Komsomolskaya pravda’s Viktor Baranets got to prompt Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov for a few statements on various topics in today’s paper. It doesn’t seem like he really got to ask questions.
Serdyukov claims all but about 3% of GOZ-2011 has been placed, and 100% advances to the defense sector for 2012 will make for a smooth year of orders and production. He “dodges the bullet” on not ordering Kalashnikovs. He returns to the possibility of giving serving officers and contractees money to rent their own apartments, but this never worked well in the past.
Serdyukov says the first phase of military reform involved changing the Armed Forces’ org-shtat (TO&E) structure. Now, he says, the second phase has begun, and it’s connected with rearming the troops.
On the state defense order (GOZ), Serdyukov says:
“During the formation of the Gosoboronzakaz, we had two issues with the defense sector — the price and quality of armaments. We got them to open up their production “cost history.” That is, they showed us everything transparently. We needed to understand what they were getting and from where. After long arguments, a compromise was found in the end. We settled on quality criteria. The Gosoboronzakaz is almost completely placed. Of 580 billion rubles a little more than 20 billion was left ‘to settle.’ But we’ve also drawn conclusions from the lessons of this year. Now the next Gosoboronzakaz will be formed in the Defense Ministry before December with such calculation that they will begin to fulfill it in January. At the same time, we’re trying to make the Gosoboronzakaz 100% paid in advance to the defense sector. Not another country in the world has such comfortable conditions for its VPK.”
Serdyukov says the Defense Ministry is still working on MPs, their regs, missions, training, structure, and size. They’ll be responsible for discipline and order in garrisons and investigations.
The Defense Minister opines that Russia’s Israeli UAVs aren’t bad, but they are looking at Italian ones while domestic development continues.
Serdyukov confirmed that two new factories for producing the S-400 system will be built. They are designed, and, he hopes, will begin production by 2015.
On tanks, the Defense Minister says they’ve taken the position that they can modernize T-72s to the level of a T-90 or better for 38 million rubles. He believes it’s cost effective.
On the AK-74, Serdyukov claims they aren’t rejecting it, but they have depots overflowing with 17 million automatic rifles. He says they’ll be used or modernized, some will be sold, and others transferred to other power ministries.
Serdyukov believes the draft military pay law now in the Duma will raise pensions by 50 or 60 percent. Active military pay will be as advertised: a lieutenant is supposed to get 50,000 or more rubles a month. Contract enlisted will start at 25,000 or more depending on their duties.
Serdyukov hopes the problem of housing for retired servicemen will be concluded in 2013. Then he can focus on service housing for contractees. He proposes paying contractees to rent apartments while the Defense Ministry acquires or builds service housing. “Apartment money” is a possibility but it has to be thought out.