Writing in Vedomosti, Aleksey Nikolskiy concludes that Serdyukov’s reforms are irreversible, despite the military’s dissatisfaction. His plans were quickly implemented, including the liquidation of many low-strength units. Officer cuts fell mostly on colonels and lieutenant colonels who had no one to command and almost numbered more than lieutenants. The desired ‘pyramid’ in the officer corps is visible.
Nikolskiy concludes that this new Russian Army isn’t for fighting NATO or China, which either will or have ceased to be mass armies themselves, but rather for action in the post-Soviet space.
The flip side of the radical break-up of the Soviet-style army is the mass, hidden dissatisfaction of officers cut in volumes not seen since the 1990s. It’s gone to the point where officers are being offered duties once discharged by warrants. The reformers promise to help discharged officers with apartments, separation benefits, and job placement, but in reality the ex-officers are running into mass violations of their rights. Nikolskiy says this won’t stop the reforms because opposition to them is so weak. And Serdyukov has the complete confidence of the White House and the Kremlin.