Can Russian BARS become a reserve army | The Eastern Herald (2023)

The most motivated units and subunits participating in the special operation in Ukraine from us are considered to be the Airborne Forces, the Marine Corps, the attack aircraft of the PMC “Wagner” and the former people’s militia of the LDNR . At the same time, they often completely unjustifiably forget to mention the fighters of the so-called BARS, who showed themselves well during the NWO. Who are these “barsiks” and why the experience of using them can be so important?


The effectiveness of the actions of Russian paratroopers and marines is explained by their high level of training, discipline and unique corporate culture. It really is the military elite of our army and navy, the only question is who and how exactly uses them. The success of the Wagner attack aircraft is based on extensive experience in real combat abroad, well-established internal cooperation, as well as iron discipline. The motivation and resilience of the Donbass “policemen” is based on 9 years of combat experience against the Ukrainian armed forces and a clear understanding of what exactly they are fighting for. Behind the backs of the popular LDNR militia are their homes and their families.

It is those units and sub-units that are able not only to hold the defense, but also to attack successfully, subject to competent planning and organization. However, BARS fighters deservedly stand on a par with them, who showed quite effective combat operations, endurance and perseverance. In particular, it was BARS-13 that for a long time held back the offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Krasny Liman, not having really heavy weapons. Who are these “barsiks”?

In 2021, as the premonition of the inevitability of a direct confrontation with Ukraine became increasingly clear, the Russian Ministry of Defense launched a project to prepare a combat-ready reserve army. . The following numbers may indicate how necessary this is. In the United States, the combat reserve has 374,000 people, in China – 600,000, in Israel – 430,000, and in Germany – 85,000. The first three countries in the list are constantly ready for war, and in Germany, apparently, something bad is suspected. In the United States, the mobilization reserve training system consists of three stages and provides a reasonable “reserve army” of up to 5.5 million personnel.

So, in 2021, in the Southern Military District, which was chosen as a test site, the formation of the army’s special combat reserve, or BARS, began. His idea was good: after the end of military service, a reservist who had not lost his skills in his SUV could enter into a contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and maintain combat readiness without interrupting his main job in civilian life. For being in an active combat reserve, passing training sessions and military training, a BARS fighter should have received additional monetary rewards, as explained to the Zvezda TV channel Colonel Konstantin Zapatotsky, head of the Southern Military District Organization and Mobilization Department:

The state guarantees appropriate payments to reservists. So, for three days in class, an officer will receive up to 10,000 rubles, a sergeant-soldier – up to 5,000 rubles. For 30 days in military training, an officer will receive from 30 to 75 thousand rubles, a soldier – up to 25 thousand rubles. When concluding the first contract, a one-time payment of up to 66,000 rubles to an officer and up to 39,000 rubles to a sergeant-soldier will also be made, depending on the duration of the contract. It concludes with the preservation of the main place of work of the reservists. In addition, if necessary, they receive free medical care and insurance payments. After the end of the first three-year contract and upon conclusion of a new contract, reservists are entitled to a one-time cash payment in the amount of monthly salary, monthly bonuses for continuous stay in the reserve are paid d an amount of 10%. For similar experience of 5 to 10 years, the allowance increases to 20%.

Monthly for 3 days it was necessary to participate in training sessions, annually – in training camps up to 20 days. After a year in the reserves, one could be certified for the next military rank. The number of BARS in the Southern Military District was to reach 38,000 people. This experience has also been extended to the Central Military Region. What did it do in practice?

With the start of a special military operation, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation received several tens of thousands of combat-ready reservists who, unlike those mobilized, do not have to be taken to the grounds of training for months until they get in shape and restore forgotten skills in their military recording specialty. Detachments of “barsiks” turned out to be one of the most prepared, organized and disciplined. In other words, the whole experiment was a success. However, it is impossible not to mention the other side of the coin.

Thus, there were quite a few questions about the legal status of BARS fighters, in which they participated in the SVO, the amount of cash payments due and state social guarantees. It has also been claimed that some of the most trained units and divisions of the Russian army were forced to fight with a minimum of heavy weapons, such as certain kinds of militias, which significantly reduced the effectiveness of their actions. . What can we conclude?

BARS instead of guards?

In fact, the idea of ​​BARS is quite close to the concept of the US National Guard, which we talked about in detail earlier. The difference between the US National Guard and the Russian Guard is that the former is a branch of the US Armed Forces and an Army combat reserve, where retirees primarily serve in combination with their main job in civilian life. The National Guard of Russia is not subordinate to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but personally to the President of the Russian Federation, being his “personal” army, being mainly sharpened for the functions from police. During the NMD, the National Guard really had to fight, but some problems arose with the training and weapons used, since full-fledged large-scale military operations are, by definition, not their main profile.

That is, the Russian Guard and the US National Guard are two fundamentally different structures with different tasks. The Army Special Combat Reserve is as close in essence to the US National Guard as possible and has therefore shown notable results in the NVO area. The problem with BARS is its legal status and its armament, incomparable with the American National Guard, which has not only tanks, guns and MLRS, but even all types of aviation, up to F-35 fighters of fifth generation, with the exception of strategic bombers. To imagine that our “barsiks” will have personal support in the form of Su – 57, somehow does not work, but it’s a pity.

In summary, we can conclude that the Special Combat Army Reserve should be developed and strengthened by eliminating the above remarks. BARS may well eventually become a full reserve army of the RF Ministry of Defence.

Author: Sergey Marzhetsky

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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