Tag Archives: Central MD

Winners and Losers in Organizing New MDs and Armies

Today a Ground Troops spokesman told ITAR-TASS three current Leningrad Military District (MD) brigades will form a 6th Combined Arms Army (CAA) in the new Western MD.  The 200th, 138th, and 25th Motorized Rifle Brigades will comprise the new army, and its headquarters will probably be Agalatovo, just north of St. Petersburg.  The spokesman also said a surface-to-air missile brigade and independent engineering brigade will be added to the Western MD.

These comments came in conjunction with a visit by Ground Troops CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov to the region to check on the formation of the new MD.  The spokesman said Postnikov may be working on peacetime coordination between the district’s Ground Troops, the Northern and Baltic Fleets, and Air Forces units.  He said, in wartime, “everything’s clear – [the district’s] commander directly commands everything deployed within the district’s boundaries.  But there’s still no experience of coordination in peacetime and we need to get it.”

Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Vladimir Mukhin also wrote today that the third new CAA will be based in Maykop, Southern MD.  Mukhin says that staffs, commands, formations, and military units in the Far East, Siberian, and Moscow MDs are being liquidated in the shift to four new MDs / OSKs, and, as a result, several thousand officers will be placed outside the TO&E beginning 1 September.  He thinks many of them won’t find vacant posts, and will be discharged from the army.

Serdyukov’s Defense Ministry will also be putting some soon-to-be-vacant properties up for sale, e.g. Moscow MD headquarters (Polina Osipenko Street, Moscow), Far East MD headquarters (Seryshev Street, Khabarovsk).  The initial asking prices for these buildings and land will be several billion U.S. dollars.  As long planned, proceeds from these sales, along with the sale of the Navy Main Staff, military educational institutions, and other military establishments in Moscow, are supposed to fund construction of housing for servicemen as well as military garrison infrastructure in new army deployment locations.

Mukhin talked to General-Lieutenant Yuriy Netkachev about Maykop.  Netkachev says Moscow is resurrecting the army headquarters located there until 1993.  He believes Maykop was chosen to reinforce against threats from Georgia as well as threats to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In the Central MD, Mukhin says the 67th Spetsnaz Brigade will move yet again, from IVVAIU in Irkutsk to Chita or Transbaykal Kray.  The IVVAIU building will be sold.

Mukhin sees Moscow’s demilitarization and moving forces closer to their likely operational theaters as the right policy, but asks if it’s underpinned with resources.  It has serious impact on servicemen and their families, and they’ve been forgotten in this process.

Mukhin quotes servicemen’s union chief Oleg Shvedkov:

“Continuing steps to transition the troops into a new profile supposes not only a significant cut in professional servicemen, but also their relocation to a new place of service.  And this means new everyday life problems are possible:  transfers, absence of housing, work for spouses, education for children, and the like.  The Defense Ministry is trying to resolve these issues on its own, but it would be more correct for the government to work on them through a special federal program.”

Commander for New Army in Chita

General-Major Romanchuk

By the Defense Minister’s order dated 12 August, General-Major Aleksandr Vladimirovich Romanchuk became acting commander of the new combined arms army being formed in Chita.  ITAR-TASS quoted a SibVO spokesman:

“The command and staff of the army, and also a number of army-subordinate formations and military units, will be formed under his leadership.  Formations and military units based in Transbaykal Kray will comprise the army.”

The Chita Combined Arms Army (CAA) will be the easternmost large formation in the new Central Military District (MD), or Combined Strategic Command (OSK) Center.  Who knows what number the new army will receive . . . maybe the former 29th CAA will be resurrected.

Romanchuk was born 15 April 1959 in Lugansk, Ukraine.  He grew up in a military family in Azerbaijan.  Commissioned out of the Baku Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1980, he served as a tank platoon and company commander, then chief of staff and deputy commander of a tank battalion in the Transcaucasus MD.  He graduated from the Military Academy of Armored Troops in 1989 and, for a very short period, commanded an independent tank battalion in the Central Group of Forces (Czechoslovakia). 

Returning home with the rest of Soviet forces, he became deputy commander and commander of a machine gun-artillery regiment in the Transbaykal MD during the 1990s.  He was a colonel in his late 30s by the end of this phase of his career.

When the Transbaykal MD folded into the Siberian MD, Romanchuk became chief of an armaments and equipment storage base, and chief of staff and deputy commander of a Siberian MD tank division.  He served a tour of duty in Chechnya during the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Between 2001 and 2003, he was deputy commander of the Guards Taman Motorized Rifle Division in the Moscow MD.  He became commander of the 4th Guards Kantemir Tank Division in Naro-Fominsk at the end of 2003.  He was promoted to general-major (one star) in mid-2005.

He likely attended the Military Academy of the General Staff between mid-2006 and mid-2008, and then became a deputy commander of the Novosibirsk-based 41st CAA.  In July 2009, he became chief of staff and first deputy commander of that army.

Romanchuk is married with two sons.

Interim OSK Commanders Named

Late Thursday Interfaks learned that Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov signed an order naming acting commanders of Russia’s four new military districts, or operational-strategic commands (OSKs).

Volga-Ural MD Commander, General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin will be the interim commander of the new Western MD.  Siberian MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin will temporarily head the new Central MD.  Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Konstantin Sidenko will command the new Far East MD for now.  And North Caucasus MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Aleksandr Galkin will head the the new Southern MD. 

General-Colonel Bakhin

General-Lieutenant Chirkin

Admiral Sidenko

General-Lieutenant Galkin

Serdyukov wants the new command and control scheme operating from the start of the new training year on 1 December.

Kommersant noted general surprise that a naval officer was picked to head the Far East MD.  Ground Troops generals have always commanded the army-dominated MDs.  But a Navy Main Staff source said Sidenko is not new to commanding army units; he once commanded the combined Navy-Ground Troops force on Kamchatka.

Kommersant also said extramural Defense Ministry collegiums will evaluate the effectiveness of these reorganizations before the end of the year.

Makarov’s Guys Take Key Posts

Bakhin, Chirkin, and Galkin prospered under General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov when he was Siberian MD Commander from 2002-2007.  Each of them served as an army commander, deputy MD commander, and chief of staff, first deputy MD commander under Makarov in Siberia (or immediately after his departure for Moscow).  Chirkin served as Bakhin’s chief of staff, first deputy commander of the Volga-Ural MD, before becoming Siberian MD Commander this year.

Sidenko is a submariner, and most of his career has been in the Pacific Fleet.  His experience as ‘Commander of Troops and Forces in the North-East’ is, interestingly enough, a little similar to Makarov’s late 1990s time as ‘Commander of Ground and Coastal Troops, Deputy Commander of the Baltic Fleet for Ground and Coastal Troops.’