s push to reduce the number of federal subjects by combining in the first instance, small, so-called “matryoshka” non-Russian districts with larger and predominantly Russian ones. And another letter that Skalatsky read out on television pointed out to officials that many young men can’t find jobs because of this situation. Those “without a military ticket,” she pointed out, “are not hired on a permanent basis,” something that leaves them with few prospects and little hope for the future.

One official told her that the military commissar of Kamchatka kray says that the kray government cannot pay for the flights because Moscow has not provided the necessary funds “to the full extent.” He promised to see what could be done, but since that time, the people and draftees of Koryakia have not received any help. What they and others have received are proud and entirely “empty” boasts by kray officials. Oskana Gerasimova, the kray development minister, told a session of the Russian-American Pacific Ocean Partnership Group that Kamchatka has all that it needs to be a leader in the development of trade ties between Russia and Pacific Rim and European countries.

Skalatsky says that it would be “interesting” to learn how Gerasimova squares this claim with the situation of “those draftees who FOR YEARS have not been able to reach the draft assembly point because of the absence of money and air communications” and feels comfortable in asserting that Kamchatka is able to respond “adequately to ‘the challenges of the times.’”
Some might be tempted to view this situation as exceptional, but another report today, this time in “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” suggests that similar problems are intensifying in the roughly one-third of the Russian Federation that lies in the north and whose residents are not linked to the rest of the country by any roads, let alone good ones.

According to the Moscow paper’s Krasnoyarsk correspondent, Aleksandr Chernyavsky, 11 days ago, officials closed the civilian airport in Dixon, the northernmost such facility in the Russian Federation, ending regular air service between that location and the south and stranding some 60 passengers waiting on the tarmac. “The air bridge for residents of Dixon” – more than 600 people – “is vitally necessary, Chernyavsky continues. By plane are delivered not only the residents of the local settlement but also doctors, mail, and fresh products like milk and vegetables.” Official promises to establish “helicopter communication” do not appear likely to make up for the loss of plane service.

Vasily Nechayev, the head of the education commission of the regional legislature, says that this failure of the industry and energy ministry and the Taymyr district authorities is generating “serious concerns among the kray parliamentarians. But the local executive responds that that the closure was not his fault but that of aviation safety officials. To bring the airport up to Russian safety standards will require 250 million rubles (8 million US dollars), an amount local legislatures promise to try to find in next year’s budget. In the meantime, residents of that northern settlement will have to make do without fresh milk and vegetables and perhaps, like the Koryaks, won’t be able to send their sons south to the army

18 responses to “The Tragicomedy known as the Russian Army

  1. Sounds like things were better under the official soviet-system?
    This is ‘progress’?
    No, this is a total gangster-run tyranny, without even the doctrinal trappings of the former communist-system’s structure, which at least, in those days, IF one did not speak against the system, one could get some jobs, some bread, and some degree of…… security.
    Now, what is there?…for the average Russian?
    Yet, we are told, that Putin is so personally popular, that he would be re-elected tomarrow!

  2. @Russian safety standards

    Is there actually such a thing?

    The notorious Polish “Russophile” Kilch just excused the fact the Russians did not secure the wreckage of the Polish government plane, saying it’s because of Russian “routine” as “they have many crashes”.

    (Btw it’s STILL not properly secured. As in: nearly half year later.)

  3. You’d better ask president Saakashvili. He must be an “expert” on the Russian army.

  4. dymasha,
    The russian army is glorify mental hospital with all patients being HIV positive, in case you didn’t notice…

    • Aaausa, I can send you a dollar or two to help fight the concequences of your own encounters with the Russian army, if this is the case.

      Though I could never imagine you were, er, known so many times that you were able to conduct such a representative research…

      • dymasha bednashka,

        It is difficult to accept the total desintegration and humiliation of the so called russian empire. Not so long ago, China dressed up Russia [during Medvedev’s recent visit to China] put Russia in line and made it official – Russia IS and WILL ALWAYS BE the provider of natural resources not only for the first world but also for China. By the way, your russian ‘glorious’ army’ while occuping Poland left truly russian cultural influence – in spite of cleaning those places after russian withdrawal – the smell of excrements, urine, vodka, dirty bodies persisted for a long atime – congratulation!!!

        • I can’t see how I can help your sorrows, sorry.

          • Dymasha wrote;

            I can’t see how I can help your sorrows, sorry.


            Introduce the toilet paper into Russia a giant step….

              • This polak is fixated on scatology…

                • AT wrote,
                  This polak is fixated on scatology…


                  This russian mongoloid is fixated on bying unwashed and smelly….

                  • What’s wrong with being mongoloid?

                    • AT wrote;
                      What’s wrong with being mongoloid?

                      Nothing, only you should be kept out of Europe…

                    • And what about the blacks, should they be kept out of Europe too?

                    • A Russian man is sitting in the kitchen and drinking his Vodka and his wife runs in yelling and screaming hysterically:

                      “Sasha, SASHA, OUR DAUGHTER IS MARRYING A BLACK MAN.”

                      The husband looked up, and said:

                      So what. Good thing is that he is not a Moscal.

                    • LES, this was of course an anecdote about Ukrainian, in original…

                      How pathetic you are in posting such a BS and substituting your own nation with the ethnos you hate…

                      Here’s another version of the BS you posted, just to pleasure your sick mind and show that you just substituted the ethnos:

                      У украинца родился негритенок.
                      Соседи, понятное дело, смеются,
                      а он не унывает:
                      – Зато видно, что не еврей и не москаль!

  5. General Vasily Smirnov, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army, announced that the new recruits should contribute nearly 300,000 people to the armed forces.

    But the Defense Ministry notes that about half those planned recruits will find ways to avoid being drafted.

    Recruitment began on October 1.

    The ministry also added that there was currently no discussion about increasing the length of the 12 months required service, as some critics have called for as a way to overcome the large number of draft dodgers.

    Valentina Melnikova, head of the Russian Union of Soldiers’ Mothers, told RFE/RL on October 1 that about half of the new recruits are not healthy enough to serve in the army.

    The army’s General Staff reports that in connection with spring recruitment, 200 cases have been brought against recruits who illegally eluded conscription. There have already been 87 convictions of recruits who were ordered to serve their 12 months. The army estimates that about 130,000 recruits are evading military service.

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