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  • Российское военное строительство на фоне милитаризации стран союзников и противников и его испытание войной

Article

Российское военное строительство на фоне милитаризации стран союзников и противников и его испытание войной

The author analyses Russian military reforms of the late 19th and early
20thcenturies and their infl uence on the effi ciency of the army and the behavior of the lower
ranks in military action. Strategic failures of the national army in the early twentieth century
are explained by the fact that even in the modernized armed forces military service was not
the same for all groups of citizens. These aspects of the Russian experience are compared
to military reforms among the Great War’s other belligerents. The notion of the military
as ‘the armed nation’ came in two variants. In Great Britain, the 1916 law on universal
conscription and the eff ective mobilization of the civilian population became possible due
to the high levels of public support for the political system, the proclaimed values of their
country, and a national-civil identity. The German model, by contrast, was built on the
foundation not of political integration but of the nation’s identifi cation with its army. Russia
chose this model but was unable consistently to implement it, primarily because of the
extremely low literacy rate among the lower social classes. The low quality of recruits made
it necessary to maintain long periods of service for most of the lower ranks. This resulted
in a lack of loyalty on the side of the conscripts, and in a negative attitude not only towards
military service but also towards the state that established the heavy standards of military
duty. The feeling of social injustice was reinforced by the spartan regime that lower class
soldiers encountered, while well-educated conscripts – as a rule, from the upper strata of
Russian society – were treated better. This discontent increased during the unsuccessful war,
further alienating the mass of the conscripts from autocracy and its army