Monthly Archives: December 2010

Serdyukov’s Year-Ender

Anatoliy Serdyukov (photo: Izvestiya / Vladimir Suvorov)

ДОРОГИЕ ЧИТАТЕЛИ ! ! !

С НОВЫМ ГОДОМ ! ! !

Thanks for reading and commenting this year.

This one could have been entitled, The Army’s Great Scourge or Reform Isn’t Utopia or We Straightened Them Out.  Great quotes, but you’ll have to read to the bottom.

Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov’s year-ending interview in Monday’s Izvestiya is a good read.  The paper asked some harder-hitting questions than Serdyukov normally gets.  And, though they aren’t necessarily new, his answers are pretty direct and revealing.  There are problems with a lot of them though.

Let’s look first at what Serdyukov said, then we’ll look at the deeper meaning of his answers.

Asked about this year’s command and control changes, the Defense Minister says:

“The most important thing is that we already changed the entire troop command and control system.  From one side, we tried to minimize the command and control levels; from the other side, to equip them technically.  Now the next task is before us – to tie it all into a single system so that every district commander answers not just for the ground, but also for the air, and air defense, and naval component.  The next step is we are trying to conduct exercises in such coordination between districts.  I think 2011 is key for us on this plane.”

On the decision to move to four unified strategic commands (OSKs) and cutting levels of command, Serdyukov said:

“This is the General Staff’s idea.  Before going to the president with such a proposal, we discussed this initiative since the end of 2007.  At the same time, we had conferences at various levels, consulted with experts, important military leaders, and studied international experience again – both American and NATO.  We tried to analyze the situation from every angle and arrived at the fact that this is really useful for various reasons.” 

“First and foremost, the transition to the OSK should be reflected in the controllability of the army.  A simple example:  at the beginning of the transformations, an order from me to a battalion commander had to go through 17 levels.  So you understand this influenced the speed of their transmission, and the content of the information itself.  Now we have three levels in all. If one wanted, it would be possible to calculate how much was saved both on communications nodes, and on communications systems themselves, and in speed.  And as a result – the army’s combat capability rose 50 percent.”

Asked about what will happen in combat situations now that more civilians occupy military support jobs, the Defense Minister says:

“Several factors converge into one point here, therefore, we came to the conclusion that we could and should divide directions of responsibilities – operational and support.  It’s not an accident that the Defense Minister has a first deputy – the Chief of the General Staff and a first deputy – a civilian who handles the direction connected with supporting the operational component.  Everything’s been thought out, and there won’t be any kind of failures.  Neither peacetime, nor wartime frightens us.”

On General Staff Chief Makarov’s assessment that the commander’s slovenliness caused 150 conscripts to get ill in Kemerovo, Serdyukov takes the opportunity to describe the pains he’s taken in establishing systems to monitor the implementation of military reform:

“Unfortunately, we are getting started.  Actually, when we launch any process, we try to organize the monitoring system and incentive system in the final result.  But this doesn’t always work.  We’ve established a series of structures for monitoring.  They are, for example, the financial inspectorate, which checks the use of budget resources.  Then the personnel inspectorate – occupied with the activity of every officer and civilian specialist.  There is the military inspectorate, which checks those measures which should go on in this or any military institution.  There is an organizational-inspector directorate occupied with checking fulfillment of all directives, orders, decrees, laws, etc.  This is that system of monitoring which gives the capability to influence internal army processes, and to move them.  Naturally, an entire system of regulations exists where the duties of every colleague, every sub-unit are strictly prescribed as is the corresponding period for fulfilling the orders.”

Asked about indicators of the fulfillment rate for Defense Ministry orders:

“All orders are being fulfilled.  The question is different:  are they on schedule?  And for the last half year, the picture generally doesn’t look bad.  The schedules we are establishing are holding on the whole.  Inside the ministry, we changed our entire workflow, accordingly this entailed a cut in signatories on this or that issue or project.  We are introducing electronic workflow which allows us at any stage to check how this or that directive or order is being fulfilled.”

“But there are also breakdowns.  Recently we had a collegium in Khabarovsk.  We listened to the report of an army commander who should have implemented 87 different measures, but implemented all of two.  What kind of combat readiness and discipline can you speak of if an officer doesn’t fulfill his own duties?”

