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Russian Military Personnel Under Institutional Reforms: Professional Attitude and Identity

Russian Military Personnel Under Institutional Reforms: Professional Attitude and Identity

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 10 (no. 2),

Russian military reform influences conditions and mechanisms of professionalization of the servicemen's consciousness, their values and labor strategies. Multiple increase in the personnel wages, benefits for improving housing conditions, medical care, etc., allow the military to claim a special social position compared with the civilian population. Military reforms expand the opportunities for social mobility in the army, and the profession of the serviceman becomes again a competitive one. The research findings of the mass survey of 470 servicemen in Moscow and 256 servicemen in Rostov-on-Don, complemented by in-depth interviews with 15 officers demonstrate a positive trend in social status military positions in Russia. At present, among servicemen living in major cities, pragmatic orientations prevail, combined with a set of specific values (military duty, patriotism, partnership, attitude to one's profession as a calling), which form the basis of military-corporate identity. Dynasties (mainly relatives from military families are recruited) and the possibility of social mobility, which attracts representatives of low-income families and residents of rural areas, are the mechanisms of strengthening the corporate professional identity. The research findings indicate a greater degree of professionalization of the Moscow military personnel’s consciousness and the growth of pragmatic orientations in their work, a neutral prestige assessment of the military profession and a higher satisfaction with the quality of their lives. Professional identity is important, but not a prior component of their self-determination. For the Rostov servicemen, civil-patriotic and material-monetary parameters of professional activity are more significant indicators. Military identity is an axial characteristic of their identity. However, the claims about the significance of their work do not coincide with the assessment of their socio-economic security for the Rostov military personnel. Thus, the transition to the professional army model implies a shift from the heroic and patriotic foundations of the servicemen's identity to the growth of rational professional orientations. In the capital of Russia, this vector of transformation is more expressed than in the South-Russian region. Thus, in the face of the economic crisis and unresolved issues of army's modernization, the expectations for the privileged position of professional soldiers are inadequate for their real socioeconomic support.


Keywords: Russian military personnel; army; military reform; professional identity; I-identity; we-groups; professional motivation

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