Journal of Political & Military Sociology

The Institutionalization of Military Sociology: The Russian Path of Gains and Losses

Igor V. Obraztsov

Moscow State Linguistic University

This article contends that the current view of military sociology is neither complete nor detailed (particularly at the early stages of its development). It maintains that the institutionalization of military sociology is dominated by one perspective, that is, by the American tradition. Its evolution in Europe, including Russia, is underrepresented. Without claiming to be all encompassing, this article attempts to critically reconsider the Russian approach to the institutionalization of military sociology under the challenging conditions of an autocratic and totalitarian political regime. One of the most characteristic particularities of the Russian approach was the establishment and growth of the subfield primarily within the military itself—that is, the emergence and formation of “a science in uniform.” The article maintains that it would be useful to consider the Russian experience in order to reconstruct a global, multifaceted institutionalization of military sociology. In turn, this may lead to a more robust scholarly debate about the past, present and future prospects of this field of sociological study.



All fields of study as they emerge—the period referred to here as institutionalization—inevitably go through stages of conception and formation, developing through periods of growth and decline. As a subfield of the social sciences, military sociology is no exception. Its present state as well as its future prospects depend greatly on the objective critical analysis of the path it has gone through.

In this study, I argue that most historical retrospectives of military sociology as currently presented are unfortunately too unidimensional and superficial. In essence, the establishment and development of military sociology as often presented is that of American military sociology and lacking the contributions of European scholars. On the one hand, this is understandable so far as the contributions of American authors have been enormous, far outnumbering both in scope and in theoretical and empirical depth the contributions of scholars from all other countries combined. On the other hand, the artificial limitations imposed by the time frame selected (i.e., the selection of the starting point for such a review), the underestimation and neglect of other national traditions, and the particularities of the development of military sociology in other countries can impoverish military sociology itself. All fields of study have an international character that absorbs, processes, and reconsiders diverse national traditions of theoretical and/or empirical findings, learning the necessary lessons and making respective conclusions from them. There is not (and should not be) an American, German, French, Russian or any other national social science. But there are traditions and specific particularities of science in different countries or in a group of countries. Linguistic, ideological, or other restrictions or impediments should not limit scientific exchange and their mutual interaction.

When David R. Segal and James Burk published their fundamental four-volume monograph Military Sociology, it came as a great and welcome advance in the field. The anthology represented a collection of some of the finest publications in military sociology that had been published from 1940 to the late 2010s (Segal and Burk, 2012). Of 72 contributions (including the editors’ own introduction) from over 52 authors, approximately 72 percent were written by Americans. This over-representation of American scholars is reflective of the state of affairs within military sociology—that is, US authors predominate. The fact that there is very limited or no representation of authors from many countries in this anthology is indicative of the underdevelopment of military sociology as a discipline in their countries. However, this is the case only in relation to the English-language literature. Indeed, there exists a much greater amount of research published in other languages than is generally believed. Very few of them are included in anthologies or traditional overviews on these matters. Indeed, there is very little in way of general reviews, or overviews, of the development of military sociology in other countries.

Therefore, a typical English-language interpretation of the development of military sociology is the following from Siebold (2001, 141):

While sociological analysis of the military has been around for some time (e.g., Durkheim 1897/1951), military sociology is primarily an outgrowth of World War II (Coates and Pellegrin 1965) and the subsequent Cold War. Its defining first books were The American Soldier (Stouffer et al. 1949–1950), The Soldier and the State (Huntington 1957), The Professional Soldier (Janowitz 1960), and The American Enlisted Man (Moskos, 1970). The first major textbook focused on the sub-field was a University of Maryland-based work titled, Military Sociology: A Study of American Military Institutions and Military Life (Coates and Pellegrin 1965).

This viewpoint, with some minor variations, is found in practically all encyclopedias that have the term “military sociology” in them (e.g., Gallino 1978; Segal and Segal 1993; von Bredow 1996; Armor 1992).

Clearly, the conception of military sociology in these reviews is artificially restricted within certain temporal (the period after World War II) and spatial (the territory of the United States) boundaries. This can hardly be deemed justifiable. A clear shortcoming of this unbalanced approach includes the claim in the aforementioned quote that American authors published the first textbook in military sociology. On the contrary to this statement, a similar textbook was published even earlier in Poland (Wiatr 1964), where the first chair in military sociology was also established in 1958.1

Recently, certain efforts have also been made to give a more a comprehensive view of military sociology’s inception and formation. Two of the most important publications in this regard were the studies by Siniša Malešević and Bernard Boëne and included in the Segal and Burk’s anthology. Specifically, Malešević, a professor of sociology at University College, Dublin argues that the analysis of war within sociology included both a “pacifist” (“anti-militarist”) tradition, inherent in the “Holy Trinity” of sociology—Marx, Weber and Durkheim—as well as the unduly neglected “militarist” tradition (represented, inter alia, by Gabriel Tarde, Ferdinand Tönnies, William Graham Sumner, Lester Ward, Leopold von Wiese, Ernest Troeltsch, and Ludwig Gumplowicz):

There is a potent militarist tradition in classical social thought which is much broader and includes at least five distinct theoretical approaches: Austro-American group struggle tradition, German sociological libertarianism, Italian elite theory, Anglo-American evolutionary theory and the Franco-German social metaphysics of violence (Malešević 2010, 194).

Analyzing in detail each of the above concepts—which are incidentally of an international character (the authors are not only Americans, but also Austrian, German, French and English sociologists)—Malešević rightly suggests that we should use their findings to analyze modern situations of organized violence and warfare.

A second study that also deserves close attention is that of French sociologist Bernard Boëne. It is unequalled in terms of the number of publications and sources analyzed: 4,228 books and articles (excluding theses and policy papers) published in the United States between 1892 and 1992—that is, between the consolidation of the social sciences as academic disciplines and the end of the Cold War (Boëne 2000, 149).2 It is important to note, however, that despite the heuristic significance and the extraordinary breadth of the analyses conducted by Malešević and Boëne, unfortunately they still failed to include some of the critical studies of military sociology.3 For example, one of the first attempts to institutionalize military sociology in Europe (initially as the “sociology of war and peace”) was ignored. This attempt was connected with the activities of the Institut International de Sociologie founded in 1893. In October 1930, under the aegis of Institut, Geneva hosted the 10th World Congress in Sociology with the theme “Sociology of War and Peace” (“Sociologie de la guerre et de la paix”):

Many speakers at the Congress focused on demographic factors, e.g., population migrations and national minorities. Some highlighted psychological, ethical and other factors. But one of the central matters was economic determinism of war and peace (Salomon 1938, 434).