“When we embarked on reform, both I personally, and many of my colleagues strove to understand:  what kind of problems really could be blocking the army’s development – housing, lack of money, lack of equipment, of soldiers?  Now there’s everything.  If you serve, then according to order 400 the money is very respectable.  We are providing housing.  There’s one hundred percent in equipment.  Almost one hundred percent – give or take one-two percent – in servicemen.  There you have it:  if you chose this profession, then serve.  But here we are stumbling over weak managerial discipline – the army’s great scourge.  And even here we’re trying, from one side, to stimulate work, and from the other – to severely demand fulfillment of service duties.”

Is Russia buying weapons abroad because the systems are really needed or is it being done out of political considerations:

“There is a certain requirement for foreign military equipment, because in a series of types of armaments, we, unfortunately, will fall behind.  Our models don’t meet the demands presented by the times.  It’s important also to understand how to formulate the tactical-technical tasks and characteristics of this or that essential production.  Therefore, we’re also trying to familiarize ourselves with those modern models of equipment and armaments which our partners have.  For this, in fact, we are buying equipment in small amounts – as in the case of UAVs.”

“However, besides equipment, it’s also necessary to have trained personnel, and a command and control system.  We don’t have many models of armaments, but to work on their development, spend time and money on their adoption is simply irrational, it’s simpler to buy, to study, and later begin to develop our own production.  Those Israeli drones gave a serious impetus to developing domestic industry.  Not long ago, the president was at the test range and there we showed him Russian models that are sufficiently reliable.  They are fully suited to us.”

“We don’t have ships like the Mistral.  We never built them.  But to try to catch up now is senseless.  We plan to buy the license and technical documentation for their production.  Moreover, there’s an agreement that, starting with the third ship, we’ll build the helicopter carriers in Russia.”

Doesn’t such an approach hurt Russia’s defense industry?  Wouldn’t it be better to finance and support our own enterprises:

“In the new state program of armaments, for four years, we laid out 600 billion rubles which will be allocated according to a new credit system for enterprises under a government guarantee.  Now  discussion is going quite actively on the subject of how this should happen, with what credit requirements and conditions.  This is one of the forms of financing which has a relationship not so much to support of enterprises as to the system of paying the state defense order itself.  It allows for transferring the load from the second half of the GPV to the first and vice versa.  Or to take off the peak load, meanwhile working out forms of active participation in financing by the Ministry of Finance and the banking system.  Incidentally, the reaction is fully positive, we already have trials with the largest banks – with Sberbank and VTB.”

On inter-ethnic conflicts in units and the possibility of creating nationality-based units:

“This isn’t today’s or yesterday’s problem.  If the commander fulfills his duties completely, then time and energy for conflicts simply won’t remain.  If they’re occupied with physical training for a minimum of four hours a day in every unit , and the remaining time is combat training, as it’s stipulated, then no kind of misunderstandings will arise.  It’s not important where you’re from, which nationality, and religion, if you just fall in your rack after exercises.  The problem again is in the commanders.  Some of them are simply estranged from working with personnel – they see that there are many physically strong, willful guys in the unit, and give over control of the barracks to them.  But those ones become abusers.”

What happens with commanders like these:

“We’ll dismiss them, get others.  An officer must be physically and morally very well prepared and engender only respect.”

Has the army rid itself of dedovshchina with the move to one-year service:

“We now are trying to get away from this term.  There is no longer such a phenomenon.  There is simply hooliganism, crude violation of the law.  If a man served three months, what kind of ‘ded’ is he?  The roots of dedovshchina are much deeper than commonly believed.  In Soviet times, when people served three-five years, then it was the rule:  a man just called up, and a man looking at demob in six months, have different training.  Here then is this phenomenon, really, and its origin.  Now this is pure hooliganism, legally punishable crime which we have fought and will fight without compromise.  Here it’s important that the commander in the sub-unit should fulfill his duties completely.  Then there can’t be any kind of conflicts by definition.”

Asked about accidents with munitions dismantlement over the last year, and how is the problem being resolved now, Serdyukov says:

“The problem is very serious.  For long years, munitions were stockpiled to excess, calculated for a multimillion-man army.  Besides, in the last twenty years, virtually no attention was given to combat training and firings, but the norms of munitions stockpiling remained as before.  As a result, so much ended up in excess that we have work for several years.  To dismantle them by industrial methods is quite complex – there aren’t enough enterprises.  Besides, this is very expensive and not safer than destruction.”

