''Tatarstan Military Commissariat does not send directly to Syria''

Prior to February 23d, Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia, the chief enlistment officer of Tatarstan told about the service of conscripts and contract servicemen and the PMCs in Syria

''Tatarstan Military Commissariat does not send directly to Syria'' Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

On February 23d, the military registration and enlistment office of Tatarstan celebrates two big anniversaries — the centenary of the Red Army and the 100th anniversary of the first military office in Tatarstan. In this regard, chief enlistment officer of Tatarstan Sergey Pogodin told about the history of this institution in Tatarstan, the situation with conscripts and contractors, as well as on a number of issues related to military service. He told how the ban on smartphones for military personnel will work and commented on the participation of Russian citizens in private military companies (PMCs) in Syria. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Tatarstan military commissariat celebrates two anniversaries

''We consider ourselves soldiers of the Red Army. Though I didn't serve in the Red Army, though it doesn't exist today, but it doesn't matter — we consider ourselves its fighters,'' one of the officers of the military commissariat of Tatarstan stated before the event dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day.

The centenary of the formation of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (RKKA) also coincides with the centenary of the foundation of the first in Tatarstan military commissariat — the first such institution was organized in just a month and a half after the establishment of the Red Army. In this regard, Military Commissar of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Pogodin began his speech at a press conference at IA Tatar-Inform with a fairly extensive excursion into the history of the military commissariat over the last century.

So, Pogodin said that in July 1941, the military commissariat of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (TASSR) received more than 14,000 applications from volunteers wishing to come to the defence of the Fatherland. In total, over the years of the Great Patriotic War, the military enlistment office sent to the front more than 700,000 Tatarstan citizens. Another 50,000 were in the ranks of home front workers.

During the war and the post-war period, 357 Tatarstan citizens were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Fifty-two people are Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory. Today in Tatarstan there is only one hero of the Soviet Union left alive — veteran of Great Patriotic War, Senior Lieutenant Boris Kuznetsov.

In 2017, the military commissariat of the Republic of Tatarstan sent more than 7,000 conscripts for military service

Everything is ok with conscription

In 2017, the military commissariat of the Republic of Tatarstan sent more than 7,000 conscripts for military service. Compared to the previous year, this figure declined by a little less than a thousand people, which was the result of the overall reduction in the number of recruits by a bit less than 20,000 people.

More than 25% of recruits, according to Pogodin, have higher education, 56% — secondary vocational education. Over a thousand recruits have military occupational specialty. Pogodin stressed that the ministry of defence repeatedly recognized the military commissariat of Tatarstan as the leader in organization of preparation of citizens for military service and conscription organization.

Two thousand recruits are sent annually to military units under the patronage of Tatarstan — there are 46 in different regions of Russia. The authorities of Tatarstan, in particular the commissioner for human rights in the Republic, regularly visit these units. Besides, since 2017, days of national Tatar cuisine are held during such visits.

''Everything is all right with the conscripts from Tatarstan, we solve all the problems that arise at the beginning. Problems are just single,'' Pogodin commented on how urgent service of Tatarstan citizens goes.

At the same time, according to Pogodin, the plans for the 2018 spring conscription are not ready yet. Pogodin promised to discuss conscription issues in more detail on April 1st, the day of the spring conscription.

Conscripts do not participate there, and contract servicemen are specially trained and are sent already from the military unit where they serve

The Syrian issue

Pogodin in his speech mentioned that three natives of Kazan received high awards for the performance of military tasks in Syria. We are talking about Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Gerasimov, commander of the Central Military District military Alexander Lapin and Captain Marat Akhmetshin — the latter received the title of Hero of Russia posthumously.

At the same time, Pogodin stated that he did not know how many Tatarstan citizens did and were doing military service in Syria.

''The military commissariat of the republic does not send directly to Syria. All citizens receive special training at military units. We have information only on that our fellow countrymen were awarded with high state awards. The conscripts do not participate there, and contract servicemen are specially trained and are sent already from the military unit where they serve,'' the military commissioner of the republic declared.

However, Pogodin spoke on another important issue in the context of the operation in Syria — service in private military companies (PMCs). The media has repeatedly reported on activities of such organizations in Syria, while officially nothing is reported. One of the most famous is the PMC Wagner. It was reported that there are also people from Tatarstan: for example, in October 2017, the group Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) announced the death in Syria of Kazan citizen Azat Nurullin, who allegedly signed a contract with this PMC.

''It is a private matter of each person,'' Pogodin said after a pause. He repeated this phrase with pressure after a reminder that the activities of PMCs in Russia are not regulated by the law. However, in the criminal code of the Russian Federation there is the article No. 359 ''Mercenarism'', the activities within the PMC may also fall under it.

Everything is clear for us, the military: an order comes, we obey it. After all, what is the smartphone? It contains all information, it can be taken from it. Sometimes people are at such objects where it is impossible to use them. Here's the thing. That is, the restriction will be valid for those only doing the service at closed military facilities

About smartphones

Pogodin also commented on several issues related to military service being under discussion — for example, the information that the Russian military from March 1st may be prohibited to use smartphones.

''Everything is clear for us, the military: an order comes, we obey it. After all, what is the smartphone? It contains all information, it can be taken from it. Sometimes people are at such objects where it is impossible to use them. Here's the thing. That is, the restriction will be valid for those only doing the service at closed military facilities,'' the military commissioner of Tatarstan stated.

By Aleksander Artyemyev. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov