Monthly Archives: September 2011

Army Against Serdyukov

To a Wagner soundtrack, the video shows the miserable life of some military, or ex-military, men.

Dmitriy Gudkov and the Public Council for the Defense of the Legal Rights of Servicemen have organized what they believe will be a 1,000-person demonstration against Defense Minister Serdyukov’s reforms for Sunday afternoon on Pushkin Square.  The rally’s advertised as “The Army Against Serdyukov.”

Nakanune.ru provided some sound bites about the protest (although it also gave the wrong day).  The protest’s a reprise of a May 22 demonstration.  Gudkov claims it’s not a party action, and participants will be “average people and their family members.” 

The meeting organizers accuse Serdyukov of causing the collapse of the army, breakdown of the state defense order, genocide of military pensioners, and sabotage of the military housing program as a result of which 200,000 officers and their families remain without apartments.  They further allege that:

“The country’s defense capability level under Serdyukov has declined catastrophically, such that in the long-term it could bring a threat of the loss of Russia’s sovereignty.”

Participants will call on President Medvedev to fire the Defense Minister and his team.

Protests against Serdyukov will also be held in Murmansk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, and Kaliningrad.  The Naval Sailors’ Union, the Initiative Group of the Forum for Servicemen’s Mutual Legal Aid, and Deceived Shareholders from the Defense Ministry (i.e. servicemen whose housing rights have been violated) will join in the meeting.  Nakanune also listed the Airborne Union as a supporting organization.

Gudkov’s an interesting character.  He’s the son of Gennadiy Gudkov, a deputy leader of Just Russia (SR) and Duma member. 

Older Gudkov is Deputy Chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee, and member of Duma commissions overseeing budget expenditures on defense and state security, and legislative support for counteracting corruption.

Younger Gudkov leads the youth wing of SR, and he’s a member of the MVD’s Public Council.  His ЖЖ is here.   The September 15 entry announces the Sunday protest meeting.

It’ll be interesting to see what transpires Sunday — what kind of turnout, what kind of reaction, how much media coverage, etc. 

There’s a clear protest mood in the military, active and retired.  Vlast monitors it, and occasionally sees a need to assuage it. 

Recall the discontent from the VDV last fall over Serdyukov’s alleged high-handed treatment of a professional military officer at Seltsy.

There’s a new spate of promises recently to solve, once and for all, the military’s housing problems.  This time they come against a backdrop of fast-approaching elections and tighter budgets.

Other usual sore points for vlast will be winter heating in remote garrisons, and the ever-present headache of administering a still-large number of semi-derelict military towns (or monotowns) that regions don’t want.

Of course, unexpected sore points can appear too.

Makarov’s Press-Conference (Part III)

Army General Makarov (photo: RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskiy)

Still plumbing General Staff Chief Makarov’s Monday press-conference . . .

Makarov indicated Russia’s Israeli-made UAVs will be used in the Tsentr-2011 exercise.  According to Krasnaya zvezda, he once again worked Vega over for wasting years and money without meeting the military’s requirements, forcing it to turn to Israel to obtain unmanned aircraft.

According to Interfaks, the General Staff Chief asserted Russia won’t buy anything but PGMs for its combat aircraft:

“The purchase of conventional [unguided] means has stopped.  We are buying only highly-accurate means.”

“Western countries conduct military operations almost without ground forces.  Aircraft operate outside the air defense zone and sustain minimal losses.”

Izvestiya noted, however, replacing Russia’s dumb bombs with smart weapons won’t be cheap.  Tens of thousands of rubles versus millions.  But one of the paper’s interlocutors concluded:

“The Defense Ministry believes there’s money for buying them, contracts for the first deliveries of new munitions have already been concluded.”

He estimates they will comprise perhaps half of Russia’s aviation weapons inventory by 2020.

Izvestiya quoted Ruslan Pukhov to the effect that guided ASMs made up only 1 percent of Russia’s stockpile in the five-day war with Georgia, and Russian aircraft had to brave Georgia’s air defenses on most missions, losing four Su-25, two Su-24, and a Tu-22M3.  He added, however, that a Su-34 employed an anti-radar Kh-31P to destroy a radar in Gori.

Lenta.ru recalled General-Lieutenant Igor Sadofyev’s late 2010 comments about plans for a radical increase in PGMs and UAVs in the Air Forces by 2020.  You can refresh your memory here.

Some military commentators and news outlets managed to tie together Makarov’s comments on Arab revolutions, Central Asian exercises, snipers, and sniper rifles in interesting, but not always accurate, ways.

KZ summarized Makarov pretty simply as saying the armed conflicts in Arab countries were difficult to predict, and similar events can’t be ruled out in Central Asia.  In its replay of his remarks, he said:

“. . . we should be ready for everything, therefore we are working on this in the exercises.”

So, Moscow’s pretty obviously looking at the possible repetition of a Libyan or Syrian scenario somewhere in Central Asia . . . no surprise there . . . makes sense.

Komsomolskaya pravda said:

“Our military isn’t hiding the fact that current exercises are directly linked to the probable export of military aggression from Afghanistan into the Central Asian republics after NATO troops withdraw from there.”

It cites Makarov:

“[The exercises] envision developing variants for localizing armed conflicts on the territory of these countries.”

That doesn’t really sound Libyan or Syrian, does it?  It’s not internal.  It’s good old external spillover.  Oh well, as long as it’s “localized” on someone else’s territory, and doesn’t cross Russia’s borders.

ITAR-TASS’s version of Makarov got people more spun up:

“The world situation is complex, quickly changing, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East.  It was difficult to forecast what happened in a number of countries of this region, events developed with great speed.  Now no one can say what will happen next.  But this is a signal for all states.  We military men need to be prepared for the worst scenarios.”

This led a few outlets to take the next step on their own, i.e. a repeat of the Arab scenario inside Russia.

You can read likely exaggerations of what Makarov really said in Gazeta.ru or Rbcdaily.ru.  In its version, the latter claimed Makarov didn’t exclude internal unrest following the Arab example in Russia, and the army has to be ready for the worst case scenario of political developments inside the country.

Pouring gas on the fire it lit, Rbcdaily introduced the sniper issue here.

Of course, snipers are great for urban warfare or urban unrest.  Rbcdaily’s Defense Ministry source says Makarov plans to put independent sniper platoons in every brigade.  They’ll be armed with British rifles, of course.  And the snipers themselves will have to be long-term professionals – contractees, so that’ll have to wait until the middle of next year.

Igor Korotchenko tells Rbcdaily:

“A sniper is a piece of work, he can’t be trained in a year, therefore they must absolutely be professional contractees.  We can’t count on conscript soldiers here, like in the old days when there were enough gifted guys who learned to fire the SVD well among the conscripts.”

KZ didn’t mention Makarov talking about snipers.

Just to finish this off, Makarov’s Syrian comments weren’t construed or misconstrued as much.  KZ said simply that he said Russia is not planning a military presence in Syria, nor the introduction of extra security measures at its material-technical support base in Tartus.

ITAR-TASS put it this way:

“This base remains in our hands.  Besides it, our advisors work in Syria.  That’s enough.  We don’t intend to adopt any preventative measures.  . . . we have to watch closely those forces opposing the government.  There are legal demands, and there are opposition demands which, in our view, need to be ignored because they are illegal.”

Makarov’s Press-Conference (Part II)

Krasnaya zvezda provided a summary of General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov’s press-conference yesterday.  The rest of us are still parsing and digesting.  Let’s look at more complete press reporting to do justice to Makarov’s remarks.

Gazeta.ru cited RIA Novosti in adding to Makarov’s comparison of French and Russian artillery systems:

“In France, we were shown the work of an artillery battalion which was ready to fire 30 seconds after a march.  Our analogous norm is 15 minutes.  The difference between one minute and 15 minutes is huge.  I think over this time an entire artillery battalion could be destroyed.”

But Gazeta noted Makarov said Moscow doesn’t intend to buy the French Caesar howitzer.

Gazeta, citing Interfaks this time, expanded on this comment on buying Western military technologies:

“We need to understand what to get, and what to acquire, but to acquire the technologies, and to produce on Russian territory.  Some technologies certainly have to be bought in the West.”

Igor Korotchenko explained to Vesti FM what Makarov and the Defense Ministry will or won’t buy:

“If suddenly for some reasons those models which industry proposes don’t correspond to declared requirements, the Defense Ministry will toughen its demands.  But on the whole the mainline remains – reliance on the domestic defense-industrial complex.  Makarov has spoken clearly about this.”

“Meanwhile, we’ll buy some leading technologies which will be required in Russia’s armed forces in the West.  In principle, these announcements are fully anticipated, they correspond to that policy that both Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and General Staff Chief Makarov have conducted since 2008.”

Gazeta and Novyye izvestiya contrasted Makarov’s criticism of Russian tanks with Putin’s praise for them.  Both news outlets see President Medvedev, Serdyukov, and Makarov lining up to make tougher demands on the OPK while Prime Minister Putin defends it. 

They cited RIA Novosti this way with Makarov’s comments:

“The T-90 turret calls for our serious respect, it doesn’t lag the leading foreign analogs, and in a number of characteristics exceeds them.”

“The T-90S still has a number of flaws which need to be fixed soon.”

“Experimental-design work to perfect this tank will continue.”

At Nizhniy Tagil, Putin sympathized with tank builders as they described their latest developments, saying:

“This is just what the Defense Ministry always complains about.”

Rounding out the tank news, Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Viktor Litovkin talked about the Defense Ministry’s continuing refusal to buy modernized versions of old tanks. 

He says it wants a new class of armored vehicles on a common tracked or wheeled chassis to simplify operation and maintenance, and different combat modules as needed – BMP, tank, reconnaissance, self-propelled artillery, or ATGM launcher – mounted on the same basic platform. 

Litovkin suspects, though, that this good idea could be ruined by “interdepartmental contradictions,” and a lack of leadership vision. 

He concludes that, while Makarov was critical of their product, Putin was promising Russia’s tank builders 64 billion rubles in government support.

Makarov’s Press-Conference (Part I)

General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov apparently held a lengthy press-conference today covering many topics.  He’s still advocating buying weapons abroad (when necessary), despite Prime Minister Putin’s strong support of the domestic OPK against the military’s demands.

ITAR-TASS quotes Makarov on the pending Navy headquarters move to Piter:

“Concerning a decision by the Supreme CINC [President Medvedev] to revoke the transfer of the Navy Main Staff to St. Petersburg, there has been no such decision.  We are now working on this issue.”

The General Staff Chief seemed to say there won’t be any diminution of the role or place occupied by service Glavkomaty, according to the news service.  He said the Main Commands of the services of the Armed Forces are part of the military branch of command and control which he heads.

ITAR-TASS quotes Makarov on buying arms and equipment abroad:

“We will need to buy something that isn’t produced with the quality we require.”

He compared domestic Msta-S and longer-range French Caesar howitzers:

“In France, we were shown the work of an artillery battalion which was ready to fire 30 seconds after a march.  Our analogous norm is 15 minutes.  The difference between one minute and 15 minutes is huge.”

“Therefore, we have to acquire something in order not to lag behind, but on the condition of arranging joint production in Russia.”

Interfaks quoted him on buying armor abroad:

“Some technologies certainly have to be bought in the West.”

The Defense Ministry, he says, has no desire to buy arms and equipment abroad if Russia has analogs or more modern models.  But Russia will find it hard to compete with Western firms that are cooperating with each other.  Makarov cited Renault’s APC which uses a Volvo engine.  “Our producers need to make a revolutionary leap,” Makarov concluded.

The General Staff Chief was ambivalent about the T-90 tank, according to ITAR-TASS:

“I visited the Nizhniy Tagil exhibition and got familiar with our T-90 tank.  The tank they showed us, particularly its turret, calls for serious respect.  But we have questions remaining about many drawbacks.”

“. . . the experimental-design work the factory is conducting will allow them to realize those requirements the Russian military is placing on this new product.”

ITAR-TASS also picked up Makarov’s remarks on the Tsentr-2011 exercises:

“We want to work out common approaches to employing armed forces within the ODKB [CSTO] framework.”

“Besides militaries, all other power structures, which are understood as part of the state’s military organization, in the ODKB countries will participate in these exercises.  As far as Russia goes, we want to check the country’s military organization fully by conducting a series of mobilization measures, including also industry.”

“Starting today, we’ve started into mobilization deployment of a number of formations and units according to independent plans.”

Suicide Watch (Part II)

Let’s look at more unusual suicide cases (or reported attempts).  Recall the story of Albert Kiyamov – beaten by a sergeant and pushed to his death from a barracks window in May 2010.  There’s still no word on the investigation or charges against the sergeant.  And there was a similar case reported in the same brigade after Kiyamov was killed.

While these seemed like isolated incidents, defenestrations apparently aren’t aberrations.  The authorities are hard-pressed to determine whether young soldiers are jumping or being pushed to cover up other crimes and violence. Suffice it to say the line between suicide and murder in the Russian Army is blurry. 

In late August, a conscript was beaten and thrown from the fourth floor of a barracks in the 35th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade.  According to Newsru.com, the victim’s father, rights defenders, and other conscripts say two soldiers tried to take his personal items, uniform articles, and boots before beating and pushing him off the building.  He survived the fall, but broke his arms and legs. 

The military prosecutor determined there were “nonregulation relations” in the unit, and charges have been filed against the perpetrators.  But the prosecutor claims the victim jumped to escape his attackers, according to IA Regnum.

In mid-July, a conscript in a Railroad Troops brigade in Stavropol apparently argued with a major before the officer hit him several times with the butt of a rifle, according to Newsru.com.  The soldier then, according to the prosecutor’s account, jumped from the fifth story of his barracks sustaining numerous injuries including several broken bones.  His parents said he’d told them about this particular officer.  In somewhat uncharacteristic fashion, the major quickly acknowledged using force against the conscript, and was relieved of duty.  But no charges of forcing someone to attempt suicide.

In late May, a conscript hung himself in a unit in Mari El.  He was beaten before this because he refused to give other soldiers 1,000 rubles.  The victim’s parents believe these men killed their son.  The case is being investigated under Article 110 “Incitement to Suicide.”

In early February, a conscript in a unit near Orenburg was found dead in his bunk with a knife in his chest.  Two junior sergeants apparently killed the young man in a fight, then tried to make it look like suicide.

In mid-January, a conscript shot himself twice on a firing range at the training center in Yelan.  The confused incident has been classified variously as an accident, suicide, and murder.  According to Komsomolskaya pravda, the victim told his family he’d been forced to sign a request to serve in a unit in Tajikistan.

While most Russian Army suicide victims are conscripts, there are other cases, and other circumstances.  In mid-March, a warrant officer from a Moscow unit shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Finally, a last poignant case, in early September, a young man jumped from the roof of a nine-story apartment block in Orel just days before he was due to report to his unit near Moscow.  It’s unknown why he killed himself or what he felt about going to serve.

Despite reducing conscription to one year and “humanizing” military service, the Russian Army remains a violent, dangerous place.  Conscription keeps it a lumpen army in which there are few limits, and the strong prey on the weak pretty much without restraint.  The violence remains a significant reason why those who can still avoid serving.

The Defense Ministry no longer publishes its monthly and yearly statistics on “noncombat losses,” crime, and accidents in the Armed Forces.  But it seems the suicide rate is as high as it was two, three, or four years ago – 20 some per month, and 200 or 250 suicides annually.  Still basically a full “suicide battalion” every year.  There’s just not enough public or political outrage to change the situation.  

Suicide Watch (Part I)

Russia has a high suicide rate by world standards.  And a significant number of 18- and 19-year-old Russian males are prone to suicide for various reasons – everything from problems with girlfriends to drug abuse and psychological or behavioral disorders.  But subject them to the stresses of compulsory military service and suicide appears to become more likely.

Russian Army service is dangerous even without suicides.  “Noncombat losses” result from training mishaps, infectious diseases, ordnance explosions, transportation accidents, and murder. 

Though intended to, the shift to one-year conscription has probably not reduced dedovshchina – the catchall term once connoting petty hazing of younger conscripts by their elders but now encompassing a wide range of barracks violence, abuse, and crime against soldiers.

Dedovshchina has always had potential to drive desperate conscripts to take their own lives to escape it.  Hence, the majority of Russian Army suicide cases are investigated under Article 110 of the RF Criminal Code, “Incitement to Suicide.”  Western legal tradition has long experience with incitement, but “incitement to suicide” is a little unusual.  Not so for Russian military prosecutors and criminal investigators.

With only a little digging, here’s a sad list of some recent Russian Army suicide (or attempted suicide) cases:

  • In late August, a conscript on guard duty in Volgograd shot himself, leaving a suicide note blaming dedovshchina in his unit.  The case is being investigated under Article 110.
  • In late August, a conscript from a Krasnoyarsk unit was detailed to the Railroad Troops brigade in Abakan to help prepare for Tsentr-2011.  With only three months left to serve, he went AWOL, and  apparently hung himself.
  • In mid-August, a conscript in Kaliningrad jumped off the boiler house roof and sustained a number of serious injuries, but survived.  He had left a note asking that no one be blamed in his death.
  • In early August, a conscript in the 735th Missile Regiment, 62nd Missile Division in Uzhur killed himself while on guard duty at night.  He had served six months.
  • In early March, in Belogorsk, a conscript due to demob in a few days shot himself to death.
  • In early February, a conscript in Sergeyevka shot himself to death.  The case was being investigated under Article 110.

It’s rare for the Russian press to publish much follow up on what exactly happened with these young men.

Tomorrow we’ll look at some less routine cases.

Keep Close to Shore

“In essence, after many years of interruption, we are beginning a large shipbuilding program:  by 2020, 4.7 trillion rubles will be directed at reequipping Russia’s Navy.  The aim is clear — it is creating a modern fleet, capable of carrying out all missions — from nuclear deterrence to presence on the world’s oceans, to the security of our economic interests and Russia’s bioresources.”

That’s how Prime Minister Putin put it at Monday’s party conference in Cherepovets.  But Nezavisimaya gazeta and Vedomosti had sharp and pithy criticism for him and for the naval construction program.

NG concluded military voters might be cheered up, but the paper wants to know what the naval construction program is exactly.  Is it the one that’s buying Mistrals that may not be needed from France?  With what and how will the Navy be equipped?

Apparently not aircraft carriers.  And not other large warships either.  They’re built in Russia, but for sale to India and China.  NG continues:

“Our own fleet is being populated piecemeal.  And, as a rule, we’re talking about a mosquito fleet.  Which, of course, is not capable of completing missions ‘from nuclear deterrence to presence on the world’s oceans.'”

The editorial cites former Black Sea Fleet Commander Vladimir Komoyedov who complains about the retirement of the Kara-class CG Ochakov, and claims nothing new is being developed.  It quotes Aleksandr Pokrovskiy who says the Baltic Fleet’s new Steregushchiy and Soobrazitelnyy corvettes are not participating in exercises because they’re only 50 percent combat ready.

So, asks NG, what kind of modern fleet are we talking about?  About past shipbuilding programs, it says:

“They were concrete and understandable — how many and what types of ships must be built.  Today politicians prefer to talk not about this, but about large-scale financial investment in the future fleet.  And in the very distant future at that.  From the point of view of the 2011 and 2012 election campaigns, it could be, that this is correct.  But from the point of view of the country’s security — hardly.”

Vedomosti takes its turn:

“. . . the idea of turning Russia into a great naval power has agitated the minds of the leaders of the Russian state for more than 300 years already.  The question is how acute this mission is in the 21st century and how Putin’s new slogans correspond to programs already adopted.”
 
