In Yezhednevnyy zhural on 1 March, Aleksandr Golts says Makarov’s and Postnikov’s pronouncements on the failure of contract service were, of course, an open secret. Analysts and journalists had been writing about its failure for two years [much longer actually]. He recalled being at a December roundtable including GOMU generals, who had implemented contract service, who railed against slanderers who dared describe things as they are, including the failure of the contract program. And now Defense Ministry chiefs have also acknowledged the obvious.
Golts concludes that Makarov and company also finally recognized something known to ‘liberal experts’ seven years ago–it was senseless to try to go to volunteer service without first creating a professional NCO corps.
Then Golts describes a Defense Ministry propensity for lying–GOMU Chief Smirnov gives one figure on the number of draft evaders, his deputy gives a different figure; Deputy Defense Minister Pankov says the 85 permanent readiness brigades are ready for battle in one hour, Ground Troops CINC Postnikov says actually they are ready only to depart their garrisons in one hour; Armaments Chief Popovkin says 5-6,000 tanks are needed, Postnikov says 10,000, or maybe only 2,000 are needed.
This irresponsible and unpunished lying pervades the army, it’s an everyday automatic reflex, and it’s not harmless. The country’s leadership takes decisions on it. God forbid they should trust GOMU when it says it’s possible to provide for conscription just by stopping draft evasion. This would indicate that the complete collapse of the military manning system is near. And the generals would use this as an argument to overturn the current reforms.