Serdyukov’s Closed Session with Duma Defense Committee

Today’s Vremya novostey previewed Thursday’s closed Duma Defense Committee session with Serdyukov at the Defense Ministry.  A Just Russia motion to have Serdyukov appear at a Duma “government hour” on 23 December was defeated by United Russia deputies.  Just Russia wanted him to answer questions on “nonregulation relations,” including the deaths of 273 soldiers this year.  Committee Chairman Zavarzin has said Thursday’s closed session will cover hazing, discipline, and training issues.  Zavarzin also conducted the end-of-year meeting with foreign military attaches, but he talked more about a new strategic arms agreement with the U.S., Afghanistan, NATO in the Baltic, and missile defense than about the Russian military.

On 10 December, Rossiyskaya gazeta reported on Zavarzin’s meeting with the attaches and his words about Russia’s military procurement efforts.  Despite the financial crisis, Zavarzin asserted that money for arms purchases has not been cut.  Echoing Putin, he claims Russian forces will receive 30 ICBMs and SLBMs and 3 nuclear submarines next year.  Money will be concentrated on the 5th generation fighter, a new Long-Range Aviation aircraft, the S-500 air defense system, a new generation tank, an aircraft-carrying cruiser, and Project 955A nuclear submarines with the Bulava-30.  The article noted comments from RVSN Commander Shvaychenko to the effect that he hopes for a new land-based missile in 7-8 years.

Also on 10 December, Moskovskaya pravda indicated that Just Russia’s Vera Lekareva wanted Serdyukov to discuss this year’s reported 273 hazing deaths in an open session.  On 9 December, Lenta.ua quoted Just Russia faction deputy chairman Gudkov, “There’s no military secret here, the press has long ago written about everything.”

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