A Russian military scholar, Nikolay Golovin, whose work and scholarship are discussed below, was somewhat critical in his assessment of both the 10th World Congress as well as the state of research in the sociology of war in interwar Europe:

Out of 44 contributions, 6 do not refer to war at all, the other 38 can be grouped according to their subject matter in the following manner: 16 analyze the reasons of war; 11 are devoted to exposure of jingoism and promotion of pacifism; 6 touch upon the role of war in the general course of social life; 4 seek to resolve the question of how to evade a war; and only one single article titled The Rhythm of War makes an attempt to start studying war, but that article takes one page only out of a book of conference papers of 315 pages. Sociologists approach war from all sides, aspire to study all notions that precede and encompass it, but fail to study only one thing—the war itself. Till the present day the war itself remains ≪La Granda Inconnue≫ [Fr. “a great unknown woman”] for sociologists. (Golovin 1938a, 36–37; emphasis in original)

The congress described above, as well as other publications of sociologists from European countries during the interwar period, are often overlooked in academic use and analysis. Thus, we can only hope for researchers like Malešević and Boëne, whose efforts may contribute in tangible ways so that the current gaps in the field of military sociology can be bridged. An attempt to understand the particular features of military sociology’s historical development and to bridge one of the existing gaps as it concerns Russia is the aim of the present article.

The Particularities of the Russian Path

An extensive and detailed analysis of military sociology’s emergence and development is a topic of a special research whose results are of major interest to Russian academics (e.g., Vedernikov 1994; Brazevich 1997; Obraztsov et al. 1997; Belyaev 2002a; Obraztsov 2005; Serebryannikov 2008; Karlova 2012; Ksenofontov 2014; Obratsov 2014a; 2014b; Lunkov 2015). The task, as such scholars see it, is to provide their international colleagues with the main milestones of the evolution of military sociology in Russia and the particular features of its institutionalization. In that vein, the focus of my attention below will be the key figures of science and the most significant theoretical and empirical studies to date.

The Development of Military Sociology in Russia

The autocratic and totalitarian political regimes in Russia determined the particular way in which sociology in general and military sociology in particular developed. As a result, it makes sense to consider the stages of military sociology’s institutionalization in relation to the chronology of political regimes: the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation. Chronologically, this historical path can be divided into six main periods: 1) the late nineteenth century until 1917, which saw the emergence and formation of a sociological approach to studying war; 2) 1917 to the mid-1930s when the formation of a methodology and the establishment of a theoretical basis for military sociology took place; 3) the late 1930s to the early 1960s, a period of the Soviet state’s prohibition of the study of military sociology; 4) the mid-1960s until 1991, when the revival and institutionalization of military sociology occurred; 5) 1992 to 2002, a period of intensive development of military sociology within the military; 6) 2003 to the present, representing the institutional development of military sociology beyond the military itself (See Table 1).

Table 1.  Period of Military Sociology Development in Russia


Period Name

Time Interval

Stage Features


Pre-Revolutionary Period: sociological approach to studying war emerges and takes shape

Late 19th century to WWI (up to 1917) and Great October Socialist Revolution

The first theoretical papers appear; the term “military sociology” is introduced to scientific use (1897); the first empirical studies of the military are conducted; global trends of this branch of science are matched: (Korf 1897; Rezhepo 1903, 1905, 1909; Oberuchev 1909, 1910; Dyubyuk and Zakharov 1915, etc.).


Post-Revolutionary Period: methods and procedures of military-sociological studies are established; methodological and theoretical basis of military sociology is founded

Great October Socialist Revolution (1917) to the mid-1930s

Two isolated ways of developing military and sociological knowledge evolve:

a) in Soviet Russia, “bourgeois” sociology is replaced by Marxist theory regarding class struggle; the number of applied (empirical) studies of the military grows (Steingart 1924; Chernevskiy 1928; Spielrein et al. 1928), while theoretical research lags (Mikhnevich 1921; Snesarev 1924; Svechin 1927b; Spielrein et al. 1928).

b) in Russian emigration and among Russian military emigrants, methodological and theoretical bases of sociology of war are developed (Golovin 1931, 1937, 1938a, b).


1st Soviet Period: institutional ban on sociology in general and military sociology in particular

Late 1930s to the early 1960s

Sociology, in general, and military sociology, in particular, have lost their status as an independent science. They are replaced with apologetics of the totalitarian regime and the abstract theoretical ideas of “Marxist-Leninist theory of war and military;” conducting empirical (applied) research is banned.


2nd Soviet Period: military sociology is revived and institutionalized

Mid-1960s to 1991 (until the breakup of the USSR)

Military sociology is revived and acquires the status of an independent sociological branch of sociological knowledge. Theoretical and applied (empirical) studies are intensively developed. Specialized research departments and centers are formed within the armed forces to regularly conduct research in the military. Special departments are formed in the system of military education for training military sociologists, “Sociology in uniform” (Puzik 1971; Volkogonov and Milovidov 1977; Kovalyov 1980; Sredin et al. 1981; Borodin and Chepurov 1987; Chaldymov and Cherkasenko 1990; etc.).


1st Russian Period: intensive development within military organization


Powerful research centers are arranged within the RF Armed Forces; multilevel system of professional training of military sociologists exists. The number of theoretical and applied (empirical) studies of the military continues to grow. Sociological knowledge is spread within the military environment. Sociology evolves as a discipline in the system of military education (Andreev 1992; Vedernikov 1994; Serebryannikov and Deryugin 1996; Solovyov 1996; Solovyov and Obraztsov 1997; Serebryannikov 1998; Smirnov 1998, 2000; Belyaev 2002b; Dobrenkov 2002, etc.).


2nd Russian (Contemporary) Period: military sociology is institutionally developed


Military sociology goes beyond the armed forces. It is fostered in civil research centers and universities. The research capabilities of such institutions are restricted by the closed nature of the armed forces. A wider theoretical context is used to study problems of military sociology (Kuznetsov 2005; Bashlakov 2008; Smirnov 2010; Peven 2012; Kravchenko 2016; Bondarenko 2018; etc.).

Before proceeding to the brief overview of each period, one particular feature common to all of the periods must be noted: The majority of Russian scholars who were involved in developing this branch of sociology were active or former officers of the army or navy. This is a critical difference from their American colleagues, who often were university professors with no military service experience prior to World War II (Boëne 2000, 150). Hence, if the emergence of the American variant of military sociology implied a model of “from the university to the military barracks” (which was also true to a major extent for European scholars as well), the Russian variant was the reverse of this—one “from the military barracks to the university.” In short, Russian military sociology arose as a “science in uniform” and it remains so to this day. The majority of its scholars are either current or retired army or naval officers.

