Tag Archives: Valeriy Gerasimov

Gerasimov New NGSh

Putin with Shoygu and Gerasimov

Today President Putin retired Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov.  An old hand, currently Commander of the Central MD, General-Colonel Valeriy Gerasimov replaces him.  Putin also dropped First Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr Sukhorukov (who’d had responsibility for armaments).  Western MD Commander Arkadiy Bakhin replaces Sukhorukov.  Aerospace Defense Troops Commander, General-Colonel Oleg Ostapenko also becomes a deputy defense minister.  Here’s the ukaz on the appointments, and on the dismissals.

Meeting with Gerasimov and Shoygu, Putin told the new NGSh he’s concerned by constantly changing Defense Ministry requirements on industry, and looks to him, and to the new defense minister, to “build a good, stable working partnership with our leading defense industrial enterprises.”

Serdyukov didn’t have one.  Perhaps all is not sweetness and light with the defense order in 2012.

GUBP Retirees Against Reform

 A belated post-script to the Colonel Krasov, Seltsy, SDR flare-up against Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and his reforms . . . .

On the first of this month, Life.ru reported that officers of the now-disbanded Main Directorate of Combat Training and Troop Service (ГУБП or GUBP for short) established a public organization to oppose military reform.

The organizing assembly occurred right after the directorate furled its standard (marking the unit’s dissolution) on 26 November.  Life.ru says 60 men attended.  This new, as yet unnamed organization is apparently seeking official registration.  It expects support from the LDPR faction in the Duma, and from large veterans organizations that have come out against reform.

Its executive secretary, Andrey Serdyuk, said:

“Ill-conceived reform has left the Russian Army without a central combat training methodology – that is, now no one knows what and how we teach soldiers and officers on the battlefield.  Nevertheless, we intend to conduct meetings and demonstrations like our colleagues from the Union of Airborne Troops.  We plan to achieve our goals in three ways – media appearances, organizing public monitoring over the course of reform, and cooperation with public veterans’ organizations.”

Retirees will be the backbone of this organization.  It won’t accept serving military men out of concern for their welfare.

A former chief of the main directorate, General-Colonel Aleksandr Skorodumov will head the group.  He retired in late 2004 after complaining publicly about personnel decisions and reorganizations that look minor compared with Serdyukov’s tenure.  He created a mini-scandal by saying the army had collapsed at that time.

Viktor Ozerov – Chairman of Federation Council’s Defense Committee and an uncritical functionary – admitted:

“There was and undoubtedly will be resistance to reform.  Remember when the General Staff apparatus was cut, how many dissatisfied people there were:  people occupied specific duties, had pay, and then they’re deprived of all this.  But in any instance, there are people standing behind every such decision and their legal rights should be guaranteed upon dismissal.”

Ozerov also said responsibility for combat training will go to the individual services and branches, and inter-service training will be supervised by the military districts / unified strategic commands (OSKs).

Serdyukov himself told the Defense Ministry’s official Public Council on Friday that combat training will be the purview of services, armies, and brigades, and operational training will be under the Genshtab, MDs, and brigades (but apparently not armies?).

The GUBP’s fate was decided in June and sealed in September.  See Moskovskiy komsomolets, Argumenty.ru, and Gazeta.ru for more.  They claim former Moscow MD Commander, General-Colonel Valeriy Gerasimov – newly retooled as a deputy chief of the General Staff – will oversee inter-service training for the Genshtab.  And, by 1 February, a new Directorate of Troop Service and Military Service Security will stand up.  This will actually be a new / old directorate.  It existed several years ago and supervised safety issues, and grappled with crime and dedovshchina among the troops. 

MK presented two opposing opinions on GUBP’s fate. 

Leonid Ivashov said:

“The most experienced officers and generals serve in the GUBP, they develop and monitor combat training.  The Genshtab has several other functions – strategic ones.  No one there will take evaluation trips to far-off garrisons.  Especially since the Genstab’s combat training directorate will be a very truncated version.  Its elimination means our troops won’t be prepared for combat actions.

