Cover: The Ethnic Factor in the Soviet Armed Forces

The Ethnic Factor in the Soviet Armed Forces

Published 1982

by S. Enders Wimbush, Alex Alexiev


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Data for this RAND report on the ethnic factor in the Soviet armed forces derive exclusively from interviews, conducted over a period of two years, with former Soviet servicemen. The interviewee sample is very diverse in terms of the nationalities represented, functional and social experience, and service branch. Through the interview process, the authors have sought to identify and characterize phenomena related to ethnic diversity in the Soviet armed forces. The authors have tried to identify and analyze specific trend lines where the data permit. Among the conclusions are: by 1995, between one-in-three and one-in-four members of the draftable cohort will come from a Muslim region of the USSR; and the Soviet armed forces cannot be considered as environments conducive to the reduction of ethnic self-awareness and a reduction of animosity and tension between Soviet nationalities. Nearly all indicators suggest the opposite occurs; and the ethnic situation in the Soviet armed forces suggests existing or potential vulnerabilities that should receive the attention of U.S. military planners.

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