“Therefore, we’re now preparing special teams, certifying equipment, and selecting officers.  They mainly need to be combat engineers.  We’re picking ranges.  We’ve figured where, in what volume, and what we need to blow up, and worked out safe techniques.  We need at a minimum two, maybe three years of such work.  Yes, this will create some temporary discomfort and difficulties.  But it’s impossible to not do this.  If the entire arsenal at Ulyanovsk had blown up, the trouble would have been much more serious.”

Asked about demographic problems, a potential shortage of conscripts, and possibly cutting more deferments, the Defense Minister answered:

“We won’t revoke anything.  As far as demographic problems go, it goes without saying that they exist and we will take them into account.  How do we solve this problem?  I think if the country’s financial situation allows, then we will still try to return the issue of a contract army.  No one has revoked this program, we didn’t realize it because of a lack of resources.  We haven’t  rejected the idea itself.”

Serdyukov tells his interviewers flat out, there’s no longer opposition to his reforms in the army.  What happened to his opponents:

“We straightened them out.  Of course, this was difficult, especially at first.  Now a team of like-minded people has been laid down which itself is generating reform ideas.  Something’s already started to come from it.  People see this and understand:  reform is not utopia, but completely concrete matters.”

After four difficult years in the Defense Ministry, where does Serdyukov see himself:

“I still haven’t finished my service, so I can’t begin to talk about what’s been achieved and what hasn’t.  We’re now in a transitional phase.  There’s not a single direction of the ministry’s activity that modernization, the transition to a new profile wouldn’t affect.  We are working everywhere – in all spheres:  armaments, scientific-research activity, education, organization of daily service, military-technical cooperation.  I can’t say now what we’ll succeed in, and in which direction we’ll lag.  It seems to me that everything’s going pretty well.  We’re on schedule, there’s no deviating.”

Let’s deconstruct some of this shall we? 

Serdyukov and company seem to be obsessed with eliminating layers.  You know sometimes redundancy is good, and prevents making mistakes.  In a net-centric army, every layer sees the picture, but doesn’t necessarily have it for action.  It’s very hard to believe Serdyukov’s claim that just cutting command levels increased combat capability 50 percent when you look at everything that’s factored into the Russian definition of combat capability. 

Yes, we know operational and support stovepipes have been created.  But Serdyukov completely dodges the question of what happens when the combat tooth depends on a civilian tail.  There are obviously answers to this, but the Russians aren’t accustomed to this.  He brushes it off saying there just simply won’t be any failures.  That’s reassuring.

 On the soldiers in Kemerovo and slovenliness, Serdyukov goes a bit non-sequitur.  It’s great hearing about his monitoring system and the implementation of orders, etc.  One wonders, however, if electronic workflow in the Defense Ministry was as important as many things that needed to happen in the troops this year.  But then it gets really interesting.  We start to hear in Serdyukov’s words some of the animus he has for officers.  Why did he ever have such an army commander as the one he vilifies?  He really lays into officers, saying he’s given them everything they need now, they just need to do their jobs.

Serdyukov really avoids the question on buying arms abroad and hurting domestic producers.  He monologues about some convoluted credit provision scheme for paying out the GOZ.  This issue of real money for producers to make weapons and equipment is significant.  Even with the GOZ and a new GPV in place, all anyone can talk about is extending credit to the OPK in 2011.  Hmmm, interesting.

He blames commanders again for inter-ethnic conflicts in the army.  If they were doing their jobs, it couldn’t happen.  If they just wore the boys out properly, it wouldn’t occur.  There is some truth in this, yes, but it’s more complex than just that.  But saying any more might have taken the Defense Minister into a social and political minefield.

On dedovshchina, again Serdyukov blames officers for not taking care of the problem.  Serdyukov’s insistence on just talking about hooliganism makes some sense, yes, but there is still dedovshchina going on.  And, by the way, dedovshchina was never just purely hazing, making the juniors do the crappy jobs; it always had more violence, abuse, and crime in it than Serdyukov is willing to allow.

Serdyukov doesn’t say how he’s addressing the real civil-military relations problem he’s got in Chelyabinsk with regard to the explosions at Chebarkul.  But at least it’s a little like the problems his counterparts face in normal countries, and one has to credit him for taking on a lingering military problem all his predecessors simply ignored.

