The exact number of servicemen who arrived from Russia was not officially named. Novye Izvestia tried to get to know how the military lives in the conditions of the exercises.
In total, according to experts in Belarus, up to 30,000 military personnel could be concentrated at the Allied Resolve-2022 exercises. Officially, the number of troops was not disclosed, but the chief of the general staff of the armed forces of Belarus, Major General Viktor Gulevich, said that it would not exceed the "notification threshold", that is, 9,000 people.
How do soldiers tolerate such exercises? There is no choice in service. Many military men, judging by the reviews, even treat the romance of going out into the "fields" with some pleasure. But there are other opinions as well. So, they say that after a week of exercises and life in the cold and in forests and fields, a soldier turns into a sick homeless person. What is really going on? Here is how one of the soldiers describes the conditions of the exercises:
“I’ll tell you straight away. This is not suitable for solo survival. Preparation takes place in advance, namely: laying tents, making stoves, water heaters. Transport is a must. Water and firewood are prepared on site. Moving on vehicles… The first step is to prepare the place and unload the vehicles. I repeat. A long stay by an organized unit in the field is possible if there is a comprehensive supply of ammunition, fuel, and products. Transport is a must. Water and firewood are prepared on site. So the survival of a small armed group in conditions of low temperatures is a little feasible measure".
It is known that each formation has a deputy rear commander, and soldiers carry food, tents, and other allowances with them. Commanders often repeat Suvorov's well-known phrase: "It's hard to learn, it's easy to fight". But is it really so easy in the exercises?
“The servicemen have everything necessary for life in the “field” conditions. Let's start with the fact that all servicemen are provided with dry rations. It contains, for example, dry biscuits, jam, butter, stew, and sometimes condensed milk. In addition, during the day the field kitchen arrives, the servicemen are fed hot: soups, cereals. Of course, no one promises restaurant quality, but no one has yet died of hunger during the exercises. Water is regularly brought up, but there are no conditions like in an apartment, of course. If the teachings stretch for months, there are bath and laundry days. But if it's a week or two, there is no bath and laundry. The military live in tents, the command staff sometimes in cars. Wash with cold water. If necessary, they erase themselves. But in the case of exercises in Belarus, there may be agreements with local laundries that help with protracted exercises”, - retired Major General Nikolay Burbyga, who went through Afghanistan, told Novye Izvestia.
The experience of fighting in Afghanistan and Chechnya shows that military personnel must be trained to survive in extremely adverse circumstances. They should be able to:
- build temporary field housing from improvised materials (huts, covered gaps, "burrows", etc.);
— to survive in conditions of extremely high and low temperatures;
- extract and disinfect water;
- cook food from dry rations;
- to obtain and prepare food in conditions of individual and group survival;
- productively rest and sleep on self-order, etc.
But the “field life” begins with the arrangement of tents, toilets, and the installation of power supply units. Starley's blog says that some people love these "field conditions" even more than the service.
“There are those who are looking forward to the fields in order to take a break from the routine of everyday activities, breathe fresh air, drink vodka… How does the field trip begin? Who cares, I'm talking about myself. We begin to prepare a month in advance, put up tents near the barracks and begin to equip them. There are always problems with tents, they are in extremely poor condition and consist almost entirely of patches. Nobody gives new ones, and therefore we have to sew a couple more patches on already patched tents. Upon arrival at the place (the place is already a marked area), the units begin to put up tents. Nobody is especially in a hurry, because everyone knows that a big and smart boss will come and still force them to move to another place. The next day, the improvement of life and life in the field begins. The commanders run to each other, adopting from someone better and showing off their own. Wealth is considered to be a tent with fewer patches, as well as the presence of a power supply unit or simply a “hole”, so named for the characteristic sound during operation. This most unpretentious "hole" determines the presence of electricity in the tents, and as a result, the leisure time of the military living in these tents: charging phones, lighting, and so on. They feed in the field in the same way and with the same products as in the unit, but because of the fresh air, the food seems to be tastier”, - Starley writes on his blog.
At the same time, psychologists note that military field life has an impact on the psychological state through the ability or inability to ensure a healthy lifestyle (sleep, personal and group hygiene). Often large gatherings of people, limited use of personal and group hygiene products, insufficiently frequent bathing, inability to wash underwear, failures in the sanitation of troop locations, toilets, etc. often lead to the mass appearance of lice in military personnel, as well as bedbugs, cockroaches, flies and rats, and, as a result, the spread of infectious diseases.
For example, during the fighting in Afghanistan, lice were distributed not only among the rank and file, but also among the officers of our army. American and British experts write that this problem was very acute among the contingent of troops in Afghanistan. Getting lice out of a war is completely difficult.
Soldiers who have gone through the field describe the delicate moments of the exercise as follows:
“If the exercises are long, protracted, the soldiers wash themselves. If it’s a week, then you don’t need to wash anything, no one bothers with it. Toilets on the street, of course, when deployment occurs, the soldiers themselves dig holes, put shield boards in them, and make a “point” in them. Not like American soldiers, who, they say, do not advance to exercises without heated toilets. It must be understood that in combat conditions this will not happen. As for heating, they are heated mainly in cars. There are few sick people in the conditions of exercises, because there is no time for illnesses. But in which case there is a paramedic in each unit”, - says retired Major General Nikolay Burbyga.
However, one simple question arises: after the exercises end and the troops leave, everything that they used remains - waste products, garbage. There are already reports that after the exercises in Belarus, a lot of waste remained on the railway tracks, especially near the railway near Yelsk in the Gomel region. Eyewitnesses write about garbage bags, empty boxes, plastic kegs. Who cleans up all this at the end of the exercises?
“After the exercises, everything is cleaned by local authorities according to agreements reached in advance. In this case, utilities should also be connected and dispose of all waste. You should not make a problem out of this”, - says retired Major General Nikolay Burbyga.
We addressed questions about the life of Russian soldiers in military field conditions to the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense, but did not receive an answer. If it does, we will certainly publish it.
From myself I can add: according to the experience of filming in military field conditions on the border with Afghanistan and in Chechnya, military personnel pay attention to a comfortable life last. The main thing is to survive.