The Golts article on Sergey Shoygu’s tenure is largely on-point.
But, for whatever reason, Golts neglects a positive change wrought by the new defense minister: the surprise readiness inspections conducted since the beginning of this year.
While no longer a “surprise” and not as large-scale as the MOD would like us to believe, the exercises demonstrate what’s wrong and needs fixing.
But let’s return to some criticism, or witticism.
Along with Golts’ article, Kommersant published a sidebar listing Shoygu’s “significant” decisions. Olga Shkurenko compiled it.
“New Annals of Military Organizational Development”
“‘Ogonek’ has recalled the loudest of loud initiatives to strengthen the army and navy put forward during the time Sergey Shoygu has been in the post of defense minister.”
“On 7 November 2012 the minister decided to resurrect the tradition of Suvorov and Nakhimov cadets participating in the 9 May parade.”
“On 12 November it became known that shoulderboards soon again will be worn on the shoulders, not on the chest.”
“On 7 December it was decided to resubordinate military VUZy to the CINCs and Commanders of the services and branches of the Armed Forces (the MOD’s education department managed them previously).”
“On 9 December Shoygu proposed reestablishing the Defense Ministry’s film studio.”
“On 24 December the MOD announced that the troops will get a new uniform in 2014 and stop wearing undercollars.”
“On 14 January 2013 Shoygu announced that by year’s end the army ‘should forget the word footwrappings.'”
“On 25 January the Air Forces agreed with the minister on returning red stars instead of tricolors to the sides of airplanes and helicopters.”
“On 4 February Shoygu gave the order ‘to install showers in all military units before the end of 2013.'”
“On 26 February plans were announced to reestablish the institution of warrant officers.”
“On 7 March mass media announced that the MOD had disposed of gas masks for horses.”
“On 13 March ‘Interfaks’ reported from a source in the company ‘Russian Balloon’ that in 2014 purchases of inflatable tanks, aircraft and missile systems would begin.”
“On 18 March the MOD press-service said that in 2013 172 dining halls of military units are transferring to the ‘smorgasbord’ feeding system.”
“On 29 March the reestablishment of the first sports company was completed. Then the minister proposed creation of analogous ‘scientific companies.'”
“On 2 April the MOD culture directorate was created. The poster contest ‘Homeland Army’ and the rebirth of army KVN¹ are among its first initiatives.”
“On 3 April an OPK source said that the army was rejecting camouflage on tanks and other combat equipment and returning to a one-tone color scheme.”
“On 9 and 16 April the recreation of the historic Preobrazhenskiy and Semenovskiy regiments was completed.”
“On 4 May the earlier disbanded Taman and Kantemirov tank divisions [sic] were reestablished by decision of the minister.”
“On 22 May in the State Duma the minister proposed to send those conducting alternative service in the army and navy to perform construction and housekeeping duties.”
“On 23 July after the exercises in the Eastern Military District the MOD chief proposed ‘increasing by several times’ ammunition expenditure norms.”
“On 31 July Shoygu ordered commanders to begin every morning in the barracks with a rendition of the Russian Anthem, to compile an obligatory military-patriotic book reading list and take the preparation of demob albums under their control.”
“On 14-17 August the first competitions in the tank biathlon took place in the Moscow region at the minister’s initiative.”
“On 16 August it was announced that the ‘office suit’ is being introduced for military men and civilians serving in the department.”
“On 20 August it became known that in the MOD they are working on the issue of rearranging the Russian anthem in two variants — for a standard choir and for young people.”
¹KVN is a little hard to describe. Literally, the “Club of the Happy and Resourceful.” A television game show where teams from various institutions and organizations compete in answering questions and performing skits.