Wow, is Serdyukov cocky on vanquishing his opponents in the military!  He ought to watch it, it could come back on him.  But as we’ve seen, large-scale, public political demonstrations are going to come from other sources (i.e. the soccer fan bunt or pogrom).  The purely military ones (i.e. the Russian Airborne Union, etc.) tend to be more farcical.  But veterans and even serving officers could provide critical mass in a bigger social protest.  And there’s always the chance that some disaffected Kvachkov could fire a grenade at the Defense Minister’s limo.  Yes, yes, I can hear you — this is just by way of playing out one scenario on what could happen in the future.

One has to respect Serdyukov’s reticence to judge his legacy right now.  It may be possible he’ll leave the big marble building on the Arbat one day thinking how much he’s changed everything, thinking he’s a 21st century Dmitriy Milyutin.  And he may be, at least in comparison with any other choice.  He is making essential changes, and some progress.  More than this analyst thought he would back in early 2007.  But, on close inspection of the military, we may discover that less will actually have changed and improved than we think right now.

How much longer will Serdyukov continue in this burn-out job?  He’s pretty stoic, but he’s definitely more frayed than 4 years ago.  The issue probably comes down to the larger context of the Putin-Medvedev tandem and team — changes in high-level personnel could be more difficult now with every passing day.  Perhaps Serdyukov will remain through a fifth year, and the seating of the next Russian president.

It’s a great interview.  We got some real insight into the Defense Minister’s thinking.  Never could have gotten this 20 or 30 years ago.

It’s Not Corruption

In a very unusual step yesterday, Mil.ru published an explicit denial that recent cadre changes have any connection to corruption.  The possibility of a link between high-ranking personnel dismissals and corruption cases has been the subject of some speculation.

The press release says the Defense Ministry is devoting great attention to anticorruption efforts, and talking openly about cases like Gaydukov’s.  But it denies that any other [read Verkhovtsev’s] recent dismissal is connected to this.

It maintains high-ranking officers are being dismissed for the usual reasons — age, health, and their own request.  It adds that they have many years of worthy service behind them.

As far as other moves go, it says “organizational-personnel measures” [i.e. orgshtat or TO&E changes] have caused some officers to be relieved of their duties or be assigned to new ones.

The Defense Ministry “doth protest too much” perhaps.  It might not want Congress asking questions about where U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction money has gone.  At any rate, it’s uncommon for the Defense Ministry to take offense, and react so immediately to media speculation.

Video of Su-34s at Lipetsk

St. Petersburg’s Channel 5 carried this video of the new Su-34s at Lipetsk.  The reporter talks to the center’s commander, General-Major Aleksandr Kharchevskiy, as well as pilots about the Su-34s.  Thanks to Military Parity for finding it.

More on Mistral

Vedomosti’s Aleksey Nikolskiy published an informative piece on Monday.

He says the announced deal for the first two Mistral helicopter carriers, built in France, includes spare parts and training for a grand total of €1.3 billion (52 billion rubles).  The deal reportedly includes the option to build two more units in a Russian shipyard.  While the deal’s sealed, the final contract is still being worked between France’s DCNS and Russia’s OSK.

Nikolskiy said the Elysee website said the Mistral package would provide 4 years of work for 1,000 French shipbuilders (5 million man-hours) at STX in Saint-Nazaire.

Paris is selling Moscow the SENIT 9 combat information system aboard Mistral, but apparently without license rights.

The contract for unit one is worth €700 million, and €600 million for unit two.

OSK maintains Russia will get a 20 percent share of the work on unit one, fabricating some sections for the ship in Russia.  Its share of the work on the second unit could be more, according to analyst Mikhail Barabanov.

An OSK representative told Nikolskiy the main goal of this deal is to get modern technology, and a possible Russian builder for the optional units hasn’t been determined.

Nikolskiy juxtaposes two views on Russia’s need for Mistral.  He quotes Barabanov:

“Why does the Russian Navy need this ship which was designed for the French Navy’s overseas expeditions?”

And he repeats General Staff Chief Makarov’s statement from June that the first Mistral will go to the Pacific Fleet to transport forces where they might be needed, particularly the Kuril Islands.