A Genshtab source gave this view:

“This is simply the latest course of reform which we have going on.  The information about the GUBP’s elimination appeared long ago.  The directorate has a highly inflated number of personnel, and its work has been evaluated as, to put it mildly, ineffective.  No new methods, no training ground equipment, no simulators in recent decades.

Western MD Opens for Business

According to ITAR-TASS, General-Colonel Valeriy Gerasimov told journalists yesterday that the new Western Military District (MD) was fully formed and functional on 1 September.  Gerasimov said:

“The Western Military District started functioning on 1 September.  Command and control organs of the former Leningrad and Moscow Military Districts, Northern and Baltic Fleets, and also the 1st Air Forces and Air Defense Command went into the composition of the staff located in St. Petersburg.”

Gerasimov said the majority of Moscow MD staff officers:

“. . . were appointed to positions in the staff of the Western Military District and other organs of military command and control.  Part of the officers, having served out their prescribed terms, were dismissed, but those who have a half-year to a year remaining to serve are at the disposition [of their commanding officers].”

Gerasimov himself went from Commander, Moscow MD to become a deputy chief of the General Staff.

The Defense Ministry now wants the other three new MDs / OSKs to be functional by 1 October.

Supreme CINC Meets Troops at Alabino

President Medvedev at Alabino

On 5 May, President Medvedev visited Alabino’s 5th Guards Taman Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (formerly division), a traditional showcase and test bed formation for new equipment and concepts.  

Medvedev and Defense Minister Serdyukov followed up the latter’s late April meeting with the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers and other public representatives about ‘humanizing’ the armed forces.  At that time, Serdyukov presented ideas for driving the ‘spirit of the prison camp from the army.’  They included freeing soldiers from additional duties to focus completely on training, allowing them more free time, pushing reveille and lights-out back an hour, mandating a rest hour after lunch, instituting a 5-day conscript working week, allowing the possibility of draftees serving close to home, and obtaining weekend passes to leave the garrison. 

Alabino is a place where things like these are typically tried out. 

As Rossiyskaya gazeta put it, Medvedev went to Alabino to see how conscripts live in ‘new profile’ conditions.  He inspected the training grounds, classrooms, and barracks, and answered questions from the new soldiers themselves.  

Medvedev and Serdyukov addressed physical training, one-year conscription, contract service, weekend passes, mobile phones, and hiring civilians to perform nonmilitary support services. 

Taman Brigade Commander Andrey Ivanayev told the Supreme CINC about the experiment with intensive physical training (PT) in his formation.  Ivanayev indicated the troops formerly had 53 hours of PT  per year, but now get 4-5 hours per day, or about 25 per week.  He and Medvedev discussed how soldiers are separated into groups by the physical load they can handle. 

In the Kremlin.ru transcript, Ivanayev said in April testing there were only 88 negative PT evaluations.  According to RIA Novosti’s reporting, Ivanayev thinks the formation’s fitness level has already increased 50 percent.   

Medvedev remarked on the Taman brigade’s outfitting with special PT gear.  He asked Defense Minister Serdyukov about introducing new athletic uniforms in other units.  Serdyukov said:  

“Yes, we are literally this spring buying 50,000 sets and toward fall, apparently, on the order of 100,000 more, the fact is in the course of two years we’re trying to outfit the entire army fully with sports gear for training in summer as well as winter.” 

Most important to the vast majority of Russians, Medvedev told Taman brigade soldiers he doesn’t intend to raise the current 1-year conscription term:  

“That decision on the transition to one-year service which was made, it was painful for us, it isn’t easy, but we won’t change it.  Service in other countries comparable to our country in combat potential is organized in exactly such as way.  And this year still allows us to train a quality specialist, soldier, sergeant.  And despite the fact that there are now certain problems with manning—it’s true, we don’t intend to change the service term.” 

When one soldier asked about enlisted contract service, Medvedev turned to Serdyukov to explain what’s new on this front.  Serdyukov answered: 

“We are now preparing a concept precisely on contract service for soldier and sergeant personnel.  There will be an entire complex of proposals, including on pay, service conduct.  We will equate the entire social package (sergeant like officer) on support, pay and all parameters . . . .” 

