Why the Command Changes?

Writing in Grani.ru, Vladimir Temnyy reminds that Komsomolskaya pravda also indicated 58th CAA commander Anatoliy Khrulev would be retired.  This follows a theory that the Defense Ministry is cashiering all commanders from the five-day Georgian war.

But Temnyy says there are more serious reasons for the changes.  He says Serdyukov’s struggle to introduce the ‘new profile’ still has an ‘information-propaganda quality’ and real changes are coming with extreme difficulty, especially in the largest service, the Ground Troops.

According to Temnyy, here is where the greatest structural changes came–more than 20 combined arms divisions liquidated to make 80 brigades.  And although the Genshtab reported last month that all reform plans were fulfilled, today realistically not more than 10 percent of the troops entrusted to former CINC Boldyrev are ready to fulfill combat missions.  The rest are in a drawn out transitional state. 

Temnyy expects more retirements in other services.  He concludes that Serdyukov didn’t get to pick any [well, not many, certainly not most] of these military leaders.  Recent years of war, chaotic reforms, scandal, and intrigue have formed such a pack of military leaders that, if you grab any one of them, you get a real zero.

Some other thoughts…Utro.ru turned to one Yuriy Kotenok, who said the changes are a continuation of the army reforms.  He believes the departure of Boldyrev and Makarov is hard to explain since he calls them the ‘designers’ of victory in the five-day war.  They preserved the training and the units that fought, so in his opinion, their retirement won’t do anything to raise combat readiness or lead to anything good.  About the formula “retired on reaching the age limit” for service, one thing can be said, when the leadership needs it, it falls back on this method.  And considering that several [sic?] hundred thousand officers and warrants have fallen under it, the practice is sufficiently widespread.

Not terribly convincing…

One more try…Gzt.ru quotes a Defense Ministry spokesman, Aleksey Kuznetsov, who said that Postnikov is 53 and this is a good age for a Ground Troops CINC.  Kuznetsov said, in this reshuffling, the Defense Ministry’s desire for younger personnel and rotations is being pursued.  Commanders should get leadership experience in the central apparatus and then take it out ‘to the troops.’

Privately, a number of Defense Ministry sources told Gzt.ru that before the end of May chiefs of staff and deputy commanders would be changed in all MDs.  In the Genshtab, they’re expecting more high-level retirements.  By spring, Serdyukov may shed those generals who don’t agree with something in the reforms he’s introduced.  Vitaliy Shlykov hints that having new command teams in the MDs may not make the reform process easier in the short run, since they’ll need time to get oriented.

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