Pre-Invasion Morale Survey of Russian Sailors on the Moskva
"Would you be willing to give your life for the Fatherland?"
“Sailors more than anyone need to learn the idea - “die with honor.” A big battle can follow completely without prior preparation and the fleet on which the personnel, even in peacetime, got used to die with honor, that fleet will have a greater moral advantage over the enemy.” - Admiral S. O. Makarov, “Reasoning on Naval Tactics”
In a survey carried out on the Moskva in 2016, the officer in charge of morale and the psychological state of the troops performed two socio-psychological studies on the officers and crew that was approved by the State Secretary Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation (No. 205/2/225 - April 4, 2012). One before combat operations in Syria and one afterwards.
confidence in personal ability to complete a combat mission (94%);
psychological readiness to participate in combat and peacekeeping operations of the Armed Forces (77.2%);
desire to improve their professional skills and physical fitness (75%);
a high level of psychological support (81.3% of family members have a positive attitude towards the military service of their spouses);
“However, satisfaction of officers with the conditions of military service is quite low in almost all indicators (the only exception is satisfaction with the level of monetary allowance). This testifies to the unresolved many vital problems for the majority of officers, which determine their quality of life and social status.
“Also, the indicator of satisfaction with relationships in the team is at a low level, which is primarily associated with increased emotional and psychological tension among officers, due to the high intensity of military service and poor-quality organization of recreation and leisure.
“The reasons for the low level of satisfaction of officers with the conditions of military service are, first of all, poor organization of recreation and leisure (11.8%) and housing insecurity (16.2%). In addition, in the opinion of half (50.2%) of the surveyed officers, the level of state care for military personnel is insufficient.”
the average level of morale for military service. 55.4% felt confident and elated;
a high level of responsibility for the performance of duties in military service. The overwhelming majority (96.4%) have a developed sense of responsibility for the assigned task;
About 68.8% of the surveyed contract servicemen improve their professional skills in managing modern weapons and military equipment
73.6% of them are interested in maintaining good and excellent physical shape;
The majority ( 79.1 %) of the respondents declared their readiness to defend the Fatherland with weapons in their hands
The vast majority (89.7%) are confident that they will be able to perform real combat missions;
(42.1%) of military personnel say they want to conclude a re-contract for military service
57.2% are generally satisfied with military service;
85.5% of families support military personnel and approve of their professional activities;
Two-thirds (65.3%) approve of measures to strengthen the country's defense capability.
Along with these characteristics, contract servicemen note a relatively low level of prestige of military service (only 43%).
(65.3%) of conscripts generally approve of the course pursued by the state in the field of defense and ensuring the security of the country;
The vast majority (72.9%) of conscripts are psychologically ready to take part in hostilities to repel external aggression and, if necessary, sacrifice their lives to defend the Fatherland (59.5%);
77.3 % of military conscripts strive to improve their military skill
Most ( 75.7 %) of the foremen and sailors serving on conscription are confident that they will be able to complete their tasks in a combat situation;
Morale was clearly a problem with all three groups, and these numbers are after a relatively mild deployment with daily psychological and morale training provided to the crew. One can only imagine how low the morale is today with the sinking of the Moskva, the daily losses incurred in Ukraine, and the new mobilization orders issued by Putin.
I found it noteworthy that of the three groups, only the Conscripted group was surveyed with the question about sacrificing their lives to defend the Fatherland. Was that an oversight by the officer in charge or intentional? As I write this article, Newsweek just published a piece calling the conscripts sent to fight in Ukraine “human speed bumps” for Ukraine’s military.
The complete report (machine-translated into English) including an indepth review of the psychology of morale among Russian military sailors is available for download for paid subscribers.
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