Army Against Serdyukov

To a Wagner soundtrack, the video shows the miserable life of some military, or ex-military, men.

Dmitriy Gudkov and the Public Council for the Defense of the Legal Rights of Servicemen have organized what they believe will be a 1,000-person demonstration against Defense Minister Serdyukov’s reforms for Sunday afternoon on Pushkin Square.  The rally’s advertised as “The Army Against Serdyukov.”

Nakanune.ru provided some sound bites about the protest (although it also gave the wrong day).  The protest’s a reprise of a May 22 demonstration.  Gudkov claims it’s not a party action, and participants will be “average people and their family members.” 

The meeting organizers accuse Serdyukov of causing the collapse of the army, breakdown of the state defense order, genocide of military pensioners, and sabotage of the military housing program as a result of which 200,000 officers and their families remain without apartments.  They further allege that:

“The country’s defense capability level under Serdyukov has declined catastrophically, such that in the long-term it could bring a threat of the loss of Russia’s sovereignty.”

Participants will call on President Medvedev to fire the Defense Minister and his team.

Protests against Serdyukov will also be held in Murmansk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, and Kaliningrad.  The Naval Sailors’ Union, the Initiative Group of the Forum for Servicemen’s Mutual Legal Aid, and Deceived Shareholders from the Defense Ministry (i.e. servicemen whose housing rights have been violated) will join in the meeting.  Nakanune also listed the Airborne Union as a supporting organization.

Gudkov’s an interesting character.  He’s the son of Gennadiy Gudkov, a deputy leader of Just Russia (SR) and Duma member. 

Older Gudkov is Deputy Chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee, and member of Duma commissions overseeing budget expenditures on defense and state security, and legislative support for counteracting corruption.

Younger Gudkov leads the youth wing of SR, and he’s a member of the MVD’s Public Council.  His ЖЖ is here.   The September 15 entry announces the Sunday protest meeting.

It’ll be interesting to see what transpires Sunday — what kind of turnout, what kind of reaction, how much media coverage, etc. 

There’s a clear protest mood in the military, active and retired.  Vlast monitors it, and occasionally sees a need to assuage it. 

Recall the discontent from the VDV last fall over Serdyukov’s alleged high-handed treatment of a professional military officer at Seltsy.

There’s a new spate of promises recently to solve, once and for all, the military’s housing problems.  This time they come against a backdrop of fast-approaching elections and tighter budgets.

Other usual sore points for vlast will be winter heating in remote garrisons, and the ever-present headache of administering a still-large number of semi-derelict military towns (or monotowns) that regions don’t want.

Of course, unexpected sore points can appear too.

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