Weekly digest
27 September, 2012

New offers to the military personnel became a kind of interpretation of Georgian administration’s pre-election slogan ‘More benefits for people’. When visiting the Vaziani 4 infantry brigade, Premier Vano Merabishvili and Minister of Defense Dimitri Shashkin outlined best prospects to military personnel and members of their families. 

In the principle presented by the new Minister (total defense, total trainings and total care) emphasis was made on total care.

According to Merabishvili insurance package of the military-personnel-on -contract and members of their families will

improve sharply; as for the conscripts – they will have full medical package.

Merabishvili said that if a serviceman serves for 16 years his children’s studies for bachelor’s degree will be fully covered; in case of 20-year service – it will include studies for master’s degree as well. The servicemen themselves at the end of the 20-year term will get 1-year-salary as a bonus. On his part Shashkin added that soon 800 servicemen’s families would be given two-room flats.

These and other promises are indeed impressive, especially for servicemen on contract and all these should increase their motivation but the number of those who wish to extend the contract is decreasing annually.

After finishing the 4-year contract more and more servicemen refuse to extend the term. This may be conditioned by different reasons but it’s more likely that they become apathetic.

One part of servicemen doubts they’ll serve for 10-15 years, to say nothing about 20 years. They know that many officers were sacked without any reason; some of them were 2-3 months short to get deserved pension.

Lately advance in career for officers became very difficult. After the ‘Rose Revolution’ from 2004 to 2012 eight Defense Ministers were changed. Each of them brought his team and the young officers who didn’t belong to any grouping but wanted to serve with honor had no chance to be promoted. Besides, out of the officers who got advanced in career there were some who not only were not outstanding in 2008 war but even lost their face but they were members of the team close to authorities.

The promises given to servicemen has pre-election PR smell; all the more so, if we remember the attitude towards the veterans who fought for Georgia’s territorial integrity and who in some governmental structures are mentioned as ‘Shevardnadze’s veterans’.