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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 08, 1991


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Discuss on the reform of the Soviet military and reduction of the armed forces.
    "Report on Meeting of the Commission of the CC CPSU on Military Policy on 12 December 1990," January 08, 1991, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD. F. 89, op. 22, d. 2, ll. 4.
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On the results of the discussion in the CC CPSU Commission on the Military Policy

of the Party about the course of the work on Concepts for military reform and the

prospects for the development of the Armed Forces of the USSR

At the meeting of the Commission of the CC CPSU on military policy for the party of 12 December 1990, the course of work on concepts for military reform and the prospects for the development of the Armed Forces of the USSR was discussed.  On the whole, the principles and approaches to the formulation of the concepts worked out by the Ministry of Defense of the USSR are supported.  It was noted that the communists of the country manifested interested attention to the problems of the state provision of defense, and that they did not have a single understanding of the changes taking place in military policy, of the processes of reducing the Armed Forces.  It was emphasized that there was not always a clearly defined position of the Central Committee of the party on this issues.  The members of the Commission examined the problems of parity in the defense sphere with particular concern.  Many of them expressed alarm in connection with the inadequate maintenance of the country’s strategic nuclear potential.  On this point it was emphasized that its qualitative parameters would have to be compensated with significant material losses in the development and improvement of the viability of other forms of armaments.  Special attention was paid to the preservation of parity in consideration of the prospects for the Warsaw Pact Organization, [i.e.,] of the conjectured violation of equality in conventional arms (according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces, their ratio between the USSR and NATO will be 1 to 1.5).

At the meeting of the Commission, demands were stated as to the necessity of increasing the responsibility on the part of communists of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of the USSR who are participating in the negotiations on disarmament, for the condition of the state’s defense provision.  It was seen to be expedient to hear out their report on the given problems in the Commission in the first quarter of 1991.  

In the course of the discussion, it was noted that the majority of party committees had not defined their place in the fulfillment of the resolution of the 28th Congress of the CPSU on the issues of the party’s military policy.  Many of them had significantly weakened their attention to the problems of preparing youth for service in the army, of teaching them Russia, and of providing social security to citizens who have been excused from actual military service.  

Particularly sharp comment was made in the Commission with regard to the growth of destructive tendencies in recruitment for the Armed Forces.  It was emphasized that not all communists have yet acknowledged the acuity of the political and ethical consequences for the consolidation of society and the conclusion of the Union Treaty of the anti-conscription campaign which is being led by separatist forces.  The members of the Commission spoke disapprovingly of the creation of alternative military formations in a series of republics and advocated unified and undivided Armed Forces.  Many participants in the discussion identified the decision by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on service by students in the Army, which has led to a significant decline in the intellectual potential of military collectives and the exclusion of the moral-political factor of the Army from the general system of education of Soviet youth in such a complicated time for the country, to be in error.

In consideration of this, the issues of ideological assurance in the conduct of military reform was sharply touched upon in the Commission.  It was seen to be necessary to raise the amount of attention devoted to it in the party press, which still has not taken the offensive or reached a depth [of coverage] in working through Army problems, particularly in those areas such as defending the principles of military construction which were approved by the 28th Congress of the CPSU; the reconstruction of party and military-political work in the Army; the manifestation of real attention by party committees to the issues of social-quotidian provision [obustroistvo] for military personnel.  The Commission related to the Ministry for Defense’s position on the creation and financing of the edition of a special television program for the Armed Forces, and prospectively - its own television [station].

The social issues of life in the Army and Navy, border and internal troops, were at the center of discussion in the Commission.  Attention was paid to the necessity of a firmer and more consisted course in this area on the part of the party leadership and the communists of the relevant ministries and departments.  At the same time, the Commission conducted a search for ways to carry out military reform itself as optimally and economically as possible.  A series of participants in the discussion made a proposal to reduce the costs of armaments by creating dual-purpose equipment which would guarantee not only the fulfillment of military tasks, but also the resolution of national economic problems, for example, in the areas of communication, the environment, geology, navigation, etc.  

In the context of military reform, a discussion of the work of the organizations of the CPSU in the Armed Forces of the USSR ensued.  A series of proposals and comments were made which will be considered during the final work on the document.  

As to the results of the Commission’s work, it was recommended that communists [who are] people’s deputies of the USSR make relevant additions to the Concepts and take active part when it is discussed in the Committees and Commissions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and when laws on military issues are adopted.  

It was proposed that the members of Committees of the CC CPSU, party organizations of the Soviet Army and the Navy, troops of the State Security Committee, of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR and railroad troops, conduct active explanatory work among communists, all categories of personnel, and the population of the country using all forms of the mass media.

Reported as per informational procedure.

O. Balkanov

“8” January 1991.