This blog completed its second year yesterday. There were 288 posts in year two (a few less than last year). Just a couple to go to reach 600 posts since December 10, 2009.
One hopes the reading was half as worthwhile as the writing. But frustration lingers. It’s impossible to follow everything. Adding Twitter provided a “release valve” for overflowing news. Still there’s tension between posting short items and writing more detailed pieces drawing together many different sources.
In 2011, Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov had plenty of interviews, official appearances, and other public utterances to cover. There were a large number of high-level personnel changes, retirements, and dismissals to report.
Serdyukov eased a little on cutting the officer corps. The Defense Ministry readied its new higher pay system while scandal plagued the stopgap premium pay scheme. Military housing remained a major headache as always.
Moscow hit a wall on manpower and had to accept undermanning. After acknowledging there aren’t enough potential draftees, the military is starting over (yet again) with an effort to create professional enlisted and NCOs through contract service.
This year began with questions about the GPV’s feasibility, but devolved into immediate problems with GOZ-2011. The Russians threw money at the OPK without looking at the defense sector’s (and the procurement bureaucracy’s) capability to turn financing into the kind of weapons and equipment the military requires. Difficulties ramping up production of naval and missile systems occupied media attention. The public debate over the relative merits of buying Russian or foreign weapons made several headlines.
So where is Russia’s military?
To this observer, the Russian Armed Forces are improving and beginning serious rearmament. But the hour is late. Significant future problems could derail recent positive changes. These include new and old, unsolved economic, budgetary, social, demographic, and possibly even political challenges. Not to mention purely military obstacles to modernizing the army and navy.
Your visits and page views grew significantly in year two. Page views are about 400 a day, 2,000+ a week, and 9,000-10,000 a month. We’ll see if this is the ceiling for this rather specialized topic.
Your views, opinions, and arguments are always appreciated. Those sharing or highlighting data and evidence on issues are particularly valuable.