Last Thursday, Defense Minister Serdyukov conducted an extramural ‘board of directors’ meeting in St. Petersburg. The agenda had two publicized items — forming the new Western Military District (MD) and antiterrorism.
Deputy Defense Minister, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov (effectively chief of material-technical support) and acting commander of the new Western MD (ZVO or ЗВО), General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin reported on the new district. Genshtab GOU Chief, General-Lieutenant Andrey Tretyak reported “On the Condition of Antiterrorist Work in the RF Armed Forces and Measures to Neutralize Terrorist Threats.”
In its coverage, ITAR-TASS noted that recommendations from forming the ZVO will be applied to the new Southern, Central, and Eastern MDs.
After the collegium, General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov told journalists that work on the ZVO was being closely analyzed, and all issues had been resolved in the main. But its command doesn’t fully recognize the importance of its tasks, and its combat training demands higher quality work. Makarov called this a consequence of the fact that, for 15 to 20 years, almost 85 percent of officers in command and control organs didn’t command troops.
Of course, Makarov considers himself a ‘troop general’ and that 85 percent figure makes it easy for him to oversee cutting the officer corps by 50 percent.
Makarov said the terrorist attack near Buynaksk was being closely analyzed, and noted that commanders didn’t take measures necessary to protect their people. But the tasks essential to countering terrorist threats have been identified.
Krasnaya zvezda reported that Serdyukov met human rights organization representatives during a break in the collegium. More on this later.