From the editors: the below article is prepared by the former officer of the Minister of Defense, the colonel in the reserve. It is difficult to agree with the author that Kazakhstan does not need the army. Many people are not satisfied with the present army, but nobody states that the army is not required. It is even more interesting that this is the idea of the former serviceman. If we consider some arguments, we will see at once that the author focuses on rather the absence of democracy in Kazakhstan than on some real reasons for dismissal of servicemen. The author announces that the Kazakhstani people do not need the army, but according to the blitz-poll of THE GLOBE, people have different opinion. But we need a different army. The author�s explanation seem somehow artificial, as if he just wants to criticize the Kazakhstani authorities. Maybe, then it is better to ask directly � why the army is in this condition, why murders and suicides of soldiers are usual, etc., than to say on behalf of people that we do not require the army. The reader may have an adequate question � why should we publish the article, if the editors have so many critical remarks. But this position also has the right to exist.
Kazis TOGUZBAEV, the colonel in the reserve
ALMATY, Jan 24
(Specially for THE GLOBE)
When the authorities bombastically speak of Kazakhstani patriotism, which is presented as one of the basic principles of the state, finally they presents the army, people with golden shoulder straps, etc. as the concentration of patriotism. The rest population has only to love the army and to support it unreservedly.
What shall we do when in undemocratic states force bodies, including the army, are the main repressive forces struggling against democracy?
In political practice the authorities separate Kazakhstani patriotism from both physical and economic security of people. With the help of different political and ideological supporters and apologists the authorities try to ram such a notion of patriotism that demands economic, political and physical sacrifice, up to self-sacrifice, into people�s heads. All this is done to keep the power.
But patriotism is, first of all, care for security of the Motherland and, first of all, of the population. This does not mean an automatic care for the army, moreover, if objectively nobody needs it � neither people nor the state.
In short, there are serious premises to ascertain that Kazakhstan (the state and the people) does not need the army, taking into consideration the economic situation and the situation in the army, as well as the country�s geopolitical and geostrategic status. We should not forget that the army is the main military mean to wage the war. War! The war was and remains the continuation of a definite policy (both internal and foreign ones) by force. Kazakhstan does not need the army.
FIRST. The Kazakhstani state does not need the army.
First, external factors make the Kazakhstani army unreasonable. In connection with this, against whom do the Kazakhstani authorities plan to fight and for what purposes?
First of all, about purposes.
Obviously, purposes may be only defense, but not aggressive, if we do not consider some paranoiacs who may think it necessary to widen the Kazakhstani borders.
But under the present conditions, the external security of the state is to be achieved exclusively due to the correct foreign policy.
So, on one hand, bordering on such great powers as China and Russia makes the army as the mean to opposite possible military threat by these countries, absolutely senseless. The use of the present Kazakhstani army is not higher than of shell-holes of liquidated nuclear weapons that once were located in Kazakhstan. That is why Kazakhstan has to live in peace with these countries exclusively thanks to its clever foreign and internal polices. The absence of the army does not mean automatic territorial and other compromises by Kazakhstan, as apart from these countries there are other ones with which Kazakhstan can (and must) have necessary connections to provide its security.
On the other hand, we do not need the army to opposite Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as in case of a conflict with these countries we will be able to settle the problem with the help of international political and military-political institutions, if necessary. We should become mad to plan such impossible from the military point of view, things.
That is why if Kazakhstan rejects from the army, having denied the last force component of its foreign policy, it will be able not only to humanize the latter and to gain the image of truly peace-loving country, but also to gain guarantees its security by the international community.
At the same time, sometimes the war-like character of the Kazakhstani official policy suddenly becomes obvious in the most improper place. So, we cannot believe that N. Nazarbaev in the USA defended Russia in connection with the Chechen conflict. We know that there is real war in Chechnya and Nazarbaev though being officially against of separatism and extremism, in fact supported the Russia�s war against Chechnya. Another thing is that sequences of this war will anyhow make Russia the defeated party. But this is a quite different topic. In connection with the above-mentioned facts, the devotion of politicians formed in the Soviet period is surprising.
