When many years after in 1993 I was occupying small officer room in military barracks in town of Benkovac (in that time it was a territory of self proclaimed Serbian Republic of Kninskaia Kraina), one might I was awaken by familiar smell. Old, Austro-Hungarian Empire barracks were smelling as the building on Krasnoarmeiskaia Street, Khrakov, after the war. I felt very comfortable.
Red Army... As an old fade photographs are coming to my memory some flash backs: I see court-yard of the building on Krasnoarmeiskaia: rows of soldiers, officers with shining shoulder-straps, chef of staff reporting to divisionary commander. I have seen it from a window of our " dependants" floor.
Another flash-back. Military burial. Major Petchkurov died of old wounds. In those time burials were public, that was a procession coming through all city. For military burial was a habit to put a coffin on the cannon, officers -- friends of dead would carry on red cushions his decorations. Petchkurov have died in summer time, sun was shining on the bronze parts of cannon, shoulder-straps of officers were also shining. Red flags, red cushions, colorful dresses of women, that was all beautiful and sad.
Nikita Khrustchev was an evil for the Red Army. He cut officers wages and pensions. Some rumors were circulating that three attempts on his life were undertaken by disillusioned and desperate officers. In our family we also hated Khrustchev, because we were really military family, however small. My mother couldn't have a children after she gave a birth to me, helas.
Slowly, Red Army went to be an unloved child of Soviet Union. It lost its prestige, because it was no big wars, only some minor skirmishes and anyway Communist Party leaders were afraid of a Red Army. When, after two decades of life in the West I came to Russia I saw some Russian soldiers at Sheremetievo. They were wearing some shity overcoats with a plastic buttons, painted green. You imagine, plastic buttons! Their boots were pitiful, made of some plastic imitation. They were untidy, dirty looking individuals. They symbolized the end of Russian Glory, said I to myself. I felt sad.
In order to achieve victories, armies should shine with all its parts: buttons, brass-bands, shoulder-straps, cannons, binoculars, saber's incrustations. They should look like as an altar in the church, in order to sacrifice the lifes of its own soldiers and lifes of enemies. Unshining dull Army is Army of Russian Federation. When Red Army was born in February 1918 it was a mighty beast. Distinguished cavalry men of the First Cavalry Division of Commandarm Semion Budennj were awarded with a Red leather breeches. That was an Army!
Just recently Russian media have widely publicized the story of soldier Sitchev, serving in Tcheliabinsk. The victim of his fellow soldier, tortured, he had amputated his both legs and genitals. Horror! Russia is living terrible crisis. It's Army is a mirror. Soldier Sitchev is an image of Russia: amputated legs and genitals, probably violated.