“I think in the course of this summer we will prepare and then send you concrete proposals about how this will look, what quantity of contractees we intend to accept, in which specialties particularly and with what kind of pay.” 

Medvedev responded that current pay is not very high, but those who are serving well on it should be retained: 

“However, at the same time, it’s completely obvious according to the well-known principle, better less, but better.  Let there be higher pay and those remaining will really want to serve, instead of us spreading this [pay] among a large quantity of contractees, who won’t have the stimulus, particular desire, or any kind of motive to continue serving and to serve well.” 

When Medvedev pressed him for what he thinks about contractee pay, Moscow MD Commander Valeriy Gerasimov finally said he thinks contractees should get 50-60 percent of lieutenant pay.  Serdyukov said it would be more on the order of 80-85 percent, depending on the duty position.  The more technically complex, the closer to officer pay.  He continues: 

“We are proceeding from the fact that, on the whole, in all the armed forces—a lieutenant from 55, and a sergeant from 35 [thousand rubles per month] . . . .” 

But a little math says that is closer to Gerasimov’s figure, or 64 percent of officer pay . . . 

Medvedev asked his Defense Minister about devising a policy to give conscripts weekend passes to visit home if they live nearby.  Serdyukov said: 

“We are planning over two-three months to proceed on this regime.  Well, naturally, after taking the oath, after he becomes a soldier, after this we’ll introduce it.  We have this really experimental brigade, we are just beginning to work all these approaches out.” 

Medvedev added: 

“Here again we have to proceed from modern approaches.  If a guy serves close by and manning goes according to the territorial principle, then why not let him go home?  Another thing, of course, everyone has to understand what responsibility the soldier carries for any type of infraction in this case, but this is just a question of self-discipline.  You want to go home for the weekend, this means, simply do everything as it’s supposed to be done.” 

Serdyukov chimed in: 

“In the course of five days [of the working week] you need to show the highest indicators, then this will be a particular stimulus for one who wants to pay a visit home on Saturday and Sunday.” 

This policy is especially interesting . . . the possibility of the weekend pass is predicated on several things not really discussed during the Alabino visit.  Working backward, the pass depends on successfully implementing a five-day working week for conscripts.  Then on having conscripts serving relatively close to home in the first place.  At least one voyenkom has already said conscripts from his republic don’t have this chance because they all serve outside their home borders.  A prized weekend pass could also become one more thing to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, or briber.  If implemented, this policy will be difficult to maintain in the face of soldiers who don’t return to the garrison or get into serious trouble while away from it. 

A new conscript asked Medvedev if mobile phones are permitted in the army.  The President asked him if he had one in his pocket, and the soldier replied yes.  Medvedev responded, “Then why did you ask?”  He continued: 

“In fact these rules, as I understand, essentially are established at the unit level, at the level of the corresponding troop formation, but there are no bans on this issue.” 

Gerasimov added that in the Moscow MD anyone may have a cell phone, but they may not be used during training or duty time. 

Discussing training and physical conditioning, Serdyukov turned to one of his earliest initiatives at the Defense Ministry—relieving soldiers from essential nonmilitary duties like kitchen patrol, cleaning, groundskeeping, and utilities maintenance. 

He mentioned the goal of moving to civilian service and support within 12-18 months in all Defense Ministry units, but “everything will depend on our financial condition.  According to preliminary calculations, we have to make do in the bounds of our existing budget.” 

Medvedev said: 

“I think here it’s obvious to everyone that soldiers and officers need to serve the Motherland, be occupied with troop training, improve their physical conditioning, but questions of maintaining the sub-unit, generally, this is an issue which civilian organizations could do successfully for money, as this is done, incidentally, around the world.  Then there won’t be problems with tiresome details and it’ll be possible to concentrate on fundamental service.” 

Civilians already take care of the Taman brigade’s food service, and soon they will maintain its engineering networks, and provide cleaning services.  Serdyukov indicated the FSB is working on licensing firms to work in closed facilities, and Oboronservis will work in remote garrisons where contractors can’t be found.