Topwar’s summation of the Kommersant story on Defense Minister Serdyukov’s retention brought many comments in its forum. They came mainly from conservative critics of Serdyukov and President Putin.
It’s a tough slog for anyone suggesting Serdyukov has done things that were overdue and necessary. Anatoliy Eduardovich is roundly criticized for destroying what existed, and not putting anything better in its place. Worse, some call him a traitor serving “Western interests.”
S_mirnov writes only a real idiot, or one who values an apartment more than his country, could believe Serdyukov is the best man to guarantee officers housing. To him, the reappointment of Serdyukov is akin to giving the Titanic’s captain a new ship and having him sail to the same destination with surviving passengers.
Sinandju concludes not sending Serdyukov into retirement is just another sign of what Putin’s oligarchic-bureaucratic government is all about.
Redpartyzan alleges there were more questions about Serdyukov’s performance in office than ministers who were not reappointed.
BigLexey says Serdyukov’s been kept around to be a scapegoat for the army’s problems at an appropriate time, so the president and prime minister won’t be blamed.
Kadet787 from Belarus shares a poem about Russia appointing as Defense Minister not a wolf or bear, but an ass who sells military property for half what its worth.
To Topwar’s suggestion that time might tell about Serdyukov’s continuing tenure, Older replies all of Taburetkin’s wonders have been seen and Putin and Medvedev have behaved strangely.
Then Teves from Germany asserts Serdyukov remains because he did what Putin wanted despite the illusions of “superpatriots.”
Borisst64 analyzes the situation like this:
“The aim of Serdyukov’s appointment was clear from the start – destroying the structure of the country’s VS [Armed Forces], if they leave him, it means severe decisions (cuts, relocations, etc.) will still be implemented. The logic is understandable, the people’s attitude toward Serdyukov is negative, still they are patient, and we’ll appoint a new one [Defense Minister] when everything is perfect and nothing threatens the [new Armed Forces] image.”
Olegych picks up the defense of the Defense Minister:
“Serdyukov is a normal, honest Defense Minister, cleaning up all the bullsh** accumulated for decades. Dedovshchina, thievery, ruined bases and military units, the lack of arms and POL supplies, the absence of housing – that’s what was, and what would be left. And if you poured trillions of rubles into the sad MO [Defense Ministry] structure that existed before him, the result would be poor. In the context given, Serdyukov is not a fighter, but a finance officer, a controller of resources, of tightly planned and justified expenditures. And here’s the entire answer to why he remains at his post. He remains at his post because there are real and tangible results from his leadership: housing acquired, new armaments introduced, increased pay, an increase in exercises and flights, the destruction of millions of tons of old and dangerous ammunition, untangling the flywheel of the Gosoboronzakaz. Cutting the number of servicemen and training institutions is an essential and necessary step, because there are no resources to maintain them.”
For a bit, the discussion devolves to Putin, whether “the Tsar is good and the boyars bad,” and whether it’s OK to insult the president. And, more interestingly, whether Putin will eventually lose support and give rise to more “bolotniki.”
There’s a final counter to Olegych when Drugar says:
“Why Serdyukov is again Defense Minister is obvious. The only thing not understood is what servicemen and the army / fleet as a whole are waiting for. Generally, judging by recent events, the army is turning into a commercial enterprise, this transformation of everything and all to a civilian basis has allowed turning the servicing of army structures into a fantastically profitable and absolutely unpunishable business! It’s possible to steal billions, imagine how much it costs to feed, clothe soldiers, repair equipment, supply spare parts, build-repair, and the like. But, if someone will say it, report, Mr. Serdyukov – a MILITARY SECRET, gentlemen, a military secret . . . This is the finale, the culmination of the Putinist corruption scheme! So in Russia they still never steal . . . People have become mute and blind from propaganda and zombification, have lost the ability to think (!), they are accustomed to softened up facts from the state’s zombie box [television]. Pronouncing ‘that yes they’re all d*cks there in the end,’ every one will stay home and continue hoping Putin will steal, steal, but remember about the people . . . In vain.”
No absolute answer why Serdyukov remains, but some interesting and reasonably educated opinions.