The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Performance of Military Duty and Military Service." More than half of the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada voted for him - 278 people's deputies. Among other things, the new document changes the system of military ranks for the rank-and-file, sergeant and petty officers of the ground forces.

Instead of the usual ranks, such as, for example, privates, sergeants, foremen, or warrant officers, there will now be recruits, staff sergeants, master sergeants, and senior master sergeants in the Armed Forces. The rank of midshipman will disappear in the Navy, but then there will be the head sergeant, master foreman and senior foreman. The ranks of the officers and senior officers are not going to change.

Also, brigades will appear instead of regiments in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and it will be necessary to turn to the Minister of Defense and his deputies, who are civilians, using the word “pan” (“pani” for women). It is also prescribed to call cadets cadets who are not assigned the ranks of sergeant and foreman.

The bill was introduced even with the previous composition of the Verkhovna Rada. Among those who nominated him are Petro Poroshenko’s associates - ex-speaker of the Rada Andrei Parubiy and his deputy Irina Gerashchenko.

The accompanying note to the bill states that the proposals of the deputies will improve the procedure for passing military duties by citizens of Ukraine and ensure that the country's armed forces comply with “NATO standards”.

Similar rhetoric was held on October 17 by the deputy from the “Servant of the People” Mariana Bezuglaya, who presented the document.

“This bill introduces NATO ranks for sergeants, sergeants, and for soldiers, and normalizes their development in accordance with NATO standards and the challenges that confront our state,” Ukrainian media quoted Bezuglouy as saying.

Break with the past

In general, most of the new ranks of the Ukrainian army are very similar to those in the US Army. In other countries of the alliance, for example, in France, Germany, Great Britain and even in Canada, they are distinguished by a great national color and correspond to an established military tradition. However, in Ukraine they decided to go by copying American designs. They did not begin to maintain ranks referring to the pre-revolutionary and Soviet military tradition.

  • American instructor in a joint exercise with the Ukrainian military
  • © Gleb Garanich / Reuters

“This was done in order to please the Washington Regional Committee. Naturally, in the USA they will favorably react to the fact that their rank system will be accepted by the Ukrainian army. There is absolutely political implication, there is certainly no military implication in this renaming, ”said military expert Ivan Konovalov in an interview with RT.

According to the political scientist, Ukraine, like Russia, inherited from the USSR "an excellent system of ranks." “In Ukraine, we see a complete renaming. What is the meaning of the word "recruit"? This is just ridiculous, ”said the political analyst.

According to the associate professor of MGIMO, Kirill Koktysh, Ukraine, for lack of its own military traditions, is forced to copy the ranks or form elements of other countries.

“Where are your military traditions in Ukraine? If you reject the Soviet, then you borrow something else. Ukraine, in the absence of its tradition, is borrowing someone else’s, ”Koktysh said in an interview with RT.

Earlier, under the pretext of striving to comply with NATO standards, Ukraine carried out a number of other reforms. However, for the most part, they concerned the appearance of the military. In particular, under the previous president, Petro Poroshenko, the airborne troops were renamed the air assault forces, and the traditional blue berets of the paratroopers were changed to dark maroon. Changed berets and marines. Instead of black, they should now wear hats of the color of a sea wave.

In late August, users of social networks noticed that the cadets of the Institute of the Navy and the military training department of the Naval College of the Technical Fleet of the Odessa Maritime Academy abandoned yet another distinguishing attribute of Russian and Soviet sailors - a vest.

In addition, in an effort to completely abandon Soviet traditions, a new greeting was previously introduced in the Armed Forces of Ukraine: instead of “Hello, comrades!” Now you need to shout the Bandera slogan “Glory to Ukraine!” And answer “Heroes glory”. February 23 replaced the new holiday - Defender of Ukraine Day, which is celebrated on October 14, the day of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA *), which fought in the Great Patriotic War against the Soviet Union.

The historical names of some military units have been changed. So, in 2017, the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade of Krasnograd-Kiev was renamed Petro Poroshenko to the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade named after the Black Cossacks - in honor of the nationalist armed formation of the Civil War. In March 2019, her military personnel were among those for whom they developed a new element of form - a chevron with a skull in red and black colors of the flag of Ukrainian nationalists and with the inscription "Ukraine or death."

