HomeLe rôle politique et social des vétérans en Russie

Le rôle politique et social des vétérans en Russie

The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies

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Published on Sunday, March 04, 2007 by Natalie Petiteau


Appel à contribution de pipss.org : Le rôle social et politique des vétérans des guerres russes, soviétiques et post-soviétiques. Dans une perspective comparative mais aussi pluridisciplinaire , ce numéro se propose de s’intéresser aux vétérans des guerres russes, sovétiques et post-soviétiques. Différents niveaux d’analyse sont souhaités : macro (Etat, politiques publiques nationales) méso (organisations sociales et politiques) et micro (individu). Peu d’approches de la guerre s’intéressent aux anciens combattants, à l’émergence de ces nouveaux acteurs. Le plus souvent les vétérans sont perçus à travers le tryptique « Disarmement, Demobilization, Reintegration » ou du point de vue des anthropologues : culte des héros et des martyrs. Tout en intégrant ces approches à notre numéro, nous souhaitons explorer de nouveaux angles de réflexion comme les dimensions institutionnelles et sociales des « sorties de guerre » et étudier les marqueurs juridiques, sociaux, politiques et symboliques de la population des vétérans de guerre.


The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies #7, December 2007

An electronic journal of social sciences



CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS: “The Political and Social Role of Veterans in Russia, the Soviet-Union and Post-Soviet States: a Sociology of War Veterans”


Pipss.org is a new electronic journal of social sciences devoted to the armed forces and power institutions of post-Soviet societies. Pipss.org is a multi-disciplinary journal, which addresses issues across a broad field of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, economics, history, legal science. Its main objective is to study changes and their underlying mechanisms in post-Soviet republics, through the analysis of the institutions that remain most hidden from the public eye: armies and power institutions. As an electronic journal, pipss.org also aims to promote scholarly debate across as broad an audience as possible, and make CIS research available to Western scholars. Thanks to its international scientific board drawn from a large pool of leading academics and experts in their respective fields, it is in a position to become a leading source of analysis on post-Soviet societies. Pipss.org is a principal partner of the International Security Network (www.isn.ethz.ch ) and a member of the CNRS/EHESS scientific journals network Revues.org.

 SEVENTH ISSUE : “The Political and Social Role of Veterans in Russia, the Soviet-Union and Post-Soviet States: a Sociology of War Veterans”

This issue will focus on the veterans of Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet wars from a comparative as well as multidisciplinary perspective.

We are interested in different levels of analysis: macro (the state and national public policies), meso (social and political organisations) and micro (on the individual level).

Few approaches to war pay much attention to ex-servicemen and to the emergence of these new players: most often, veterans are perceived in terms of the well-known triptych “disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration”, or from the anthropologists’ point of view– the cult of heroes and martyrs. Although we will include these approaches in our issue, we hope to explore new angles of thought, such as the institutional and social dimensions inherent in the aftermaths of war, and to study the legal, social, political and symbolic markers of the war veteran population.

Thus, the emergence of ex-combatants as a distinct social group and the political and social role they play will be understood thanks to a study of how various political actors (the state and the security apparatuses in particular) contribute to the perpetuation of this group, but also to the group’s own formulation of its interests and how it sees itself.

We will study veteran populations from the federal armed forces as well as from the many armies attached to the Russian and Post-Soviet power ministries and secret service agencies.

The periods of time and geographic areas covered are: World War II, Afghanistan, the two Chechen wars, Tajikistan, Abkhazia, and the Karabakh war. The comparison will be extended to Africa, Kurdistan, the Balkans, etc.

 1 – The State and Public Policy Concerning Veterans

In Russia, social policy for veterans depends on how the state defines the war. The visibility of veterans therefore depends on the image of the war – a glorious war or not. Because if the state refuses to call it a “war”, the war doesn’t exist! Therefore, when we set about studying state policy towards veterans, we must first examine the status of the various wars under consideration – is it a war or a military operation?

