In early February, the MOD’s Main Personnel Directorate (GUK) Chief held a special conclave.
A featured guest was Chief of the State Service and Personnel Directorate of the RF President’s Administration, Anton Fedorov. He and his subordinates maintain President Vladimir Putin’s nomenklatura of general and flag officer appointments in the RF Armed Forces.
The GUK forwards names to fill general and admiral positions. It recommends candidates for promotion to the “highest officer” (O-7 and above) ranks. But Mr. Fedorov’s group ultimately vets people and frames decisions on lists that Putin issues.
Professional competence is verified by the GUK. In the Kremlin, however, they are more concerned about reliability and loyalty to Putin. No doubt the FSB provides input from its channels in the military, through its headquarters, to Fedorov in the PA.
At the recent GUK assemblage, Fedorov declared there are 730 general and admiral duty posts in the armed forces. Thirty-eight are vacant, but 15 are in the process of being filled.
So let’s call it a general or admiral for every 1,370 Russian troops (a million authorized). The U.S. number is 1 per 1,467 (886 for 1,300,000 active personnel).
Moscow reportedly had 1,100 in the “highest officer” ranks early in former defense minister Anatoliy Serdyukov’s ill-fated tenure. If memory serves, the number was reduced to 1,300-1,400 from 1,700-1,800 in the early 2000s while the Russian military was still authorized at significantly more than a million men.
Thus endeth the digression….
Below find a close look at the promotion list Putin signed out on the eve of Defenders’ Day 2017. The updated list of 395 Russian generals and admirals is here.
The media made much of the promotion of officers connected to operations in Syria.
Chief of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate Sergey Rudskoy got his third star. Rudskoy is frequently the MOD’s spokesman on the situation in Syria. His deputy, Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov, who has been the Russian military representative in talks with the Syrian opposition, got his second star.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Aleksandr Zhuravlev became a general-colonel. He served first as chief of staff for the Russian group of forces in Syria, then as commander in the second half of 2016.
Sergey Kobylash, commander of Russia’s LRA which has bombed Syrian territory, became a general-lieutenant.
Many promotees, however, are connected to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, or serve in the Southern MD and Black Sea Fleet.
One-star rank went to commanders or chiefs of the following:
- 1st Composite Air Division
- 30th Surface Ship Division
- Crimean Naval Base
- Black Sea Higher Naval School
- 12th Reserve Command
- 31st Air Defense Division
41st Combined Arms Army Commander Aleksey Zavizon, who reportedly led Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, became a two-star.
The head of the Russian contingent of ceasefire monitors in Donbas — Andrey Kozlov — became a general-major.
The General Staff’s representative in Normandy format negotiations Yaroslav Moskalik got his first star.
NTsUO Chief Mikhail Mizintsev got his third star; one of his deputies got his first.
Shoygu got a star for his “special assignments” assistant who previously served with him in MChS.
Airborne Troops got a couple one-star promotions for Vladimir Shamanov’s old military assistant and the VDV’s personnel chief.
The chief and deputy chief of the Military Academy of Aerospace Defense were both promoted, to general-lieutenant and general-major respectively. The academy just celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Other promotions to one-star rank included the commanders or chiefs of the following:
- Ground Troops Main Staff
- Navy Main Staff
- 4th Combat Employment and Retraining Center, Aerospace Forces
- 62nd Missile Division, RVSN
- 90th Tank Division, Central MD