Russian Military Men Have No One to Protect Them

It seems that Russia does not care about its military men

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov will present the military reform concept for the government tomorrow. The reform was prepared by the Defense Ministry of Russia. Russian media outlets report that the authority of the ministry is going down in the army very fast. Russian military men were hoping that Sergey Ivanov would be able to change the  hard condition of the Russian Armed Forces. However, it did not happen, in spite of the fact that Sergey Ivanov is rather close to President Putin.

Furthermore, the organizations that are meant to deal with social guarantees for military men, work in a blatant way, discrediting the government even more. RIA Novosti news agency  informed with reference to a source in the Russian government that the session of the social fund Guarantee decided to liquidate the organization. This decision was made on account of numerous violations and infringements upon its basic goals and tasks. The anonymous sources emphasized that military men’s social protection was a priority of the Cabinet of Ministers and for the Finance Ministry.

Guarantee Fund has actually brought the idea of social guarantees to military men to nothing. According to the news agency, the activities of the fund did not correspond to the goals, for which the fund was established. Numerous auditing procedures have taken place in the fund during the period from 1997 to 2002.  As a matter of fact, the beginning of the auditing proved that the fund was unable to execute its social protection goals. Moreover, the fund stopped dealing with the issues of social guarantees for military men in 1996. It even stopped spending money on it.

The auditing helped to determine numerous  facts of untargeted spending. Some of the documents regarding the financial activities of the fund were not found in its offices. The Central Controlling Directorate of the Russian President found out that the fund spent only 1.2% of its entire spending on the solution of social issues for the military men (during 1997-1999). Instead, the fund paid wages to its personnel and furnished its offices – 85% of the costs.  The auditing committee of the Finance Ministry discovered that the fund spent only eight percent of its reserves to maintain military men and their families during the period from October 1999 to August 2002. At the same time, the fund spent 33.3% of its revenues for its own maintenance over the same period of time. The anonymous source in the Russian government informed that there were more than five million rubles spent on purchasing an apartment and a vehicle for Roman Blokhin, the former director of Guarantee Fund.

There is an obvious question coming up in this respect. If all those auditing and controlling committees were aware of those things happening in the fund, why didn’t they do anything about it? The fund has been just liquidated, its activities have been stopped. Is that all? End of story? What about the losses that the state suffered? Why did the Defense Ministry dump the whole issue off? It deems that sometimes the ministry proves to be a department of principle, and sometimes it just ignores everything.

Life can be really surprising at times. Another good question: is there anything worthy about that military reform, about which the Defense Minister is going to talk tomorrow? More importantly – where is the money for it?

Dmitry Slobodanuk

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka