A highly placed Defense Ministry source tells RIA Novosti there’s no final decision on moving the Navy Main Staff (NMS) from Moscow to St. Petersburg. It’s been, of course, 3-1/2 years since the issue was first raised.
The press agency source says:
“There are two approaches. The first is the Navy Main Staff remains in Moscow, and here the efficiency of resolving issues and tasks with the RF Defense Ministry wins and the second is the Navy Main Staff, with significantly reduced personnel, transfers to Saint Petersburg, where the scientific and shipbuilding base of the fleet is concentrated.”
According to this source, the pluses and minuses of both approaches are being calculated in the final phase of forming the command and control system of the Armed Forces. The question of the NMS location is approached from the point of view that even temporary weakening in the command and control system for naval strategic nuclear forces (MSYaS or МСЯС) is unacceptable:
“The focus is placed on the effectiveness of the functioning of this system. Whether the Navy Main Staff as just one attribute [of this system] transfers authoritative functions to St. Petersburg or remains in Moscow is not so important. It’s important that the deployment location should be defended in a corresponding manner and not allow confusion in the general system of Armed Forces command and control.”
There is, according to the source, no doubt it’s essential to preserve the unitary structure of strategic nuclear forces command and control in the future:
“It follows that the Navy command in the form of the Navy Main Staff or, let’s say, a Navy department [департамент] is essential for coordinating the strategy of using the Navy in cooperation with the new regional commands [OSKs].”
He adds that, while OSKs West, South, Center, and East are complete, it still remains to distribute precisely the command and control functions for general purpose forces and strategic nuclear forces.
RIA Novosti’s interlocutor makes all this sound like the main issue may be less the move itself, and more one of figuring out the relationship and responsibilities of the now stronger and more significant MDs / OSKs and the somewhat diminished service main commands (Glavkomaty). Perhaps the Navy Glavkomat is arguing with OSK West and OSK East over what is part of the strategic Navy, or supports strategic naval operations.
And Interfaks also has an item today saying that the Defense Ministry has ordered the NMS to prepare to move to St. Petersburg. This came from an informed source in the Navy Glavkomat. The written order contains no precise date for the move, but the source thinks the “active phase” of relocating will begin in July.