Russian Navy

No-laugh matter

V.Valkov,, Editor

Only the laziest do not speak or write about forthcoming new look of the country's Armed Forces now. The publications are everywhere. No wonder – the scale of reformation is gargantuan, the concept is enormous and great. Just in current year it is planned to reduce 250 000 officer posts and liquidate the institution of warrant officers by January, 1.

As usual, right men of the reform are Moscovites: the MODs Central Staff and the General Staff reported of assuming new look, having liquidated over 80% of officer posts by Oct, 1 planned to be reduced. By the way, among those suffered from reduction were Main Operational Directorate, Main Organization-Mobilization Directorate and a number of other main departments.

In some specified sense, military educational institutions have become hostages of the reform. Military educational reform is scheduled to be finished by 2013, but its realization in this year has already stepped on toes of military enrollees. During the process of new look transit the enlistment of officers into military educational institutions (MEI) was decreased to 3 000 men in 2009. For comparison, in 2007 19 500 cadets were admitted to MEI.

According to the different estimates, only in St. Pete hundreds of enrollees had successfully passed entrance examinations but were refused to be enrolled. Those who passed exams of the Peter the Great Naval Institute, Military Medical Academy, Kronshtadt Sea Cadet Corps, Nakhimov Naval School, St. Petersburg Suvorov Military School were told that the enlistment was reduced. Besides, the number of reduced enrollees in a remarkable manner almost coincides with the number of sergeants with technical background, which were ordered to be enlisted in December, 2008; by February, 1 it was required to enlist 600 candidates for studying in six military institutions on specialized secondary education program (2 years and 10 months). Alas, MEIs could not enlist so many army-desirous youngsters in time and the terms were postponed for September. That is why former school leavers were enrolled not for higher educational institutions but for "fourth departments" – technical schools.

Even harder was the blow for kids entering Cadet Corps, Nakhimov Naval School, and Suvorov Military Schools. According to Minister of Defense Order Ή966, hundreds of boys trying to and having entered Cadet Corps, Nakhimov and Suvorov Schools either were not enrolled or were enrolled to other places. The order seemed to have good intention: according to new military educational system, only children of military servicemen and orphan kids may be enrolled for these schools. And finally the "as usual" result happened: 25 out of 80 boys who entered Kronshtadt Sea Cadet Corps found to be closed were sent to Nakhimov School and 55 were disenrolled. The cadets of Kazan Suvorov Military School were sent to Yekaterinburg one, those from Nakhimov Naval School – to St. Petersburg Suvorov Military School. Complaints to the President or to military procuracy won't change anything, assures Aleksey Kuznetsov, press secretary of defense minister. Cap N. Andreev, the Chief of Nakhimov Naval School, said to reporter of Vremya Novostey that boys entering class 6 were transferred to Suvorov School, since upon the MOD's order classes 7 and 8 of Nakhimov School are to take… girls.

Really, a gender matter in military institutions is being settled decisively: in Rostov Institute the cadets shoulder loops were given to 10 girls, and in Stavropol – to 40 ones; 18 she-enrollee entered Makarov Pacific Naval Institute, same with Military Medical Academy. All in all, every second 1st year cadet today is a girl. Because of boys, it seems.

Naval Institute of Radio Electronics enlisted one company of young man (41) and one company of girls (15).

In Baltic Naval Institute enlistment plan was shortened almost twice – from 107 to 68 men. They used to enlist 200-300 cadets until the last year.

The enlistment in St. Petersburg Naval Institute was shortened in three times: from 165 to 46 men.

Only 5 men were enrolled for the first course of Military Medical Academy naval department.

Ministry of Defense breaks off to qualify military journalists and interpreters in Military University. Army Educational and Scientific Center, or else Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces, comprises 15 military educational institutions; Penza Artillery Institute, also included as organization department, stopped enlisting this year. In Peter the Great Military Academy of Strategic Missile Forces 1st year cadets were not enlisted, only officers for additional training. Military institutes and schools in Kemerovo, Ulyanovsk, Ryazan, Irkutsk, Blagoveshchensk and other sites are expected to be closed. It is planned that twenty MEIs will be liquidated by 2013 – there is no room for them in the system of military educational and scientific centers (MESC).

The next act is transfer of numerous Petersburg's military schools out of the city boundary, and relocation number of Navy Main Staff directorates and departments from Moscow to St. Petersburg. How it will affect officers, teachers, trainees and cadets?

For instance, N.G.Kuznetsov Naval Academy, the veteran and honored military educational institution – now it has been reformed to MESC. The Academy departments are proud of their history and scientific schools; the post of department head has always been prestigious, and the work of department head on managing scientific, methodical, pedagogic and educational activities has been always considered honorable. Nowadays department heads are shifting each other in officer-of-the-day duties which have always been perfect for a trainee-officer of the command faculty.

To tell the truth, the cohort of department heads has also been changed significantly during last year. There are plenty reasons for that; among them – routine superannuation of previous heads, integration of a number of departments in one, restructuring of the Academy etc. Nevertheless, as to teachers' words, there were some negative precedents. Example, after announcement of a new organization and establishment, an experienced department head was not appointed on the previous post since the poor officer had 2 years to serve until superannuation – that would too less to conform to Minister's orders and would not correspond to his vision of "new look".

Departments are extremely charged with organizational reports and other paperworks, that fact effects much on educational, methodological and scientific work.

This work is burdensome of those who agreed with the sequent reduction of salary categories: the rank of Captain will be awarded only for the officer appointed (on competition basis) to the post of department professor.

Indeed, instructional staff has been considerably renewed and became younger as a result of reformation. But there is nobody to update educational and methodical materials – manuals, work-books etc. To write new books one need to have experience, to generate own point of view, own vision of training program.

The number of Naval Academy's first-year trainees of becomes to be record low, considering the fact that the number of training groups remained almost same despite 1-2 men per group; such variety by no means simplifies the organization of training process.

But as is known, there is one step from the great to the absurd and currently new look is observed only from outside: this summer all graduates of military schools, institutes and academies worn uniform from Valentin Yudashkin. The rest of servicemen will be disguised when the wear life of their current uniform is expired in the simpler clothes and, alas, not haute couture – crisis.

Unit recently 15 academies, 4 universities and 45 schools were engaged in training officers; over 58 000 officers and about 70 000 civil specialists worked in them. Instead of 64 higher educational institutions of Ministry of Defense it is planned to create ten – three specific scientific and educational centers on the basis of Combined Arms Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy, and also six integrated specialized academies and one military university.

I don't want to say that the new system of military education will be worse than previous one. The latter also had plenty disadvantages and here's the evidence: among those getting diplomas late 70ies and mid 80ies were today's reformers and stooges decisively realizing masters' ideas.

Nevertheless, it should be said for the sake of justice that some of current Defensive leaders have always been far from systematic military education, except for personal snap course of General Staff Academy.

It might be funny unless it is so sad…

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