“But the thing is not just the quality of the state program [of armaments], but also its strategic aims, which the government’s leader lays out.  We’d like the prime minister to formulate precisely what level of Navy presence in the world’s oceans and what he has in mind for its participation in the defense of bioresources.  Security of mineral and biological resources is an affair for civilian services and maritime border guards . . . .”
The business daily goes on to say corvettes, frigates, and landing ships are capable of completing “understandable and necessary missions.”  Still, it
says:
 
“Many experts consider extravagant the purchase of the Mistrals (four ships cost 2.35 billion euros), intended to support amphibious operations at a great distance from native shores.  Some admirals and VPK directors called for development of aircraft carrier groups.  Similar projects, the cost of which stretches to tens of billions of euros, will cause curtailment of construction of ships needed for the fleet, overloading and technological breakdowns in Russian shipyards.  In any case, Russia’s main problems have to be resolved on land.”
Sound advice given that the procurement problems of the Ground Troops and Air Forces, not to mention the RVSN, are just as serious and urgent as the Navy’s (if not more so).
 

Cadre Changes

President Medvedev’s decree from Tuesday . . .

Relieve of duty:

  • Vladimir Vladimirovich Mirzoyev, Deputy Director of the Federal Agency for Special Construction for Capital Construction and Industry.
  • Colonel Eduard Vladimirovich Filatov, Commander, 9th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade, 20th Army.

Dismiss from military service:

  • Rear-Admiral Vladimir Arkadyevich Korzhavin.
  • General-Major Viktor Alekseyevich Sidorov.
  • General-Lieutenant Yuriy Lazarevich Khrisman.

RIA Novosti pointed out that Mr. Mirzoyev had been dismissed from military service in May, but continued at Spetsstroy in a civilian capacity.  However, he apparently was too much an Abroskin man, and he’s been relieved.

The GOZ This Week

Putin at the Conference (photo: RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskiy)

At United Russia’s interregional conference in Cherepovets on Monday, Prime Minister Putin reported on the Defense Ministry’s failure to conclude all its GOZ contracts by his most recent September 1 deadline.  Putin said, despite Defense Minister Serdyukov’s assurances that only OSK contracts need to be finished, agreements with MIT and OAK are still not finalized.

According to RIA Novosti and the stenogram, Putin told the United Russia audience:

“Unfortunately, full agreement between the Defense Ministry and producers by 1 September didn’t happen, as we arranged.  Disagreements continue there in several areas.”

“I want to direct the attention of all sides to this process:  firstly, we have a colossal amount of money being allocated for strengthening the country’s defense capability.  We’ve generally never allocated such money, well, in Soviet times, when they threw everything at the defense sector, there were comparable figures, but in recent history never, — 20 trillion to 2020.  We are constrained in other places – very many – either to stop or cut our expenditures, but we need to do this to guarantee our defense capability.  But we don’t need to absorb these billions and trillions, we need to provide items quantitatively and qualitatively.”

“At the same time, of course, the profitability of enterprises should also be guaranteed.  The obvious fact is a minimum of 15 percent.  It’s necessary to get this profitability so there are resources for development, for worthy wages for the workers.  I hope that soon, in the course of a week, this process will be concluded in shipbuilding, in missiles, and in aviation.”

“In 2012, orders, advances and other payments should be sent in full measure to enterprises not later than March.  I’m counting on this very much.”

Vedomosti’s source close to the Defense Ministry admitted a week won’t be enough to close contracts worth 500 billion rubles with Sevmash and tens of billions with MIT.

Kommersant’s source familiar with the course of negotiations with MIT confirmed that the process isn’t complete.  Another source said a contract for Yak-130 trainers is almost complete, but one for MiG-29K fighters isn’t.  Konstantin Makiyenko told Vedomosti the MiG-29K doesn’t matter since the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier is headed for repairs.

Most striking is Putin’s call, a plea almost, not to “absorb” the GPV’s 20 trillion rubles without supplying the new weapons and equipment the army needs.  He’s well aware the situation could be like water in sand.

The GOZ Last Week (Part II)

We looked at last week’s news.  What’s it mean?  There wasn’t a lot of commentary about it, but there were two very good pieces.

To backtrack a little, if it looks like Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov might be (just might be)  getting an upper hand on forcing defense producers to his prices instead of vice versa, then the commentaries give insight into what is happening (or may happen) if Serdyukov succeeds in driving hard bargains with the OPK.