As post-script, Nikolskiy gives a snapshot of what 52 billion rubles for two Mistrals could buy:

  • 2 Borey-class (proyekt 955) SSBNs, or
  • 3 proyekt 11356 frigates (Talwar– / Krivak IV-class), or
  • 50 Su-30 fighters, or
  • 800 T-90 tanks, or
  • 50,000 apartments for servicemen.

Of course, you can generally double these alternative purchases if Russia builds a third and fourth Mistral.

Ivanov’s GLONASS Report

Today Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov reported to President Medvedev on the results of the investigation into the loss of 3 GLONASS satellites on 5 December.  As expected, the report points to mistakes in fuel calculations for the DM-3 booster stage. 

The Kremlin.ru account also says Vice-President, Chief Designer for Launch Vehicles, RKK ‘Energiya’ Vyacheslav Filin, and Deputy Director, Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Viktor Remishevskiy have been relieved of their duties.  Roskosmos Director Anatoliy Perminov received a reprimand.

Additional steps to strengthen administrative discipline at Roskosmos will be taken, at Medvedev’s direction.

Shamanov Addendum

Komsomolskaya pravda’s Viktor Baranets spoke with VDV Commander Shamanov by phone yesterday.  Asked how he’s feeling, Shamanov said:

“Normal.  I’m already walking without crutches and a cane.  However, of course, there are still problems with the ulnar joint of my right hand and my left hip.”

Asked when he’ll return to duty, he said:

“I think rehabilitation will take 4-6 months.  But I’ll most likely do part of it while on duty.  My condition, thank God, allows it.”

Shamanov Leaves Hospital

VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov was discharged from the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital this morning, nearly two months after his BMW-525 was hit by a truck near Tula on 30 October. 

Shamanov’s spokesman said he’s already held his first staff meeting, and participated in a commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of VDV founder Margelov’s birth.  He called Shamanov’s condition normal following the accident and more than one surgery, according to ITAR-TASS.  Shamanov had several hours of surgery on his hip on 1 November. 

The spokesman said it’s completely possible Shamanov might return to duty earlier than his doctors have directed.  He said Shamanov completed his hospital rehabilitation, will take routine medical leave, and continue rehabilitation as an outpatient.

The acting commander of the VDV’s 106th Airborne Division in Tula, Colonel Aleksey Naumets, even more severely injured in the crash, transferred from intensive care to a general ward yesterday.  A source told RIA Novosti that Naumets has regular visits from fellow servicemen, and is interested in what’s going on in the division, but it’s still hard to say when he might be discharged.

A preliminary hearing in the criminal case against Dovlatsho Elbigiyev, the driver accused of hitting Shamanov’s car, will take place Wednesday in Tula’s Zarechenskiy Rayon Court.

Corruption in 12th GUMO?

Is corruption the cause for the recent spate of decrees on military personnel?

In today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, Vladimir Mukhin reports a Defense Ministry source says the recent dismissals of high-ranking military men are connected to corruption by them or their subordinates.  He puts the sudden retirement of 12th GUMO Chief Vladimir Verkhovtsev in this category.  He reminds that the 12th GUMO is responsible for the safety, security, storage, testing, and reliability of Russian nuclear weapons, and is also primary recipient of years of U.S. taxpayer funding through the Nunn-Lugar Act.

Though he’s headed the 12th GUMO for the last five years, General-Colonel Verkhovtsev’s a relatively young 55, and could still serve 5 years under the law.

Mukhin says Defense Ministry sources say Verkhovtsev’s going down for corruption and theft by General-Major Viktor Gaydukov, commander of a nuclear weapons storage site, who together with his wife managed to steal 20 million rubles worth of U.S. aid intended for engineering work for “improving the secure storage and accountability of nuclear weapons.”

Gaydukov was the first to fall for failing to report his income and assets accurately under the provisions of the latest government anti-corruption campaign.  However, the authorities’ discovery of his theft of money intended for nuclear security was purely incidental.

Mukhin cites Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov’s persistent proponent, Igor Korotchenko:

“To the Defense Minister’s credit, he didn’t hide these facts and continues to sign dismissal paperwork for all officers and generals discovered mixed up in corruption.  That’s why there are so many retirements of military chiefs figuring in the president’s decrees.”

