Milyutin transformation: an enlightening experience – Part II

Vladimir Moltenskoi
Military-Industrial Courier
Published in issue number 46 (412) for November 23, 2011

"MIC" continues to publish reports and statements made at the recent Russian military leaders in the Club of scientific and practical conference "On the 150th anniversary of the military reform Lopatkin Milutin and its significance for the modern military building."

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Military Reform: errors and ways to correct them

How to create in our country a truly modern in every way the Armed Forces
Alexei Arbatov , Vladimir Dvorkin
Military-Industrial Courier
Published in issue № 25 (442) for June 27, 2012

After years of official statements that the military reform in Russia is over and will continue to take place only optimization of military policy and military development in the country has once again started the reform of the army and navy. The decision was taken in September of 2008: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a document entitled "Plan of reorganization of the Armed Forces." October 14 of the same year, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov openly announced the plan at the board MO.

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Russian Defense Minister Serdyukov’s reforms attract wide domestic criticism

Eurasia Daily Monitor
September 4, 2012 — Volume 9, Issue 159

Russia’s ‘Military Reform’: Flowers, Weeds and AWOL Gardeners

Four years after launching the reform of Russia’s conventional Armed Forces, which many wrongly equate with “military reform,” a bleak picture is emerging from within the military concerning its progress to date. The Russian Ministry of Finance recently published figures related to defense and security spending for 2012 to 2015, which gives a semblance of steady state support for rearmament. But despite the presentation of the flowering of the reform “strategy,” more evidence is appearing about its numerous weeds, dying flowers and complete lack of overall planning. What Russian officers have come to perceive as “Serdyukovshchina” (a hybrid of the defense minister’s name and the practice of brutal hazing in the military known as “dedovshchina”) is most striking in the seemingly endless series of reform experiments and setbacks that expose no real conceptual approach as its basis.

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Russian Defense Ministry aims to test “new look” of Armed Forces in North Caucasus

Eurasia Daily Monitor
August 14, 2012 — Volume 9, Issue 155

Russia Plans “Kavkaz-2012” as Test for Southern Military District

In September, the Russian Armed Forces will stage a major exercise in the country’s Southern Military District (MD) aimed at testing aspects of the ongoing reform of the conventional elements of its military, including the new commands, integrated operations, and digitized command and control (C2). However, given its proximity to the South Caucasus and the memory of the Five Day War in August 2008, the Russian Defense Ministry has actively attempted to downplay “Kavkaz-2012” (“Caucasus-2012”), due to be held September 17-23 at the Prudboy, Kapustin Yar, and Ashuluk and Rayevskoye training ranges in Volgograd and Astrakhan Regions, as well as Krasnodar Krai in the Southern MD. Kavkaz-2012 will involve more than 8,000 Russian military personnel, including ground forces and naval units, as well as precision strike systems, though defense officials want to promote the exercise as quiet and normal. On August 8, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin blasted Tbilisi for fuelling controversy over Kavkaz-2012 for more than one year since the strategic exercise was first announced (RIA Novosti, August 8).

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Russian military struggles to incorporate high-tech aerospace defense forces

Eurasia Daily Monitor
July 31, 2012 — Volume 9, Issue 145

The Kremlin, the VKO and the Search for ‘Luke Skywalker’

The Kremlin continues to struggle with balancing the needs of modernizing the conventional Armed Forces, renewing the strategic nuclear deterrent, and also forming and supporting the imprecisely defined high-technology demands of the Aerospace Defense Forces, while depending on a defense industry struggling to escape the 20th century (Vozdushno Kosmicheskaya Oborona – VKO). Recent articles and expert commentary in Moscow suggest that the VKO will absorb a huge amount of intellectual and financial resources and will open multiple opportunities to repeat the mistakes in reforming the conventional Armed Forces (EDM, July 24).

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Russian airborne troops’ combat readiness remains varied across the country

Shamanov Fights for VDV’s Future
Eurasia Daily Monitor
August 7, 2012 — Volume 9, Issue 150

Since the reform of Russia’s conventional armed forces began in October 2008, Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov has fought to protect the country’s elite airborne forces (Vozdushno Desantnye Voiska – VDV) from many of the main elements of the transformation process. While the Armed Forces were downsized, officer cuts implemented at breakneck speed with later reversals and the old divisions melted into “new look” brigades, Shamanov preserved the VDV’s divisional structure and has since attempted to promote its interests at every opportunity. However, the relentless process of correcting the errors in the reform overseen by Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, which has led Russian military analysts to coin the term “Serdyukovshchina” (mixing the minister’s name with “dedovshchina” or institutionalized hazing in the military), has left even General Shamanov hard pressed to defend either the reform or the current plight of modernizing the VDV (RIA Novosti, August 2).

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This Week at War: A Leaner, Cleaner Russian Army

by Robert Haddick
SWJ Blog Post | June 22, 2012 – 2:25pm

This month, the U.S. Army War College released Can Russia Reform: Economic, Political and Military Perspectives, an anthology published by the college’s Strategic Studies Institute and edited by Stephen Blank, a professor at the college. Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and a long-time analyst of Russia’s military and security forces, contributed a chapter on reforming the Russian Army. Corruption, poor leadership, outmoded policies, and Russia’s impoverishment after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Galeotti suggests, has reduced the once-mighty Russian fighting force to an ineffective mob. In 2007, President Vladimir Putin moved Anatoly Serdyukov, then the government’s chief tax collector, to the Defense Ministry, with a mandate to fix the army — a task Serdyukov’s numerous predecessors had failed to accomplish. Facing monumental bureaucratic obstacles, Serdyukov’s struggle to reform the service has only begun. Whether he ultimately succeeds will have implications for Russia’s neighbors, the future of nuclear arms control, and the assertiveness of Putin’s foreign policy.

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