Daily Archives: February 11, 2010

Realities of Military Housing

Too much doctrine makes Jack a dull (ok, duller) boy.

Writing in Moskovskiy komsomolets, Olga Bozhyeva again puts reality and faces on Russia’s military housing problems.

Colonel Valeriy Ananyev (photo: Gennadiy Cherkasov)

Bozhyeva contrasts the announcement of a major aerial portion of the upcoming 9 May Victory Parade, featuring Long-Range Aviation among other Air Forces aircraft, with the living conditions of LRA officers:

“Homeless [apartmentless, if you will] bums from dormitories declared unfit 9 years ago will demonstrate the power of our strategic aviation on this holiday.”

Thirty-nine families of command personnel from LRA live in 14 communal apartments in the building on 41 Myasnitskaya Street.  Thirty-two of the officers are Honored Pilots or Navigators of the RF.  Their apartment block was built in 1891.

Colonel Ananyev says they’ve talked about relocating these officers since 2002, so they didn’t do any capital repairs.  An inspection showed that living in the building was dangerous.  Bozhyeva thinks maybe Defense Ministry officials thought this was ok since LRA officers are accustomed to danger.

Ananyev himself wears three military orders–the Red Star for Afghanistan, For Military Services for Chechnya, and For Honor for planning and participating in the LRA part of the 2008 parade over Red Square.

So, Bozhyeva asks, why didn’t Ananyev and his LRA neighbors in this dangerous building get some of the 45,000 military apartments reportedly acquired last year?  Because 44 apartments in Kozhukhovo intended for them are caught up in an investment contract dispute.

The State Property Committee (Goskomimushchestvo) was originally involved in preparing the paperwork so an investor could build an office building on the site of the ruined dormitory and the new Kozhukhovo apartments could be occupied by the LRA men.  However, Defense Minister Serdyukov squeezed Goskomimushchestvo out of the Defense Ministry’s property business in 2008 and the whole deal had to restart.  But it was forgotten until May 2009 when the Defense Ministry and the investor each blamed the other for not fulfilling the contract.

Apparently, under the contract, the Defense Ministry was supposed to move the LRA officers and their families out of the old building, so the investor could start work, and the LRA men would move into temporary quarters, then on to the new apartments when the investor finished them.  The company even offered to settle them directly in the new apartments, albeit on a provisional basis.  But the Defense Ministry didn’t accept, and the investor has empty apartments for which it pays communal fees and provides security.

So what led Ananyev to become a poster boy for the military housing problem?  He wrote twice to Serdyukov without receiving an answer.  Then he wrote to President Medvedev, and he got an answer, only from the Defense Ministry–no one would be allowed to occupy the Kozhukhovo apartments directly before the Defense Ministry took ownership of them.

No one can say when this will happen, but it’s only a matter of signing documents, according to Ananyev.

But it’s not so simple according to a Defense Ministry source familiar with the housing issue who spoke with Bozhyeva.

The source indicated there is a financial motive in this situation, but not corruption or bribery.  The Defense Ministry is operating according to an unwritten order–don’t give any more housing to officers in Moscow.  Kozhukhovo is the same as Moscow.  But in the outlying suburbs and Moscow Oblast housing is cheaper and the Defense Ministry can buy more apartments faster. 

Apparently, some officers have gone to court to get apartments in Moscow, but the courts, while backing their claims to apartments, are not enforcing their legal right to choose Moscow as the location.

Bozhyeva thinks this is a plausible explanation in the case of the LRA officers on Myasnitskaya Street.

She wrote a similar piece on the plight of PVO officers this summer, find it here.  They live at 37 Myasnitskaya.

Military Security and Military Policy

These are the next areas of the old and new military doctrines that require comparison.  The old is written in terms of military security, and the new–military policy.  Six of one, a half dozen of the other.  The new doctrine defines military policy as what the state does to ensure the country’s military security.

The old doctrine starts with a long section basically dedicated to a description of how Russia relies on diplomacy, international organizations, and international law to neutralize threats and safeguard its security.  It mentions its joint defense policy with Belarus, the CIS, the CSTO, strategic nuclear arms control agreements with the U.S., confidence-building measure, and nonproliferation.

Then the old doctrine proceeds to military means of ensuring Russia’s security, first and foremost, nuclear means, stating that “the Russian Federation proceeds on the basis of the need to have a nuclear potential capable of guaranteeing a set level of damage to any aggressor (state or coalition of states) under any circumstances.”

“The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”

The new doctrine’s military policy section also says the RF’s policy is to  deter and prevent conflicts and safeguard the country’s security.  No surprise.  It does this by maintaining its armed forces in a state of permanent readiness to protect the country and its allies, in accordance with international law and treaties of course.  The new doctrine is generally more concise in most of its points.

Both doctrines now list main principles for safeguarding security (old) or main tasks for deterring and preventing military conflicts (new).  The old list is actually shorter and more general:

  1. Firm leadership and civilian control over the state’s military organization.
  2. Effective forecasting, identification, and classification of military threats.
  3. Sufficient military forces, means, and resources, and their rational utilization.
  4. Correspondence between readiness, training, and support for the state’s military organization and military security requirements.
  5. Refusal to harm international security and the national security of other countries.

The new doctrine’s longer list captures some of what was in the old and it includes:

  1. Predict the global and regional military-political situation using modern technical systems and information technologies.
  2. Neutralize possible dangers and threats using political, diplomatic, and other nonmilitary means.
  3. Maintain strategic stability and the nuclear deterrence potential at an adequate level.
  4. Maintain the armed forces and other troops at the prescribed level of readiness for combat employment.
  5. Strengthen the collective security system, including the CSTO, CIS, OSCE, and SCO, and to develop relations with the EU and NATO.
  6. Expand the circle of partner states and develop cooperation with them to strengthen international security.
  7. Comply with international treaties for the limitation and reduction of strategic offensive arms.
  8. Conclude and implement arms control agreements and measures to strengthen mutual trust.
  9. Create mechanisms for the regulation of bilateral and multilateral  cooperation in the sphere of missile defense.
  10. Conclude an international treaty prohibiting the deployment of any types of weapons in outer space.
  11. Participate in international peacekeeping activity.
  12. Participate in combating international terrorism.

Then both doctrines move into their use of the armed forces provisions and tasks, in peacetime and wartime.  It’s useful here to start with the new doctrine, since here’s where its nuclear use provisions appear.

The new doctrine says the Russian Federation can use the armed forces to repulse aggression against it or its allies, or in accordance with a U.N. Security Council or other collective security structure decision, or to protect its citizens beyond the borders of the RF in accordance with the norms of international law.

The new doctrine says the “Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.” And the decision to utilize nuclear weapons is made by the Russian Federation president.

The new doctrine notes that the RF assigns troop contingents to CSTO peacekeeping forces to participate in peacekeeping operations in accordance with CSTO Collective Security Council decisions.  And to the CSTO Collective Rapid Response forces to resolve tasks determined by the CSTO Collective Security Council.

The new doctrine’s list of the military’s peacetime and wartime tasks:

  1. Defend the RF’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  2. Ensure strategic deterrence.
  3. Maintain combat and mobilizational readiness, and training of the strategic nuclear forces, forces and resources that support their functioning, and command and control systems at a level to guarantee infliction of the required damage on an aggressor whatever the conditions of the situation.
  4. Provide timely warning to the supreme commander in chief of the RF armed forces of an air or space attack, and notify state and military leadership about military dangers and military threats.
  5. Maintain the capability of the armed forces for timely deployment on strategic axes, and maintain their readiness for combat use.
  6. Ensure the air defense of the RF’s most important facilities and readiness to rebuff air and space attacks.
  7. Deploy and maintain orbital groupings of space devices supporting the RF armed forces activities.
  8. Protect state and military facilities, lines of communication, and special cargoes.
  9. Maintain infrastructure, and prepare lines of communication for defense purposes, including special-purpose facilities and highways of defense significance.
  10. Protect RF citizens outside the RF from armed attack.
  11. Participate in operations to maintain or restore international peace or suppress aggression on the basis of decisions of the U.N. Security Council or other bodies.
  12. Combat piracy and ensure the safety of shipping.
  13. Ensure the security of the RF economic activities on the high seas.
  14. Combat terrorism.
  15. Prepare for territorial defense and civil defense.
  16. Participate in protection of public order and safeguarding public security.
  17. Participate in eliminating emergency situations and restoring special-purpose facilities.
  18. Participate in securing a state of emergency.
  19. In a period of direct threat of aggression, implement measures to increase combat and mobilization readiness, with a view to carrying out mobilizational and strategic deployment.
  20. Maintain nuclear deterrence potential at the established degree of readiness.
  21. Participate in maintaining a martial law regime.
  22. Fulfill RF international commitments with regard to collective defense and preventing an armed attack on another state that has made a request to the RF.
  23. In wartime, repulse aggression against the RF and its allies, inflict defeat on aggressor forces on terms that meet RF interests.

The old doctrine’s list of peacetime and wartime tasks isn’t as specific as the new:

  1. Form and implement a single state policy to safeguard military security.
  2. Maintain domestic political stability and protect the constitutional system and the RF’s territorial integrity.
  3. Strengthen friendly (allied) relations with other states.
  4. Improve the RF’s defense system.
  5. Support and improve the armed forces and other troops, military formations, and organs, and maintain their readiness.
  6. Prepare measures to transfer the armed forces to a wartime footing (including mobilization deployment).
  7. Improve the economic, technological, and defense industry base, and enhance the mobilization readiness of the economy.
  8. Protect RF facilities and installations on the high seas, in space, and on the territory of foreign states, including activities in the adjacent maritime zone and distant ocean regions.
  9. Protect and defend the RF state border, airspace, underwater environment, and EEZ and continental shelf, and their natural resources.
  10. Support RF political acts by implementing measures of a military nature and by means of a naval presence.
  11. Prepare territorial and civil defense.
  12. Develop necessary military infrastructure.
  13. Safeguard the security of RF citizens and protect them from military threats.
  14. Develop a conscious attitude among the population toward safeguarding the country’s military security.
  15. Monitor mutual fulfillment of arms limitation treaties and CBMs.
  16. Ensure readiness to participate in peacekeeping activities.
  17. In a period of threat and on the commencement of a war, strategic deployment of the armed forces and bringing them into readiness to perform their missions.
  18. Coordinate federal and local efforts to repulse aggression.
  19. Organize and implement armed, political, diplomatic, information, economic, and other forms of struggle.
  20. Adopt and implement decisions on military operations.
  21. Switch the country’s economy and sectors of it onto a war footing.
  22. Organize territorial and civil defense measures.
  23. Aid RF allies to realize their potential for achieving joint objectives. 
  24. Prevent other states from joining the war on the side of the aggressor.
  25. Use the U.N. and other international organizations to prevent aggression, or force the aggressor to end the war at an early stage.

One can also delve further into the old doctrine on the use of the armed forces in its Military-Strategic Principles section on wars and armed conflicts.  It describes in detail the use and tasks of the armed forces in different types of war and conflict.

Perhaps, however, it’s better to move to the last couple sections of the doctrine–the state’s military organization and the military economy.