The Pre-Revolutionary Period

An outstanding American sociologist of Russian origin, Pitirim Sorokin (1889–1968), thought highly of Russian scholars’ contributions to the development of global sociology in the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He ranked Russian sociology of that period with that in Germany, France, the US, Britain and Italy (Sorokin 1928, xiv–xv). However, tsarist Russia did not trust sociology as a science as it was seen to be associated with the term “socialism.” Thus, the first chair of sociology in Russia was not founded until 1908. Indeed, its founding occurred in a private Psychoneurological Institute (rather than in a public one) where Pitirim Sorokin taught along with other scholars. Moreover, Russian sociologists, like American and European ones, expressed practically no interest in military issues until the start of World War I (Takhtarev 1916, 105; Golosenko 2002, 95). As a result, military sociology in Russia was not born in universities, but in a military environment. The center of its formation was the Nicholas General Staff Academy (founded in 1832 and known as the Imperial Nicholas General Staff Academy from 1909–1917). The academic papers of its professors and alumni would lay the theoretical foundation for the inception of military sociology as a subfield of sociology.

Through its best representatives, military science attempted to embark on “positive” knowledge about war, to follow Carl von Clausewitz’s attempts to “establish principles, rules and even the system of warfare” (Carl von Clausewitz 1932, 70). The term “positive” was understood according to the founder of sociology Auguste Comte’s law of “three stages” as the supreme state of science that had already passed through the theological and metaphysical stages. Military scholars believed that military strategy was meant to become that kind of science as a “supreme” synthetic teaching about war that could explain the essence of any phenomenon.

Russian military theoretician and infantry general Henrich Leer (professor from 1865 and head of the Nicholas General Staff Academy from 1889 to 1896) broke down military strategy into an art strategy (that is, the science about conducting warfare or “tactics on the battlefield”) and a science strategy (that is, the science about war per se or the “philosophy of military affairs”). It was the second—the science strategy—that was expected to detect the patterns and general principles and to discover the laws of war (Leer, 1893, 1). Leer’s views were creatively developed by another eminent military scholar, Lt. Gen. Nikolay Mikhnevich (professor from 1892 and head of the Nicholas General Staff Academy from 1904 to 1907). Mikhnevich viewed war from two perspectives: 1) as a phenomenon in the life of human societies, and 2) as the military “use of force to win over the enemy.” According to Mikhnevich, the first perspective of war was studied by “one of the sections of dynamic sociology” (Mikhnevich 1899, 1–2; emphasis in original).

Hence, while viewing war in its wider sense as a social phenomenon, military scholars began to propose the use of the social sciences, including sociology, to study it. By the late 19th century sociological study began to serve as the methodological foundation for raising the question regarding the formation of the sociology of war (military sociology) as an independent branch of science. This was accomplished by the Russian General Staff Captain, Baron Nikolay Korf, in his 1897 paper, “General Introduction to Strategy Understood in the Wide Sense (Military Sciences Essays).” Developing the views of his teachers, Leer and Mikhnevich, Korf initially suggested a new and unconventional definition of war as “an armed fight of the forces of social groups.” He also highlighted the need to form a new branch of science that “would target studying social phenomena from a military viewpoint.” The role of the latter, in Korf’s view, was to be taken by “the science on military and social phenomena that in parallel to military psychology could be named military sociology” (Korf 1897, 66, 114; emphasis in original). In fact, it may have been Korf who was the first to introduce the term “military sociology” and who substantiated the need for this new branch of sociology.4

However, during this period, military sociology did not go further than these early theoretical groundings. Although empirical research of the armed forces did take place in Russia, the research was statistical (Rezhepo 1903, 1905, 1909; Oberuchev 1909, 1910) and psychological in nature (Koropchevsky 1892; Golovin 1907; Shumkov 1907; Druzhinin 1910; Rezanov 1910). Thus, we can hardly deem the studies sociological. Instead, during World War I, other studies—those conducted by statistics departments and district councils (zemstva)5—were most common. One example was a study of 607 respondents in 1914 that explored the beliefs of a rural population in Kostroma Gubernia in October-November.

In relation to war the respondents’ answers had the following distribution: 1) the war is an adversity, “the mood is depressed, there is only one wish—for the war to end as soon as possible”—44% (with peasants voices prevailing); 2) “the mood is robust, enthusiasm and confidence in victory can be seen”—39% (with clergy voices prevailing—35%, peasants—33%, other social classes—24% and uncompleted forms—8%); 3) neutral responses like “the mood is uncertain,” “little has changed,” “looking forward to the end of war”—17% (Dyubyuk and Zakharov 1915, 68–69).

A major change of political regime was about to occur, with the February (bourgeois-democratic) and October (socialist) Revolutions of 1917 that followed. In the periods to follow, the theoretical papers and empirical research of the pre-revolutionary period were practically in no demand at all.

The Post-Revolutionary Revival and Further Institutional Prohibitions on Sociology

The October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War of 1918–1920 (1922 in the Russian Far East) that followed produced a new Soviet totalitarian regime that boded ill for the development of sociology. Initially, sociology began to develop in Soviet Russia: in 1918–1919 chairs of sociology were established in Petrograd and Yaroslavl State Universities (though they were closed four to five years later). The 1920s also saw the growth of empirical research, including research carried out within the Red Army (Steingart 1924; Chernevskiy 1928; Sergeev 1990). Still, most of the studies were superficial and of a highly descriptive character.

However, there were some exceptions as well. In this respect, a particularly interesting study was the applied research that was carried out in the armed forces of the Moscow Military District from 1924 to 1925 (30,000 Red Army soldiers were polled) by scholars from the Laboratory of Industrial Psychotechnics of the People’s Commissariat of Labor and Section of Applied Psychology of the State Institute of Experimental Psychology. It investigated the speech of soldiers and was known as “The Red Army Soldier Language”. That report is a model of a deeply scientific approach to devising a research program, as well as processing and interpreting the obtained results. The researchers conducted an extensive content analysis of 1,241 Red Army soldier survey questionnaires (11,223 words); they reviewed twelve transcripts of political lessons on different topics (12,806 words); 141 letters of Red Army soldiers to the editorial board of a local newspaper (20,456 words); and two issues of the 1924 Krasny Voin [Red Warrior] newspaper (54,338 words). In addition to this, the research also studied the grammar of Red Army soldier language as well as the extent to which soldiers understood 400 words of active political vocabulary (Spielrein et al. 1928, 18–19). The research was divided into three stages (spring 1924, fall 1924, and spring 1925) and the sample included about 30,000 people. The results revealed low levels of political, cultural and educational attainment of Red Army soldiers, on the one hand, and the poor effectiveness of work aimed at enhancing their awareness and morale, on the other.6 It is important to note that the report of these unique research results was withdrawn from public use in the 1930s due to the arrest and conviction of the researcher.7

During this time, efforts to develop the theoretical basis of military sociology were also made. Former tsarist officers, “military specialists” (voenspetsi), who had sided with the Red Army tried to promote the pre-revolutionary ideas of Leer, Mikhnevich and Korf in their writings (Mikhneich 1921; Snesarev 1924; Svechin 1927a, 1927b):

The theory of strategy is a branch of sociology, not of exact sciences. Every major theoretician is doomed to be captive of the mindset of their epoch and the wishes of their class. They have to search for new theoretical forms to grasp a new being of war that as a most sensitive seismograph will reflect all minor shifts in production and the political lives of fighting nations (Svechin 1927b, 101; emphasis in original).

However, their efforts were not successful as some of them were soon subjected to a terror purge, and their books were pulled from public circulation.8 By the early 1930s, political factors would arrest the development of sociology in the USSR. All empirical and theoretical studies were halted.

In essence, sociology was substituted with an abstract and simplified system of dogma and of the apologetics of the totalitarian regime, specifically the teaching of Marxism-Leninism.9 One of its components was teaching the proletariat about war and the military (Epishev 1984). Thus, a period of institutional prohibition of sociology started. It lasted until the late 1950s for the sociological sciences, as a whole, and until the mid-1960s for military sociology, specifically.

As for social science, when totalitarianism is at its peak, its role is lowered to vulgar servicing the regime, its substantiation, justification and appraisal of its policies. . . . It is this evolution that took place with social sciences from the early 1930s till the death of Stalin (Arbatov 1998, 4).

The Resumption of the Pre-revolutionary Traditions by the Russian Expatriate Community

By different estimates, between two to three million people were displaced beyond Russia by the early 1920’s as a result of the powerful social upheaval of 1917. The majority of Russian refugees belonged to the cultural and political elite of the former Russian Empire (Kiselyov, 1999, 3). Representatives of this “other” Russia included Russian sociologists who did much to develop global social science, including the development of military sociology. Here, one must mention the American sociologists whose scholarly careers started in Russia: Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin (1889–1968) and Nikolay Sergeyevitch Timasheff (1886–1970). Their contribution to the development of military sociology should be considered both in view of their publications in English-language editions (Sorokin 1925, 1928, 1937, 1938, 1942a, 1942b, 1944a, 1945; Timasheff 1965) and in Russian emigration journals (Sorokin 1944b, 1946; Timashev 1943a, 1943b, 1968).

Another interesting study was undertaken in the late 1920’s by S.O. Portugeis (pseudonym S. Ivanovich). He carried out a deep analysis of publications in Soviet periodicals to try to draw “an ideological, cultural, psychological, social, and political portrait of the Red Army.” He wrote:

Neither revolutionary, nor socialist, nor proletariat, nor even “red” even in the vaguest sense of these words is our current USSR Army. . . . The Red Army still remains flesh from flesh and bone from bone of Russia’s massive peasants’ array (Ivanovich [Portugeis] 1931, 231)

Alongside numerous Russian émigrés, former Russian military officers also made significant contributions to the development of military sociology. Perhaps first among them is a former professor of Nicholas General Staff Academy, Lt. Gen. Nikolay Golovin. He wrote the first thesis in Russia on military psychology (Golovin 1907) in the pre-revolutionary period. In WWI he went from being a cavalry regiment commander to Chief of Staff of the Romanian Front. He followed his predecessors and suggested distinguishing “the science about warfare” (strategy) from “the science about war” (sociology of war).

The task of the “Science about War” is to study war as a phenomenon of social life. Hence this science should feature a sociological research whose objects would be studying processes and notions of war from the perspective of their existence, coexistence and succession. In other words, the science about war should be sociology of war (Golovin 1937, 7; emphasis in original)

In his sociological legacy, Golovin not only substantiated the scientific place of the “sociology of war” within the social sciences and defined its problems, structure, tasks and limits in addressing specific issues of social practice, but he also developed a system of social indicators—for example, the “military strain of a country” and the “moral elasticity of troops.” With regard to the latter, he suggested measuring it with the help of the following indicators: the ratio of the amount of “bloody losses” (killed and injured) to the amount of men taken captive; the ratio of the number of those who were taken captive and broke free from captivity; the rate of disease in the military including malingering and self-injury; the rate of desertion from the military; and the character of correspondence from the frontline as indicative of the mood of soldiers, masses and others (Golovin 1931; 1937; 1938a; 1938b; 1939).

The military experience and research talent of Golovin and his emigrant companion Col. Arseny Zaitsov were valued by Sorokin, who engaged them in a joint project over the third volume of his fundamental study, Social and Cultural Dynamics, entitled Fluctuation of Social Relationship, War and Revolution (Chapters 9–14) (Sorokin 1937). Golovin did try to make his scientific findings known to European and American colleagues: he spoke at the 12th (1935) and 13th (1937) Congresses of the International Institute of Sociology (L’Institut International de Sociologie). He tried to publish his papers in the US and partly succeeded (Golovin 1931). But much was neglected and much of his scholarship went unnoticed: his manuscripts in English (Golovin 1935, 1938b) are still kept in the collection of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

In short, much of the academic heritage of the scholars of the Russian emigration as well as that of their colleagues from the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s was ignored, neglected and often lost. Therefore, their scholarship had practically no impact on the development of military sociology in Russia and other countries, though their heuristic potential remains underestimated.

The Revival and Growth of Military Sociology in the USSR

The revival of sociology in the Soviet Union was connected with the “Khrushchev thaw” when the most totalitarian aspects of the Soviet regime were eased and social life was liberalized to a certain extent. Such a revival started practically from scratch; virtually all previous experience was buried in oblivion. In 1958 the Soviet Sociological Association was founded and, in 1968, the Institute of Concrete Social Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences was formed (known as the Institute of Sociological Research from 1972 and the Institute of Sociology from 1988). Of course, the dominant scientific theory up to the breakup of the USSR was Marxism-Leninism. As a result, sociological studies acted as extension to the theory of historic materialism. As Osipov wrote:

The right to citizenship was awarded to sociological studies, not to sociology as a science. Hence, sociology was defined as a science dealing with concrete social studies (1990, 10).

Therefore it was not by chance that military sociology was initially revived in the Soviet Union in the form of military-sociological studies of purely applied character.

