Created: 4/1/1977

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Intelligence Memorandum

Morale and Discipline Problems in tlx Soviet Armed Forces

historical rtvitvf ri' LEASE as sanitized

cop, n9

NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION JnouftarlHd Dliclowrato Criminal Sanction

Morale and Discipline Problems in the Soviet Armed Forces



The Soviet high command is increasingly concerned about morale and discipline In the armed forces. Continuing problemslurry of high-level meetings Inutinyalt'c Fleet destroyer In5 and the defection last yearilotoxbat interceptor dramatize the reasons for Soviet concern.

The Indifference of junior and middle-ranking Soviet officers has repeatedly been blamed for persistent morale and discipline problems, although the ineffectiveness of authorized punishments leads some officers to exceed their powers in trying to maintain discipline. The propensity of senior Soviet officers to intervene freely when they learn of discipline violations further reduces the initiative of lower ranking officers, who often cover up such problems lo protect their careers. At nil levels Soviet officers tend to ignore discipline problems when performance seems unimpaired. New Defense Minister D. F. Ustinov, however, has made overcoming this bureaucratic inertia one of his Initial priorities.

Chronic morale and discipline problems include:

political disaffection, of uncertain extent in the Soviet military, but of increasing concern after5 mutiny

insubordination of enlisted men to Junior officers and NCOs

erennial feature of Soviet military life, and linked to one-third of all disciplinary violations, according to the chief military prosecutor

desertion, uncertain in scale, buterious problemignificant number of officers

suicides, which appear markedly higher In the Soviet military than among the civilian population

Com me iindardlnrmemorandum arem may he directed (>

IQfftce of Strategic Hetearct)

black markets, corrttptlon. thefts, and abuse of authority. endemic In the Soviet military as in civil life and contributing distrust among officers and enlisted men.

Despite greater high-level concern, the Soviet military's abilitywith morale and discipline problems remains uncertain. Manyproblems arc deeply rooted in Soviet society. Even if thedevises better ways to Improve morale and preventdiscipline, the Indifference of many Soviet officers willapplication of. any



The Soviet View of Morale and




Relations Between Officers and Enlisted Men

Relations Among Enlisted

Drug Abuse

Desertion and Absence Without

Black Markets. Theft, and Corruption

Misuse of

Constraints on Improvement of Morale and Discipline

The Political Officer's Role






Known Soviet

Known Suicide* In Soviet Military


Mutinyoviet destroyer In5 stirred Interest In the morale and discipline of the Soviet armed forces. This memorandum examines Soviet problems In this area.

The problems died In this paper almost certainly affect the competence of the armed forces and the confidence of Soviet leaden In them. The reader should be cautious, however. In drawing conclusions about the overall effectiveness of the forces. The relationship between morale, discipline, and effectiveness Is murky. Disciplineet of rules Intended to enforce standards ofeness. hut *he rules may he poorly designed for their purpose, and vlolotlons of discipline may not Impair effectiveness. Moraleet of attitudes, both of individual soldiers and of their aggregate, which Influences the degree of compliance with discipline und nttalnmenl of effectiveness. The prohlem In Interpreting any hit ol Information on the moraleoldier or of hishat while lilt morale may contribute to effectiveness. II may alsn Induce disregard fw discipline. While morale and discipline Influence effectiveness, no simple caiiMil association holds between them.

A second caution against drawing conclusions aboul effectiveness from this memorandum Inheres In the data; Numerous cases are c'tcd. but these are primarily accounts of single discipline violations or of en individual's morale. To project proportions or trends from such fragmentary Information Is hazardous. While the extent of suicide ond alcoholism con be Indicated with some confidence, ihe extent of oiher problems Is either unknown or known only tentatively.

Sources of Information Include the Soviet press and human reporting. Soviet press articles are relatively trustworthy because they record official Soviet Investigations of disciplinary problems


Morale and Discipline Problems in the Soviet Armed Forces

Soviet View of Morale and Discipline

The Soviet military pmi recently hatnf lop-level concern ghoul moruirIn Ihe armed forcei. An early sign ofwai the Issuance of revised miliiaryIn (he springn addition, uir. the fall of that yeordisciplinary problem*f guardhouses and Inadequate security

A further sign of Soviet concern surfaced In ilie Journal Soviet Stalem forhe article, written by the deputy chief mllltncy prosecutorivilian official, asserted that "It I* also very Important to nvrrcnmr the nihilistic attitude that existsertain section of theoward performance of service In thehl* article was un unusual public referencerohicm that senior Soviet officers have privately acknowledged for somelack of dedication.

comminuting the Croup of Soviei Forces In Germany.

(remits were rejecting discipline and morale wits declining.1

Beginningpeech hy ihe late Minisier nf Defense Marshal A. A. Grechko InG. the Soviet* muy have shifted Ihe blame (or dMplinury problem* from conscripts tn the officer corps. PosslMv al ihe Instigation of the Politburo. Crechkn's spereh attacked unnamed officers for leniency towardand theirrechkn's successor. Marshal D. F. Ustinov, continued this theme when hecientificonference of lending political workers"uly. Ustinov called nllentinn lo conscript iiMapffInter, rather than negative utii-tude. as the primary cause of morale nnd discipline (Molilems. "No small 'port of the youth Is drafted

' l'lirlpi. ii<juI- Ii (Hnfwml lis

ihrtf naitMnn Jlartrwi in nlmbunc unr rttnlhe-

i<imrurl>iini I'm rvrnrilc ilwilcii-onlnlntnwmI>rttlt.iimutyj'it tpnllih>ntl. osTOfrtln* In lit ij ihrwulr-urlumint ill in. lhc t'S Atmv al (IKS. mxlil OO , .ilmta

ipialtrimuni MBnrnlrd In rtw*t'nl"talian

i Ween ii tmr.(nmwT*imitulr

J.t. Ma SntriadnUiml lhaliiuanillnlhr inillnhairl twrri

Iml mill llml Oitriiil

V.lii- ami IJr-tn*mlI S IjawJaW

Ominlllall" InUiDlhat "I

militant ILmifdi. Anrll IOTA )aml<l>

frarwrh. hmrm. h IdHt i"iiii In itiiiimiit ii

iillhvtis k"

rvXnl In thr hluy.Ml<lirini thtiurht ihnl

iiliatarfcan h< mh'iliii.lliiitiii- >intii< n( Ihr iihlt ul ilic


milml In...f-.i

directly (mm tlir schoolstinov'nrin on iifoniiiit In Red Slur, "unds nut fiisy for them tn (uko up the burdens ofn enntrait. Ustinov deplored "deficiencies In party spirit" among officers,

pooch touchedpate of meeting* ami articles critical of Soviet officers. The chiefs of the Main Staff and Political Directorate of the Ground Forces lectured senior officers on Improving their leadership abilities. Oned Stareeting of officer* of the Central Asian Military Dl*'rict at which the chief nf the political directorate discussed Implementation of the revised disciplinary regulations. The topic for hb speech apparently had been chosen by senior commanders ami Its content" previouslyhem. In addition, an October meeting of politicalddressed by the Main Political Directorate's deputy chief for agitation and propaganda, reportedly dealt with the subject of morale und discipline problems. (This report is credible because lower echelonudilressed by hisave concerned these pntblems, according to the Sovietwo days after the deputy chiefs speech, fled Star published an article of unusual specificity hy the chief military prosecutor attacking common weaknesses In officer performance. Disciplinary problems among Strategic Rocket Forces personnel In the Siberian Military District were serious enough toighly unusual appearance by SHF commander Army Conrrul V. F. Tnlubkoat the annua! party conference of officers assigned to that district's headquarters.

