This blog completed its second year yesterday. There were 288 posts in year two (a few less than last year). Just a couple to go to reach 600 posts since December 10, 2009.
One hopes the reading was half as worthwhile as the writing. But frustration lingers. It’s impossible to follow everything. Adding Twitter provided a “release valve” for overflowing news. Still there’s tension between posting short items and writing more detailed pieces drawing together many different sources.
In 2011, Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov had plenty of interviews, official appearances, and other public utterances to cover. There were a large number of high-level personnel changes, retirements, and dismissals to report.
Serdyukov eased a little on cutting the officer corps. The Defense Ministry readied its new higher pay system while scandal plagued the stopgap premium pay scheme. Military housing remained a major headache as always.
Moscow hit a wall on manpower and had to accept undermanning. After acknowledging there aren’t enough potential draftees, the military is starting over (yet again) with an effort to create professional enlisted and NCOs through contract service.
This year began with questions about the GPV’s feasibility, but devolved into immediate problems with GOZ-2011. The Russians threw money at the OPK without looking at the defense sector’s (and the procurement bureaucracy’s) capability to turn financing into the kind of weapons and equipment the military requires. Difficulties ramping up production of naval and missile systems occupied media attention. The public debate over the relative merits of buying Russian or foreign weapons made several headlines.
So where is Russia’s military?
To this observer, the Russian Armed Forces are improving and beginning serious rearmament. But the hour is late. Significant future problems could derail recent positive changes. These include new and old, unsolved economic, budgetary, social, demographic, and possibly even political challenges. Not to mention purely military obstacles to modernizing the army and navy.
Your visits and page views grew significantly in year two. Page views are about 400 a day, 2,000+ a week, and 9,000-10,000 a month. We’ll see if this is the ceiling for this rather specialized topic.
Your views, opinions, and arguments are always appreciated. Those sharing or highlighting data and evidence on issues are particularly valuable.
Mr. Korotchenko and others who write this website – this is very interesting and balanced…I will not make sure to read this as part of my daily RIAN, ITAR-TASS, RBC NEWS cluster. And enjoy some of your appearances on Russian TV that I get here in USA.
I have a question right now, however: I read that the Severodvinsk nuclear submarines – and the modernized Antey – will have the Yakhont and the Kalibr (the subsonic but stealthy long range cruise missile) instead of the SS-N-19 Granit system. What might be your thoughts on this switch? After all, submarine-launched Granit has almost the double range of Yakhont. Or is the range not as important anymore? Perhaps Yakhont will be upgraded to fly longer ranges? Why do you think the combination of subsonic long range Kalibr and supersonic 300km range Yakhont has been deem a better fit for the Severodvinsk and modernized Antey?
oops…I meant to rite “I will now make sure” …but I wrote “I will not” sorry.
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I’d like to add my congratulations to the author for two years of extremely informative, insightful, and balanced coverage of Russian defense developments. This blog is an invaluable resource for everyone interested in this arcane, but nonetheless important and frequently misunderstood topic. Thanks for cutting through the hype and obfuscation! I have done my best to spread the word both domestically and internationally that this is a ‘must read’ site for anyone following Russia’s military reforms. Best of luck in the year(s) to come!
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