Russian History


Field Training

Nominally, the Russian armed forces operate on the same six-month training cycle that was observed by the Soviet armed forces. Each cycle begins with induction of draftees and basic individual training, proceeds to unit training at the levels of squad through division, and terminates with an army-level exercise. In 1994 General Semenov reported that the ground forces had not conducted any divisional exercises for the previous two years. As early as 1989, a reduction in Russia's military training activity became obvious in CSCE reports of major training exercises. This means that by 1996 the armed forces had passed through more than ten cycles without conducting any serious training.

Considering the Russian military five-year personnel assignment cycle, the training hiatus means that there was one, and part of another, military generation in each rank with a serious training deficiency, or no training at all in their nominal assignments. There were platoon and company commanders with no field experience. Few battalion, regimental, and division commanders had practical experience in commanding troops in the field at their present or preceding level.

The air forces of the Russian Federation are the most technologically sensitive of the armed forces. Modern high-performance aircraft demand skilled crews to operate and maintain them. However, in 1995 General Deynekin reported receiving only 30 percent of required funding for fuel, equipment, and parts in 1995--a shortfall that cut pilot flight time in operational squadrons to thirty to forty hours per year, approximately three hours per month in the cockpit. By contrast, the United States standard for pilot proficiency is 180 to 260 hours per year.