Second, the Kazakhstani internal policy may and must protect it from possible external and internal (civil) wars. To do this it is necessary to shift from movement towards autocracy to the movement towards democracy. Nobody should be deceived by the results of Nazarbaev�s visit to the USA, which are visually are very successful, as the USA as if approved democratic processes in Kazakhstan.
We should not be under a delusion of achieved goals. We need to be politically careful constantly! As we can expect any steps by the Kazakhstani authorities, that violated their Helsinki responsibilities on human rights that was obvious when the presidential and Parliamentary elections were prepared and held, and that tried to violate OSCE by the results of the election. From the authorities having made a step towards democracy, then made two steps backwards, we may expect any unpredictable steps.
In other words, in the late 1999 the Kazakhstani authorities differed much from the same of the early 1999, as from time to time it demonstrates its tempo both inside and outside the country. Obviously, the Kazakhstani authorities are declined to consider the results of Nazarbaev�s last visit to the USA as indulgence of the oppression of first of all the political opposition, as the chance to sell fine thoughts of democracy that is in fact oppressed and deformed, as first Europeans made a profit selling glass beads and drinks to Indians. Of course, the mentioned countries are not so naive, as Indians were in the last century, but until the nuclear disarmament was completed deals for MIGs were somehow safety. Today Kazakhstan offered support of the future Caspian oil pipeline, open affection to Jewish people and Judaism (though, evidently, these people�s affection to money as well as their striving for political support were most important) to gain the next portion of indulgence. The USA could not reject these offers. To conceal this, or, maybe, to strengthen the impression from this pragmatic demonstration, simultaneously the authorities demonstrated anti-Russian psychos in connection with the events in Eastern Kazakhstan, when the Russian-American relations became even overcooled.
Thus, the Kazakhstani state, if it develops democratically, does not need any wars, hence its does not need the army for civil wars. And vice versa, if Kazakhstan continues to develop towards autocracy, the authorities will consider the chair of bayonets their most stable seat.
Third, the state does not need the army, as far as the economic security is concerned. In the modern history the latter is getting most important in the state and national security system. What is the use of the army, if the authorities are robbing the national wealth and the national treasury with the help of the same army?! And just the opposite, economy of the military budget, as well as legal and civilized sale of weapons (expenses towards safety and maintenance of which are growing) may significantly improve the Kazakhstani economy.
Fourth, the state does not need the army from the moral-psychological point of view.
The Kazakhstani army is doomed to degradation, as its will be hardly used. This makes everyday training of the army unreasonable. Individuals are also degrading in the degraded army, as the latter considers its existence senseless to guarantee the military security of Motherland. That is why everybody seeks his own purpose in the army: the top ranks are eager to gain profits, the lower ranks wish to survive. They do not survive according to the new commanders� cheerful reports, but according to Darwin�s conception � week people do not survive. Nobody, except people who are ready to sin, requires all these atrocities as well as the ideology, psychology, moral and aesthetics of brutalities that are taking shape in the Kazakhstani army and have trends to develop, but have nothing to do with humanism and patriotism.
SECOND. The Kazakhstani people also do not need the army.
First, the Kazakhstani population understands perfectly well that the army is not theirs. Moreover, the army is anti-people, as the anti-people ideology, psychology and moral are being formed there. In connection with this the army may have only the punitive function against people and democratic forces. It seems that once dismissed parliaments were really stricken by the army, when they did not obey for a long time.
Second, if the military budget us reoriented to social requirements, the Kazakhstani population strengthened physically, morally, intellectually and professionally, etc. could be the main guarantor of its security, i.e. it could be organize its economic and political life so that everybody will understood advantages of friendly and peaceful coexistence. People understand that planned for 2000 increased expenses towards defense is just another phase of strengthening the authorities as if to provide security of the population, even if they have to starve people who are already dying out.
