A reader provided this…nice to have.
From TVZvezda last week.
An indication of prospects for current Russian army commanders is the fate of their predecessors. Here’s what’s become of them.
Former army commanders are waiting for (or possibly no longer expecting) assignment to higher posts (usually MD commander), and they fall into three groups.
Wearing three stars is one clear sign of excellent prospects. Most former commanders are two-stars. Those in the general-colonel group include Chayko, Kuralenko, and Kuzovlev.
Chayko reportedly also wears Hero of the Russian Federation (2020). He seems the most accomplished of the bunch, and he’s quite young. He
had a stint as likely remains a deputy chief of the General Staff.
Still don’t have a picture of Chayko as a general-colonel with his Hero of the RF medal.
Though wearing three stars, Kuralenko is already 59. His pedigree is good, but he’s on a detour as chief of Russia’s military police.
General-lieutenants with good chances include Nikiforov, Teplinskiy, and Zavizon. They’re serving as chief of staff, first deputy commander of an MD.
Teplinskiy seemed like a fast-burner having been COS/FDC for two MDs. He has a Hero of the RF (1995) he earned as a JO under fire (not as a general safe at headquarters) in the First Chechen War. But Teplinskiy’s been waiting for his third star seven years and counting.
Prominent service in Syria — commander or chief of staff, deputy commander of the RF MOD contingent — may be a harbinger of future promotions. Chayko did three tours — one as chief of staff and two as commander. Kuzovlev and Nikiforov are past commanders. Zavizon was a deputy commander in Syria.
Teplinskiy doesn’t have Syrian time, but allegedly led Russian militias in the Donbass. Zavizon also reportedly commanded them.
Generals seemingly on course for a chance at a higher post include: Avdeyev, Chebotarev (but where is he?), Kuzmenko (he’s young but now sidetracked at MAGS), Muradov, Nosulev, Peryazev (though he may stay in GUBP), Seritskiy, Sevryukov, and Tsekov (if he escapes VUNTs SV).
Time is working against all of them. The best chances may belong to Avdeyev, Muradov, Nosulev, Seritskiy, and Sevryukov. They are all deputy MD commanders. Muradov might be a good bet; he’s young and just had the high-profile job of peacekeeping in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former MD commanders who are off course include: Astapov, Kaloyev, Kovalenko, Poplavskiy, Romanchuk, Salmin, and Tsilko. They are off track mostly for age and failure to secure a COS/FDC post in an MD. Some have accepted honorable pre-retirement jobs out of the mainstream like Deputy CINC of the Navy or department chair at MAGS.
It’s Not Scientific
There’s no formula for any of this. Case in point: there was no real reason to see General-Colonel Gennadiy Zhidko coming as the new Eastern MD commander in late 2018. He was chief of staff in Syria and had a year as deputy chief of the General Staff. That alone isn’t much to recommend an officer for MD command. It’s hard to say whom he impressed — possibly General Staff Chief Valeriy Gerasimov. He also served under Western MD commander General-Colonel Zhuravlev in Syria. The personal connections are very, very difficult to track.
Some detail on each of the above-mentioned former army commanders follows:
General-Lieutenant Viktor Astapov…58…former commander, 49th CAA (2012-2013)…deputy commander of the Southern MD…chief of staff, first deputy commander of the Western MD…Deputy CINC of the Navy for Ground and Coastal Troops.
General-Lieutenant Aleksey Avdeyev…54…former commander, 29th CAA (2014-2017) and 1st TA (2017-2018)…deputy commander of the Southern MD.
General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko…50…former commander, 20th CAA (2014), 1st TA (2014-2017)…chief of staff of the Russian group of troops in Syria and two tours as its commander…chief of staff, first deputy commander of the Eastern MD…deputy chief of the General Staff.
General-Major Sergey Chebotarev…??…former commander, 35th CAA (2017-2020)…current posting unknown.
General-Major Dmitriy Kovalenko…??…former commander, 36th CAA (2015-2017)…deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet for Ground and Coastal Troops.
General-Colonel Sergey Kuralenko…59…former commander, 49th CAA (2011-2012) and 6th CAA (2013-2015)…deputy commander of the Western MD…deputy commander and commander of Russian group of troops in Syria…chief of staff, first deputy commander, Eastern MD…chief of the Main Military Police Directorate, RF MOD.
General-Lieutenant Andrey Kuzmenko…48…former commander, 6th CAA (2015-2019)…chairs a department of the Military Academy of the General Staff.
General-Colonel Sergey Kuzovlev…54…former commander, 20th CAA (2015-2016), 58th CAA (2016-2017), 8th CAA (2017-2019)…chief of staff, first deputy commander of the Southern MD…commander of Russian group of troops in Syria.
General-Lieutenant Rustam Muradov…48…former commander, 2nd CAA (2017-2018)…deputy commander, Southern MD…commanded Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
General-Lieutenant Yevgeniy Nikiforov…51…former commander, 20th CAA (2016-2017), 58th CAA (2017-2019)…chief of staff, first deputy commander, Eastern MD…commander of Russian group of troops in Syria.
General-Lieutenant Mikhail Nosulev …56…former commander, 36th CAA (2017-2019)…deputy commander, Eastern MD.
General-Major Aleksandr Peryazev…55…former commander, 20th CAA (2017-2018)…deputy chief, Main Combat Training Directorate, RF Armed Forces.
General-Lieutenant Yevgeniy Poplavskiy…59…former commander, 29th CAA (2017-2018)…deputy commander, Central MD.
General-Lieutenant Aleksey Salmin…59…former commander, 5th CAA (2013-2016)…first deputy commander (probably for Ground and Coastal Troops), Pacific Fleet…deputy commander, Western MD.
General-Lieutenant Igor Seritskiy…56…former commander, 2nd CAA (2014-2016)…deputy commander, Western MD.
General-Lieutenant Sergey Sevryukov…57…former commander, 49th CAA (2013-2019)…deputy commander, Eastern MD.
General-Lieutenant Mikhail Teplinskiy…52…former commander, 36th CAA (2013-2015)…chief of staff, first deputy commander, Southern MD…chief of staff, first deputy commander, Central MD.
General-Lieutenant Vladimir Tsilko…61…former commander, 36th CAA (2009-2012)…deputy commander, Eastern MD…chairs command and control department of MAGs.
General-Lieutenant Aleksey Zavizon…56…former commander, 41st CAA (2016-2018)…chief of staff, first deputy commander, Western MD.
How old is too old? Here’s some perspective on the clock ticking against Russian army commanders as they climb the career ladder.
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.
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:
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 Chechen||2nd Chechen||Georgia||Crimea||Donbass||Syria|
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.
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.
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.