Top-level disquiet about morale and discipline contrast* with Soviet propaganda's depletion of the armed forces. According to one Soviet journal:

Soviet military discipline Is founded not on fenr nf punishment or coercion but on the troops' high political conscience, boundless loyalty to the homeland, and profound sense of patriotic and military duty.

Shared class origins of Soviet officers and men purportedly reinforce this voluntary discipline,the class antagonism said to plague Western armies. The proletarian unity of Soviet peoples Is also said tn have abolished ethnicook ostensibly written hy the late Soviet Minister nf Defense. Marshal A. A. Crechkn. stoles:

The Soviet Army and Navy Incarnate the best features of the Sovietunity,political solidarity, and socialist patriotism and Internationalism.

Yet oven Soviet literature admits tliut Midi |Mm*pH uro more ideal thaneasures ofure conceded In still need the supplement of "measures nfed Staraptain who. fur fntm demonstrating class solidarity with his men. did not even take un Interest In the rnutlltioii of their quurtcrs, Crechkn's Ixtok admits that "ethnic conceit andiar personal relations among soldiers and hints that someshow disrespect for the customs of minority soldiers, '

In the midst of tbe propaganda campaign nliout tho revised disciplinarypectacularof the failure of Soviet discipline to maintainedication occurred. The crewestroyer in the Baltic Fleet mutinied.


Mutiny erupted aboard the Soviet destroyer Sforo-zhevoy on tbe nightrivak-class missile destroyer nf the Soviet Navy's most modern type, the Storazlievoy was then stationed in the Baltic port of Riga.

According to rumor In Riga, the mutiny flared when brawling broke out between enlisted men and officers after the latter tried toarly celebrating the October Revolution. Most of the ship's officers sided with the men. When the captain refused to join the mutineers, the political officer reportedly led the escape attempt. His defection to the mutineers may haveongstanding dereliction. His duly was to Identify political unreliable* nlioard the Stamzhc-omj to the Baltic Fleet political section, which could have dclolned the ship and removed untrustworthy crewmen. Failure to use this authority made the escape attempt possible and suggests that the political ofheer did not report the ship's pmhlems.

Nevertheless, both the Baltic Fleet command and naval headquarters In Moscow had known for at leastonths about political apathy aboardm-zhevoy. Ined Star criticized the ship's officers because "some comrades have fallen down on the moral front and haveiberal approach to the struggle for purity ofigher commands may not have cared, however, forlo the article Ihe Storozhcvotj was raled as one of the Baltic Fleet's mosl proficient ship.

The December article in Red Star gave an example of the failure of the Slorozltccoijx officers lo maintain discipline. One sailor returningentence to the guardhouse hadarm welcome fntm bis

tart correspondent thought hb welcome iiof-Ntuiiutc:

rue that the tailor who had dipped behind In hb service should have had the attention nf the collective. But how? Clapping him on the ihoutdcr does not help. He was returning from being under arrest. And. having arrived on deck, he should have said ;to hb colleagues.tand guilty before youvsk you to'" And then to show by

diligent service that he wai not trusted In vain.'

The Storozhecotj'i sailors dbdalncd military dbd-

pline. according to Red Star. The political officer apparently idenllfied more strongly with his regular counterpart* than with the Communbt PartyThe nuval command may have preferredto political real.o* known haw widrtpread these conditions ore In the Soviet military, hut whenevrr they all existepeat of the Slomzhecorj mulinyossibility.

Political Disaffection

Open dissent among Soviei civilian Intellectual* hus resonated In Ihe mililary.9 Soviet authorities reportedly nrrrsted three naval officers In Tallinn, Kstonlun SSII, 'or Joining local civiliansUnion of Tighter* for PoliticalJke Ihe .Sfominc-mijhese officers belonged lo the Balticler. Soviet security made related arrest* among student* al ihree com mission me schoob who bud formed "secret groups lo investigate whether ibe armed forces agree with ihe wrong policy followed by the Party Central Committee andne explanation for mililary participation In dissident movements may Ik* the historical lie between military officer* and Intelligentsia In Russian sndet),

Polilk-ul disaffection cantem fromargely Slavic officer corps In arrot primarily inhabited hy non-Slavic minorities. In ihese areas Ih officer encounter* strong regional nationalisms that contnulkl ihe official concept nf unity of all Soviethe contrast between ihe officer's nrrsupposl-llon* und lib experience can make him reexamine his loyalties. Most officers probably end by reaffirming Iheir loyalty tn Ihe Slav-dominated Soviet slate, but other" lose their rommilmcnt. Thb explanation would account for the cooperullnn nf three Russian officers In Tallinn withtnnlan. Ijtlvlan. ami Lithuanian dissident*.

The Invaslnn nf CzechoslovakiaHibe effects which personal experiences can have on polllk-ul commitment One officer wrote to Red Star of doubts fumed by lite Oeclnis|i'Vaks" "'personal unpleasantness,rnl* it was rumored thai the soldiersoviet unit in Mlada Boleslov even petitioned to Ire withdrawn from CiecfufUovuklaesult of |mpulur hostility.

Soviet enlbted men are. however, loss subject In _lhese pressures lhan nfflccn. Restricted lo garrison dicing off-duty houn. except for rare groupenlisted men In Eastern Europe come into contact with local populations primarily In controlled sellings such a* the annual Army Day openven Inside the Soviet Union enlisted men have few opportunities to mingle with local people except nn organized occasions such as joint political lectures. Policy regarding passes forbid* morehirdill to he absent el any lime, and pastes are restricted tn Saturday or Sunday. Although sometimes breached by absences without leave, these policies protect enlbted men from pressure* which may induce political doubt* In some officer"

While expmi-re In nllier nationalism* mayoviet nfflcer. It can aluihauvinistic reaction. Accordingormer cudel al aschool in Baku on ihe Caspian Sea, he handed together with fellow studentso-called cadet league lo protect Russian cadet* Irom abuse by nnn-Sluvs. His memhcishlp In Ihe leogiK" was discovered, and he was expelled frnm thr commissioning school. Ihi! lhc failure In punish him more severely may indicate thut other Russian officer* concurred wiih llie leogue'* purpose.

