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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His Master’s Voice

Despite Criticism the Russian Government May Forge Ahead with Plans to Boost Military Capabilities
By Tai Adelaja
Russia Profile  07/24/2012

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for an increase in the pace of Russian rearmament on Monday – a move analysts say could draw a new line in the sand and make a new battle over military spending inevitable. Russia needs “a different pace of rearmament, which is especially important considering the adoption of a unified system of pricing for weapons," Medvedev told industry executives during a visit to an arms-producing plant. His call came as Finance Minister Anton Siluanov tries to persuade cabinet colleagues to back significant cuts in military spending.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry adds more intensive field work to training its NCOs and kontraktniki

Eurasia Daily Monitor
July 17, 2012 — Volume 9, Issue 135

Russian Army Intensifies Combat Training

As the summer combat training period intensifies for the Russian Army, supporting programs and changes to the training schedule suggest that greater attention is being given to improving its quality. Commanders in the Central Military District (MD) report that subunits will remain in the field if they only achieve satisfactory results, as part of a wider effort to raise combat training standards. This approach is also coupled with efforts to increase the proficiency of non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and kontraktniki (contract personnel), while experiments aimed at enhancing officer training are ongoing (Krasnaya Zvezda, July 12).

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Permanent Military Reform

Text of report by the website of heavyweight Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 15 March

Article by Vladimir Mukhin on the upcoming session of the the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. President Medvedev will participate in the session, which will consider results of the construction of the Russian Armed Forces in 2010 and the prospects for their development in the period up to 2020: "Permanent Military Reform"

The Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense have elaborated a program for the development of the Armed Forces of Russia up to 2020.

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Medvedev to attend meeting on progress of Russian army reform

Text of report by the website of heavyweight Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 15 March

Article by Vladimir Mukhin on the upcoming session of the the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. President Medvedev will participate in the session, which will consider results of the construction of the Russian Armed Forces in 2010 and the prospects for their development in the period up to 2020: "Permanent Military Reform"

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