MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti)
Soldiers Criticize New Uniforms for Flimsy Synthetics
Experts from Russia’s Civic Chamber have collected soldier reviews on the combat uniform introduced by former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and the still newer version recently approved by Sergei Shoigu.
The survey report, submitted to Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov, lists some critical comments on the new combat uniform introduced by the new defense minister, including the non-durable synthetic fabrics, Velcro and zippers that quickly fill with dirt and underwear that rides up at the waist. The previous uniform, “Serdyukov-style,” was criticized for quickly fading colors and weak stitching. But most unexpectedly, the soldiers appear to object to the removal of the traditional cloth wrapping worn under their heavy boots: they say the “good old portyanki” are more efficient than socks and prevent chafing.
According to Alexander Kanshin, head of the Civic Chamber’s national security commission, many respondents expressed concerns that the soldiers would sweat in the summer and freeze in the winter in synthetic uniforms that do not breathe.
Soldiers have also suggested that the Velcro and zippers need to be “backed up” with more reliable buttons. They also complained about small pockets, something critics pointed to during the presentation of the new uniform.
The soldiers also said they would rather have the high boots back because the new ones are unsuitable for marshlands or deep snow. They were also disappointed with their underwear sliding down at the waist without a belt or suspenders, and they are cold in the lower back. This might be trendy but inefficient, RBC daily writes.
The balaclavas have no opening for the mouth which causes condensation during breathing and may cause frostbite. A soldier won’t even be able to spit, the respondents added.
Incidentally, the Ministry took most of the criticisms rather calmly, except the foot binding part. Soldiers said socks cause chafing and wore out too quickly. But Shoigu has ordered that this outmoded practice “from the war of 1812” be abandoned by the end of the year.
Tsalikov also described the foot cloth as an “anachronism” and said it should “logically” be replaced with socks. The Civic Chamber proposed using both, quoting the survey.
It is still unclear whether the new uniform will be reworked based on the criticisms. The plan is to supply the army with new uniforms in 2013-2015. The state contract has been awarded to BTK Group, owned by the former head of Olympstroy Corporation, Teimuraz Bolloyev.
Earlier reports said the new uniform would resemble the US Army Combat Uniform, mainly in comprising seven layers of clothing from underwear to jacket. Russian military personnel immediately noted this innovation and ironically dubbed it “cabbage.”
Putin Orders New History Textbook
President Vladimir Putin said history textbooks should not be ambiguous. This statement was made at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations. He gave instructions to establish a timeline of important historical dates.
A recent meeting of the Presidential Council included representatives of various ethnic groups and religions. Participants in the meeting discussed ways to promote peace in contemporary Russia.
In his opening remarks, President Putin noted that “our basic objective is to increase harmony and accord in a multiethnic Russian society in a way that people will perceive themselves as citizens of this country regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation.”
Putin believes the Russian language, which is the foundation of the education system, is a pillar of national unity.
He said every Russian citizen must be fluent in Russian, and that opportunities for Russian language studies must constantly be created and improved. The Federal Targeted Program, Russian Language, is to receive 2.5 billion rubles ($83 million) until 2015.
The president ordered the relevant agencies to write new official history textbooks that layout the “logic of continuous Russian history, all its interlinked phases and with respect for each period of our past.”
He said the textbooks should contain concrete examples showing that the history of Russia was created by the unity of different nations, traditions and cultures. The textbooks should be written by specialists from the Education and Science Ministry, the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as the History Society and the Military History Society.
“People should know about the history of inter-ethnic unity, rather than a lot of biased theories,” Putin noted. He also called on the regional governors to issue grants for programs to harmonize interethnic relations.
The members of the Presidential Council also discussed support for volunteers to restore historical landmarks and for ways to assist creative projects that will promote interethnic unity.
Moreover, the president said it was necessary to promote national sports, including unarmed hand to hand combat (Sambo), field hockey and Lapta, a ballgame similar to cricket or baseball. In his opinion, they reflect the culture and spirit of Russia. The council members proposed holding a biannual national sports festival.
Dushanbe Flirts with Washington
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon has delayed signing an agreement on the deployment of a Russian military base to please the United States.
Bilateral consultations on military and political issues are starting today in Dushanbe. The talks will be supervised by Robert O. Blake, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Tajikistan is said to be shifting its foreign policy priorities from Russia to the US, which could explain why two visits by Russian officials, Chief of the Armed Forces’ General Staff Valery Gerasimov and First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, were postponed at short notice.
Tajikistan seems to be leaning more toward the US while at the same time looking away from Russia. Dushanbe insisted earlier this month that Russia eliminate duties on oil and lubricants and relax visa requirements for Tajik immigrants in Russia. In return, Tajikistan was to commit to maintaining a Russian military base on its territory.
However, the Tajik parliament has no intention of discussing its promise to Russia without specific instructions from above. An anonymous source in the parliament claims that Tajik officials are disappointed with the unfair distribution of Russia’s military aid.
Last October, the presidents of the two countries agreed that the military base would not be charged any rental fees. Russia responded with a promise to re-equip the Tajik armed forces. Russia was planning to sponsor the armed forces in Kyrgyzstan as well as in Tajikistan. However, only $200 million out of the invested $1.5 billion will go to the Tajik army. Another $200 million will come in the form of fuel and oil products. The remaining $1.1 billion is intended for Kyrgyzstan. This amount of aid is insignificant and yet the military base will remain in the republic until 2042.
Analysts believe Tajikistan is playing with fire by pursuing both directions at once instead of focusing on one side. Nevertheless, Dushanbe appears to be hoping for assistance from the US when NATO begins withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.
RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Traditional Hutsul Wedding in Western Ukraine
Infographics: Jeans: From Classic Designs to Extreme Incarnations
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.