January 7, 2015
Translated from Russian by J. Hawk
On January 20 Ukraine will see the beginning of the fourth wave of mobilization, but the military is already doubtful that the recalled reservists will prove useful in the front lines. It is entirely possible the whole mobilization will be mothballed, because the next “Donbass cannon-fodder” call-up may prove widespread popular unrest. People close to Poroshenko are returning to the idea of a volunteer, contract force, having “forgotten” about Switzerland and Canada, the model of which they wanted to follow to create a modern army up to NATO standards.
The reform of the Ukrainian army must include a contract army. That is the point of view of the advisor to the president and the minister of defense Yuriy Biryukov. “I believe that we are following an effective path, toward a contract army” said Birukov. Incidentally, this is also what overthrown president Yanukovich advocated, who was transforming Ukraine’s army into a contract one in keeping with the Ukraine-NATO agreement.
Biryukov added that he is skeptical about drafting raw recruits into the Ukrainian army. “The combat qualities of these draftees will be close to zero. They did not undergo military pre-induction training in schools. As to their physical fitness—in general today’s youth spends more time on social media than in gyms or firing ranges” noted Biryukov. In other words, there is an effort to cancel the mobilization and to freeze the Donbass conflict.
This is an entirely plausible and likely explanation, as are the cited reasons for canceling the mobilization, though one can add the sheer expense of maintaining such a large number of troops on active service. Still, there are advocates of going through with the mobilization, possibly for reasons of extorting bribes from the recruits, demonstrating resolve, or even resuming combat operations.
However, considering that Biryukov was earlier cited as favoring the subordination of the Right Sector militants under the Ministry of Defense (which would presumably include the ability to appoint military officers to command Right Sector troops, undermining their usefulness as oligarchical private army), it may well be that the proponents of continuing the ceasefire are finally starting to have the upper hand.