March 17, 2018

17.03.2018 “For Freedom and Democracy”

This is the title of the collection of selected articles by Stepan Oliynyk (Stephen Olynyk), prepared for publishing by the Independent Analytical Center for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel”. There is no doubt that this publication will be interesting for the reader's not only thanks to the expanded information on civilian (civil) control of the armed and security forces. An over-scrupulous reader will find out how this is done, for example, in the United States of America, where this has long been day-to-day practice and does not cause any objections.

By the way, the above-mentioned theme has again become relevant in Ukraine. Indeed, despite the accumulated experience of such control by the Ukrainian society, we cannot speak about its successful use within the latest decade. Otherwise, in the ministerial chair of the head of the Ukrainian defense structure during all years of Ukrainian independence, civilian politicians would not have been replacing military ones, and vice versa. What is the problem here? Has the Ukrainian society “not grown up” to the category of civilized ones and cannot accept the advanced “technology of state building”, under which there cannot exist any administrative or executive structures (paid by the taxes of the same population) not controlled by broad strata of the population? The answer cannot be unequivocal, since Ukraine remains in the phase of its formation for a number of geopolitical reasons.

Oliynyk Stepan Dmytrovych
Oliynyk Stepan Dmytrovych

Don't forget that one and a half decades ago, at the Presidential Administration a specially created working group was very active. The culmination of its work was a book on the parliamentary control over the Armed Forces, which describes the relevant experience of European countries, including the strategy of state security, which was later approved, including by the Ministry of Defense. As far as I know, the necessary signature of the President under the prepared document has never appeared. Although the post of Minister of Defense with varying success was pursued by politicians of different political directions. Today we see and experience on our own skin what it ended in, for example, 2014, when in the East of Ukraine, after the annexation of the Crimea, not only there was smell of gunpowder, but also real fighting began. A tiny detail: the aforementioned text in the form of a solid book “Parliamentary Control…” was handed to every deputy of the that time convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, after which it has become, say, rarity.

I recall, in the early 90's of the last century, the author of the book “For Freedom and Democracy” Stepan Oliynyk once, during the round table, asked my military colleagues how they would perceive the civilian minister of defense of Ukraine? A relatively long pause in before their lively communication eloquently testified: we are not ready for such “dramatic changes”, for cancellation of the customary tradition to see at the head of the security forces only the military. For such changes were not ready in other former Soviet republics, where the processes of their state independence began.

— But this is a requirement of the time, and all the countries that consider themselves democratic will come to this — promised us S. Oliynyk, who at that time served as the Senior Counsellor on national security of the Consultative-Advisory Council under the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Consultant at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The best confirmation of his words was the introduction of civilian control in Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. As it soon turned out, the reform of the Ukrainian security sector, in particular the Armed Forces, did begin, and not only on paper. Designated responsible persons had already been drafting relevant laws, directives and orders were agreed at different levels, structural units were formed, responsibilities for their civilian executives were developed. And then V. Shmarov was appointed Minister of Defense of Ukraine…

The logic of such appointment testified to the following: the state's policy, including the military one, should be determined by politicians, while the duty of the military, who should not be concerned with political problems, is to care about the training of the personnel of the Armed Forces that are responsible for the security of the state.

Some graphics from the collection of articles
Some graphics from the collection of articles

Here is what, in particular, S. Oliynyk writes in one of his articles: “The appointment of a civilian Defense Minister is not the only way to establish civilian control over military institutions. This is only part of the triple system, which usually works in a democratic state. The elements of this system are the Parliament, the executive and the judiciary branches of power… The Parliament exercises control over the military sphere by the following actions: adoption of basic laws creating military institutions, restricting their size and prerogative; controlling the military budget by annual allocations; keeping the Armed Forces accountable to the Parliament; approving the appointment of the highest officials in the defense department by the President of Ukraine; approving the military doctrine”.

Also, S. Oliynyk points out that the second part of such control is the President, who controls the military sphere through his post of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and may declare war, the martial war in the state, mobilization of additional forces. As for the judiciary, it can be the third element of civilian control, “in which civil courts decide on the constitutionality of legislative and executive acts… it carries out judicial supervision to protect freedoms of both, civilian and military members of the society”.

The further processes of our state-building demonstrated how and in what direction we were advancing in the defense of Ukraine, who of high officials managed to fulfill their duties professionally, in particular in the post of the Minister of Defense, and who fell flat on his face and left this high ministerial armchair. Yes, we did have such ministers. But why? Could we not be able to keep pace with the world community? Do we stubbornly want to adhere to the established tradition of the Soviet system, when even the civilian party leader assigned to a high post of Defense Minister was granted military rank and was given shoulder marks (D. Ustinov, as Minister of Defense from 1976 to 1984)?

“Shoulder marks, so to speak, were adding to the responsibility of the person assigned to such a high position”, explained the author of these lines to S. Oliynyk. — “They once again reminded him almost at the level of the subconscious about the need to perform his duties in an officer's way, with full dedication and responsibility, as the military do”.

The author of these lines referred to this, discussing the issue of civilian control with Stepan Oliynyk, and reminded another example in the USA, when Dwight Eisenhower, General, Commander of the American troops during the Second World War was a successful President from 1953 to 1961. He was quite active in the post of the President, he solved many political problems of the international level, including building peaceful relations with the USSR, which, after the end of the Second World War, began to deteriorate.

“It was in the post of the American President that Eisenhower realized that the state's security structures and its armed forces should be controlled by the society”, Stepan Oliynyk explained in his turn, “although this proposal had already been voiced in the USA by analysts before the Second World War”.

Content of the collection of articles “For Freedom and Democracy”
Content of the collection of articles
“For Freedom and Democracy”

How credible was this idea, we can judge from some further international events, such as the plot of the “black colonels” in Greece, the military's coming to power in Egypt or Chile — such examples are numerous. As for how the world is now trying to prevent such phenomena, is another long story, therefore, the topic is extremely relevant.

S. Oliynyk's articles included in the collection “For Freedom and Democracy” at one time were published in different editions, including Ukrainian ones such as the “Sposterihach” (“Observer”) magazine (Kyiv), National Security and Defense (Kyiv), etc. The author explains the importance of such control and the role of the civilian Defense Minister in it, he in detail tells about the systemic approach in national defense planning, provides a comparative analysis of civil-military relations and their implementation in Ukraine, describes the scope of civil servants' duties and their responsibility for the effectiveness of the work done. Here are the titles of some articles: “Civil-Military Relations: Theory and Implementation in Ukraine”, “Civil-Military Relations. Comparative Analysis”, “A New Civilian Defense Minister of Ukraine — A New Phase in Civil-Military Relations?”, “Civilians in the U.S. Defense Establishment”.

The author also supports his researches, advices and suggestions with interesting historical facts about the Ukrainian Insurgent Army's struggle for independence in the 40s–50s of the last century in Zakerzonnya. By the way, this extremely interesting work, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the anti-Ukrainian campaign “Wisla”, was first published in the mid-1990s in the Central Printing Office of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine “People's Army” and tells about the goal and methods of the struggle of the rebels in the eternal Ukrainian lands, about achievements and miscalculations of this struggle and self-sacrifice of the Ukrainians who dreamt of an independent Ukraine.

I adviser those who are interested in the above-mentioned topics to look through the pages of the collection “For Freedom and Democracy” in order to independently assess the content and relevance of the articles. After all, they were written by Oliynyk Stepan Dmytrovych, a retired Colonel of the US Army, who holds a Ph.D. degree in Political Science, got higher military education at the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Military Academy, served at the Department of the Army and Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Oleh Makhno