The legitimization of military sociology can be said to have begun in 1964 when the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper (the print organ of the USSR Defense Ministry) for the first time officially used the term “concrete military-sociological studies” (KVSI) (Volkonogov 1964). Thus public recognition of the term “KVSI” and its further introduction to scientific usage acted as an impetus for the military to increasingly carry out this research in practice (Iliin 1967; Ladanov 1967; Oskin 1968; Konoplyov 1971; Puzik 1971; Fyodorov 1972; Rybkin 1973).

Another critical step was the formation of free-lance bodies that were in charge of organizing and carrying out the first concrete military-sociological studies in the Soviet army and navy.10 In September 1965, the Lenin Military Political Academy (LMPA)11 launched a society of concrete military-sociological studies as part of a military and scientific society headed by Captain Vasily Puzik. A book by Puzik was the first textbook in sociology in the Soviet Union (1971).

The subject of military-sociological studies is to examine the mechanism of regular dependencies of the military on the Soviet civil and political systems that can manifest in the structure of the military, the system of social and interpersonal relations of the military personnel, the links between the military team and the soldier’s personality (Puzik 1971, 31).

Officers received their first research experience in this unofficial society of those interested in sociology.12 It functioned until the 1980’s, having gathered together dozens of officers who participated in the Academy at its meetings and debates.

In addition to acquiring knowledge and practical research skills, these officers had the chance to familiarize themselves with classic works of military sociology by American authors: The American Soldier (Stouffer et al. 1949–1950), The Soldier and the State (Huntington 1957), The Professional Soldier (Janowitz 1960), and The American Enlisted Man (Moskos 1970). All these books were kept in special collections in public libraries with strictly regulated access. Their purpose was to be studied to be criticized and to be exposed for their “bourgeois” approaches to problems of war and the military.

While papers of foreign military sociologists from the West were discussed, attention was drawn to critical analysis of their ideas and those points where they distorted the military policy of the Soviet Union. At the same time the evolution of ideas of some foreign scholars was taken into consideration . . . if they tried to prove the necessity to downscale the armament race, to reduce the threshold of nuclear weapons accumulated in the world, [and] the need to develop measures of trust in the military and political spheres between the East and the West. . . . Particular attention was paid to articles published in such American journals as Armed Forces and Society and Journal of Political and Military Sociology. (Ksenofontov 2014, 213–214).

Thus, when Soviet military scholars became acquainted with the achievements of their American counterparts, they saw that western military sociology had both a long tradition as well as future prospects. However, western theoretical concepts and practical findings were only considered from a critical perspective as they failed to conform to the principles of Marxist-Leninist ideology (Savinkin 1988).

Officially, openness and collaboration should have been enhanced through contacts between Soviet military sociologists and their western colleagues. In 1967, a Military Department of the Soviet Sociological Association was formed. The same year, its members took part in the First International Conference of Military Sociologists in London on the theme Armed Forces and Society. Beginning in September 1970, Soviet military sociologists had the chance to have regular contacts with western scholars within the International Sociological Association.13 However, “counteracting” the views and theories of the western bourgeois sociology was the focus here as well, eliminating most of the potential beneficial effects of this interaction.

While preparing for the 10th World Sociological Congress in Mexico City in 1982, the president of the Soviet Sociological Association, Professor Khatchik Momdjan, wrote Soviet Minister of Defense Dmitry Ustinov:

Because of the aggravation of the international situation we cannot exclude the possibility of anti-soviet and anti-socialist provocation on the part of American sociologists and sociologists from other imperialist countries . . . That is why during the session RC01 “Armed Forces and Society” the Soviet representatives must not only present a profound scientific report, but also counterattack each reactionary during discussions (Momdjan 1982, 1–2).

Hence, practically the whole Soviet period was characterized by the isolated development of military sociology, ignoring and negating the accomplishments of international colleagues.

After the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, “On measures of the further development of social sciences and enhancing their role in communist building” (August 14, 1967), the defense minister issued a directive on forming a Department of Military-Sociological Studies of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet army and navy. During its decade of existence (1967–1977), it was headed by Maj. Gen. Viktor Konoplyov. The studies undertaken by the department embraced a vast area of problems,14 but their results were never published in the free press. From its very inception the Soviet military sociology became a science “for internal use.” As one author described:

The activities of the military-sociological studies department were constrained by stringent secrecy. Results of public opinion polls were reported to the head of the Chief Political Directorate and his deputies only. These particular features turned the department into a purely informative body when from hundreds of figures that were hard to obtain only a couple were taken for the report to the leadership. . . . Most valuable materials were doomed to be left unknown (Deryugin et al. 1994, 33–34).

Keeping the results of sociological studies of the military away from public view became a typical feature of all research divisions of the military-sociological studies department.

Furthermore, a critical indicator of the beginning of military sociology institutionalization (initially by “concrete military-sociological studies”) was several theses developing theoretical and methodological basis of military sociology drafted in the LMPA in the 1960s and 1970s. They included such PhD theses as: “Personality and Military Teams” (N.D. Tubunov, 1969); “The Problem of Determinism in Soviet Military Science” (S.A. Tyushkevich, 1969); “Sociological and gnoseological analysis of military ethical theory problems” (D.A.Volkogonov, 1971); “Scientific and methodological foundation of concrete military-sociological studies” (V.M. Puzik, 1972); “Army and Society (sociological analysis)” (A.A. Timorin, 1972); “Social and class relations and development of the army of socialist type” (K.A.Vorobyov, 1974) and others. Moreover, in the 1970s and 1980s a number of basic theoretical papers were also published. The most significant of these were “War and Army” (Volkogonov and Milovidov 1977), “Human in Modern War” (Sredin et al. 1981) and others. The problems of war and the military were analyzed deeply and comprehensively in these papers (though solely through the prism of Marxist-Leninist theory). However, the prevailing approach was philosophical; thus, the results of (by that time numerous) military-sociological studies were practically not used at all.

The first paper to provide solid substantiation for theoretical ideas that were in part drawn directly from the results of sociometric polls was the monograph, “Socialist Military Team” (Kovalyov 1980). Its author was one of the developers of the “sociometer” (Kovalyov and Chepurov 1976),15 a portable device used in interviewing respondents. Gradually, the methods and methodologies of social information gathering were improved (Borodin and Chepurov 1987).

Thus, the institutional development of the Soviet military sociology was flourishing in the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s. Soviet scholars revived and developed sociology together with military sociology. However, that process took place exclusively within the military organizational framework. As is the case today, “civil” sociologists were not allowed access to the army or navy. Studies were thus undertaken by “sociologists in uniform.”