An anonymous 12th GUMO officer says:

“In Russia and the U.S., there are few ordinary people who know that, almost 20 years after the USSR’s collapse, Washington gives unreimbursed aid to the RF for the defense and support of its nuclear-technical facilities.  Why aren’t such activities promoted – it wouldn’t do to talk about them.  In Russia, they’re afraid that so-called patriots [Tea Party types?], the opposition, U.S. taxpayers wouldn’t like it.”

Mukhin says Moscow has spent much less on these facilities than the U.S. ($11 billion over two decades), but no one knows how much for sure because that budget article is still secret.  He says the Russian government may soon have to say whether the money’s been used as planned and effectively.

Viktor Litovkin called Verkhovtsev and asked him to react to claims his dismissal is linked to misuse of Nunn-Lugar funding.  He responded:

“My retirement has no relationship to this issue.  And to link it to the Nunn-Lugar program would be incompetent.  This is some kind of gibberish.  I personally made the decision to retire.  I wrote a request addressed to the Defense Minister at the beginning of November.  And I also recommended a man for my post.  He is a very good specialist whom I know well through joint work and service.  I’m sure that he’ll manage very well.”

Sounds like he’s pretty sure he won’t be facing any prosecutor. 

One should also observe that it might also be very convenient for a Defense Minister to label as corrupt anyone who opposes his policies and actions.  To complete the picture of possibilities, it’s also possible some are both corrupt and oppose Serdyukov on principle.

A short post-script . . . it’s a pity Mukhin didn’t also explore General-Major Fedorov’s move from one nuclear facility to another . . . Korotchenko credits Serdyukov for not hiding information about corrupt generals, but if he isn’t hiding it, where are the details of their crimes?

GLONASS as Dolgostroy

Viktor Myasnikov authored an interesting piece in the 17 December Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye regarding the loss of three GLONASS-M satellites in the Pacific on 5 December. 

Myasnikov said the ten-year Federal Targeted Program (FTsP or ФЦП) “Global Navigation System” has spent $4.7 billion since 2001, but GLONASS has confirmed its status as a ‘long unfinished work’ [dolgostroy or долгострой] in space.

Myasnikov pointed out Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s long personal interest in the system’s restoration, and Putin’s description of it as a sine qua non for development and deployment of modern precision weapons systems.  Myasnikov noted the government’s intention to invest 48 billion rubles in space and ground infrastructure for GLONASS in 2010-2011.

He said the 3 ill-fated GLONASS-M and now-delayed GLONASS-K, originally intended for launch on 28 December, were supposed to bring GLONASS to a complete constellation of 24 satellites and full global coverage. 

President Dmitriy Medvedev had just promised that the GLONASS grouping would be fully formed before the end of 2010, and its large-scale use would begin in the next two years.

After the 5 December failure, Medvedev ordered an investigation of GLONASS, its financing, and who might be responsible for the 5 December mishap.

Myasnikov also explored the insurance scheme for the 5 December launch.  It turns out insurance was provided by the ‘Sputnik’ Insurance Center, which just happens to be run by the sons of current and former deputy chiefs of Roskosmos.  ‘Sputnik’ has assured everyone that the GLONASS loss was reliably reinsured, but it provided no specifics.  Roskosmos Chief Anatoliy Perminov, however, said the launch was partially insured, and a settlement will be collected but only after a long and drawn-out process.

Myasnikov spends some time discussing possible causes of the 5 December accident which largely boil down to an upper stage improperly fueled with too much liquid oxygen.  He concludes that, while a couple scapegoats might be found at RKK ‘Energiya,’ no one associated with GLONASS at Roskosmos is worried about his job.

And so he recaps where this leaves GLONASS.

By 2008, GLONASS reached 18 satellites and complete coverage of Russia.  A fully deployed GLONASS of 24 spacecraft should have covered the planet by the end of 2009.

Russia counted on a service life of 7 years, but the satellites are only lasting 3-1/2 to 5 years, so the system couldn’t be completed.  The system officially has 20 operational, and another 5 are held as “being studied by the General Designer.”  The oldest satellite is 71.7 months old, one is 60 months, and two are 47.4 months.

So, Myasnikov concludes, even if 6 satellites are orbited, a complete system will likely need 8 over the next two years, leaving GLONASS a ‘long unfinished work.’  GLONASS-K is coming, and it’s supposed to have a 10-year service life.

