Stirrings in the Black Sea Fleet

IA Rosbalt has conjectured that Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Commander, Vice-Admiral Kletskov, might be replaced.  The outspoken Kletskov would take the hit for BSF officers’ anger over Serdyukov’s reforms.  The article says the BSF’s fundamental problem — illustrated by the 21 November submarine breakdown — is its aging order-of-battle and lack of combat capability.  Between Moscow and Kyiv, it doesn’t look like the BSF will get modernized either.  Serdyukov’s personnel cuts are hitting the BSF hard.  IA Rosbalt cites the 10,000 figure for personnel being cut loose there, and, although he’s not to blame, Kletskov could be the scapegoat for reductions. 

Dissatisfaction with Serdyukov’s reforms flows from the particular circumstances of the BSF.  Specifically, dismissed officers will not be able to privatize their service apartments, i.e. base housing.  Many of these apartments were built through the largesse of Moscow Mayor Luzhkov and his patronage of the fleet, and Moscow won’t allow them to be privatized.  But one also has to suspect the issue goes to whether ex-officers of the Russian BSF will be allowed to become permanent residents of Sevastopol.

IA Rosbalt thinks Vice-Admiral Menyaylo, who directed the amphibious assault of Abkhazia in August 2008, might succeed Kletskov, but no one in the BSF is commenting.  The rumors could just remain rumors.

The article finishes with a note about the BSF’s weakness vis-a-vis the Turkish Navy.  Can and whether Moscow wants to revive the BSF is the question.

On 10 December, ITAR-TASS said the Russian Navy Main Staff has asked the Moscow government to privatize nearly 300 service apartments for dismissed officers in the BSF.  Vice-Admiral Smuglin says 940 BSF officers are being dismissed without housing, 287 of whom want to remain in Crimea.  Smuglin notes that the BSF has 1,900 service apartments, 817 of which were built by the Moscow government.  When dismissed, officers have to leave these apartments and the situation is causing ‘social tension.’  The Moscow and Sevastopol governments are looking at whether these apartments can be transferred from the former to the latter.

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