They may object that on one hand, the army employs a lot of people. On the other hand, to reduce the army it will take even more money than to maintain it.
The above-mentioned two thesis are false, though they seem effective. So, on one hand, it would be possible to vote for prisons because they employ people. On the other hand, to fear to give money to reduce the unnecessary army is similar to ignoring a drug-addict, as it is too expensive to treat him.
THIRD. Who needs the army? Obviously, the Kazakhstani authorities need the army. The latter�s interests do not meet really national and state interests. That is why the Kazakhstani authorities need the army to protect first of all themselves.
As far as possible conflicts in Kazakhstan are concerned, they may be mainly ethnical and religious extremism in the form of terrorism. The authorities, either purposefully or non-purposefully promote formation of social, national and religious basis for these conflicts, due to their incompetent policy. To opposite this terrorism the internal troops, the KNB and anti-terrorist divisions will be quite enough. People say that Kazakhstan is the first in the world by the number of armed people per capita. It seems to be true!
This conception seems evident. Another argument is the President�s recent announcement that in 2000 expenses towards defense will be significantly increased. They will be raised when the economic situation in the country is getting worse. But we should hardly expect that the Kazakhstani authorities that are definitely drifting towards dictatorship, would take different measures. Possibly, the Kazakhstani population whose life will become worse due to such a redistribution of budget money, is supposed to be glad patriotically. To close the mouth of different �faultfinders� the authorities can find again not only Russian separatists but also Vakhabit gunmen in all Kazakhstani mountains or Kazhegeldin�s gunmen who attacked Astana from Kapchagai, if necessary.
Possibly, this thoughts have some week places, the main of which is inopportuneness. I think the latter is connected rather with the subjective intellectual process either to realize it or to ignore it than with the objective geopolitical and geostrategic reality.
From the editors: the below are words of a present officer of the Kazakhstani army who commands a platoon in one of the military unit.
ALMATY, Jan 22
Oppression of younger soldiers by elder ones is ineradicable. In fact, it is somehow necessary to maintain the order, but of course, it should not be so radical as it is now. It is impossible to eradicate absolutely illegal relations, but it is possible to prevent soldiers from killing each other. Many things depend on the direct commander of the platoon. From my own experience I can say that to achieve this it is necessary to spend days and nights with soldiers and literally bring them up. But when you do not receive salary for a long time and loose your last privileges, this complicates relations in your family greatly. You just loose any enthusiasm and resign yourself to the situation. The main point is to observe the gold rule �whatever soldiers do, they should be tired. This means that you should occupy soldiers� time so that they have no incorrect thoughts, as to leave the platoon without permission or to jeer at young soldiers, etc.
I as well as other officers cannot say what the army should be. It seems that the higher ranks also do not know what to do. I think that the army is too big for the republic. If it were less, but more qualitative, it would be better. One more banal, but very significant thing is the absence of an accurate ideology. Our officers say nonsense in classes. Soldiers cannot perceive it. Upbringing and political instructions for soldiers worked up by the Minister of Defense cannot raise either fighting spirit or moral state. Soldiers are not interested in developing their skills. On the other hand, the situation among officers is not quite normal. In many military units the high commander can use the obscene language, in the presence of soldiers. This contradicts to the Charter of the Kazakhstani Army and affects the officers� authority, which is the main thing.
ALMATY, Jan 24
From the editors: the author of the open letter Aitkali Isengulov, the former deputy of the Minister of Defense is a very authorized person in the military field. The scandal caused by the sale of MIGs to North Korea goes on. It seems important to publish the general Isengulov�s opinion, as the public discussion of this closed theme will positively influence democracy in Kazakhstan.
General-mayor Aitkali Isengulov, the former deputy of the Minister of Defense, President of the Republican Public Union of Servicemen in the Reserve:
Forty MIGs sold to Korea and the scandal caused by the sale are just the top of the iceberg that is hidden in the turbid waters of the Kazakhstani establishment.
