"Until now I can not say that the president actively took up the army. But there are certain "accents", the desire to transform the army. I hope that the new government will work in this direction more actively and systematically than the predecessors. However, the team of Petro Poroshenko had made some positive changes in the army, the main one being the support of missile programs ", - begins a conversation with AiF in Ukraine Director of the Center for the Study of Army, Conversion and Disarmament, writer Valentin Badrak.
- Valentin Vladimirovich, tell me more about it ...
- Thanks to the support of former secretary of the NSDC Alexander Turchinov missile programs were moving very actively. I mean the NPC "Neptune" (a subsonic low-fly anti-ship missile. Ed.) and the Olkha Rocket Complex are two powerful rocket programs, our first technology in the field of military technology, received state support. They can really strengthen our defense potential. But it is forced to be objective: the rocket program was slowed down at 2,5 year - the first successful launch of the Neptune rocket occurred in March 2014, and the decision of the SNBO on the introduction of the program into life appeared in January 2016.
- What is the general state of the army?
– I think that we have a global problem: the number of forces in the army and the defense forces in general (artificial strength, army, along with the border guards and the National Guard - about 350 thousand) are artificially inflated.
- But in Ukraine - a military conflict ...
- However, the problem is that the responsibility to protect the state lies with a poorly armed man. We can compare our army and Israeli, in which 176 thousand, equipped with missiles, ultra-modern unmanned systems, aircraft. I understand that this requires time. But why do we insist on the need for a program of transition of the Ukrainian army to professional rails? Due to the huge number of armies alone - 255 thousand (of which 204 thousand military personnel) spend 80% of the defense budget. The army "runs through" almost all means.
- How much money goes for re-equipment?
- In 2017-2019 - about 600 million dollars, very small amount. Moreover, in Ukraine - the dominance of foreign companies, displacing national defense structures, part of these 600 million goes to pay their work. This is very dangerous. The Ministry of Defense's contract with France is unhappy about the purchase of 55 helicopters, of which 21 is second-hand. At the same time, as in Ukraine there is the "Motorsich", which implements the national program for the creation of Ukrainian combat helicopters. If these funds went to order 20-30 of our helicopters and 5-7 aircraft for the Ministry of Defense and other power departments, we would stop degradation of aviation industry and could count on the development of our technologies. Everything is interconnected: the state of the army, its professionalism and the development of defense technologies. We are obliged to create a program of transition of the army through 5-6 years on professional "rails". During this time - to implement a system where instead of people, figuratively speaking, the state would defend modern defense systems. In order not to encounter situations when we rely on people who are fighting "perfect" Soviet weapons.
IN THE FOREIGN "WORKING-KRESTYANSKAYA"
- What are the disadvantages of this approach?
- There are two aspects - political and social. We must admit that Ukraine is a heterogeneous country, many people with a different "orientation". We can not, as in Israel, put everyone in service. And unmotivated people in the army are not needed, we are conducting a war for the preservation of Ukrainian statehood. Therefore, a motivated pro-Ukrainian army is needed. This is a political aspect. The social one is that there should not be anyone in the army who can not serve due to physical features, religious beliefs or those who simply do not want to fight. Need a motivated army of people psychologically militarized. And for this society must pay them a high reward. A professional fighter must receive more than a clerk.
- There is one more aspect - economic ...
Last year we had a "peak" of the outflow of contractors, about 25 ths. left the army. And, according to the report of the Ministry of Defense, 20 thousand the contractors were recruited. It turns out that they spend money on their studies, then they are fired, new ones come. The problem is that each new contractman's attitude - like a recruits. As a result, we have a low level of understanding how to operate military equipment, the frequent failure of the equipment. This is what specialists say they are leaving to implement high-tech systems that have already begun to be supplied to the army. The army is still conditionally authoritative in society. And, in fact, "working-peasant". There are no intellectuals, inhabitants of regions, where you can find more prestigious work. I hope that the new government will work to create highly professional troops and motivations, leaving anachronisms. Such, for example, as attempts to provide military housing, which is a potential incentive for corruption.
- What should be the new army?
- To get rid of all the functions that are not peculiar to her, and to leave one - preparation for the war. It is necessary to change the system of military education, the system of recruitment into the army (to abolish outdated military commissars), to transform the system of support and logistic support of the army. And this is not a slogan: I speak as a person who participated in the study of ways to create a professional army in Ukraine. By the way, this idea was already supported by Ivan Appershin (responsible for security and defense in the Zelensky team). Ed.)
"It's an endless job." You said that Zelensky had not yet reached the army close ...
- He had little time for it. Only the Chief of the General Staff is appointed (Ruslan Khomchak. - Ed.) As far as I understand, there are no candidates for the post of the head of the Ministry of Defense, and it is likely that the old minister or his deputy will be in office before the elections.
But the important thing is that the army should not be reformed by the army itself, nor the head of the General Staff. In my opinion, such a program should be adopted at the state level, and responsibility for its implementation is entrusted to the NSDC. I am talking not only about the defense department, but also about the border guards, and even the SBU (there is a draft law on the reform of the SBU, but it is imperfect).
In general, when we build Ukraine's defense forces, we must rely not only on them but on a holistic system of forces (armed forces, border guards, the National Guard, and even the National Police) and non-military assets (intelligence, counterintelligence, intelligence agencies). We must change the whole system, introducing modern defense technologies and reducing the size of the army, including by refusing to call. Indeed, a call is a social inequality, a cornerstone of corruption: many of them "buy". And others from depressed regions go to the army - and this imposes an imprint on all the armed forces. It is necessary to change the paradigm so that the children of politicians, businessmen wanted to go to the army, it was prestigious - as, for example, in the UK. And that higher bureaucratic posts could not be taken without the experience of serving in the army, provided by law.
- But the new president did not serve in the army ...
- I'm talking about the future. And Zelensky appeared not because everyone believed: it is a new creative figure in politics. And because of great irritation by the actions of Petro Poroshenko, who existed, like most Ukrainian presidents, in their "reality". I generally think that in Ukraine it is necessary by law to prohibit the president from going for a second term (except when he is supported by ¾ of the population). We have many negative examples: in the first cadence, Kuchma was a good president, in the second one he was inadequate. His second term led to the majority of problems of Ukrainian statehood - the war, the appearance of Yanukovich, the oligarch.
- More about personnel appointments: the NSDC was headed by ex-minister of finance Alexander Daniluk, who is called "looking" the West. How can this affect the formation of a strategy for reforming the army?
- There is an opinion that he is a system manager. If this is the case, then he should, above all, set up the work of the analytical service. What is NSSO in general? This is, above all, an analytical center. Almost exemplary example is the NSDC of the times of Vladimir Gorbulin, who created the center, receiving information from various sources, processing it and shaping decisions. This is very important. If Daniluk succeeds, then the NSDC will become the "brain" of the state.
We collaborated with Daniluk's predecessor, Alexander Turchinov. I know that the community has censures against him, but I treat him with respect - he has done a lot to create such an analytical center. But, nevertheless, I think that our work with Turchinov was imperfect - because the authorities had low readiness to discuss and make decisions proposed by a consortium of non-state structures. At the initiative of our center, an initiative group was created, which included former ministers and deputy ministers, ex-heads of the General Staff, top managers. The ideas that were developed there were very interesting (for the management of the defense industry, in general, for industrial policy, for reforming the army). But the former government was not perceived, since it was not profitable for her.
Irina Wanda «AiF.ua»