Monthly Archives: October 2021

Too Old?

How old is too old? Here’s some perspective on the clock ticking against Russian army commanders as they climb the career ladder.

General-Colonel Gerasimov was 56 when he took command of the Central MD in April 2012. He was appointed chief of the General Staff seven months later.

Since 2010 when Russia’s current MDs were established, 14 generals have been appointed to command them.

Their ages at appointment run from 47 to 58. General-Colonel Surovikin took command of the Eastern MD at 47. One of his predecessors — Admiral Sidenko — took over at 58.

Here’s what the 14 ages look like:

47 — 52 — 53 — 53 — 53 — 54 — 54 — 54 — 55 — 55 — 56 — 56 — 56 — 58

Not a card-carrying statistician, but this much is obvious. The median age is 54. Range 11 years. Throw out the high and low and it’s a narrower window of 52 to 56.

The four current MD commanders were 52, 53, 54, and 55. An average of 53.5 years.

Overlay on this the twelve current army commanders with ages running from 46 to 55.

The older ones might not receive serious consideration for future stepping-stone jobs as deputy commanders or chiefs of staff, first deputy commanders in one of the MDs.

Younger ones just have more time for advancement, more time to spend as a deputy waiting for a possible first deputy job.

It leads, however, to a major unknown. Is age even a significant consideration in Shoygu’s and Putin’s decision making on MD commanders?

Life expectancy for males in the RF in 2019 was 68 years.

Army Commanders

Almost three years since the last look. Eight of 12 commanders have been replaced in that span. Four holdovers plus one have been in place for two or three years. The remaining seven were appointed sometime in 2020.

The current rundown of armies, headquarters, MD/OSK, and commanders is:

1st TA…Bakovka…Western…General-Lieutenant Sergey Kisel.

6th CAA…Agalatovo…Western…General-Lieutenant Vladislav Yershov.

20th CAA…Voronezh…Western…General-Lieutenant Andrey Ivanayev.

8th CAA…Novocherkassk…Southern…General-Lieutenant Andrey Sychevoy.

49th CAA…Stavropol…Southern…General-Lieutenant Yakov Rezantsev.

58th CAA…Vladikavkaz…Southern…General-Lieutenant Mikhail Zusko.

2nd CAA…Samara…Central…General-Lieutenant Andrey Kolotovkin.

41st CAA…Novosibirsk…Central…General-Lieutenant Sergey Ryzhkov.

36th CAA…Ulan Ude…Eastern…General-Major Valeriy Solodchuk.

29th CAA…Chita…Eastern…General-Lieutenant Roman Berdnikov.

35th CAA…Belogorsk…Eastern…General-Major Aleksandr Sanchik.

5th CAA…Ussuriysk…Eastern…General-Major Aleksey Podivilov.

Army command is a significant milestone. These officers have moved from large tactical formations to the operational level of command. They have (or will receive) pogony with two stars and assignment to at least one higher post.

They are men of the early 1970s. Only three — Sanchik, Sychevoy, and Ryzhkov — were born in the late 1960s. Yershov and Berdnikov are the youngest at 46 and 47 respectively. Sanchik and Ryzhkov the oldest at 55 and 53.

All spent time as chief of staff, first deputy commander of an army before getting an army command of their own. Rezantsev and Ryzhkov are on their second army commands. Rezantsev commanded the 41st and 49th; Ryzhkov the 58th and 41st.

Their experience of war looks like this:

1st Chechen2nd ChechenGeorgiaCrimeaDonbassSyria
KiselXXX
YershovX
IvanayevXXX
SychevoyX
RezantsevX
ZuskoXX
KolotovkinXX
RyzhkovXXX
SolodchukXX
Berdnikov
SanchikX
PodivilovX

Handicapping the prospects of these generals is difficult except to say that relative youth provides more chances for career advancement.

More enlightening is what happens when they move beyond the army level of command. Next we’ll look at what’s become of their predecessors.

Russian Navy Shuffle

Along with General-Colonel Kartapolov’s retirement to take his seat in the new Duma for United Russia, TASS announced a number of leadership changes in the navy. The news agency cited an as-yet unpublished presidential decree.

Baltic Fleet commander Admiral Aleksandr Nosatov is the new chief of the Navy Main Staff, First Deputy CINC of the Navy. His predecessor Admiral Vitko was retired just after turning 60. 58-year-old Nosatov became Baltic Fleet commander when Putin wiped its leadership slate clean for corruption and providing false status reports in 2016. Nosatov apparently righted the fleet to the president’s satisfaction. He served his early years in the Pacific Fleet’s surface forces.

Admiral Aleksandr Nosatov

Vice-Admiral Viktor Liina took Nosatov’s place in the Baltic Fleet.

Other navy changes are in the final paragraph of the TASS report.

MOSCOW, 5 October. /TASS/. Deputy head of the Russian military department Andrey Kartapolov has been dismissed from military service in connection with his election as a deputy of the State Duma, and a number of cadre changes in the Navy were also effected, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has stated.

“By presidential decree, Deputy Defense Minister – Chief of the Main Military-Political Directorate of the RF Armed Forces General-Colonel Kartapolov Andrey Valeryevich was relieved of duty and dismissed from military service in connection with his election as a State Duma deputy,” Shoygu said at a video conference on Tuesday.

He stated that by decree of the head of state “Admiral Vitko Aleksandr Viktorovich, chief of the Main Staff – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Navy was relieved of duty and dismissed from military service.”

The minister expressed gratitude to both military leaders “for the high professionalism, responsibility and diligence exhibited by them in the fulfillment of their service obligations.”

According to Shoygu’s statement, by this decree of the head of state Admiral Aleksandr Nosatov was appointed chief of the Main Staff – First Deputy CINC of the Navy, Vice-Admiral Viktor Liina replaced him as commander of the Baltic Fleet.

The minister announced that Rear-Admiral Vladimir Vorobyev was appointed deputy chief of the General Staff; Rear-Admiral Konstantin Kabantsov chief of staff – first deputy commander of the Northern Fleet; Vice-Admiral Sergey Pinchuk chief of staff – first deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet; Vice-Admiral Arkadiy Romanov deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet.