Last Friday, Tatyana Shevtsova became the newest deputy defense minister – the ninth overall, seventh civilian, second female. By all accounts, Shevtsova will oversee and audit Defense Ministry spending and other activities. Kommersant calls her an ‘oversight and monitoring specialist.’ The Defense Ministry’s spokesman has said as much, according to Vedomosti (read it in Moscow Times as well). Shevtsova’s another member of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s former team at the Federal Tax Service (FNS or ФНС). Kommersant describes her as a ‘trusted individual’ who will help Serdyukov supervise all but the Defense Ministry’s purely military functions. In particular, several commentators believe Shevtsova will track outsourced service and support activities paid for in the state defense order (GOZ).
The 41-year-old Shevtsova was born in Kozelsk, Kaluga Oblast, and graduated from the Leningrad Financial-Economic Institute in 1991. She’s a candidate of economic sciences (Ph.D.).
She started in the tax service in 1991 as an inspector in the central rayon of St. Petersburg, eventually heading the tax service’s St. Petersburg directorate. Kommersant reminds that Serdyukov was a deputy director in the St. Petersburg directorate during Shevtsova’s time there in the early 2000s.
Shevtsova went to Moscow to head the tax service’s large taxpayer department in early 2004. In mid-2004, Serdyukov became Director of the FNS, and Shevtsova became one of his deputies.
Shevtsova stayed at the tax service under Mikhail Mokretsov after Serdyukov left for the Defense Ministry in early 2007. She was in charge of the oversight directorate and all nine inter-regional inspectorates for large taxpayers.
When Mokretsov and others members of Serdyukov’s FNS team departed for the Defense Ministry in mid-2010, Shevtsova did likewise, becoming an advisor. According to one official who spoke to Kommersant, she spent the last few months ‘studying the situation’ in the Defense Ministry.
A former Defense Ministry official told Vedomosti Shevtsova is “a talented economist as well as an exacting official, whose subordinates at the Federal Tax Service were very afraid of her.” She reportedly will turn ten Defense Ministry oversight bodies into a system.
Kommersant said Shevtsova will direct oversight organs for administrative, organizational, and financial activities as well as military housing. The paper’s source says this could translate into oversight over everything except military command and control and operations. The ninth deputy minister will reportedly gain some responsibilities once discharged by the chiefs of the ministry’s apparatus, Rear Services, and Housing and Construction Service.
Radio Svoboda was kind enough to interview Aleksandr Golts who concluded:
“It’s more or less obvious Anatoliy Eduardovich Serdyukov rapidly gathers his team in those areas important to him. As we know, at present a so-called second civilian branch of the Defense Ministry is being formed. Operational troop command and control, combat training remain with the Genshtab. At the same time, a very strong area which will withdraw from the ministry a great number of functions connected with service and support of all Defense Ministry units and formations is being formed. This is very complex work in the realm of the state defense order and the like. Evidently, Ms. Shevtsova will work in this area.”
Asked about her first steps, Golts commented:
“If there will be first steps, we haven’t found out anything about them. The Defense Ministry very precisely hides the most important directions of its activity from any public scrutiny. Everything happens very quietly.”
Radio Svoboda also asked Viktor Baranets about ‘civilianization’ and the appointment of a reported 50 women to high posts under Serdyukov:
“They are already sarcastically joking in the army about the ‘feminization’ of the Defense Ministry leadership. A large number of women who’ve appeared in key Defense Ministry posts, at various times crossed paths with Serdyukov, and with Putin, and with Medvedev. Of course, they’re Petersburg natives . . . . There are unofficial reports that [Shevtsova] actively assisted Serdyukov in destroying Khodorkovskiy’s empire.”
Baranets’ sources in the Defense Ministry also say Shevtsova will be responsible for large sums of service and support funding being directed to contractors. His general and colonel friends joke:
“We only have one vacant post left – deputy defense minister for corruption. Because all the other jobs are filled.”
Or anti-corruption one supposes . . . .
Igor Korotchenko told Vedomosti the Defense Ministry’s growing civilian component is designed to supervise the generals’ spending and accounting, especially in the GOZ. Ruslan Pukhov calls the ‘invasion’ of former tax officials perfectly normal since Western defense ministries are full of civilian auditors who scrutinize massive military budgets.