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Thursday, March 15, 2018

If you count Syrian veterans of the operation it is important to avoid old mistakes

The status of veterans of operations in Syria may not receive more than 25 thousand Russians, said the representative of the Ministry of defense, thereby calling for the first time, approximate number of participants videoconferencing. The relevant law has already been passed by the state Duma, raised some questions. Regrettable to admit that in the field of awards we still do not fully understand the mess of the 90-ies.

On Wednesday the state Duma adopted in the first reading the bill on recognition of veterans, citizens, carrying out special tasks in Syria. This legislative initiative was introduced by the government and stipulates that “the status of a combat veteran (and, hence, measures of social support established by the Federal law “On veterans” – approx. OPINION) will be established to persons traveling to work to perform special tasks in Syria from 30 September 2015, will be exhausted in the direction of time, or sent ahead of time for good reasons”. According to Deputy defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, the number of such citizens does not exceed 25 thousand people. Thus, the Ministry of defence was officially named the approximate number of participants videoconferencing in Syria.

“From the point of view of the Duma, the war in Angola ended in 1985, that is, of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale as it was not”

This is definitely the right decision. But, like all bills on vet themes, new contains a number of flaws. Surprisingly, but in Russia there is no General status of combat veteran. There are several different kinds of laws and regulations that define the status of combatants and owed this man benefits, but each specific armed conflict is determined randomly. For example, the dates of the events can be specified almost “from the bulldozer”, it makes a strange reference to the registration of those or other units. But in the Soviet and Russian practice of military unit “in the clear” (i.e. for a specific number, which is written in the military card) in the fighting abroad, especially in undeclared conflicts, as a rule, as a whole was not involved. As a result, in the military card and personal Affairs of the officers is no record of participation in hostilities itself, the military unit did not participate in them. But the trip turns out to be something of a “personal need” that is difficult to justify legally.

All these gaps, the Office of personnel (UK) Ministry of defense uses for the benefit of themselves. For example, the recent law on benefits for war veterans UK could easily circumvent if I wanted to, because the fighting without specifying the units, but plucked out of the dates were listed in random order. Participation in combat was defined by marks on mission and identity, and the fact of travel could be challenged. People could attrubute two years as a translator in the jungle or the serviceman of the equipment in the desert, but on the database of the criminal code did not pass, as his military unit outside the city of Balashikha at this time did not leave. As a result, people not only received no benefits or reparations, but also risked to fall under the criminal article “Mercenaries”.

South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Karabakh and Yugoslavia in the early 90-ies in this sense, very revealing. Leapfrog administrative changes in the Russian army led to a complete loss of control. For example, the Transcaucasian military district gradually turned into a system of military bases, in parallel, several armed conflicts, and the officers involved in them, have not received any seniority or benefits. In some cases, they even were considered as deserters, to the Ministry of defence.

Great problems have arisen (and still exist) with the definition of seniority, status and benefits of officers, who began service in the former KGB. But they mostly endured all these conflicts, often working on regular posts in local governments that fall under the criminal article (article 359, part three, three to seven).

Another example. From the point of view of the Duma, the war in Angola ended in 1985, that is, of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale as it was not. Officially in Ethiopia in the 80s, nothing happened, even though in those days the Soviets suffered the most serious losses.

There is no malice or sabotage. Just the idea of this kind of legislative acts means legal precision in time and concepts. Now, in particular the Syrian issue, such problems as in the 90-ies, should not arise, because the presence of the Russian contingent in Syria identified other laws and agreed with the government of Damascus. There are orders to military units, which record the timing of the trip, its goals and objectives. However, this applies to pilots, service personnel of the air base, the sappers and partly seamen. I hope that there are real orders and units of special forces, and artillery, as well as for the personnel, including civilian, who taught the Syrians to use Russian technology or gave them weapons from hand to hand. The same applies to translators, as well as the staff of the centres for reconciliation, of which not all are located in the state of the Ministry of defence.

Single story with sailors, as their missions are defined “campaigns” and how to date them and relate to operations in Syria, is already on the conscience of the personnel Department.

Recently UK and the premium Department was involved in creating departmental medals which do not carry any preferential loading, but give a psychological effect. In the Ministry of defence and the General staff this is controversial, because the list of military awards is immutable, defined by the laws of the Russian Federation and nothing more. That is a memorable sign “For the liberation of Palmyra” legally does not entail any benefits for those who were involved. To a veteran of the fighting in Syria or his family received any benefits, for example, to pay utilities, he should get a medal, enshrined in the official registry, for example, “For courage”, not a memorial sign for Palmyra. Opponents of issuing such commemorative medals and signs insist on compliance, on the other hand, the army has something to reward those who risked their lives in a distant wilderness, and to deny the need for such awards would be wrong. The fact that they could be filled with certain content (in its capitalized), is another matter.

Some concerns and voiced a limit on the number of participants in the operation. Yet no one has really determined if he’s out of action in Syria or not. If we proceed from official political statements is over. But then we get into the failure of the 90-ies, when the operation seems to have been, and people weren’t there. If you come from official orders to military units, we fall into the same trap as the timing of the operation and mission established by the Office of personnel arbitrary, not consistent with real history.

If we evaluate only the quantitative question, the figure of 25 thousand people can not be qualified as characteristic of the Russian operation in Syria. This figure must be added the sailors of the Caspian flotilla, and staff bases in Russia. Most likely, these data are only an indicative figure, which will change with time and with change of parameters of the operation itself. But then you have to edit the data and honours, including the secret. They are, incidentally, themselves – a strange story, because the awards are considered the property of the state and withdrawn after the death of the award, the family provide a copy. This is a worldwide practice, but in the current situation, it may be advisable to change it.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”

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