Ethnic Hostilities

Irurs iJ Im rottt*hrlvrm

mayin.UI hi rtprttrtxr In ISfifi SMOff ScnlH untoIn Rwlapnl. Iliincan.l* tlnnmrliin rrM* saalmf iSr lliip|nrtanpiJ'itr TVi. vni'iuillt iTirsVtl

The Soviei command Intentionally mans lit units with soldier*ariety of the more thunthnic communities In the Soviet pnpnlnllnn. The policy of dispersing ethnic minorities In ihr armedartly intended Inational Soviet identity transcending ethnic loyalties, Dispersion, precludes ethnically homogeneous unit* which.risis, might pnive more loyal In llielr rthnle compatriots than tn ihe central government. Tho policy also lesults from some ethnic minorities' relative lack of edui-atinn. which disqualifies tlicm bom specialist positions and consequently preclude* filling the table of organirn-


wilh prrwni. nf uclhok' origin. Thr Soviet iniarsno alternative lit ethnict* unlit, despite tlie -lilr effect nf linf-nwl rlhlllr strife.

Soldiers fiom tin* Moslem minorities ofu iiihI thr Cuucutu* urc primary largct* of ethnic lemltmnf other soldiers' racism. Ihelf own lack nf education and Inability lo speak Russian, and conlraiRctiicy way* nf life.

Probably the main cause of elhnic tension Involving Cenlnil Asians is the blatant prejudice of Slavic and other servicemen Central Asians are commonlyVrften describe ihem astupid, andbrutal. such descriptions are likely to reveal attitude! toward the Central Asians rather than their actual qualities.lsoreported that Central Aslant are Indifferent to disciplinary punishments. Their Indifference couldesult of receiving more lhan their share of punishmentsrimarily Slavic officer corps.

Central Aslant can seldom qualify for specialist (ruining In the miliiary because 'hey are poorly educolrd In comparison withother Sovietlthough the command reportedly does .tot discriminate agalml Ihem officially, assignment lo menial Jobs on educational grounds results In lower nay nnd lew rank Lad of education also disqualifies mirsl Central Asian* for nfflrer candidacy.

flilloguiilrsm Is significantlyommon umong Central Asians than among most others*lanlight command of Ruvslan may not seriously hamperforma nee oo duty, since most orders use simple lunguagr. But liroken Russian hlocks promotioninders esprit de corps by Isolating Central Asian* from their frltnw soldiers.

The eating und living habits nf Central Asians reportedlyrequent Irritant lo their relationship withrural Asians assigned o* military cooks Ihvuiisc of their lack of educatim vmictlmc*tew contnlnlng sheep's eves, which theyelicacy. Slavic tiddler* find It nuiisentlng. Reroute of different cuisine nnd family life, ihe practice of billeting |unim officers' families together Ir tmitll npiirluteots Is unworkable when extended to colocal-lugnnt with Shm According ti one siHtree. Central Asianive consequently lieen rti.-ptrcl from "baring billet*.

DfBptJf pcrvutlve ethnicW ti-urce* deny llml ethnic iliffrrriices cnu*csl conflict in their unlit. Some of these denials are due to the inse;isltlvlty of tbe source One whoint his unit'* etl.nic


relation* were ri linedaid that Central Asian eirHMTlpI* were made to run errands for Slitvic toliiirr* In other iiwt strong Intdrrsblp limy trntHitli elluiic tvlallmt* bynlic-Jnu itutong the vitilli r* that transcends tlielr ethnic prejudice*

Other ethnic groups bring traditional rit-alrir* into tbe mllltury. According to one source,'kntinUin* slid not like the rtustluns, uutl the Arineiiluu* did mil likenother source noted the historical antipathy of Armenian* andtwo pr-oples live iu close proximity in thea cause of Intermittent violence In military garrison*.

Soviet authority tends to suspect persons of Jewish and German origins. Permission for Jews und German* to cmi*rate has undoubtedly rclnfrirced thl* suspicion by adding tn concern obou' security. Rrportr-dly Jess* ure now prohlhltrtl (mm officer schools, although llielr educational ultnlnmcnl entitles miny In NCO positions or reservehe Soviet command mayoveold on prnmotion* fitr Jewish officers. One highly pmfk'rnt Jew. who several year* before hud reportedly Iwcn one nf the youngest mnjors In the Soviet Air Force* und nowieutenant colonel's *lot. had not received furtherhe lime the source served under him. Some Germans report discrimination while nlhrrs deny it. but ft is generally agreed that Germans muy not see classified material or enter nfflcer schools.

Kthnlc differences alto complicate civll-ndlltary relations.erving in Azerbaijan along the Iranian border were warned not lo enter nenrby vllluges because soldier* had been women were strictly off limits. Bykrainian village Invited soldier* stationed In tbe area In town dances The common Slavic origin nf ihe townspeople and most of the soldier* seems In have made tbe difference In this and similar case*

Ethnic hostility mainly affect* tbe Soviet military by rxuerrlxirlng other morale rod discipline problems The enmity of the Finnish und Ruthenian population of Knndnlaksha (south of Murmansk) isolated the officer* of an 'nfiintiy regiment stationed llirre and caused them tn drink heavily. After an ethnic limit fmm hi* Slaviceorgian ran amok Inillingther soldier*u*sian conscriptrrnwl betweenussian* nnd in Jew*.

Relotions Between Officers and Enlisted Men

Soviet sn-'ree* roll attention I- tbe unevenee of individual officer*nute of indiscipline ir

lite rank* According toof ihr Armed Farm (no. S.:

nownfficer* tin not always succeed In maintaining thr proper soldierly iirdor and organizational confnrmity in their uibunltv Mm! oflm ihi come*cau*c. while demanding exact fulfillment nf regulations,and Instructions fmm subordinates, ihey themselvi* do not set an example, I

As this statementixedbetween Soviet officers und rnlhtcd men.said lhat In hh former unit "some nfwere respected because they didlthough they tried In he strictAccording In another sourer, anlicutenunt sparked an enlisted men'sbe cleared the mess hall because nine men sattable instead nf thetrategic Rocket Forces unithird source srld thatcurse officerseir faces andflstfighl*em while on duly. Rut Inother units: "respect for officer* andingle Incident of disrespectfulun nfficer" was observed. An Fstationed

knew nf no cases of refusal to obey order*.

Young Soviet officers lend loUM and informal contact with Iheecause most Soviet NCOs In the line of command are conscript* servingears, their Inexperience compel* Junior officer* lo provide Immediate supervision lo enlisted men.the resulting closeness pnihubly Increase* anoncern for the welfare of hi* conscripts, the separation be!ween officers and enlisted mento strungbsent, and disrespect may receive minimal or no punishment.