The sale of weapons and spare parts of military technique has become of systematic and regular character long ago. Of course, these sales were secrete. Certainly, nobody of common people knew anything. Only ministers and heads of force departments knew that.
I responsibly announce that it is impossible to sell weapons or military technique without signature of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the KNB head, the Minister of Defense, the head of the Customs Committee and the Finance Minister.
Weapons and military technique are sols after the detailed working out of the price policy and further payments for the products. That is why it is falsification to assure people that the government did not know anything about these deals.
I may ascertain that all heads of the above-mentioned departments signed the governmental decree.
During my service I repeatedly faced this issue and I know all procedure of the sale of weapons.
I may mention many facts as arguments. For instance, the first one, purely technical. The point is that it is impossible to sell only technique. It was necessary to sell spare parts as well, I assure you. They did this.
What does military technique mean without cartridges, roughly speaking without a rocket or a bob? Then we have the question, how many bombs did Kazakhstan sell? How long does it sell them? You know, there are different conflict beds in the world. Probably, they need cartridges, rockets and planes.
We should understand our government � it cannot reveal the truth, even if it wants to say it and to repent. But the reaction of the official Washington and other influential world institutions frightened away the Kazakhstani establishment so much, that it decided to deny everything.
These secrete curtains reveal the real value of this military conveyor. But not everyone knows the value. But sellers are to know it!
Maybe, we should ask sellers-top functionaries? Some of them are still at the wheel.
As before I occupied a high post, I am strongly astonished, as only two people Yertaev and Petrenko of all sellers-heads of departments, are considered guilty.
The sale of weapons and military technique was never a prerogative of the General Headquarter. Only personally the Minister of Defense and an organization or enterprise with a proper license may deal with it. In this case, it was the plant Metallist who fulfilled the order of the high-rank functionaries who govern dolls being in shade, but use profits of these deals.
They decided to give the commercial mediator to the court. I assure you that the mediator remains the mediator. Without the initiative by our sellers-functionaries no mediator could sell either a plane, or a helicopter or a rocket.
At first there was always the word. This word was �sell.� But high-rank sellers could not go and offer anybody themselves: do you want a plane? Or a �ground-ground� rocket?�
As usually, fast with the burden of fault, fear and remorse sellers betray vulnerable people. But obviously, the general Yertaev knows everything, but keeps silence.
Why keeping silent and denying the accusations, he does not mention people who really signed the decree for sale of our honorable military technique intended to protect our peaceful labor?
Why does not Petrenko mention his clients who are going to put him in prison?
Maybe, he whispered this terrible secrete only to the judge at the secrete trial? If this court is intended for the wide audience �to reveal robbers and swindlers�, then why the trial is closed?
Maybe the trial is secrete, as new undesirable details may become obvious? Whatever our authorities do is secrete to satisfy robbers-functionaries who wish to conceal the truth. They fear people who demand real struggle against corruption in high ranks.
Then we have to ask, why they chose the general Yertaev? Why they accused him and Petrenko? Could they both sell the military power of our country, even if they had been eager to do that?
From media, I learnt that the general Yertaev reported to the President in the written form about degradation and corruption in the army.
I want to thank him for such courage, as he supported me in what I am anxiously writing about for three years.
I personally want to say Yertaev that they do not judge personally you, but all commanders of the army. The authority of the officers� corps depends on the trial. I call you to be honest and frank despite everything. Don�t keep silent. The time will show who is who. You are the victim of those people who used to take chestnuts from the fire with other people�s hands.
ALMATY, Jan 24
THE GLOBE interviewed the Committee of Soldiers� Mothers chairman Gulyam K. Smarkhadzhieva.
We remind you that the Committee of Soldiers� Mothers is a non-governmental organization registered in 1994. Its main objective is to protect servicemen. The Committee monitors all military units.
Does Kazakhstan Need the Army?
