Today a Ground Troops spokesman told ITAR-TASS three current Leningrad Military District (MD) brigades will form a 6th Combined Arms Army (CAA) in the new Western MD. The 200th, 138th, and 25th Motorized Rifle Brigades will comprise the new army, and its headquarters will probably be Agalatovo, just north of St. Petersburg. The spokesman also said a surface-to-air missile brigade and independent engineering brigade will be added to the Western MD.
These comments came in conjunction with a visit by Ground Troops CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov to the region to check on the formation of the new MD. The spokesman said Postnikov may be working on peacetime coordination between the district’s Ground Troops, the Northern and Baltic Fleets, and Air Forces units. He said, in wartime, “everything’s clear – [the district’s] commander directly commands everything deployed within the district’s boundaries. But there’s still no experience of coordination in peacetime and we need to get it.”
Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Vladimir Mukhin also wrote today that the third new CAA will be based in Maykop, Southern MD. Mukhin says that staffs, commands, formations, and military units in the Far East, Siberian, and Moscow MDs are being liquidated in the shift to four new MDs / OSKs, and, as a result, several thousand officers will be placed outside the TO&E beginning 1 September. He thinks many of them won’t find vacant posts, and will be discharged from the army.
Serdyukov’s Defense Ministry will also be putting some soon-to-be-vacant properties up for sale, e.g. Moscow MD headquarters (Polina Osipenko Street, Moscow), Far East MD headquarters (Seryshev Street, Khabarovsk). The initial asking prices for these buildings and land will be several billion U.S. dollars. As long planned, proceeds from these sales, along with the sale of the Navy Main Staff, military educational institutions, and other military establishments in Moscow, are supposed to fund construction of housing for servicemen as well as military garrison infrastructure in new army deployment locations.
Mukhin talked to General-Lieutenant Yuriy Netkachev about Maykop. Netkachev says Moscow is resurrecting the army headquarters located there until 1993. He believes Maykop was chosen to reinforce against threats from Georgia as well as threats to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
In the Central MD, Mukhin says the 67th Spetsnaz Brigade will move yet again, from IVVAIU in Irkutsk to Chita or Transbaykal Kray. The IVVAIU building will be sold.
Mukhin sees Moscow’s demilitarization and moving forces closer to their likely operational theaters as the right policy, but asks if it’s underpinned with resources. It has serious impact on servicemen and their families, and they’ve been forgotten in this process.
Mukhin quotes servicemen’s union chief Oleg Shvedkov:
“Continuing steps to transition the troops into a new profile supposes not only a significant cut in professional servicemen, but also their relocation to a new place of service. And this means new everyday life problems are possible: transfers, absence of housing, work for spouses, education for children, and the like. The Defense Ministry is trying to resolve these issues on its own, but it would be more correct for the government to work on them through a special federal program.”