Disrespect for'nervanle In reports of brawls between officers and their subordinates which often do not lead In punishment for either party. For example, nne sergeant reportedlyajor who had scattered the sergeant's clothing displayarracks Inspection. The sergeant was nnl punished. The source of this report otto sahl that brawlingespecially common Mwcen enlisted men and young lieutenants serving iheear obligation after training in the military departmentivilian university. Many nf these officers probably resent Involuntary service, and thb could account for the source's observation that they were poor leader*.

In some spec*unlrs officers rein* disciplinary standards eitherof inadequate support from siifterlors or because of de|k'ndence upon the esprit Im-'of subordinates.

Former military construction worker* have said iha* discipline wo* secondary lo achievement of the csaistruetkm plan. Officers and enlblrsl workers leached ladt agreements thul military regulations -would not lie eiifuried as long as the work was done. One lieutenant who (rled to enforce discipline faced repeated work stoppages until the commander, whose fulfillment of Ihe plan was threatened, relieved Ihe officer. The Soviet press generally gives little otlentlon lo discipline In mililary constructinn units, suggesting lhat the Constn'ctlon Troopsndifferent.

When officers must rely on conscripts"he possibility nf sahntagc can preclude effortsadio hilercep* battalion In Armenia required amscripts fluent In Turkish. They reportedly wore clvlllun clothes or even swimming Ininks onltuutlnn nnl corrected by the officers hecuuso the conscript* would falsify Ihe tran*lutlnn* In revenge. In another Instance, hatters commanders In an SRF battalion reportedly avoided disciplining the conscript* because officers fitness rating* depended on theerformance In firing exercises.

Relations Among Enlisted Men

The Soviets recognize that Ibe arrival ofenntcrlpls create* npportunllles forlder conscript* of allnew recruits ind shift fatigue details loelk)ties of second-year menothernoted

conscript* Irvingp

ovrr the fence wrr Invariably caught. Second-st-or cemserlpts were able In pass because iheir follow veterans on guard duty would ignore ihem.

The Soviet training system may encourage ubiisc of new conscript* by their older fellows. In the Navy, conscrlpl* finishing their terms must oflon Iniln replacements before leaving their ships. Trie desire of departing sailors lo leave as soon at possible leadsractice called lKe"bonka" at one hose. Slow learners among the recruit* ore beaten on(where the mark* are concealed beneath ibe uniform) "unlll they ore block andfficer* ignnre Ine bonka because ll makes recruit* studyay hi pass tbe exums.order Guards post any second-year servicemen could mete out minor punishment* lo fresh recruit* for disciplinary violation* A* the

-Hinishincnts itiolu<lr-tl extra tours of duty alongorder. *cs-oml-year Border GuuciU were aide to avoidurd by uccuslng recruits of Indiscipline.

vlet NCOs urc scciiml-jTurtheye lower ranking "old soldiers"the new recruits, they oreair superiors. The youngerreuct by ceasing to cooperate willingly. Thusyear soldiers' collusion may cruise

One Soviet writer. Major General D. Volkogonov, has recognized in Sotrfrt Soldierhat relations among enlisted men tend to take shape from Informal leaden who emerge apart from the rank structure.


It sometimes happen* that Ihe "leader" In a

squad or crew canan with ncgallyr

characteristics which do (not facilitate establish-

mentealthy moral atmosphere. :This Is

observed in conflict situations, in the appearance

of such unhealthy phenomena as mutual cover-

alse understanding of friendship and

comradeship, and efforts to underline one's

authority over juniors In Impermissible fashion.

Some sources have reported that conscriptsmistrust each other because barrack* thieves ore common. Officers reportedly must guard the properly of recruits at militury receptioncause otherwise older enlisted men would steal themscripts' meagre belongings.


Widespread In Soviet civilian society, alcoholism hus root* lieyoud military control. The workings of the economic system militate ugainst the success of official campaigns against drinking. Faced with planned sules svhlch must be achieved. Soviet retail organizations find that increasing the number of liquor outlets makes the sales goals easier to meet. Vodka is ulso subjeci lo an unusually high tax which contrllHiles significantly to state revenues. According to the Soviet press. Insufficient recreational programs for youths cause many to resort to liquor, which I* more available becuuse of Ihe aforementionedadvantages. When such youths are conscripted ihey bring alcohol habils into military srrvlcs'.

he chief military prosecutor attested to the pervasis'eness of alcoholism In the Soviet military by staling In Red Star that "morehird of ull violation* ore committed In on Inebriated condition."

Another measure of the Soviet command'so*it alcoholism is official exaggeration of its illournal Intended for enlisted renders stated that "even an luslgnifisjul quantity of spirits lowers thr capacity for workncidents of drunkenness suggest that the command has reason to he concerned.

Evidence about alcohol abuse by pilots Indicates the extent of drinking among Soviet offk-m. Pilots may serveest cose because they ore under dose medicaleterrent to their drinking, not applicable to other officers. At Kansk airbasr the medical watch ix-portcdly suxteedrd. but at Voronezh neither fines nor grounding stopped pilots from coming on duty drunk. Heavy drinking has been reported from at least four other alrbases.

said that most pilots in tne battle Military District wrre Intoxicated when they came to ihr annual medical examination. His statement lends some credence to aJasscrtion that Soviet pilotsally averagerams ofquarterottle.

In an attempt In curb drinking among his officers, one commander tried to moke them sign an affidavit lhal they had been warned of the conseqiiences of alcoholism. He believed Ihat the paper would enable him to dismiss from service any officer sul*rqurntly found drinking. But his officers refused to sign on the Irasis that the paper was on insult, Red Star criticized him for substituting paperwork for individualof alcohol offenders.

Red Start rejection of this method suggests that the Soviet commund may be reluctant to dismiss drunken officers except as an extreme measure. Red Star quoted the commanding officerieutenant expelled for drunkenness as saying that this action was "not the best way out of thehe lieutenant had alreadyearsotation of "incllnathm to use of spirits" while be was still in commissioning school.

Accordingeportotorize'! Hfle regiment In the Kola Peninsula, officers" drinking was tolerated as long ax it did not cause derelictions of duty. Red Star reported that this standard resulted in the dismissalolitical officer wltnse drinking had led him to commit "antipedagogicalet in other cases even this standard Is rrloxcd. Thr commander of an engineer baltalionjf^ ^Jnften had to Ik* earned hack lo hi* quarters from duty because of drunkenness, accordingormer sulmrriinotc.

