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"We don’t join the Navy in search of an easy life…"

Serving in the Navy has at all times been regarded as difficult, honorable, and romantic. It seems like nowadays in Russia, the only thing that it remains is “difficult.” And still, young men enter Naval Academies, study, and receive their officer’s insignia and dirks. Why? What keeps them in these walls? How do they see the future perspective for their service and life? This is what the letters of the Naval Academy cadets are all about.

“I want to serve in the Navy because I dreamt about it since childhood. And even though there were no servicemen in our family, my parents’ stories have told me how officers were perceived fifteen-twenty years ago.

Graduating from school, I knew that things were no longer the same, but that did not change my decision. The army’s prestige needs to be revived, and who else, if not us, the future officers, will do it? If only the government took care to provide the servicemen with all the necessities. It's not just a decent salary, housing, and the necessary social benefits. These necessities also mean new ships and modern armaments. For we don’t join the Navy in search of big money or an easy life. We join it to serve. And so we have only one request – give us everything that is necessary for that service!
VLADIMIR, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"To be perfectly honest, I would very much like to continue serving. But if service in the Navy has until recently been regarded as honorable and the Navy officers were looked at with respect, pride, and even envy, now it's with somewhat of a pity. Do you think it’s easy for a young and healthy man to bear these sympathizing looks?

It’s also very disappointing that nowadays very limited funds are allotted for military training, and so the specialists are out of appropriate work. So you study for five years, get the profession you are interested in, and then have nothing to show for it…

Nevertheless, I still believe that the Navy will be reborn, and so I will continue serving... at least until I am disappointed for good.
ANDREI, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"I don’t want to serve in the Navy, because I don’t want to doom myself to a life of poverty. I could write patriotic speeches, but one should face the truth. What service are we talking about today if we it's not even clear who we are supposed to protect? From our television screens we are urged to be patriotic by people riding in Mercedes, having luxury apartments and suburban houses. But what have they done for Russia?! Who have they ever benefited but themselves?! These people have no desire to take care of us, why should I take care of them?
ANATOLIY, 4th year cadet."

* * *

"I don’t want to serve in the Navy. I joined the Academy because they provide a good free education, but what they have promised us our first year – that the army life would return to normal – has not happened. I understand that the government has no real need for my service. Otherwise, I, a Lieutenant, would be paid more than a freight handler. But for now it’s the opposite. On the other hand, the US does have a need for its army – and so they have announced another increase in their defense expenditures, including the financial allowances for the servicemen. As for us, we are content with miserable salaries and old equipment that has long reached the end of its service life. If they don’t let me out of the service right away – I will serve for awhile. If all of a sudden, the officer’s life changes for the better – I will remain in the army. But if nothing changes, then sorry!
ALEKSANDR, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"I would like to keep serving in the Navy, that’s why I joined the Academy. But I decided for myself that if in the nearest future, for example, in three years, nothing changes, I will have to resign. I would have no choice - I need to feed the family. But if I resign, I will do it reluctantly and with great heartache. I am ready and I want to serve the Homeland, but I see that our government does not wish it to be protected by its worthy sons… If the situation changes for the better, I will fulfill my duties conscientiously and faithfully.
SERGEI, 5th year cadet, Department of Hydrography”

* * *

"How can one think of the future? Nothing in it is for sure. For several years now the threat of repeal of benefits hangs over the army like a sword of Damocles...

Joining the Academy, I was hoping that in five years things would change drastically. If anything did change, it was only for the worse. I know that many of our teaching officers are still not provided with housing. So what can we, lieutenants of tomorrow, hope for? I am seriously starting to dream of joining the State Duma as a deputy rather than serving in the Navy. Sitting there and passing laws in the second reading is much more comfortable than standing on the battle bridge. And dozens of times more profitable! It’s disappointing that only the loss of the nuclear submarine Kursk has drawn the government's attention to the Navy. Is this really the price we have to pay to attract attention?!

My father and brother graduated from our Academy and are very proud of that fact. As for me, sorry, but I am ashamed to even wear my uniform.
IVAN, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"Today, serving is closely associated with poverty, so in the society's mind, an officer is a loser, someone who just has no other choice. And so I see nothing good in continuing service, either for me or for my family.

Patriotism is a wonderful thing. But it’s stupid to keep serving the nation that is blatantly indifferent to you.
NIKOLAI, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"I joined the Naval Academy, studied there and will graduate – mainly thanks to my grandfather, father, and uncle, who at different times were officers in the Navy. For the first two years I was determined to join the Navy. Later on I reevaluated everything, but I am still planning to serve in the Armed Forces and I think that my resolve is not going to change in the remaining half a year. However, my motivation has partially changed.

Before, I thought that serving was my only purpose. Now I understand that our military education is the best in the country. I am absolutely convinced and can prove that the military Academy graduates are the best adapted to life and prepared not only for war but also for civil life. They are the ones who became or will become our leaders, the more successful citizens of Russia. Civilian students cannot bear comparison with the cadets, a fact confirmed at every corner.

To graduate our Academy and to serve in the Navy means to go through a very good school of life. Even reputable organizations and enterprises much more readily hire officers of the reserve…

Incidentally, I think that soon things will change for the better in our country. It’s already in the air, and the beginning of the Armed Forces’ recovery will fall on our officers. I am sure that those of my comrades who already made their decision not in favor of the Navy, made a mistake. A double mistake, even. The very same civilian life would come much easier after 5 – 10 years of service in the Navy or in the Army.

As for the hardships that we have to face in our Academy, in my opinion, they only help us make conclusions on how one should and should not lead and command, and on how to endure adversity. In short, they strengthen us.

You can be sure that I am right!
SERGEI, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"I joined the Frunze Naval Academy because it is our family tradition. Both my father and my grandfather graduated from it. Despite everything, I believe in the “ray of hope” for the life in the Navy, in the rebirth of the old traditions…

In serving as a naval officer, what attracts me most is the romanticism.
IGOR, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

"I want to serve in the Navy because this service is attractive to me and because it is a continuation of our family tradition. Even though these days my desire is slightly lessened, I still hope for the best and believe in President Putin.

That’s why I will join the service and want to become one of the officers who will revive our Russian Navy and raise it “from the mud.”
VLADIMIR, 5th year cadet.”

* * *

FROM THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF THE RED STAR. Have you read these cadet letters carefully? Whatever the authors contend, whether they want to continue service in the Navy or not, not a single one of these letters is indifferent. Can it be possible that these young men, who had just recently been dreaming of long voyages and the romanticism of serving in the Navy, would now be left out?

Source: "Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star)"