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Linear masters: ranks will be returned to the leadership of military enlistment offices

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Military commissars will put on shoulder straps again. The Ministry of Defense is changing the system of recruiting the leadership of the military enlistment offices of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. The leadership positions in these institutions will become military. In essence, we are talking about the return of a system that existed until the end of the 2000s. Only the criteria for candidates for the posts of military commissars and other employees have become much tougher. Now only active officers with combat experience and an excellent track record will be able to become them. Experts explain the change in the rules to the increased role of mobilization issues: if martial law is introduced, they will have to call on not only citizens, but also business.

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Real experience

The new rules for appointing chiefs of military commissariats of the RF constituent entities will take effect from next year, Izvestia sources in the military department said. The military rank for regional military commissars will be colonel. There will be a strict selection process for candidates: only officers with real combat experience and a good track record will be able to be appointed. Today they are being replaced by specialists who are listed in the “civilian personnel” category.

Before the military reform of 2008, district military enlistment offices were headed by officers with the rank of colonel, and the regional military commissar wore general’s shoulder straps. The posts of chiefs of departments – for mobilization, conscription of citizens for military service, accounting for privates in the reserve, accounting and calling for reserve officers – were occupied by majors and lieutenant colonels. The divisions included divisions, which were also headed by officers. They were subordinate to civilian specialists – secretaries, clerks, etc. In those years, the position in the military registration and enlistment office was an attractive crown of careers for many officers, and it was not easy to get an appointment there.

Running masters

military commissar

Military Commissar of the Rostov Region Colonel Igor Egorov

Photo: RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov

After the start of reforms, military posts were eliminated in many structures. The officers of the commissariats also took off the shoulder straps. Since then, they have been replaced, as a rule, by retirees. Now the leadership of the Ministry of Defense has decided to return officers to the mobilization institutions. At the same time, strict criteria were set for candidates. For example, an applicant for the post of military commissar must go through the main steps of the command ladder and have experience in commanding at least a regiment or brigade. And besides, he must have combat experience.

The military commissar of a federal city, territory, republic or region will be directly subordinate to the commander of the military district, and on organizational and mobilization work – to the deputy chief of staff of the district.

Running masters

military commissar

Conscripts on the territory of the assembly point of the military commissariat on the street of the Vvedensky canal in the city of St. Petersburg

Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexander Halperin

“As practice has shown, civilian specialists do not always have enough authority and authority to resolve many issues,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. – With the creation of territorial defense, the military registration and enlistment offices began to play a significant role in maintaining this system. Also create a service in reserve. All these issues are dealt with by the military commissariat. Obviously, officers with military experience should serve in certain positions there.

In wartime, military registration and enlistment offices can mobilize equipment and private enterprises, Viktor Murakhovsky recalled.

“You need to know the specifics of various military registration specialties, be able to select people, especially commanders, personnel for staffing headquarters,” the expert added. – It is difficult to resolve these issues without experience of service in the troops, especially for a civilian person. Therefore, there have been difficulties in recent years, which were most clearly manifested during mobilization deployments during major exercises.

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One of the most important spheres of activity of military commissars is considered to be mobilization preparation in case of a large-scale war. Military commissariats are engaged in pre-conscription work, preparing young people for military service, and selecting contract soldiers. They also keep records of reservists and social security for pensioners of the Ministry of Defense.

The military registration and enlistment offices are also entrusted with the task of military-patriotic education of the population, including work with the All-Russian Children and Youth Movement “Yunarmiya”.

“In ordinary life, the military commissar may not be the most prominent figure in the region,” the associate professor of the PRUE told Izvestia. Plekhanov’s Colonel Alexander Perendzhiev. – But in wartime it is he who becomes the main manager and organizer of everything that is in the territory entrusted to him. The transition to a military track also implies another control system, headed by a military commandant. But in many small cities where there are no troops, there is no such position, and in such settlements, these functions are performed by a military commissar even in peacetime. And now it turns out that in our entire municipalities there are no people at all who wear military uniforms.

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Participants of the All-Russian youth movement “Yunarmiya” at the Victory Day parade, June 24, 2020

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Bednyakov

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The expert considers the situation when there is not a single officer in the institution to be absurd.

– It turned out that the commissariat ceased to be a military organization. Nonsense: the military registration and enlistment office – and it is not a military one, – added Alexander Perendzhiev. – A recruit comes there and does not see a single person in uniform. What impression will he have when he enlists in the army?

As Izvestia previously reported, the responsibility of the military commissariats has now been transferred to the accounting and control of private business property for its mobilization in the event of martial law. These include a wide variety of enterprises – from auto repair shops and bakeries to large agricultural holdings and logistics companies.

When mobilizing, the military commissariats also organize the supply of transport to assembly points and military units. For this, the commissariats keep records of certain models of civil trucks and off-road cars owned by legal entities, tractors, buses and construction equipment, ATVs.

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Military equipment during the Caucasus-2020 exercise at the Turali training ground

Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

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In recent years, major exercises have been giving serious attention to the issues of mobilizing and transferring the economy to a war footing. This gives a unique experience – before, officials and military leaders did not have it. The tasks within the exercise are performed by local authorities and even entrepreneurs. For example, during the Kavkaz-2016 maneuvers, a mobilization system for food and clothing industry enterprises and repair organizations was tested. Several transport campaigns were called in to transport mobilized reservists. They transported the “storekeepers” and their belongings on their buses and trucks. The resources of several civilian bakeries and meat and dairy factories were used to produce additional products to supply military units.

The full mobilization of industrial assets by the Russian military department can begin only in the event of a threat of a global war. In the course of local conflicts or natural disasters, the Ministry of Defense will “call” into military service only a limited number of the most important enterprises that have the resources necessary to ensure mobilization.

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