It was obvious and completely clear that the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu after the elections to the State Duma in this very Duma will not go – not his level, and ambitions at this level are not his. But after all, someone had to pick up the “fallen out” deputy portfolio from among the owners of stripes in order to observe decency and present a worthy person to the ranks of legislators. The choice fell on the general Kartapolova, which was donated by the Ministry of Defense, which was fired from the army with honors.
The last position held in the army structure of Colonel-General Andrei Valerievich Kartapolov was Deputy Defense Minister-Head of the Main Military-Political Directorate of the RF Armed Forces (GlavVPUR), created in 2018. Actually, to this position of “chief political instructor”, commissar, so to speak, of the entire Russian army, he went through the usual (how to look) the path of a combined-arms officer. Graduated from MosVOKU, Academy. Frunze, the General Staff Academy, commanded the entire military chain – a platoon, company, battalion, regiment, division, army, district (Western Military District since November 2015). For four months he led a grouping of troops in Syria – for the second time he took control of the Syrian army in Palmyra. In general, a combat general.
In 2018, he was thrown into political work – he headed the re-established department of military-political work and became the ninth deputy minister of defense. Obviously not according to the profile, but once they said, then it is necessary to raise. Everything turned out to be somewhat more complicated – it was not to command the armies, especially since there were not so many personnel in the “army” that had been inherited, except perhaps the command personnel. Subordinated to the “Yunarmiya”, military priests and psychologists, the Department of Culture, the press service and departmental media. Zampolitov in the troops, and this was before many thousands of personnel, have not been revived, so they seem to have understood what the military-political work will look like in the troops, but the matter has not yet come to fruition. I had to focus on information wars. On this “front” the role of the “Kremlin herald” Dmitry Peskov successfully performed by the “chief press secretary of the Ministry of Defense” Major General Igor Konashenkov (Head of the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation).
It is no coincidence that it was Kartapolov who was now “thrown” into the State Duma (he went there on the list of “United Russia”) – the supposed role of the “chief commissar” was not fully demanded in the military structure, and GlavVPUR itself did not receive the desired powers. So they decided to transfer Andrei Valerievich to another important area of the ideological struggle – it is assumed that in the Duma he will head the defense committee, replacing the ex-commander of the Airborne Forces in this post Vladimir Shamanov… And what will happen to the military-political work in the army itself?
– General Kartapolov is an honored and respected military leader in the Russian army, this is evidenced by his track record, – believes political scientist and military historian Alexander Zimovsky… – However, the chief of the Russian “GlavPUR” did not come out very well, and there is one objective reason for that. Officer and commander Kartapolov was formed at a time when party-political work in the Armed Forces of the USSR was already being denied and ridiculed. As a result, a generation of command personnel grew up in the Russian military environment, which did not at all deal with issues of political, ideological, or, as they later said, “educational” work. You cannot blame them for this, since this was the national trend.
Here’s an example. In September 1990, the President Gorbachev signed a decree “On reforming the political bodies of the USSR Armed Forces, troops of the USSR State Security Committee, internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and railway troops.” The traditional Soviet GlavPUR was liquidated “due to the separation of state and party functions.”
In January 1991, Gorbachev’s decree “On the approval of the General Regulations on military-political bodies” was issued. It directly prescribed the creation of the Main Military-Political Directorate in the Armed Forces of the USSR, but this time without a leading and directing one.
At the end of August 1991, Gorbachev’s decree “On the abolition of military-political bodies in the USSR Armed Forces, the troops of the USSR State Security Committee, the internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs and the railway troops” was issued.
This was the end of the history of Soviet party political work in the troops.
In the Russian Armed Forces, the first attempt to revive GlavPUR is not made by the president Yeltsin, and the General Staff by its Directive of September 3, 1992. Until 2018, “educational” work among the Russian military remains an exclusively intradepartmental matter. Simply put, it fell out of the Kremlin’s field of vision for a long time both in the personnel sense and in the political one. While the president Putin in 2018, he did not start creating, if not GlavPUR, then its remake with General Kartopolov at the head.
Could it be otherwise? It certainly could. Only in Russia there is the Federal Law “On Defense” No. 61-FZ, published in May 1996. And it contains article 24-2, where it is written in black and white: “In the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, other troops, military formations and bodies, it is prohibited to conduct any political propaganda and agitation.” Meanwhile, no education not only of the broad masses of the people, but also of an individual and a citizen, especially a soldier, is that it is unthinkable, and even impossible, without political propaganda and agitation.
But you scratch any Russian liberal social scientist with thirty years of experience, and “the army must be politically neutral” will come out on his forehead.
In fact, any politically neutral army I will boldly liken a castrated cat: physically feasible, but it’s a pity to watch.
The military-political leadership of the USSR from the pre-Council of People’s Commissars comrade Lenin and before the general secretary Andropova this was clearly understood. That is why the political officer in the army was a multifaceted figure.
After all, party-political work in the troops is not only political studies, but also the formation of a unit’s asset. Team building, sorry for the expression. Beating / aligning a combat unit.
The asset, say, at the level of a company, was formed by the political officer from the Komsomol. The asset is not small: agitators, political informers, editors of war leaflets (one per platoon), the editorial office of the company wall newspaper, the council of the Leningrad Committee, leaders of political activity groups and their assistants, the company’s Komsomol organizer
This was the main goal – to create a morally and psychologically healthy core of the primary military collective, up to 25 percent of the unit’s staff size, in conditions of constant turnover of personnel according to the “conscription / demobilization” scheme. And most importantly, the party political work in the Soviet Army was not the only political officer, because the squad leader was already responsible for the political and moral state of his subordinates.
Let me summarize briefly. In the conditions of recruiting the army by conscription, party-political work in the troops made a young man in the street not only a soldier, but also a citizen. In the conditions of recruiting a professional army – contractual, party political work, whatever you call it, continues to be successfully applied, because it makes a highly motivated and ideologically / patriotically charged soldier out of a mercenary.
The current dismissal from military service, in connection with the transfer to work in the State Duma, of Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov does not mean that the Main Directorate of Military-Political Work itself will be liquidated. Already announced (so far unofficially) and his possible replacements in his post. It is assumed that the post of chief of GlavVPUR can be taken either by the commander of the troops of the Southern Military District, General of the Army Alexander Dvornikov, or Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolay Evmenov… Both are fairly high-profile and well-known military leaders. Another question is how they will be able to dispose of the inherited “legacy” of political work among the troops.