For many years, the status of war veteran was granted only to fighters in the Great Patriot War. The cases of the war in Afghanistan – a shameful war – and the war in Chechnya –a war that isn’t a war – are particularly striking in this regard and at the core of this study: measures in favour of social coverage for Russian veterans of local wars was introduced very late – only in 2003 was an amendment to the “law on veterans” passed, giving veteran status to ex-combatants in Chechnya and other local wars, such as that of Abkhazia.

In actual fact however, veterans remain in search of recognition. They are often led to prosecuting the Defence Minister in order to gain economic and political recognition of their veteran status. Thus in 2005, the regional court of the province of Orel, dismissed the case of a Chechen war veteran who had demanded compensation for having been wounded during the fighting, claiming that there were no grounds on which the state could be considered responsible for his wounds. The plaintiff was advised to appeal to the Chechen rebels for compensation.

The following themes will therefore be explored:

-                       the bases of social policy towards veterans

-                       the construction of state aid to veterans

-                       modes and criteria for state coverage/compensation (Who grants the status of war veteran? the associations themselves, unions? other?)

-                       war compensation and preferential measures in favour of veterans:

o        the repertory of advantages put in place for veterans, their disappearance and its consequences on the structuring of the veterans network.

o        Preferential measures for war veterans (tax-free alcohol or petrol for veterans associations, etc.). For example, the preferential measures granted to veterans by the Russian government in 1991 (tax reductions, licence for the tax-free import of alcohol and tobacco, etc.) gave rise to the criminal activities and enrichment of small groups.

o        Reintegration – preferential employment: In Abkhazia, for example, on government orders, preferential jobs (particularly in Customs) were offered to this category of the population. In Russia, at first it was the local police that wanted to take on Chechnya war veterans. Today, it seems that a large number of veterans integrate the various Russian armed forces on a contract basis. Is there a deliberate policy on the part of the Russian state in favour of reintegrating veterans in the force structures? Or are veterans’ employment choices structure (police, army contracts, etc.) clearly determined by their military training and the internalisation of the military function?

-                       We will discuss the fact that war seems to remain an activity that the veterans of the Afghanistan and Chechnya wars identify with after the war. It is obvious that ex-combatants rarely devote themselves to anti-war activities or to any activity preventive of war. Rather, the prevailing idea is to be “ready in case of war”. Afghanistan veterans in particular broadly identified with army reserves, defining their military-patriotic work with young people as their mission. Many veterans of the Chechnya wars opted for the private security market. Some set up military vacation camps for businessmen and adolescents, though this has not yet developed to any great extent.

-                       Putin’s mobilisation of Chechnya veterans, but also of Afghanistan veterans, in the context of the national patriotic project defined up to 2011 – the enrolment of veterans for territorial defence, for the promotion of military service, for military education in schools, patriotic clubs, the production of patriotic films and songs– seems to indicate a similarity between the expectations of this population and the societal project such as the Russian president has defined it.

-                       We will discuss the return to civil life of ex-combatants and the risk of a “brutalisation” of society (in particular the consequences of the cooptation of veterans in the police, in the security services, etc.)


2 – The constitution of associations and groups of veterans

A - The constitution of new social groups based on the common experience of violence

We will first focus on what constitutes fighters as a group, on fighters as a “community of experience”, on the need to structure and create a specific, homogeneous image of the experience of war.

We would be interested in an analysis of the “combat brotherhood” discourse and its role in the aftermath of war.

B - Ex-servicemen’s movements

For this issue, we would be interested in studies of veterans’ organisations on the following themes:

-                       The creation and development of associations of ex-combatants

-                       The role of the Komsomol in the creation of associations of Afghanistan veterans

-                       The composition of veterans movements

-                       A comparative study of associations of Afghanistan and Chechnyan veterans

-                       The ideology of these movements

-                       Repertory of the collective actions of these movements

-                       The relative weight of veterans associations and associations of civil victims

-                       The place of servicewomen in veterans associations

C - From association to politics: veterans and politics

-                       Did the veterans of the Soviet Union, or later on, Russian veterans, constitute a pressure group? Do they now constitute a pressure group? Although they took part in demands for social benefits during perestroika, Afghanistan veterans have never constituted a pressure group. What about today’s Chechnya veterans? Since 2003, regional governments have had the right to pass their own laws on the compensation of veterans of local wars. Have these prerogatives favoured the appearance of a pressure group that lobbies regional authorities?

