Pessimistic, Polarized, and Politicized: Attitudes Within the Russian Officer Corps
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The once-pampered Russian officer corps, angry and resentful over the loss of status and decline in living standards, feels abandoned by virtually all political institutions. Most officers are pessimistic about the future of both Russia and the army. The officer corps is polarized between those attracted to moderate reformers and those who favor hardliners. The gap between the haves and have-nots is increasing. The latter are particularly susceptible to ultratraditionalists. Officers are highly critical of President Yeltsin and many blame him for the militarys precarious position. Most would oppose using the military to defend the President. The officer corps, even more than the civilian population, is dismayed at the breakdown in law and order. Although officers support democracy in principle, they condemn Western-style democracy and support authoritarian rule as a way to restore stability. As with the populace at large, a majority of officers express nostalgia for the old Soviet Union and advocate restoration of some sort of union, particularly a Slavic union. Most feel that the three Slavic republics will be reunited by the end of the century. Most military officers see the West as a threat. As a result, most officers strongly advocate maintaining a balance in strategic weapons. They see the top priority for Russian foreign policy as that of restoring Russia to the status of a superpower.
- Military Forces and Organizations