Then he turns to the global positioning system market.  GLONASS has only a 1 percent share of a $60-70 billion market.  In the future, if Russia captured 15 percent, this would be $9-10 billion annually, more than Russian arms sales.  But it isn’t likely.

In 2014, the European ‘Galileo’ system will begin operations.  This will be a serious competitor for GLONASS.  And the Chinese ‘Compas’ will be fully deployed by 2020.  And GPS is already moving to the next level – 48 satellites and 0.9 meter accuracy.

Myasnikov sums up:

“Russian cosmonautics is living through a serious crisis.  It has turned from high technology, science-intensive sector into simply capital-intensive.  Global scientific projects lead to project-mongering, while plans for real earth and space research are regularly delayed.  Almost nothing new is being created.  To replace some multibillion projects come others which cause even greater enthusiasm among the budget recipients.  The reusable ‘Angara’ has already been in development for ten years, cosmodrome ‘Svobodnyy’ is first closed, then opened.  So GLONASS is just the tip of the crisis iceberg.”

“In four months, the country will proudly note the 50th anniversary of Yuriy Gagarin’s flight.  But what’s being done now that we’ll proudly note after the next 50 years?  Certainly not GLONASS in a halo of lies.”

More Cadre Changes

As part of fairly wholesale turnover in command personnel, on 24 December, Kremlin.ru published two more presidential decrees with changes in a series of military posts. 

Commanders at four first-rank air bases (Budennovsk, Orenburg,  Shaykovka, and Belaya) are relieved of duty.  12th GUMO three-star Verkhovstev is replaced by a colonel who commanded a missile regiment just five years ago.  And there’s what sounds like a change at a national nuclear weapons storage site.  General-Colonel Gerasimov officially becomes a Deputy Chief of the General Staff.  And there’s more unwinding of personnel from former MDs.

Relieve of current duties:

  • Colonel Dmitriy Anatolyevich Voloshin, Commander, 6956th Air Base (1st rank).
  • Colonel Oleg Vladimirovich Makovetskiy, Commander, 6971st Air Base (1st rank).
  • Colonel Andrey Nikolayevich Medvedkov, Deputy Chief of Armaments, Air Forces.
  • Colonel Aleksandr Viktorovich Tsylev, Commander, 6951st Guards Aviation Base (1st rank).
  • Colonel Villington Vladimirovich Tsyrengarmayev, Commander, 6953rd Guards Aviation Base (1st rank).

Relieve of current duties and dismiss:

  • General-Colonel Vladimir Nikolayevich Verkhovtsev, Chief, 12th Main Directorate, Defense Ministry.
  • General-Major Andrey Yuryevich Glinskiy, Chief, Missile Troops and Artillery, Far East MD.
  • General-Major Anatoliy Yuryevich Razmakhnin, Chief, Personnel Directorate, Far East MD.

Appoint:

  • General-Colonel Valeriy Vasilyevich Gerasimov, Deputy Chief, General Staff, relieved of duty as Commander, Moscow MD.
  • Colonel Yuriy Grigoryevich Sych, Chief, 12th Main Directorate, Defense Ministry.

Dismiss from military service:

  • General-Major Aleksandr Anatolyevich Kukushkin.
  • General-Major of Justice Vladimir Polikarpovich Sviderskiy.

* * *

Appoint:

  • General-Major Sergey Valeryevich Kostarev, Chief, Military Communications Academy, relieve of duty as Chief of Communications, Deputy Chief of Staff, Siberian MD.
  • General-Major Vladimir Anatolyevich Fedorov, Chief, 1201st Facility “S” – Regional Nuclear Security Center, relieve of duty as Chief, 957th Facility “S” – Regional Nuclear Security Center.

Relieve of current duties:

  • Colonel Aleksey Alekseyevich Ivannikov, Chief, Armor Service, Siberian MD.
  • Colonel Vladimir Vladimirovich Morev, Chief of Inspections, Personnel Inspectorate, Defense Ministry.
  • Captain First Rank Aleksandr Veniaminovich Pepin, Chief of Inspections, Personnel Inspectorate, Defense Ministry.

Dismiss from military service:

  • General-Major Nikolay Vladimirovich Gorchakov.
  • General-Major Leonid Eduardovich Tishkevich.