Sociological center of the Russian Federation Armed Forces
Military sociology is one of the most important fields of sociological science. It studies formation, development and functioning of the state military organization as a social institution in peacetime and wartime, its engagement with other social institutions and the society as a whole. The focuses of military sociology also include processes and relations among individuals and different communities within the very military organization as well as social aspects of wars and armed conflicts.
In fact Russia is a birthplace of military sociology. In 1847 for the first time in the world practice a military statistics department was founded at the Imperial Military Academy. Field Marshal General D.A. Milyutin (1816-1912) issued his fundamental theoretical work “The first experiences in military statistics” where he deepened the subject matter of this discipline up to the level of the military organization of all the country, showed its close connection “with the subjects of political sciences”. Over the years the Russian military sociology has seen rapid development and years of oblivion within firmly-fixed ideological frames, unjustified absence of demand on the research results.
Nowadays the only organic sociological unit in the Russian Federation Armed Forces is the Sociological center. Regarding itself in the 150-year tradition of the military sociological supply of the Russian Army it performs monitoring of social processes in the Army and the Navy in order to formulate for the government and military authorities proposals for moral and psychological aspects of building, training and use of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Another important task of the center is to provide information and methodological support for the commanders, staffs and departments for their work with the military personnel.
Among the permanent tasks performed by the research laboratories of the center there is also the annual monitoring of socio-economic and legal status of servicemen and members of their families. It is carried out according to the Federal Act on the status of military personnel and the Government Decision No. 232 dated February 27, 1999. There should be mentioned the monitoring of the implementation of measures carried out within the Social Development Strategy of the Russian Federation Armed Forces until 2020.
Simultaneously military sociologists perform development of new psychological methodologies and adaptation of the standard ones to the conditions of their use in the Russian Armed Forces. They study servicemen’s point of view concerning topical issues of public and military life in the Army and the Navy, ensure scientific backup for the measures carried out within the military reform.
The study of problems of military education, analysis of the work concerning the orientation of civil population and different categories of servicemen on entering military high schools is an important aspect of the work of military sociologists.
During military sociological research the following methods are used: sociological (questionnaire and expert) surveys, tests, interviews, archival research, observation as well as facilitating focus groups.
Today the results of military sociologists’ work are in demand more than ever before. The experience of military building shows that analysis of social processes in the Russian Armed Forces is essential for effective development of science-based proposals and recommendations for the government and military authorities.