Mistrust of each other grew and broke through like a festering abscess in the autumn of 1983. NATO began near the borders of Eastern Europe with the “Experienced Archer” military exercise: regular units and special forces took up their positions, but most importantly, according to the exercise scenario, the field basing of the American Pershing-2 nuclear warheads was assumed.
In response, the Soviet army began full-scale combat deployment, army aviation began an urgent transfer of arsenals to military units of nuclear weapons. Due to the secrecy regime, mobilization was not officially announced in the country, but in fact it began ...
Anyone who once had a red lane of the 1st category reservist in the mobilization directive perfectly understands his measure of responsibility, but always hopes for the best, which does not always work out ...
It was an early weekend morning, so that the messenger from military registration and enlistment offices and military patrols, reinforced by the police, did not have much difficulty “pulling out” from a warm bed or just outside that respectable fathers of families, which are still young boys. The traffic police together with the military stopped the cars on the roads, took away the documents, waybills, and the vehicles went to the assembly point under their own power.
I was at work, so my wife’s call that the messenger had rescued me was not particularly alarmed ... The call to the draft board at first dispelled the feeling of anxiety, at the other end of the tube the attendant assured that nothing was wrong - just a check of mobilization readiness. They say that the sooner you check in, the sooner you let go ... It’s still crazy enough for a fool to catch a taxi for their money and, having picked up a military ID at home, quickly appear at the military registration and enlistment office.
The corridors were crammed with the same poor things as I was. The war machine, with a creak, began to spin, swallowing new portions of new arrivals over and over again.
Closer to the night, hiding from the chilly autumn wind, I doomedly sewed the senior lieutenant's shoulder straps to the soldiers' overcoat and old-style gymnastics. The same as me now, "partisans" were crowding around me ...
Large and not equipped platoon tents did not save from the penetrating cold. The gloomy October forest near Narofominsky tried to somehow warm our mob, removing not only the lower boughs, but even the bark of the trees. In the morning, the trunks were almost all naked and pale - either from hoarfrost or from their own kind of natural premonitions. At night, there was snow, which could not hide the traces of our vital activity, but on the contrary - it thickly painted everything around in unsightly colored stains.
Knocking kettles and teeth from the cold, people crowds gathered at the field kitchens.
The forest, foul for one night, the smell of campfires and barley from the boiler, multiplied by the persistent amber of the boot and the long-timed uniforms, created a unique aroma of the upcoming sad and disturbing pastime.
In the queue at the boilers, the news from the first night was lively discussed: four people froze to death, including one partisan-colonel, who only four months ago was demobilized after many years of service. He was said not to be cold, but died of a heart attack. Everyone understood that this did not happen for the joy of his falling into his native element ... What can you do - fate ...
Mars grunted contentedly, accepting the first sacrifices.
The people, though downed by the will of fate and the minds of the generals in the gray-uniforms herd, still began to grumble deeply. The very first “AWOLs”, in which, recalling the experience of the urgent service, I also ran, they confirmed that families and relatives are not aware of our adventures at all.
Anticipating the first unrest and discontent, we, the officers-political workers, gathered in the evening of the second day for the meeting a career colonel - the head of the political department. For a long time he tried to tell us about the military duty, about love for the Motherland and the need to endure all the burdens and deprivations of military service ... Nothing new.
After telling a couple of absolutely stupid army jokes to raise the spirit, the colonel invited us to speak.
The silence was interrupted by the "partisan captain": "Comrade Colonel, how many people do you have in submission now?"
"Over eight thousand people."
“And you dare for eight thousand people to create such conditions of life and overnight stays? Tomorrow I will make sure that you and your superiors are not only taken off their shoulder straps, but also called to the Central Committee (CPSU)! ”
We, of course, immediately dropped a nap, animated. The meeting, the colonel immediately stopped, inviting the captain to introduce himself.
Then the fun began ...
The captain turned out to be the first deputy chairman of the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations. Returning from a business trip to Syria three days ahead of schedule, he “hung” with his mistress. And what - the family in the country ... He - "still on a business trip" ... Everything was going great!
He was tied up by a patrol when he went to the store to buy cigarettes. Just like everything, so that they could get rid of it faster, I went for a military ID - and to the military registration and enlistment office. What could threaten him if, in his words, he already has three acting generals in submission! When I began to explain who he was, the attendant called the State Committee. They confirmed that there is such and such, he works as vice-chairman, but he is on a business trip now, abroad. Impostor, in short.
The trap shut! A scandal can not be lifted - decipher with his mistress!
He had to endure, even in a separate tent, for a few more days our society - too high spheres swirled this mobilization dance with Mars.
Only two days later the black “Volga” brought the captain into a transcendental civil reality for us, and we laughed for a long time, and discussed this incident - “God marks offended people!”
The long-forgotten army weekdays began, with the combat coordination of units, the receipt and re-entry of equipment and weapons, with dismal political occupations. The reserve army of the front under the command of General Neyolov pumped up the press and muscles, trying to please the God of War ...
The only available entertainment was the rare trips around the neighborhood as a patrol chief. The guys I picked up a reliable and harsh, which we have repeatedly demonstrated, beating their own from the local garrison patrols. Only once, at the beginning, was a small man's holiday, when one of my fighters, inspired, probably by political information, remembered that in his tank truck, standing among other traffic police confiscated traffic police, beer was poured, which would probably spoil if it was not drunk in time by tearing seals from a crane. But he didn’t say anything to us, in which case ...
Somewhere in a month, when the tension of opposition began to subside and the mutual curtailment of exercises and nuclear arsenals began, we, the commanders and political workers, remembered that it was time for people to return to peaceful work, to their families, to their wives and children, and not to hang out in clothes not on the growth of polygon mud, like ... in the hole.
Realizing our true destiny, as well as the impending elections in some regular branch of power, we first inspired, and then supported the personnel in a holy rush - not to go for these elections in the military field conditions ... In those far times it was a strong statement - do not support the vote "a single bloc of communists and non-party"!
No matter how God of War resisted and gnashed his teeth, dancing on anger, we were soon demobilized. But after all, Mars cannot without a roar, if not guns, then a timpani! Everything ended solemnly - with the passage of the partisan troops to the real-life general under the music of “Farewell of the Slav” by the music.
Striding ahead of my company, along with its commander, Vitka, I could not help a stray smile ... Probably, the real partisans looked like that - overgrown, long unwashed, smelling of cheap smoke and fume, leaned on, but with a special shine in the eyes expectations of change, from the anticipation of meetings and events in another - peaceful, civilian life. The special charm of the army gave a large number of overweight men, whose stomachs did not fit in their overcoats, even with undo hlyastikami, why they are more like not fighters, but church bells ...
Frowning viciously and continually stumbling in the dirty slush created by a multitude of tank tracks and soldiers' boots, the reserve Army of the front battalion, peacefully, without a single shot went down in history.
It was a spectacular sight ...
And a little later, we began to move towards Moscow in disgusting ranks, making a moaning crowd, overcrowding suburban electric trains and scaring away passengers and random controllers ...
P. S. In the photo, the author is seen against the background of "Pershing 2" and SS-20 "Satan" in the National Aerospace Museum (Washington) thirty or so years after the events described.