Apart from the further qualitative improvement of military-sociological studies, specific steps to devise military-sociological theory were taken. In 1983, 1986 and 1988, the LMPA held interuniversity conferences on the problems of military sociology. Moreover, the policies of glasnost and perestroika launched by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 promoted greater openness in Soviet society. In November 1989, Moscow hosted the first international scientific conference on New Thinking and Military Politics that for the first time ever attracted scholars from capitalist countries, including the US, the UK, and Germany, and featuring military sociology pioneers Charles Moskos and Anton Bebler (Chaldymov and Cherkasenko 1990).

Also in 1989, the Soviet army and navy began to develop socio-psychological services, introducing military psychologists and sociologists to the military. To fill these vacancies, the military-pedagogical department of the LMPA began turning officers into skilled experts by having them enroll in a three-year course. Then, in 1990, a chair of military sociology was founded at LMPA, its first holder being Captain Lev Yegorov. That same year, in addition to training research sociologists, LMPA began training sociology professors for military institutes and for academic institutions. A network of R&D centers was also developed. The Division of Military-Sociological Studies of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet army and navy that operated from 1967 to 1977 was succeeded by various R&D organizations and social and humanities (including sociological) divisions (See Table 2). Their research activities were multifaceted and interdisciplinary—that is, they had a social and legal, social and psychological, social and political character. However, they all had one feature in common: they conducted a significant number of studies directly in the army and navy, including those in extreme conditions. In particular, the scholars-officers took part in all major military field training exercises and worked in disaster areas such Chernobyl in 1986 and the Leninakan earthquake in 1988, and as part of the war in Afghanistan (1979–1989).

Table 2.  Dynamics of R&D Divisions and Sociological Organizations in the Armed Forces of the USSR and Russian Federation (1967–2016)


Name of R&D divisions

Dates of operation


Department of Military-Sociological Studies of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy

November 13, 1967–August 10, 1977


The 2nd Directorate (of socio-political and psychological studies) of the Institute of Military Theory and History of the USSR Ministry of Defense

August 8, 1977–October 30, 1985


The 1st Directorate (of socio-political and psychological studies) of the Institute of Military Theory and History of the USSR Ministry of Defense

October 30, 1985–July 30, 1989


Basic Legal Military Research Laboratory under the Military and Legal Department of the Military Institute of the USSR Ministry of Defense

December 29, 1979–July 30, 1989


Group of Military and Psychological Matters of the Directorate of Propaganda and Campaigns of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy

April 18, 1985–July 30, 1989


Center for Studying Public Opinion of Military Personnel under the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy

November 6, 1987–July 30, 1989


Center for Studying Social and Psychological Matters under the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy

July 30, 1989–December 23, 1991


Department of Military-Sociological Studies of the Military Personnel Committee of the Russian Ministry of Defense

January 1–September 3, 1992


Center for Military-Sociological, Psychological and Legal Studies of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation

December 24, 1991–December 31, 1994


Department of Military-Sociological and Legal Studies (Military-Sociological Department) of the Main Educational Directorate of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation

January 1, 1995–August 30, 2003


Research and development (sociological) Center of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (under the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation)

January 28, 2002–present day

The most effective and efficient work was shown by the Center of Social and Psychological Problems at the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet army and navy that was active in the last years of the Soviet Union’s existence. It generalized and optimized the whole previous experience of undertaking sociological studies, carrying out 27 large-scale and 52 operational sociological studies in the army and navy.16 What is important is that the Gorbachev epoch opened up previously forbidden topics for these scholars.17 However, as in the past, the results of these studies were rarely published in the free press. Military sociology in the USSR remained a “science in uniform” and “a science for internal use only.” This tradition was preserved and is reflected in many aspects of the modern Russian period.

Military Sociology in the Russian Federation: Turbulent Growth, Limited Possibilities and Going Beyond the Military Organization

The impetus of 1980s encouraged the dynamic growth of military sociology in the first decade after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The end of the totalitarian regime and attempts to build a democratic foundation for the Russian nation promoted the role of sociology in the life of society. These changes for the better could be seen in military sociology as well.

Although the term “military sociology” was formally recognized and included into a sociological encyclopedia (Vorobyov 1991), professional sociologists still had certain reservations in relation to their military colleagues. The turning point, however, was in 1993 when the main sociological journal Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya (Sociological Studies) published a special issue on the challenges of military sociology (Dmitriev, 1993). From that moment, the journal has had a regular military sociology section, with 67 articles published in the first decade alone (see Table 3). Significantly, this journal was the first to publish an article on a military topic by American authors Irina McKeehan and Roy E. Campbell, entitled “Interethnic conflicts in the Soviet Army”—something that would have been impossible in the Soviet era. It contained a critical assessment of the dual (integrating and disintegrating) role of the Soviet armed forces. According to McKeehan and Campbell:

Table 3.  Themes of Publications in the Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya (Sociological Studies) Journal (Founded in 1974) on the Problems of Military Sociology (1974–2017)


Themes of publications

Period of time (years)








Historical memory about the Great Patriotic War








Military policy, military security, reforms of the armed forces








Social security of military personnel and members of their families, social rehabilitation of combat veterans






Deviant behavior of military personnel






History and methodology of military sociology







Civil and military relations






Military education







Morale, mindset and attitude towards religion of military personnel







Professionalization of the armed forces, military profession







Other security structures, elements of the military organization of the country (the Interior Ministry troops, the Federal Security Service border control troops)







Military and patriotic upbringing, developing young people to serve in the armed forces






Military sociology abroad







Sociological legacy






Editorial matters






Methods and organizational issues of military-sociological studies






Book reviews





Gender relations, female military service



















Soviet Army military service performs a dual role: it provides for military security and the social adaptation of young people, which improves the adaptation of the draftees to the dominant system of the Soviet social rules, standards and cultural values and the development of a Soviet human being (Homo Soveticus) . . . and at the same time it differentiates the drafters along primary groups formed on the signs of national affiliation. (McKeehan and Campbell 1992, 94, 98).

The Russian Federation Armed Forces had a multilevel system of training military sociologists: a) officers were trained to become sociology specialists (307 officers in total in 1982–2002) in research (a total of 232 researchers graduated in 1982–2000) and teaching (75 teachers graduated in 1990–2002); b) non-military young people were also trained as sociologists (619 persons in total in 1994–2012) and were commissioned in the military as lieutenants after a 5-year-course; and c) the further professional training of staff between 1990–2012, which produced 11 PhDs and 79 PhD candidates.

Having a large number of professionally trained experts resulted in a surge of publications on issues of military sociology (Bogatyryov 1992; Gilmanov 1992; Vedernikov 1994; Gerasimov 1994; Mamontov 1995; Brovko and Ippolitov 1996; Brazevich 1997; Narykov 1997; Popikov 1997; Sablukov 1997; Skok 1997; Lapshov 1998; Loza 1998; Maslyuk 1998; Pusko 1998; Spitsyn 1998; Yakovlev 1998; Khagena and Savinkin 1999; Krivenko 1999; Primakov 2000, Smirnov 2000; Tyurikov 2000; Volkov 2001; Kibakin 2001; Stepanova 2001; Belyaev 2002a; Bondarenko 2002, Nikitin 2002; Guskov 2003; Lapshin and Scherbakova 2003) as well as on the methods and techniques of military-sociological studies (Andreev 1992; Andreev and Makarov 1994; Skok 1995; Solovyov 1996). Additionally, articles that summarized the field were also published, including a systemic reflection of its historical development (Obraztsov et al. 1997), a collection of classical texts (Dobrenkov 2002), as well as the generalized results of military-sociological studies (Solovyov and Obraztsov 1997). Sociology was finally and successfully introduced into the curricula of military institutes and academia (Obraztsov 2008).

Research and development organizations were also robust. Among them were the Center for Military–Sociological, Psychological and Legislation Studies of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (TsVSPPI) (1992–1994) and the Division of Military–Sociological and Legislation Studies Section (military-sociological section) of the Main Department of Education Work of the Armed Forces (1995–2003). During this time, TsVSPPI staffers undertook twenty large scale and fifty-eight operative sociological studies on the army and navy. Moreover, the military-sociological section conducted over one hundred studies over a wide range of social problems faced in the army and navy.

However, in the early 2000s, as Vladimir Putin came to power, a “sovereign” or “controlled” model of democracy with certain features of autocracy was gradually established. Among other changes, governmental control of the sociological centers and organizations was strengthened. For example, the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTSIOM) went under complete government control, and Yury Levada’s Analytical Center was declared a “foreign agent.”

These developments had negative consequences for military sociology as well. The entire multilevel system of training military sociologists was dismantled: In 2002, officer training stopped, and while civilian youth training continued for another ten years, this may only have been the case because of inertia, as all sociology posts in the military had already been eliminated. A rather small Scientific Research (Sociological) Center of the Russian Federation Armed Forces was established in 2002; however, its research is classified and only disseminated within the military. Moreover, its staff members have not published a single article in the main Russian sociological journal. Instead, the results of their studies have been published in an in-house bulletin, Voenno-Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya (Military-Sociological Studies), which remains inaccessible to the general public. In fact, the focus of the sociological center’s research was primarily confined to assessing the moral and psychological state of military men. This has reduced the number and affected the contents of the research papers published. The vast majority of published work uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the modern military organization, including social/philosophical, social/political, and others (Tsygankov and Ryazantsev 2004; Veremchuk 2005; Kokoshin 2005; Korolyov 2005; Lavrentiev 2005; Rukavishnikov 2005; Kuznetsov 2005; Mikhailyonok 2006; Danilova 2007; Dobrenkov 2007; Samoilov 2007; Tsybakov 2007; Zelenkov 2008; Muzyakov 2008; Peven 2008; Agranat 2009; Panov 2010; Smirnov 2010; Filimonov 2011; Peven 2012; Kravchenko 2016; Bondarenko 2018 and others). The most interesting of these authors in terms of a retrospective analysis of military history are actively developing such approaches as the socio-psychological (Sinyavskaya 1999, 2006) and socio-anthropological (Guschin 2014). It is interesting to point out that only one textbook on the methods and techniques of military-sociological studies has been published in the 2000s (Bashlakov 2008).

Thus, the current state of affairs in military sociology has actually regressed to where it was in the late 1960s when a small division, the Division of Military–Sociological Studies of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy, conducted military research. The results of this research were shared with a limited number of people in-house. Such a “departmental” model18 is inevitably subject to “servelizm”—that is, serving and promoting the interests of the authorities—and self-isolation from other researchers and their work. As Belyaev puts it:

Acquiring the status of a branch of sociology also implies an end of the period of interdepartmental development of military sociology that was justified previously (2002b, 71).

In contrast to the Russian experience, the experience of the rest of the world verified the superiority of the “university” model, where a country’s leading universities compete fiercely to win annual grants to undertake sociological research on the military (with the most successful being in the US, Canada, the UK, France, and South Korea). In modern Russia, such an approach is virtually impossible due to the closed nature of the military. Thus, a compromise model may be that of the mixed “departmental and university” option which currently exists with significant success in Israel, Poland, and Germany.19

In today’s Russia, military sociology is mere theorization devoid of any empirical research, given the impossibility of undertaking it within a closed military. What little empirical research is done is conducted by the military, in the military, and for the military and results in primitive interpretations uninformed by sociological theory. The state of military sociology in Russia is revealed by such publications as Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya (Sociological Studies). Most publications are retrospective and historical in their approach, whereas contemporary issues facing the Russian Armed Forces are rarely presented (see Table 3). Moreover, 70% to 80% of these authors are either in active military service or retired (Obraztsov 2014a, 2014b).

Under these conditions, military sociology is becoming increasingly blurred and dissipated into the wider sociology of conflict (Zdravomyslov 1996; Solomatina 2011), sociology of risk (Mozgovaya 2001; Yanitsky 2003; Kravchenko 2016), sociology of security (Tepechin 1995; Kuznetsov 2003; Viktorov 2008; Schultz and Tsyganov 2010; Kravchenko 2016), and sociology of war (Filippov 2015). Thus, military sociology in Russia is losing its status as a distinct subfield of sociology and is returning to something resembling military-sociological studies.


In this article, I have discussed how scholars have not yet fleshed out a full and detailed history of the development of military sociology throughout the world, particularly at the early stages of its development. Its emergence and development is generally presented in a one-sided manner—and primarily from within the American tradition. The evolution of military sociology in Europe, including Russia, is grossly underrepresented.

As we have seen, the Russian experience is largely a sad one—where the institutionalization of military sociology occurred under difficult conditions of a totalitarian regime characterized by isolationism, stringent control and censorship. Thus, its establishment and development took place within the military community, leading to the formation of a “science in uniform” or a “science for internal use.” The intermittency and discontinuity of the majority of its developmental stages, along with the irrecoverable loss of unarguably useful and substantial attainments, are unfortunately characteristic features of “the Russian path” of the development of military sociology.

In conclusion, I argue that it is essential to understand the Soviet/Russian experience to have a detailed understanding of the global and multifaceted institutionalization of military sociology in the world. This might also initiate scientific debates about the past, present and future prospects of this branch of sociology. Finally, the future of military sociology in Russia entirely depends on the extent of openness of the country’s military organization—that is, the military and other defense ministries and agencies—the harmonization of civil and military relations, as well as the promotion of civilian control over the military. Indeed, military sociology itself should be contributor to the achievement of that control, providing civil society and its institutions with credible information about the state of the military and of military personnel.


