The International Army Games add some prestige and contracts for Russia


August 17, 2015


Translated for Fort Russ by Soviet Bear

The first International Army Games were held in Russia (August 1-15). More than 2,000 troops from 17 countries participated and have found the strongest in 14 disciplines held at 10 polygons of different types of troops… the scale is impressive, isn’t it?

And next year, said Russia’s first deputy defense minister army general Arkady Bakhin, we can expect the expansion of the list of participants.

What is the difference between these Games and similar events that are regularly held in different countries?

First of all – scope of the competition. Usually military competitions are held in one area of military discipline, while quite specialized, for example – special forces competitions. Now it affects all types of troops, the disciplines are varied and help to identify the combat training of armies in general. For example, I never heard about these before:

“In the Vladimir region on the Oka pontoon units (from Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Serbia) are going to compete. They will make crossings over anti-tank ditches, build the ferries and pontoon bridges over the river. And in the Nizhny Novgorod region engineer troops of these countries are going to lay minefields, destroy anti-personnel mines with trawls and dismantle blockages with heavy machinery.”

This is not a “ceremonial” speech, but the test of ability to solve the combat mission in conditions close to the real war. By the way, polygons have not been constructed especially for the Games, they are places of regular training of the Russian Army.

Of course, I want to talk about the success of our performance, but it makes no sense to turn an article into a sports report.

Nevertheless, one cannot fail to note that the Russian pilots took the gold in all the categories of aviation competition, they flew the “Su-24M”, “Su-25”, “Su-27”, “Su-30SM, Su-34, MiG-29SMT”, “Il-76 and Tu-22M3” and “Ka-52, Mi-35”, “Mi-8” helicopters – approach “use a wide range of airplanes”, and not some special piece of aircraft “exclusively for the competition”. There were ten nominations: ground attack aircraft, fighter aircraft, bombers, army transport and combat helicopters, attack helicopters, long-range aviation, military transport aircraft, aerobatics, single crew aerobatic team and entered and his year’s new nomination — best specialist of aviation engineering group. 

The variety of tasks present in other types of troops as well. The crew of small-size missile ship of the Caspian flotilla of the Russian Navy “Grad Sviyazhsk” took the first place in the international military competition “Cup of the Caspian sea — 2015” it has won in the following disciplines: artillery firing at sea targets, shooting down aerial targets and shooting at floating mines, and in the second stage of the competition – Maritime training of increased complexity.

But let’s look at the Games from the other side.

The Washington Post writes: “the Army game was another event to strengthen the image of the modernized Russian army after the annexation of Crimea and the deterioration of relations with the West.” This is the second most important aspect of the Games. Yes, the reporter may be trying to belittle the Russian participants: “it is not surprising that Russia, which invented most of the types of competitions of the Army games, ranks first in this “military Olympics””, but it is clear to all of us that the task, for example, of the gunner is to hit the target, and it is difficult to “invent a competition”, which would give all the advantages to the Russians.  

But, enhancing reputation and increasing the attractiveness of the Russian Army is very important. Some onlookers have demonstrated the will to serve under contract. A clear demonstration of equipment and military training is very helpful: we must not forget that horror stories about the army – which, alas, were a reality in the Yeltsin era, when the army was not only deliberately destroyed technically, but made the profession of a military man unprestigious in every way.

Now the situation in the army is quite different and the attitude towards the military service has changed. Given the tension in the world stirred by the United States does not require a special campaign to get people to understand the importance of a strong army that is able to repel the attack of an invading army and chase it down to the capital of their nation.

The third aspect is trade. Russia has the desire and the opportunity of supplying its weapons (high quality at relatively low cost), and these types of competitions are the best advertising company as military equipment can be seen in action. The Nicaraguan Ambassador to Russia Juan Ernesto Vasquez Araya emphasized that the competition of the Latin American tank crews could test equipment on the ground: “So we can get acquainted with modern technology, to try it in the field, in real situations, not just in an exhibition. This, of course, has a great impact on the decision that any army takes to buy Russian military equipment,” and, in the end: “We hope that soon the T-72 will appear in our army. I think we can talk about buying it “. And it’s all because we provided Nicaraguan team with T-72 tanks during the “Tank Biathlon” and since the Nicaraguan Army is still armed with the old T-55’s, they were able to feel the significant and tangible difference.

And actually we are not the aggressors, unlike some proponents of democracy, we play biathlon peacefully with the guests, to whom we are always happy to sell our “sports equipment”.

But seriously, our opponents in the Games are our allies in the fight against the financial globalism. Yes, Russia is holding back a new world war, but it’s much more effective to do it together. And participation in the Army games, as well as in the Victory Parade, is a symbol of the one who truly is our friend and ally. Teams from 16 countries – Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Venezuela, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Serbia and Tajikistan play with us. Representatives of Iran, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar, Turkmenistan and Brazil will attend as observers. These are countries where the lion’s share of the world’s population and a variety of the world’s resources is!

And if the Victory Parade of the Russian Federation demonstrated its new equipment which countries who came to the Parade in Moscow really liked, and  those who did not come really disliked it, then the International Army Games is a demonstration of the equipment in action, and not the latest, but proven technology. Of course, this is a competition, but…

As an example – Venezuelan Brigadier General Solís Martínez James Frederick recalled that the last time his team participated only in a tank biathlon, but now they will perform in several competitions, and visit the military tournament as international observers: “in addition to the experience and preparedness, these competitions will strengthen the brotherhood of specialists from different countries. After the competition, we hope we will become better and as the military, and just as people.”

For the prestige of the Russian armaments, there are other important competitions of course. For example, in the same month, the Indian pilots flying the Russian Su-30’s beat the pilots of the air force of the United Kingdom during the Indradanush (“rainbow”) exercises who flew the Eurofighter Typhoons. As a result, India intends to buy several dozens of Su-30MKI’s in addition to those already in service with the Indian air force 

But Games cannot just advertise weapons, but also create a “feeling of camaraderie” with the military of those countries, with which we may have to fight together against a common enemy, defending our independence.

P. S. It is significant that in such competitions some countries “remove themselves”. At times – rejecting the invitation to participate, as it was with the special forces of the USA in international competitions in Kazakhstan in July 2015: Americans on the first day refused to participate in the competition, and then explained it: “We were not going to go all out”, – they said, “we just came here to hang out.”

This is no Hollywood!

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