Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Russia Considers Military Chaplains

Russia is considering creating a chaplains corps to address discipline problems:

The chaplains bill, drafted by the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office, has reportedly been sent to the Defense Ministry and is expected to be forwarded to parliament soon. Prosecutors hope chaplains will "improve morale and streamline personnel building," a transparent euphemism for combat dedovshchina.

If the bill becomes law, chaplains will serve on the same terms as professional servicemen. This will add little to the financial burden, advocates of the bill argue. They say the 2,000 priests who already preach in military units without any pay whatsoever do a great deal to reduce barracks violence - at least, compared to units that do not have priests at all. Critics question the latter claim, although the issue on whether the move will yield results is minor compared to whether it will be appropriate to let clerics in at all.

Religious leaders as well as military experts are even more strongly divided on the issue. Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II recently said priests should care more about spiritual matters than discipline and warned against expecting chaplains to do what in other armies is done by military police. Shafig Pshikhachev, spokesman for the North Caucasus Muslim Coordination Center, said at a recent round table on cooperation between the military and religious organizations that the armed forces could use priests, but priests should not be part of the common chain of command. He said their proposed inclusion in the official ranks would be a broad violation of the Constitution, which stipulates the separation of church and state.

But clerics' concerns are playing into the hands of Chief of Staff Yury Baluevsky, who has made it clear that personnel are free to worship whatever they want, but only after hours and without any official religious representation. He said future chaplains' status should be determined first. If they are not to be in the military, he said, they will, according to military regulations, not be responsible for their actions.
Hopefully they won't run into the same problems America has with chaplains.