-                       What is the actual political importance of the veterans of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia legally (as a parliamentary group) and/or illegally (constitution of private armies)

-                       The personalities of veterans’ movements and their role in state institutions.


3 – Individuals seeking a place in society

A - The psychological consequences of the war experience

-                       After a war, what is the effect on ex-servicemen of the experience of war, the experience of the use of violence, fighting, the danger of death and killing others?

-                       The psychological rehabilitation of veterans

-                       Access to care


B - Memorials, folklore and songs: study of the symbolic markers of the veteran population

a - Monuments and memorials: the treatment of various wars

                - Analysis of war memorials policy

                - The role of associations of Afghanistan veterans in the commemoration of the Chechnya conflicts

b- Folklore, songs and literary works

- Analysis of the folklore, musical and literary production of Soviet, Post-Soviet and Russian war veterans

c – Analysis of the cinematographic representation of regional wars.



Guidelines for article submission

The journal will be published in four languages (French, English, Russian, and German with a 100-word abstract in English) thanks to which most authors will be able to write in their mother tongue. This will ensure greater precision in the articles and avoid a decrease in scientific quality. But we draw your attention to the fact that most pipss.org readers are essentially English speakers, therefore we do encourage articles in English in order to reach an audience as broad as possible.


The articles submitted to pipss.org for publication should be original contributions and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. Manuscripts should be attached as Microsoft Word format. References should be given in footnotes. (For more details about the guidelines for article submission please check www.pipss.org  or contact the Editorial Board). There should be a cover page stating the author's background and affiliation, full address.


If you wish to submit an article, please first contact the editorial board and send an 100-word abstract in English. The deadline for article submission is September 10, 2007, with publication in December. Final decisions on publication will be made by the Editorial Board.


Please send your contributions or inquiries to:


Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski, Chief Editor, contact@pipss.org


Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski (7th Issue Editor)


Editorial Board : Eden Cole, Francoise Dauce, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Anna Colin Lebedev, Anne Le Huerou, Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski, Joris Van Bladel



Papers dealing with other issues related to armies and  power institutions in the CIS, as well as book review  proposals are also welcome.




Publishers interested in publicizing their editions, please send review copies to:

Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski

15 rue Charlot

75003 Paris, France


Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski

Chief Editor


The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies




Editorial Board : Eden Cole, Françoise Daucé, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Anna Lebedev, Anne Le Huérou, Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski, Joris Van Bladel


Scientific Board : Adrian Beck (UK), Alexander Belkin (Russia), Frédéric Charillon (France), Stephen Cimbala (USA), Julian Cooper (UK), Roger Mc Dermott (UK), Isabelle Facon (France), Mark Galeotti (UK), Aleksandr Gol'ts (Russia), Dale Herspring (USA), Philippe Manigart (Belgium), Kimberly Zisk Marten (USA), Michael Orr  (UK), Michael Parrish (USA), Nikolay Petrov (Russia), Eduard Ponarin (Russia), Jean-Christophe Romer (France), Jacques Sapir (France), Manfred Sapper (Germany), Louise Shelley (USA), Richard Staar (USA), Brian Taylor (USA), Mikhail Tsypkin (USA), Stephen Webber (UK), Elena Zdravomyslova (Russia).








  • Paris, France


  • Monday, September 10, 2007


  • vétérans


  • Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski
    courriel : elisabeth [dot] kozlowski [at] ehess [dot] fr

Information source

  • Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski
    courriel : elisabeth [dot] kozlowski [at] ehess [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Le rôle politique et social des vétérans en Russie », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Sunday, March 04, 2007, https://calenda.org/192776

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