“There is no strength for more”

However, a senior RT source in the Armed Forces is confident that a change in ranks or appearance will not affect the combat effectiveness of the Ukrainian armed forces.

“They will issue a new form, change the plates on the doors. Who cares what they call a military man. The Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have personnel and good weapons - this is a problem without which it is impossible to develop. It would be better to raise the salary, ”complained the interlocutor of RT.

The interlocutor of RT in the Voice party has a similar point of view.

“Ukraine needs to change not the ranks, but the entire military training system. In the Armed Forces of Ukraine it is necessary to call not those who are "caught in the streets", but those who want to study and pursue a career in the army, people with good physical training. For them, it is necessary to build modern barracks, give access to new weapons, and trained foreign instructors should train the military. Ukraine has no money for all these systemic changes. But the army is called upon to build according to NATO standards, and therefore they begin with the simplest - ranks and clothes. But this will in no way make the Ukrainian army stronger, ”said the deputy from Golos.

In turn, the RT source in the Batkivshchyna party emphasized that Zelensky very quickly adopted the methods of his predecessor Petro Poroshenko.

  • Vladimir Zelensky
  • © Ukrainian Presidential Press Service / Handout via REUTERS

“He talked a lot about the growth of professionalism in the army, different documents were adopted, but it all ended with a change in the appearance of the military. Zelensky actually does the same. I think that the country's main problem is the high level of corruption and the lack of strong specialists who could carry out reforms, ”the source said.

As Ivan Konovalov notes, structural reforms are periodically announced in Ukraine, but are limited to purely cosmetic changes. At the same time, the defense sector of Ukraine is constantly shaken by corruption scandals.

“To carry out the reform means, first of all, to change the vertical line of command, rearm the troops and change the system of troop training in order to make it effective. This is a real reform. This is what has passed with us. And in Ukraine, where all the money for the army is being stolen, what can be done but to deal with various rewriting and renaming? They have no strengths for more, ”the military expert emphasized.

According to Kirill Koktysh, the very renaming of titles already laid the foundation for corruption.

“In Ukraine, they abandon the usual military ranks in order to emphasize their dissimilarity to Russia and to receive money for renaming. After all, any renaming is expensive, ”the expert recalls.

Phantom target

The leadership of Ukraine both during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko and after the assumption of power by Vladimir Zelensky repeatedly stated the need to bring the country's armed forces to NATO standards and the desire to join the alliance. In 2016, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine adopted the draft State Program for the Development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the period up to 2020 developed by the Ministry of Defense. In 2017, it was signed by President Petro Poroshenko. The document says about the need to achieve full compatibility of the Ukrainian army with NATO by 2020.

  • © Gleb Garanich / Reuters

However, the North Atlantic Alliance itself doubts that Kiev will be able to achieve its goal. A report released last week by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly notes that, despite some progress in the development of the armed forces and an increase in the military budget, “there is a serious risk that Ukraine may not achieve the strategic goal it set in 2016, which consists in in order to achieve full compliance with NATO standards and interoperability criteria by the end of 2020. ” In particular, the document emphasized that one of the most acute problems for the Ukrainian army is corruption.

“At the same time, work on reforming the defense and security sector is far from complete, and a number of serious challenges remain relevant. Changes to the legislation and formally introduced Western standards have not yet led to a radical change in mentality and a move away from the Soviet legacy, corruption and paternalism, ”the report emphasizes.

According to Ivan Konovalov, compliance with NATO standards is an unattainable dream of the Ukrainian military.

“The Ukrainian army absolutely does not meet the standards of the NATO army and will never meet,” the political scientist claims. “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have practically no aviation; there are no naval forces either.” Full armed forces (in Ukraine. - RT ) do not exist. There are a number of people who have gained combat experience in the ATO zone - that’s all. And technically, the Ukrainian army is a complete disability. ”

* “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (UPA) - a Ukrainian organization recognized as extremist and banned in Russia (decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 11/17/2014).