I speak on behalf of the Committee of Soldiers� Mothers and I say that we need the army. But wee need a different army � a strong, mobile, and what is most important � satisfied and well dressed. I agree that our neighbors are peaceful. But different extremists and nationalists may threaten us� We see these signs. What did the events in Kyrgyzstan demonstrate us in the previous year? Thus, I may ascertain that we need the army.
At present the army is being reduced � �the army should be less, but more qualitative.� On the other hand, new military colleges, e.g. the Military School in Astana, are opened. What do you think about this?
The army lack high-qualified personnel. We (soldiers� mothers - editors) visiting military garrisons see that. That is why the governmental decree on new military schools is predetermined by this fact. Though I cannot say how students are taught in these schools. But time will show!
You visited the USA. What are your impressions of the US army? What would you like to wish to our army?
I visited the USA according to the program Protection of Servicemen in 1997. Along with the Kazakhstani delegation I visited the military base Ford Maier (Virginia - editors). They showed to us how American soldiers lived. I made certain that the US government did not spare money for its army. They create such conditions for the army that no US soldier plans to escape from the army. They have nice food, etc.
Are there any suicides in the US army?
For five years there was no suicide. The word �suicide� is not used there at all.
I concluded that if we want to save our country, we should have a good army. We should not spare money for the army.
In what will the reduction of the army result? In future we will have a contract army. The paid army.
From the editors: below are opinions of some officers of the military unit 61993. But we would like to touch some aspects of the article. So, according to a military specialist, the main reason for the mass outflow was the abandonment of servicemen�s privileges, after which about 80% of contract soldiers left the army, but not the well-thought selection system. On the other hand, the inability of the present Minister of Defense to put the army in order is disputable, as he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute. We think, that first of all, features of the leader are important (maybe, Nurlan Kapparov is not quite a successful example, but he kept fast KazakhOil in difficult period, though he was not an oil specialist). For example, the US Minister of Defense is a civil man, but the US army did not stagnated. At the same time the present head of the Defense department came from the National Guards. Before he headed the Presidential Security and the KNB. Possibly, Tokpakbaev�s belonging to the special services arouses this reaction of servicemen.
ALMATY, Jan 24
In autumn 1999 the Ministry of Defense established the 1st separate motorized brigade on the basis of the military unit 61993. The appearance of this experimental brigade was the first stage of forming the professional army in Kazakhstan. Today, however, according to officers who know the situation in the military unit 61993, the rashness of the experiment by the Ministry of Defense has become obvious. Judge yourself. Of 800 soldiers who served on the contract basis, today only 60 ones continue to serve. The rest, who considered themselves deceived, had to cancel the contract and leave the service.
According to officers, the main reason for the mass outflow of contract soldiers was the insufficiently considered method of selection of servicemen. Untested sergeants who before serviced in the armed forces were selected. Their intellectual capacities and moral-psychological features were not high. They were mainly selected by personal connections.
Forming the 1st separate motorized brigade, servicemen were distributed among other military units. Due to this officers mounted guard instead of the ranks. This situation resulted in a hidden hostility between officers and contract soldiers, that lasts till present.
The desire of the military heads of the country to establish the ideal contract brigade at once did not prove its value. The Ministry wished to do its best, but it happened as usual. Kazakhstani military experts did not take into consideration that in the USA only to prepare for the contract service it had taken four years.
The social provision of volunteers was not proper as well. The main stimulating factors were the salary, the chance to avoid unemployment and to receive a flat. Today people who continue to service on the contract basis lack money to maintain their families and to pay for premises. As a rule, contract soldiers have families.
Their salary is 3,000 to 4,000 tenge. The social status of contract soldiers does not differ from draftees� one. According to the contract, the service term is 3 years. People who want to cancel the contract may easily do this. They only have to give back the uniform and pay over 1,000 tenge for its usage.
Officers think that a �20-minutes� war will be enough for Kazakhstan to attract attention to the army and to improve its condition. In their opinion, the present Minister of Defense who graduated from the Polytechnic Institute, will not be able to put the huge department in order.
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