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1. A comparative analysis of these two textbooks is beyond the scope of this article. However, this fact can once again show that the evolution of military sociology should be considered in a comprehensive way, in all its diversity and national specificity.

2. Only slightly over 5 percent of the publications listed appeared before 1942.

3. Examples of such work by European authors that deserve to be included are Picq 1880; Vaccaro 1886; Berndt 1897; Novicow 1894; Constantin 1907; Steinmetz 1907; Westermark 1909; Gusti 1915; Cru 1929; Steinmetz 1929; Demetr 1930; Golovin 1931; Duprat 1932; Demetr 1935; Lewis 1939.

4. This was discovered by Vladimir N. Vedernikov and G.P. Regentov (1985).

5. Zemstva were elected local authorities (zemskie sobrania—local assemblies; zemskie upravy—local councils) from 1864 to 1918 at the level of guberniya (province), uezd (county) and volost (district).

6. Significantly, the conclusions of the Isaac Spielrein research group (Spielrein et al. 1928), as well as the political emigre Semyon Portugeis (pseudonym S. Ivanovich) who studied the Red Army using publications in the Soviet military press (Ivanovich 1931), were practically identical. Despite all the efforts of Soviet power, the USSR Army by the mid-1920s had not yet become “red,” largely ignoring active communist propaganda.

7. The head of the research group, Isaac Spielrein, was arrested in 1935 and charged with counterrevolution activities and espionage. He was shot in 1937 and rehabilitated in 1957.

8. Lt. Gen. Nikolay Mikhnevich died in 1927. Lt. Gen. Andrey Snesarev was arrested in 1930 and charged with counterrevolution activities and espionage. He was sentenced to be shot, but his sentence was commuted to 10 years of incarceration. He was released on parole in 1934 because of illness. He died in 1937 and was rehabilitated in 1958. Maj. Gen. Alexander Svechin was arrested in 1930, 1931 and 1937 and charged with counterrevolution activities and espionage. He was shot in 1938 and rehabilitated in 1956.

9. Marxism-Leninism is a system of philosophical, economic and socio-political views that is said to constitute the mindset of the working class. It is an ideology that aims to revolutionarily transform the world, through the revolutionary struggle of the working class to overthrow capitalism, and build a socialist and communist society (Marxism-Leninism 1987: 764–765).

10. Apart from KVSI attendants at LMPA other non-tenured divisions within the USSR Armed Forces also focused on sociological studies. They were Department of Sociological Studies at the Editors’ Office of Leninskoye Znamya (Lenin’s Banner) newspaper of the Kiev Military Command Region; Sociological Studies Office at the Political Directorate of the Moscow Military Command Region and others.

11. Subsequently Military Political Academy (Humanitarian Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation from 1992, Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation from 1994) became the basic center of professional training of military sociologists and development of theoretical and methodological problems of military sociology.

12. It was with participation of attendants of the military-sociological studies society of the Military Political Academy that the first large-scale sociological studies in the Soviet Armed Forces were held: a study of interpersonal relations in divisions of military construction units (1966–1967); ways and means of enhancing performance of submarine mates to strengthen military discipline in the Northern and Baltic Navies (1966–1967); effectiveness of mass political efforts to strengthen military discipline in the troops taking into account social changes in rank and file (February–July, 1967); analysis of political awareness of army conscripts and effectiveness of political classes sources (1968–1969); a study on the problems of military and patriotic upbringing of the youth and their training for service in the armed forces of the Kursk and Donetsk regions (January–April, 1969); the reader and the newspaper: a sociological study of the composition and interests of the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper readers (1969); theater and its social and educating function (1970) and others.

13. The USSR representatives were elected to the governing bodies of the International Sociological Association: in 1970-1974 RC1 Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution Vice-President was Major General PhD Viktor Konoplyov, in 1974-1990 that was Major General PhD Stepan Tyushkevich.

14. Some of the studies undertaken by military-sociological studies department embraced large arrays of servicemen (from 1,200 to 8,000 people). Research problems included: a) studying moral, political and psychological preparation of troops during large-scale field training exercises (including those with the use of poisonous substances) and long-haul training expeditions (in large units of submarines, at the Mediterranean squadron and others) as well as in the extreme conditions (when armed forces were brought in Czechoslovakia in 1968); b) moral and psychological resistance of special groups of servicemen (pilots, paratroopers, submariners and others); c) reasons for suicide in the army and navy; d) effectiveness of party, political and ideological (educational) work with the servicemen; e) problems of military press (readers’ interests in the military) and others.

15. The device was developed by an employee of the Department of Military-Sociological Studies of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy, Lieutenant Colonel V.N. Kovalyov and a military engineer, Major V.M. Chepurov in 1973 (authors’ certificate for the invention was granted in February, 1975). The device could tackle a vast number of research tasks in small audiences (up to 30 persons): from studying different aspects of public opinion to holding sociometering procedures to diagnose the character of interpersonal relations. The device was portable (two packages, 8-10 kg each), thus enabling the researcher to be mobile. “Sociometer” was successfully tried and tested in the army and navy. However it did not survive to its mass production.

16. The findings of these studies were in a greater demand of military administration bodies on such matters as: a) dynamics of social processes and the extent of social strain in the Armed Forces; b) reforming and reorganizing educational body activities (former political bodies); c) studying and forecasting the religious affairs in the Armed Forces; d) forming and perfecting a recruitment system for volunteer military service in the Armed Forces; e) honing education and boosting motivation for service among military institutes and academia students; f) studying moral and psychological state and quality characteristics of draftees and others.

17. Some of the most critical areas of their work were: a) counteracting harassment among conscripts and prevention of suicide in the army and navy; b) studying psychological resistance of staff under extreme conditions; c) participation in establishing and developing a service of professional psychological selection within the USSR Armed Forces; d) identifying reasons and forms of latent criminal behavior manifestation and devising measures to prevent misconduct by officers; e) legal regulations of authority of units and large units commanders; democratization in the army and navy; f) national relations in the Armed Forces and raising the culture of interethnic communication of servicemen; g) family and domestic relations in the families of officers, the effect of moral and psychological atmosphere in the family on addressing service tasks and so on.

18. The “departmental model” of military sociology development was characteristic of the Eastern Bloc (Warsaw Pact) countries in 1955-1991. That was a path for military sociology growth in Poland, Eastern Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia.

19. These countries have their universities undertaking studies alongside departmental research and development bodies: Wojskowy Instytut (Biuro) Badań Socjologicznych (WIBS) in Poland, Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut der Bundeswehr (SOWI) in the FRG.