The Rule of Law and Russian Military Reform: The Role of Soldiers' Mothers in Russian Society

Brenda Vallance


Russian journals and newspapers today are filled with discussions about the need to reform the military, and this issue continues to be a subject debated in elections, headlined in the front pages of leading papers, and addressed in presidential speeches. It is not a new discussion, however, but the continuation of discussions and debates that began as early as 1987. At that time articles increasingly critical of the military began to appear in all types of Soviet journals and newspapers, with both civilian and military experts analyzing what needed to be done to make the military a democratic institution. Yet little progress has been made in military reform. Clearly, the upheavals of a state in transition from communism and the concomitant instability contributed to a basic neglect of the military. At the same time, one would think that the continual call for military reform over the last ten years, often voiced at the highest levels, would have elicited some reform action. Certainly there are people with enough power in Russia today, especially given the strong presidential system, to order military reform. Yet it has not happened. Given this lack of action, the intent of this essay is to ask, Who, finally will reform the Russian military?

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