Rrlnetautx- In dismiss alcoholic officer* may result (own llir overall officer shortage and Ilic fearMilicy of releasing Midi officers might cmxHinige drinking. Offi.-rsu National Air Defense Forres missile sitemrn SSR irfMwtfttly drank more usrnr lour of duty wore on at the iMiuitrd Harrisonilometer.the ncurrsl town. Never*esv escaped their total obligation niears. -

Alcohol is entirely forbidden lo conscripts. ImiI this rule also Is not enforced strictly. Even In an air defense urtfllery unit said lo have strong discipline, excellent morale, und high proficiency. lhc officers overlooked oinscripts' drinking as Inng as it wo* db-rreel. lOmscripts in *wo motor transport .battalions were allowed liquor as long us ihey conflrtcd their drinking tu weekends, when they did not have'tn drive.

Soviet officers reportedly Ignore Intoxicatedin order to protect their own records, as loo many disciplinary violations by subordinates canoviet officer's Illness rating. Imposition of punishmentecorded. Now that the revised regulations permit an officer Inrunken conscript upours to sober up without ireording this confinement, it may be the only punishment in most casv* of conscript drinking.

While the Soviets pmt>abty expect the isolation of most garrisons lo limit conscripts' access to alcohol, soldiers are ingenious and unselective in the search for liquor. One conscript received vodka In the mail from Ills mother.ubmarine tender ihe sailors brewed their own beer ond used gas mnsk filters lo extract alcohol from hydraulic fluid. They also mixed an aftcrshuvc wilh egg yolks to remove impurities and strained the mixture through gas masks.ence with an alarmonscriptissile unit near Volga In the Estonian SSR hitchhiked to the town to drink. Tbc soldiersonslp-ctmn battalion distilled varnish and drank tbe result. Personnel at several oirbnscs drank fluids from aircraft, and several were reportedly blinded trmporarilv when thetried to stop this practice by using methyl ulcobol In the airplanes.

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse seems significantly less widespread in the Soviet military than alcoholism. One sourer sold

' Thr "lamljiilfor gmrtitatn of Smirr'l sT*rvm (In- flair nf. ratty IntoiwI Thotrwho opt full nhllRiitkiftey tenchnilvrun ollrr thr ntdlcl' ri'ltv Into*chm4ilth of the entitled men in bis regiment were alcoholic* but denies! any drug ahtoc. Another estimated llml three-quarters of tbe enlistcsl menraining icgiment were confined at some time for drinking bulf only one drug ease.

In various forms knowni or auatlia. cannabis uppeurs lit lie the most commonly abused drug. It may originate primarily in the Islamic areas around lhc Black. Caspian and Aral Seas. Two sources have alleged Ihat ctmscripts from these areas smuggle cannabis as for as East Cermuny or receive It In packages from home. The traditional use of hashish in Central Asia mokes these dolms credible.

Information6 showed that some enllsled menarcotic extrad of tea called dieftrubstitute for alcohol because tea was Icgul. readily available, and cheap.

No cases nf officer drug abuse have been reported.

Desertion and Absence Without Leave

Only one piece of evidence provides aestimating the Soviei military desertion rate.lieutenantto

haveook assigned tn commission ing school. The bookttempted escapes across the Soviet borderoviei military persi.nnel other than Border Guards hadf these attempts; Bonier Guards budtlempls. The figureilitary desertions5inimum, because it excludes deserters who were caught before reaching the Itordrr. who did not try lo leave Ihe USSR, who deserted from units outside the Soviet Union, who escaped without notice, or whose desertion* were mlsdossified as absencesleave.

also saidf

the military deserters weref correct, this statistic raises serious questions oboul (be poliiical commitment of the Soviei officer corps. Although the pioportion of officers to enlisted men would appear to be unusually high. It seem* clear ihat officers dourprising proportion of Sovietcorch olt^ Treporting for lhcears hn* uncnvcrcdfi2 Soviet deserters. Thiscunnol lie considered on indication of the desertionsince the extent of coverage and regional bias in reporting cannotfficers.

The following table give* Information ulmut the sample of Soviet deserters. The first row gives ibe lotal nninlnr of known deserters in the officer ond enlisted

categories (fur convenience, one wan-ant officer lias been Included underbe other rows provide breakdowns on Information, about deserters. These rows do not Include the total number of deserters because the Information Is not known for every case.

Known Soviet

to defect

of year


Thb sample suggests that Soviet officer* arethan enliited men to try to defectEleven officer* among theeserterstoempted to escape the USSR.of nfflcen among deserter* trying tnUSSR in thb sample Is higher than ineserting Sovietexpect tnnb in the USSR'lata* and pay to hb militarylielng checked by therocess sureto arrest. By contrast, almost anv Sovietb preferableonscripts situation, andlabor market in the USSR mokes lactorleshire withoutesllons. Although controlsdocuments In the USSR woulddesertl'ins. conscript* apparently believecan either obtain false documents orattention. The differences In off Icon'situation* suggest that

lieutenant's statementeosonahleofficers to enlbtcd men trying to cross the Soviet Ixifdct.

The defectionilot who flew to Japan6 pose* serlou* problems for the Soviets but may notefinite Indicator of military morale and discipline Hit desertion with tbe most advanced Soviet ulrcralt compromises secretand will compel Ihe Soviets lo modifythroughout their Air Koiceslectronics equipmeni installed In uiicraft (or identification of friend or foe. which the Soviels must assume is now subject tolthough the pilot has testified that loadybmroblem In one unit white be served and thai he dashed with the commander of hiseglmenl. It Is unclear whether he Is providing an objective perception of attitudes in these units. Hb defection docs show that inorale problems, even if confined tn Individuals, can harm Soviet ml'ltary Interests.

Desertions by enlisted men tend to occur in the summer when the soldier can live off the land. Of theesertions forale could be Identified.ccurred during the months of April through Seplem-bcr.

Surprisingly, controls on movement in Eastern Europe may not be as tight as they appear from the 'outside. Two Soviet deserters arrested In Cxechoslova-kla belonged to units in Eosl Germany.1 the Soviets reportedly accused Czechoslovak civilians of abetting Soviet deserters, which may account for tbe upparenl case of movement across East Kurnpean borders.

Soldiers desertariety of reasons. Twoihe Fur Eusl Mililary

District descried when Iheir commander refused lo do anything about iheir complaints of harassmentearrivate

^said lhat hecause he though icers were assigning him too many pettyoi her conscript reportedly hitchhiked from

. lo hb

hometownsee hb wife. An officer

reportedly descried afler he was court-martialedivil offense. Frequent reports of violencedesertion suggcsl thai desertions occur because of frustration. Drunkenness Isontributing factor, since ll weakens Ihe soldier's Inhibitions against the crime of desertion and also may moke him miscalculate the risk involved.

ll Is standard Soviet procedure to organize searches for deserters. Travelers in Easl Germany havesearch parties of Soviet iroops. Two armed deserters In the Far East Military District were tracked down with dogs and holicoplrn. ond one was killed when he resisted capture. His deathcandal which reportedly resulted In the relief of mony officers of lib regiment.

