Late, but worth capturing for future reference . . . .
By way of recap, on 3 September, Vice-Admiral Burtsev told the press the Navy headquarters move to St. Petersburg was off, and this was decided over a year ago. But later the same day, he claimed he’d been misunderstood.
Then, on 8 September, Defense Minister Serdyukov took up the issue . . . whether he was asked or just elected to address this, we don’t know.
ITAR-TASS claims he put an end to recent media speculation about the Main Staff’s eventual move to Piter.
“No one has cancelled the decision to transfer the Navy Main Staff. The planned work is on-going. We said from the beginning that we didn’t intend to do this in the course of any short period of time, for example, in a year. This is happening not quickly, but according to readiness. At Admiralty in St. Petersburg, the place where the Main Staff will be located, renovation is on-going. Within the limits of the work’s completion, we will move.
“As far as the Command and Control Post (KPU or КПУ) goes, it won’t be transferred quickly, not even in the coming one-two years. We will outfit it with absolutely new equipment, new resources. There will be an absolutely new KPU. The old KPU, most likely, will be mothballed. Transferring it wouldn’t make any sense. So there aren’t any changes in our plans.”
Be all this as it may, it seems like a sign that the Defense Ministry, Serdyukov, or someone else, and the Navy were (or are) still at odds over moving its headquarters to the northern capital.
Late Friday, First Deputy Chief of the Navy Main Staff, Vice-Admiral Burtsev claimed the entire Russian media misinterpreted his remarks about the cancellation of the Navy headquarters move to St. Petersburg.
That’s quite a feat . . . making everyone misunderstand what you’ve said . . . and this from a guy who’s pretty much an official Navy spokesman. It sounds more like the flip-flopping on this issue continues . . . ‘bulldogs still fighting under the rug,’ so to speak. And someone made Burtsev retract his comments by way of claiming no one managed to understand what he was saying.
According to ITAR-TASS, Burtsev now says:
“I believe it’s necessary to make several substantial adjustments in information linked to me disseminated yesterday about the terms of the transfer of the Navy Main Staff to St. Petersburg. There has not been any suspension of the decision on such a transfer.”
“The mass media incorrectly interpreted my words about work toward the full transfer of the Navy Main Staff not being completed in 2010.”
He says the transfer:
“. . . is happening on schedule, a number of structural sub-units and units of the Main Command are already fully working in St. Petersburg.”
“First of all, these are the auxiliary command and control post, supporting peacetime command and control of forces, and also sub-units of military acceptance [voyenpredy], shipbuilding and radioelectronic warfare, and a number of organs of the naval scientific committee.”
“The full-scale transfer of the Main Command to St. Petersburg requires establishment of a qualitatively new infrastructural foundation, which is being laid down at the present time. This concerns primarily sub-units responsible for command and control of naval strategic nuclear forces, groupings at sea, but also some other operational sub-units which, incidentally, are located not just in Moscow, but in other territorial components of the RF.”
“I want to note again: the transfer of the Navy Main Command to St. Petersburg is occurring on schedule, in accordance with decisions taken earlier, in the bounds of the plan for reform of Russia’s Armed Forces.”
First Deputy Chief of the Navy Main Staff, Vice-Admiral Oleg Burtsev told journalists today the Navy headquarters will not move from Moscow to St. Petersburg. He says the decision not to move was taken a year ago. He declined to say whether the Main Staff will remain in its current location in Moscow. But he added:
“Two variants for the location of the staff are being reviewed, but the decision about which of them to choose has not been made.”
The Main Staff won’t remain on Bolshoy Kozlovskiy Lane, near the Krasnyye Borota Metro, and media sources are saying it will either move into the Genshtab’s building on Znamenka, or into the Frunze Military Academy (Combined Arms Academy) building.
The idea for the move came from Putin ally and Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov in 2007, and received support, not surprisingly, from St. Petersburg politicos. Affected naval officers actively opposed the move, and their seniors were ambivalent at best. It looks like Serdyukov’s Defense Ministry slow-rolled until the decision was reversed. Not that it opposed the idea of freeing up expensive property for sale, but the cost and disruption of moving the Navy headquarters was prohibitive.