Why did the Soviet military retain the traditional Officer/Enlisted class binary rather than instituting some other hierarchichal structure?
November 2, 2012 8:45 AM Subscribe
Why did the Soviet military retain the traditional (western) Officer/Enlisted class binary rather than instituting some other hierarchichal structure? How did they ideologically justify maintaining two distinct and separate classes, one subordinate to the other, in an army putatively fighting for a classless society?
[ Asked this yesterday over at /r/AskHistorians. A few interesting insights in that thread, but no real answers. Good discussion of early attempts — and early breakdowns — in "battlefield democracy" during the revolution, but little about the question as asked. ]
Not asking why the Soviet military had ranks
or how they justified having a hierarchical structure — it's very clear to me why a military would need these things — I'm asking why they perpetuated the two-class Officer/Enlisted system
, which seems like it would be abhorrent to Marxist thought inasmuch as it retains and so closely mirrors unequal class relationships in capitalist society.
- Did the Red or Soviet Armies discuss the need for and/or attempt to implement some single-class (non-Officer/Enlisted) command structure?
- Why was it not implemented? Or if implemented: why/how did it not work?
- How did the Soviet scholars / mouthpieces / academics / apparatchik justify (internally, and to outsiders) the perpetuation of this binary? According to them, why was this needed? When was this two-class binary supposed to go away? Just... "sometime during the process of achieving communism"?
Many thanks for your time and for your expertise.