To avoid unfavorable notice at higher levels Soviet commanders may misrepresent some desertions as


common black market commodities arc truck parti and gasoline.hemical decontamlnation battalion, conscripts would steal carburetoo and tires from lhc unit's vehicles In order to earn money to buy drugs.ear services transport unit, drivers habitually cannibalized trucks of the "untouchable reserve" tn keep their assigned vehicles operational, undtole ports to sell to civilians, "he thieves were seldom caught because they were released from service before invcstlgoton uncovered the guiltyergeant's carelessness while draining gasoline from ammunition trucks with the Intent lo sell II on Ihe black market allegedly led to an explosion and firearageank regiment In the Group of Soviet Forces In Germany.

Food may be another commonly stolen Item. Officers In tbe supply section of an Infanlry training unit were rumored to divert meat inlended for the conscripts lo themselves and the cooks as well as lo the black market. Conscripts servingeconnaissance battalion along the Chinese border stole food from stale and collective farms to supplement their meagre diet.

Inconsistent enforcement of the severe penalties for embezzling state properly may encourage corruption. Tied Star reported ihe caseolonel who took kickbacks from consultants lo the academicof which he was chairman. When discovered, he returned the money to the school. The party organization of the school consequently reduced whol was loevere reprimandimple reprimand. Afterwords he even ordered his subordinates to nominate himMeritorious Scientist of ihe Ukraine."

Officers can also take advantage of the practice (known os ihefitoo) of lending military personnel tu civilian factories and forms which are .short of manpower. One officer earnedubles by| ordering hb soldiers In unload civilian freight from some railroad conidely practiced In the Soviet mllltory, normally at the behest of local Cornmunbt Party officials. II provides convincing cover for earning some extra money on the side. 1

Militarythe local draftevidently are targets of bribes offered for Irregular deferments. One source mentioned0 rubles could hove boughteferment, fled Slar editorials pertaining to draft colls regularly criticize certain military commissariats for granting Improper deferments, some of which probably are bought. Tbe chief of Ihe commbsarlatmall town near Frunze was removed and sentrncexl to prison2 for accepting bribes.

Misuse of Weapons

New regulations for storage of armsparent ly persistent theft and unauthorized use of arms. The new rules Introduced in ihe fall5 require electroocouslical olarms for all arms rooms, the keys to which duty nfflcors musl keep on their persons at all times.

Thefts of arms and ammunition by deserting servicemen may hove prompted ihese changes. At leastf ihenown deserters were armed, although some left while in legitimate possession of weapons for guard duly. Furthermore, theft nf mililary arms by civilians has recently been reported. Opponents of the first secretary of the Georgian SSR, who Is battling crime and corruption In the republic, reportedly stole weapons and explosivesllltory base near the capital dty of Tbilisi in early

Unauthorized use of arms abo results from having officers carry sldearms on duly, as required fnr guard patrol commanders and duty officer* In the revised regulollons. When onrunk or when the frustrations of service at isolated posts become unbearable, the availabilityeapon has led lo murder. In one Incident the commander of an NCO school was rumored to have shot twn nf hb deputies and then himself

In the past ihe Soviets may not hove maintained light control of ammunition. One former driverortar platoon said thai he carried Iwo boxes of rifle rounds In hisormer memlier of an Internal troops battalion sold ihot guords never had to account for their ammunition Issue and would use It to shoot robblls. If weapons hove also hot been carefully accountedthe revised regulations suggest they hoveaccess lo ammunition may have contributed Io reported violence hy conscripts.

Constraints on Improvement of Morale and Discipline

Many of the Soviet armed forces" morale and discipline problems originate beyond military control. Alcoholism, black markets, drug abuse, ethnicpolitical disaffection, and misuse nf authority are deeply rooted In Soviet dvllion life. As long n* ihe military Induct* young civilian* without applying stricter standards of personal conduct, these problems will continue In flood the armed forces from the

outside. Soviet military .spokesmen often Justify universal military serviceinul tempering for the conscripts" future. This |ustlflcullnn assumes, however, that the military can overcome the faults that the young conscripts bring to the service. II seems more likely that military service worsens these faults.

The Soviet military's own bureaucracy Inhibits its efforts to improve morale andogically, officers whose ratings depend In part on Iherecords of their commands are unlikely to make the self-sacrlflcc of communicating the true situation to their superiors. Concealment of desertions, of drunkenness, and af maltreatment of trainees prove that the logical probabilityrequent reality. Many Soviet garrisons become Potemklnacade of military order hiding Indlsclpllrie.

The Political Officer's Role

In the official Soviet view, exhortation of the conscript to recognize his socialisthe preferred means of maintaining morale and discipline. As the political officer Is In charge of Indoctrinating conscripts, he shares In the commander's responsibility for mora'e and -discipline.

Most conscripts clearly find political Indoctrination boring, repetitious, and unconvincing. One* source estimated that SO percent nf the conscripts he knew thought politicalaste of time, while the otherercent took It seriously. This casual estimate may correspond roughly to the true proportions. Political training Is said to bore conscripts even In units with strong discipline and high ptofldeney.

While Indoctrination Is unlikely to strengthen morole. Ihe respect earned by some political officersormer member of an antiaircraft artillery regiment said that despite boring political lectures, the political officer was admired for hboung political officer fresh from commissioning school made the first sergeantadar stutlon stop forcing enlisted men to fence stolen military property. This kind of conduct can win respect for political officers, whose effectiveness, according to the new Soviet Minister of Defense. Marshal D. F. Ustinov, dependsclose, not formallstlc relationship with the personnel."

The Soviet command holds political officers ac-coimtubte for morale und discipline. According In Chief Military Prosecutor Comyy. political officers share with "representatives of the staffs" and military prosecutors the responsibility "for Investigation of the causes of violations and for ractical assistance on the spot for theireries of theftsilitury store, the political officerignal battalion was culled several timesigher staff to account for his Ineffectiveness in political training.

Subordinates also hold the political officerComplaints can be communicated through the Independent reporting channel of the political staffs. Whilepolitical officer may beor If the complaint Is considered unjustified. It may result In achannel offers redress against Improper use of authority.

At the same lime ihe political officer exercises "party verification" In the Soviet military.he duty lo report failures to execute orders or to follow regulations. Using the right of verification, ihe some political officer who ended the black morketecrlng of the radar station's first sergeant also obtained the relief of the captain In command for allowing discipline lo deteriorate. However, to combinefor reporting Indiscipline with accountability for violations places the political officer In the some quandaryegulor officer. The poliiical officer's career also depends on maintaining the appearance ofircumstance that has undermined party verification in thr Soviet military.


Despite the Soviet military's reputation for harsh punishment, the means available to preserveIn pcncctlme are weak.

