On 13 January, ITAR-TASS announced that, for the first time since the Soviet collapse, the armed forces will conduct preliminary military registration in Chechnya of males born in 1993 and earlier. The SKVO is organizing town and rayon draft boards. The preliminary registration will continue until the end of March. Administration heads are asked to get organizations and institutions to help spread the word about registration.
There is no move to draft young Chechens yet, and this represents an effort to inventory and organize potential manpower from the republic.
In recent years, small numbers of Chechens were called to serve in special operations units like the Vostok and Zapad battalions, but only in Chechnya. In 2008, the republic’s military commissar said nearly 700 Chechens were conscripted during his tenure. He said he had recommended that Chechens not be sent to serve outside their home republic for several years, and even then in limited numbers at first.
The military commissar said Chechnya had 50,000 men of draft age, and only 8-10 percent would be exempt for health reasons.
By spring 2009, however, the commissar reversed himself, saying he was confident Chechens would be drafted in fall 2009 or spring 2010. The available Chechen manpower was also put at 80,000. And its percentage of medically unfit men is one of the lowest in the Russian Federation.
Chechen human rights activists have opposed sending young Chechens outside their republic to serve. Valentina Melnikova of the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia has said that after two military campaigns in Chechnya, not many parents are ready to send their children to serve in the Russian Army, where the majority of the officers took part in the counterterrorism operation and have a negative attitude toward Chechens. She said, “There is no reason to involve Chechens in military service. Almost every family has either lost a member or has had a member mutilated in the war. Something like that is not easy to forget and this means that if Chechens end up in military communities, we are to expect new conflict situations and even crimes.”
Is It Really This Simple?
Dmitriy Litovkin addressed this recently in Izvestiya. He defines netcentric war as generals in the Arbat controlling not only armies but individual soldiers in real time via a military Internet. He calls the U.S. concept as gathering all forces into one information space and turning the armed forces into one huge reconnaissance-strike system.
Litovkin cites one Robert Nikolayev, who worked in an NII, probably the Voronezh Scientific-Research Institute of Communications, now known as OAO Sozvezdiye [Constellation]. Nikolayev worked on the Manevr [Maneuver] system from 1983, which was to unite all fire means in one communications system and tell field commanders what the staff wanted, where friendly forces and targets were, and what weapons to use on them. But Nikolayev indicates the Armed Forces Communications Directorate viewed the system as a threat and killed it. He says it was a good system and it supposedly helped the Warsaw Pact defeat Western forces in a NATO war game. In the early 1990s, Nikolayev worked on Polet-K for the VDV and it went through testing, but wasn’t fielded.
Litovkin says a new tactical C2 system called Sozvezdiye [isn’t this the firm’s name] is in the works, but no one wants to talk about it since it’s a state secret. He describes it as an Internet-based computer network with secure email.
Litovkin thinks buying Israeli UAVs or French ships will make Russia’s task harder since it surely won’t get SENIT-9 or SIC-21 that give Mistral its automated C3 capability. Russia will have to provide its own.
Litovkin adds comments from Mikhail Barabanov. He says the USSR’s lag in electronics and computing equipment during the 1980s hurt the early efforts and then its collapse stopped the development of these sectors for a while. He thinks Russia will not only have to overcome the continuing lag in information systems, but also change its military organization, manning, and training to become netcentric.
Rossiyskaya gazeta’s Sergey Ptichkin published a similar article not long ago. Also see this for more on Russian netcentric warfare efforts in the 2009 exercises. It covers the comms chief’s promises about individual soldier comms by 2011. The VDV chief of staff also talked about this for his troops in his year-ender.