Moskovskiy komsomolets’ Olga Bozhyeva asked a general who worked on the GOZ to comment on this year’s situation:

“The Defense Ministry now lacks an organ with responsibility for contracting work, beginning with formation of initial prices and ending with accepting the results.  In the past, the chief of armament’s apparatus performed these functions, currently it’s been transformed into a department with unintelligible functions.  Tax organ officials who’ve come into the Defense Ministry’s key financial posts can’t connect the price of a product with the characteristics of the model being produced and its contribution to the country’s security.  In the Defense Ministry in recent years, three basic methods of calculating the cost of a product have been introduced, but not one of them factors in the substantive part of the work.  They are all built on the principle:  I have a certain amount of money, I want to give you this much of it.  But putting it to concrete use no longer interests anyone.  And it turns out that the methods of calculating prices in the Defense Ministry and in VPK enterprises are different.  The people speak different languages . . . .”

Bozhyeva concludes:

“In a market economy, you have to survive somehow.  Here is not America, where work for the Pentagon brings a good profit.  With us, it only allows you to survive.  And that is if they allow it.  But they don’t let everyone.”

“Here not long ago the Defense Minister got indignant, for example, that shipbuilders [Sevmash] had become so brazen that they also put the cost of kindergartens and other “social benefits” into the price of a missile-carrier [SSBN].”

“I’m not a taxman, evidently, since I don’t understand:  but where can they put it?  Let’s take Severodvinsk here.  It is completely dependent on “Sevmashpredpriyatiye.”  Like it or not, the kindergartens, schools, hospitals, clinics, housing – the factory has to maintain all of it.  And, naturally, they put the upkeep into their production cost.  How can it be otherwise?  If there aren’t kindergartens – there aren’t missile-carriers.”

Editorializing in Nezavisimaya gazeta, Viktor Litovkin writes:

“What are the causes of such an ‘inability to agree?’  In the fact, in my view, that it’s impossible to marry purely administrative approaches to the imposition of concrete military department prices on defense enterprises with largely market relationships which exist for the defense sector today.  With achieving that degree of Gosoboronzakaz profitability in which enterprises have the chance not just to survive, but also develop.  Several defense NII and factory directors, undoubtedly following the example of MIT General Designer Yuriy Solomonov, have already even stopped ‘fearing’ to publicize their disagreements with the Defense Ministry in front of journalists.  General Director of NII Instrument-building named for Tikhomirov, Yuriy Belyy told me ‘in the ordering structures of the military department people have come, who, to put it mildly, don’t understand anything about production and price formation’ (this, by the way, also means Anatoliy Serdyukov. – ‘NVO’ No. 25).  ‘Still they always demand the reduction of invoiced expenditures, reduction of profits, of labor input.  And often arbitrarily disregard prices on final goods.’  This, in his words, is happening all over the defense sector.”

“’If we had the GOZ alone, the enterprise would have died long ago,’ Yuriy Belyy told me.  ‘There are practically no resources remaining for development after GOZ fulfillment.  It isn’t understood that wages take according to some kind of averaging principle.  Invoicing expenses also.  So goes the practical strangulation of the defense sector.  In the country’s leadership they say that the OPK’s profitability is the locomotive of industry, should be not less than 15%, but in fact it’s not more than 5-7%.  And, the main thing, not understood, is with whom to talk in the Defense Ministry.  Completely incompetent people have arrived.  Their mission is not the development of industry, not increasing the country’s defense capability, their mission is to save money by any means.’”

“An enterprise producing a final product, like ‘Dolgorukiy,’ which buys metals, nuclear reactors, various components at market prices from the monopoly producers of these products, can’t give away the good created by its workers lower or a little, one-two percent, higher than its own cost, or lower than its profitability level.  It can’t buy new machine tools, technology, reequip its production line, train and select new highly-qualified personnel, provide them housing . . . .  It can’t not think about tomorrow.”

“And from the other side, if it’s possible to pay the French one and a half billion Euros for ‘Mistrals’ we need or don’t need, then why does ‘Sevmash’ have to give away a strategic submarine extremely essential to the Navy and Russia for free?!”