Thr first recourse of Soviet commanders InIndlsdpllne Is thr use of peer pressure. Soldiers who commit violations can be criticized before mrrtings of thr full unit at thr commander's option. In some units this procedure obviously works. *


"Isold that In hb unit all thr Inary violartonf seemedd by the samer so persons, whom the rest of lhc soldiers looked down on.

Soviet commanders also haw ihe option nfoffrnders In unit newspapers. Aboard one ship the commander ordered lhc preparation of orltidsms and satirical drawings of two repented offenders for the "comltnt sheet"amphlrt circulated to the crew) ond further criticism In the ship's wall newspaper. Finally thr Komsomol (Communist Youth league)eeting to criticize the two sailors. All the harassment. If thr Journal Navnl DIrcxi Is lo he believed, mnde the sailors correct their misbehavior.

Sen if* com nun'tier* also uv lite Komsomol,hich someercent of Soviet conscripts arc raid in belong. In bring incisure miaval Pigri/ lumcnts. however, that "not allave learned to rely on Komsomol organizations" In strcug then ing discipline.

A commander maycomrades' court" consisting of hi* NCOs or warrant officers to adjudge violations by servicemen In those ranks. Once the Comrades" court has passed Judgment, no further proceedings can be Instituted.raining regiment the commonder reportedly used the comrades" courts to protect his trainers who beat slow learners. The commander wouldomrades' court,nmlnul sentence, nnd thus preclude further prosecution.

A Soviet policy of transfers lo rehabilitate chronic offenders also relics on peer pressure. Oned Star printed an account of an "Inveterate violator of military discipline'" transferredell-disciplined corutnictiou battalion who immediately went AVY0I. und returned to the barracks drunk. Prouderfect unit record, the other enlisted men reportedly shamed their new comrade and arranged for him to be accompanied whenever he left the unit area According lo Red Star, by the time he left the service the soldier had completely reformed. Red Star* publication of such an article Indicates ihat ihe command recommends thl* method.

A corollary of Invoking peer pressure against disciplinary offenders Ii the attitude thai Individual violations ore the fault of theain Political Directorate deputy for agitation ondMujor General D. Vnlkogonov. attested to this ultllude In Soolet Soldier for

In the examination of the actiolator of discipline ond of the moral norm. It Is wrong to accentuate only that "t've collective was"the Komsomol did notibe comrades Influencedtc. In (hi* case. Involuntarily the violator appears only asictim nf omissions by sodely."

These formulu* can undermine discipline by spreading the responsibilitynit's record from the commander lu the entire complement. They also constitute srlf-crtllclsm. an officially approvedMilch can preempt criticism or reprimand (mm obovc

In Red Star onajor General A. Volkov discussed another way that reliance on |ieer pressure can subvert discipline According to Volkov. Soviet commander* sometimes use collective poimh-inent tn stimulate peer pressure. Volkov gives the examplemall-unit commander who restricted all hb men to garrisonull month after one soldier delayed hb returnass. As Volkov point* out. collective punishment encourages soldiers tn conceal coch other's violation* ond discourages conscientious service by making no distinction between good soldiers and bad. Volkov decries tbe use of"not provided in the regulations,"

Thr next step on thr ladder nf punishment*entence In ihe guardhouse. However, confinement Is oftm ineffectiveiscussion in Soviei military journals of thr nrw disciplinary regulations alluded to inconsistent imposition of hard labor and said thatesult confinement lost Its "Instructiveoviet barracks life Is so hard that soldiers sometimeslint In the guardhouseoliday. One NCO who lost his temper with an inept lieutenant was sent In the guardhouse for insulting lhc officer His life there was so rrlnxed that hr losulted Ihe Heiitrnunt again In orderesentenced.


however, military guardhouses more oTten may be extremely harsh places wilh bread und water rations, sleeping facilitiesnd frrquent physical abuse. Nevertheless, he noted that for five ofen in his squadron, the guardhouse was "their ownhere they *penl a* manyays ofror conscription term

For seriou* crimes, military tribunals ranonscript to as longearsisciplinary battalion, one of which Is found In each Soviet military district The sentences ore normally "bndhen rclrased tbe const-ripl must finish hi* military obligation. The regulations do provide that ll his service In Ihr disciplinary battalion ishr may behe reservesThe military trlh- recanmlcncr srrvlcemrn lo civilian prkUd and labor camp* for major crimes such as murder and srrlnus Irafflr accident*.

Recognizing the Insufficiency of authorized punish-ments. Chief Militaryutot Corny, lold^J


35 that tbe Soviet* Intended tfl vMfy punflimcnl for disciplinary violation*Cnrnyy meant that the existing penoltle* woukl lie enforced more strictly. The new- discipline* rrgul.ilion* Issued In the fall of lluit year rikl not expnnd disciplinary powers for rommuiidrr* ami. in

tact reduced lhc length of sentences "Sat lomr commanders could Impmr.


Incrtlu among middle-ranliug officers and iheir oVsire lo prolect ihcmselvcs cnnlribulc lo lhc Ineffl-cocy of Soviet disciplinary measures. In Red Star4 Gornyy wrote;

Many violation* have developed gradually land the lackommeriMirale reaction from responsiblen ihe final analysis has led lo the growth nf minor violations Into crimes.

He also noted "the tendency of some leaders'tn hide the true state of affairs In units subordint.'c to them."

Onampaign to correct officers'ed Star published an article hy Cornyy which dwell at lengih on concealment of indiscipline. Noting lhat lhc regulation* obligated Soviet commanders tn leave no disciplinary violation unpunished, he wrote:

rr one cannot remain silent aboutcommanders" disregard for these principles of the regulations. In un effort lo embellish lhc real disciplinary siliiullnn In Ihe unit or ship entrusted lo them, such comrades cover up negative occurrences. Thereby they deprive themselves und senior commanders of ibe opportunity lo thoroughly Investigate the clrcurmtanccs of wliat bus happened. In rlurify Ihe real causes and (he conditions lhat huvr contributed lo the violation of law and regulation, and to gel rid of them.

One of Oomyy's sutiorriinalrs explained in another Red Star article,hy these concealments occur: comrnarKler* do not report iheir subordinates" violation* "In *pore themselves possible reproaches from higher commanders for the unsatis-factof condition of military discipline.'" The authorergeant's violation which resultede prim und for hi* battaliontrict reprimand for the deputy commander for politicalurnlng of Incomplete execution nf duty" for Ihe bs'tslkm chief nf staff. j

The desire lo avoid reporting violations often leads junior and middle-ranking nfficer* In punishviolations with Ihe means available In their own units. If an officer remains wltbln llie disciplinary authority allot ted to hb rank, serious violations will be treated Ion leniently. On ihe other hood, the Insufficiency of disciplinary powers may befor another of Comyy's reeommendallons4 calling for "an activegainst Instances of application of punt*hmont* beyond the limits of theccordingenior lieutenant writing in Military Herald insome trainers, especially young ones, often complain that the powers granted lo them to Impose punishment areThb feeling caused the officers of one unit to resort Illegally to beating same conscripts, especially Central Asians whose poor command of Hussion made them slow to respond to orders.

According to Gornyy. however, the consequence ofa feeling nf Impunity" among violators. Reports cf violations without any retribution suggest that the dilemma posed by the consequences of honestften resolved by Ignoring the offense. At the regimental level It would be difficultunior officer toubordinate without his superior's knowledge.

Finally, Gornyy notes thai ihe samemore senior commanders. He cites ablocked an Investigation by the military*apparently successfully, as nn punishmentSoviet officer, has

provided an explanation for such actions. Hea hy|Milhetlcal case inoldier runs amok with an automatic rifle. Tbe ramifications nf such an incident would include lhc transfer of the corps commander and his deputy for poli.ical affairs as well us the dismissal of the battalion commander and lib political deputy; even ihe army commander might he removed. Under these circumstances seriousviolations may often require the Intervention of very senior Soviet commanders. SRF commander General Tolubko's attendancearty meeting in Ihe Siberian Million' District In6 appears lo be nnisciplinary system dependent on such high-level Inlerveniinn In routine cases will operate unevenly.

More forcible punishment is available to officersombathe disciplinary regulations require officers lo enforce Instant obedience by all means Including "the application ofhis euphemism's practical meaning was repeatedlyduring the Invasion of Czechoslovakiane purported eyewllness said that when ihe lend tankoviet column stopped because acrowd was blocking ihe road, the officer commanding the column walked forward and shot the lunkzechoslovak official claimed lhat five shootings [or Insubordination bad taken place near Praguegbt Soviet soldiers reportedly were executediring squaday mutiny near Zatec. Some of these stories probably are exaggerated, bul their recurrence, the


of llif rrgulutlnn. ond ihr testimony of Soviet soldier* lenve no doulit that Soviet officers run resort to summary execution In wartime.

The effect of such brutal discipline is uncertuln. Soldiers muy lw cowed, bul they may also answer In kind. It wus reportedriend of one Soviet conscript executed In Cieehoslmskla Immediately shot the officer responsible. Summary retribution Is Inconsistent with the Initiative that the Soviets say modern battle requires, and It Is readily abused.


New Soviet Defense Minister D. F.ivilian appointed In6 after Marshal A. A. Grechko died. Is attacking the bureaucratic halills that Inhibit Improvement of morale ond discipline.stinov ond Army General A. A. Yepishev. long-time chief of the Moln Political Directorate,onferenceleading political workers" attended by most deputy ministers as well as senior political officers. Red Slar's report of their speeches laid unusual stress on party verification, which obligates political officers to report failures to obey orders or to abide by regulations. In particular. Yepishev said that "verification of Implementation of the Defense Minister's orders" should become "morestinov demanded that politicalcnme more specific and "combative" In reporting deficient execution of orders by the militaryBy invoking party verification Ustinov threatens military officers, with whose performance Imth he and his predecessor. Marshal Grechko.ith an Increased likelihood ihot their failures will be punished.

Ustinov's moves differ from previous high-level Involvement in discipline problems. He has taken an organized approach n* opposed to the pattern of od hoc reactions to Isolated violations. The series of meetings proves that Ustinov's Initiative has drawn the attention of senior Soviet commanders tofor Ihe lime Wing. But if bureaucratic Inertia Is In fact nn important reason for the Soviet military's inability lo maintain discipline, sustained attention from senior commanders will be necessary to Improve discipline. As the command gives Its recent ad inns time Io lake effect. Its attention will Inevitably he diverted to olher pressing questions. Furthermore, no information indicate* that the Soviets have found satisfactory solutions lo morale and discipline


The evidence In this memorandum Is subject to differing Interpretations.ilitary establishmentillion memhors. some Individuals Incvltuhly will violate discipline and show poor morale. Tbe data do not permit ready nteasurcmcnl of the proportion of such Individuals In the Soviet military. Furthermore, the relationship lietwren morale, discipline, and military effectiveness Is uncertain. Too muchshould not be attributed to Soviet morale and discipline problems.

At the some time, the incidence of suicide ond alcoholism and the high proportion of officer* among deserters lend loonclusion that Soviei military morale and discipline problems arc serious. Theefection and the Storozhcvatj mutiny also seem to supportonclusion, especially since these cases Involve flrsl-llne Soviet units. Complex weapon systems like thend ihe Sfon>;Aeoor/ require crews chosen for proficiency. Recognition of proficiency commonly raises morale, yet even some member* nf these flrsl-llne units have morale Inadequate to guarantee their reliability. Soviei efforts to Instill political dedicationeans of maintaining morale hove clearly failed In these cases. Furthermore, low morale In such units, even when confined In Individuals, can have serious consequences for Soviet mililary Interesl*.

TV nc* rrgiilntlont may inclmlei>rw mint ton*Snvtrl tltstUim

trvhwl uWlpllrwvIn mi erlllUwnlyrimluH t" the Iwue '4" leenUlhit* In nnn If nnC-npy-Tlmvncertain

Although close attention from senior eommundrrs may reduce the rale of discipline violations. Soviet ml'itury morale shows little prospect of improving. Koch new draft of Soviet youth* brings similar problems from dvlllon life to the mililary. By their own account, most Soviet youths ore reluctant to enter the army. Any future rise in Soviet living standards Is likely In make mllltory service even less appealing. Abuse by older conscripts ond Indifferenl leadership from junior officers Intensify Ihe recruits' aversion lo Ihe service. Unless ihe Soviet military can find new solutions, ihe dlsripllne problems that result from poor morale are likely lo continue. Increased command attention I* subject In diminishing returns ami has another drawback In thai any Improvements achieved

thl* way will come nl the expense of ntlierur example. Soviet military wrllrn rrcognlre thattutelage by senior officers tends io deprive subordinates of Initiative.

Strikingly. Ihe Sovietxperiencing these morale and discipline problems In peacetime.n| rxtrrnul preisure. such as an unpopular war. thai accounts for poor morale In the Soviet armed forces.nstead the harsh Internal pressure of the Soviet system, reinforced by Involuntary service In amilitary. To relieve this pressure would require systemic chungr; to suppress thr rffrcts wouldeturn to an even harsher oppression. ThedrrsIdp has been unwilling to take either course. Furthermore. If morale and discipline arc problematic In peacetime, the added effect of possible Soviet Involvement In an unpopularven more difficult to assess Lapses In morale end discipline must make the Soviet leaders themselves uncertain about thr rrllahillty of thrlr armed forces.

Original document.

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: