Tag Archives: Dmitriy Bulgakov

The Military’s Most Authoritative

Russkiy reporter published its 2011 list of the 100 “most authoritative” Russian people — ten each in society, business, bureaucracy, academe, education, medicine, law, military, culture, and sports.

Avtoritetnyy, of course, isn’t just a cognate; it can mean influential, competent, trusted, reputable, respected, expert, etc.

You can read about last year’s picks in the military field here.  This year’s military list includes:

  • Deputy Defense Minister Anatoliy Antonov, for knowing how to talk to foreigners.
  • Western MD Commander, General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin, for housing officers.
  • Sukhoy test pilot Sergey Bogdan, for testing the fifth generation fighter.
  • General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov, for disbanding the “Arbat Military District.”
  • State Secretary, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov, for reforming military education.
  • President, General Director of RSK MiG, Chairman of the Board of Sukhoy, Mikhail Pogosyan, for developing the latest Russian weaponry.
  • Head of the Veteran-Military Chiefs Club, Marshal of the Soviet Union Sergey Sokolov, for 100 years in the ranks.
  • General Director, “Tactical Missile Armaments” Corporation, Boris Obnosov, for fast, accurate missiles.
  • Air Forces Senior Lieutenant Igor Sulim, for courage.
  • President, Academy of Military Sciences, Army General Makhmut Gareyev, for asserting the results of the Second World War.

It’s an interesting and eclectic list.  Clearly, many would dispute the names.  Some would say Pankov wrecked the military education system; others would say he implemented unavoidable reductions and consolidations.  Picking Makarov for breaking up the “Arbat Military District,” and sending more officers out to serve with the troops is also controversial, but he’s done something essential and long overdue.

Sokolov’s honored for his longevity. 

Obnosov’s interviewed in the lead article.  He talks about attracting and retaining young scientists and engineers in the defense sector, and about the OPK’s attempt to reach an understanding with the Defense Ministry on price formation.

Sulim’s a surprise, and a rather bold choice.

Only Makarov, Pogosyan, and Gareyev repeat from last year’s list.

RR picked Deputy Defense Minister, Army General Dmitriy Bulgakov as its goat of the year for the spate of deadly army arsenal explosions. 

The big “loser” Bulgakov’s in the same boat as some of the “winners.” 

He found himself in charge of a long-neglected and untenable situation, and he’s tried to fix it.  But many people will object and argue about his methods, the results, and consequences.

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General Staff Chief Makarov’s Retirement Rumored

On Thursday, Argumenty nedeli said its source claims Defense Minister Serdyukov will soon send some well-known generals into retirement.  The Defense Ministry press service, of course, denies it.

AN’s source says the departure of these generals isn’t due to conflict between them and Serdyukov, but rather to the latter’s policy of “rejuvenating” Russia’s high command.  Among those who will allegedly be retired:

  • General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov (61).
  • Deputy Defense Minister for Rear Services, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov (56).
  • Air Forces CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Zelin (57).
  • Navy CINC, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy (56).
  • Space Troops Commander, General-Lieutenant Oleg Ostapenko (53).

It’s interesting because none of them is really up against the legal age limit for leaving military service.  And Makarov apparently already has a service term extension from President Medvedev. 

One presumes, according to AN’s information, that the Ground Troops CINC, and RVSN and VDV Commanders are safe for now.

AN also expects some of the newly appointed MD commanders to be dismissed or moved to new posts.

There are other angles to AN’s story besides more rotation in cadres.

First, it repeats earlier press on trouble in finding a replacement for “key military department figure,” former Deputy Defense Minister for Finance-Economic Work Vera Chistova who left her post three months ago. 

An AN source in the Finance-Economic Service claims the lack of a replacement puts in doubt Prime Minister Putin’s promise to deliver a 6.5 percent increase in military pensions on 1 April.  Budget resources weren’t allocated for this.  And there’s still no candidate to replace Chistova.  And without one such issues simply won’t be resolved. 

AN doesn’t mention also that as active duty officer pay is reformed this year, the Defense Ministry will have to figure what to do about retiree pay.  If, as expected, they break the long-standing link between active pay and military pensions, the vets aren’t going to be very happy just before the 2011 and 2012 elections.  Putin just courted representatives of veterans’ organizations about a week ago.

According to AN, the Defense Minister has offered the military finance portfolio to more than one official at different levels in the Finance and Economic Development Ministries, but all of them declined.

The military department’s officers are also talking loudly about the coming appointment of a new Serdyukov deputy who will be called in to “correctly”  track the military’s political preferences ahead of the fast-approaching legislative and presidential elections.  

A high-ranking but unnamed military man tells AN

“He will be an important civilian and definitely a member of ‘United Russia.’  It goes without saying this is connected with the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.  The negative mood of officers is great, it is directed against the minister, his assistants and the party of power which is conducting the reforms without considering the human costs.”

Collegium on MDs and Antiterrorism

Last Thursday, Defense Minister Serdyukov conducted an extramural ‘board of directors’ meeting in St. Petersburg.  The agenda had two publicized items — forming the new Western Military District (MD) and antiterrorism.

Deputy Defense Minister, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov (effectively chief of material-technical support) and acting commander of the new Western MD (ZVO or ЗВО), General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin reported on the new district.  Genshtab GOU Chief, General-Lieutenant Andrey Tretyak reported “On the Condition of Antiterrorist Work in the RF Armed Forces and Measures to Neutralize Terrorist Threats.”

In its coverage, ITAR-TASS noted that recommendations from forming the ZVO will be applied to the new Southern, Central, and Eastern MDs. 

After the collegium, General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov told journalists that work on the ZVO was being closely analyzed, and all issues had been resolved in the main.  But its command doesn’t fully recognize the importance of its tasks, and its combat training demands higher quality work.  Makarov called this a consequence of the fact that, for 15 to 20 years, almost 85 percent of officers in command and control organs didn’t command troops. 

Of course, Makarov considers himself a ‘troop general’ and that 85 percent figure makes it easy for him to oversee cutting the officer corps by 50 percent.

Makarov said the terrorist attack near Buynaksk was being closely analyzed, and noted that commanders didn’t take measures necessary to protect their people.  But the tasks essential to countering terrorist threats have been identified.

Krasnaya zvezda reported that Serdyukov met human rights organization representatives during a break in the collegium.  More on this later.

President’s Tough Talk to Defense Minister Serdyukov

Medvedev at Security Council Meeting

Let’s look at President Dmitriy Medvedev’s criticism of the Navy and the Defense Ministry, his warnings and dismissals of some Navy officers.  It looks somewhat like a script torn from Vladimir Putin’s ‘tough guy’ handbook. 

Kommersant recounted the details of what sparked the President’s ire.  On 29 July, a fire burned the 2512th Central Aviation-Equipment Base of Naval Aviation and Air Defense near Kolomna, several dozen kilometers southeast of Moscow.  The Prosecutor’s Investigative Committee (SK) said the blaze destroyed the staff headquarters, finance unit, club, two bays of vehicle parking, 13 warehouses with various items of aviation equipment, and 17 open equipment storage stands with vehicles on them. 

Medvedev addressed yesterday’s Security Council meeting: 

“I instructed the Defense Ministry to take part in the firefighting effort and help to protect the civilian population, but sadly, in a number of cases, the ministry has proved unable to protect itself.  A fire took place in Moscow Oblast that has caused very serious damage.  The ministry has already carried out a preliminary internal investigation, and the investigation will continue of course.  The evidence so far indicates that this is quite simply a case of neglect of duty and criminal negligence, when personnel failed to bring under control a fire that was not spreading particularly fast, and no one even knew where the base’s commanders had gone.  I have therefore taken the following decision.”      

“Regarding the Navy’s senior command:  Navy CINC Admiral Vysotskiy has been warned about not fulfilling his duties; Chief of the Navy Main Staff and First Deputy CINC  Tatarinov has been warned about not fulfilling his duties; Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Services Sergeyev is dismissed; Chief of Naval Aviation Kuklev is dismissed; Deputy Chief of Naval Aviation Colonel Rasskazov is dismissed; Acting Deputy Chief of Naval Aviation Rear Services Monakov is dismissed; the chief of base 2512 is dismissed.”  

“I am also instructing the Defense Ministry to dismiss a number of other officers and personnel for disciplinary violations.  If anything similar happens in other places and other departments I will do exactly the same again, and without the slightest regret.” 

After discussing the fire situation with other ministers, Medvedev turned back to Defense Minister Serdyukov later in the meeting: 

“Now the Defense Ministry.  I already announced certain decisions.  The Minister needs to take everything under direct control.  Conduct a meeting today with the Ministry’s leadership and say that, if anything else like this burns, everyone will answer for it.” 

“Are there any concerns about the current situation?” 

Serdyukov responded saying plans have been made, operational groups established at all command levels.  Personnel and equipment have been put at the disposal of MChS and regional authorities.  And he noted that Deputy Defense Minister, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov is his point man for the fire emergency. 

Medvedev chided Serdyukov because the Vladimir Oblast governor had to go to the Defense Ministry for help instead of suitably empowered local commanders. 

Serdyukov said ‘corresponding’ orders have gone to all commanders and garrisons.  He continued with the Defense Ministry’s support of MChS — 11,000 servicemen, thousands of pieces of equipment, 33 kilometers of water pipelines laid in four rayons.  After Bulgakov’s visit to the Federal Nuclear Research Center in Sarov yesterday, another two battalions and special equipment were allocated to efforts there.  Serdyukov said another 28,000 troops can be brought into firefighting in the Central Federal District within 3-12 days. 

Serdyukov concluded: 

“We are taking all steps in full measure, we reinforced all facilities (there are 164 of them, but in immediate areas where there are fires there are 22) behind every responsible commander.  We are conducting all measures there:  increased volumes of water reserves for extinguishing fires, equipment has been brought in, extra personnel, everything literally transferred into a barracks condition, therefore all necessary steps for this, in fact, have been accomplished.  Therefore I submit that this sad incident that happened at base 2512 will not be repeated.” 

Kommersant helped out with a full run-down on the ranks and names of the lesser known Navy officers:  Rear-Admiral Sergey Sergeyev, General-Major Nikolay Kuklev, Colonel Sergey Rasskazov, Colonel Sergey Monakov, and Base Chief Colonel Viktor Biront. 

RIA Novosti covered Serdyukov’s firing of other officers at the base.  They included:  Deputy Base Chief Major R. Gidayatov; Deputy Chief Main Engineer Lieutenant Colonel V. Marchenko; Support and Security Company Commander Major A. Yermolov; Chief of the Material-Technical Support Department V. Karandak; and Chief of the 7th Storage Department V. Melsisidenkov. 

Today the SK said a criminal negligence case has been initiated.  Gazeta ru said, per usual Russian practice, top officials have blamed lower-ranking ones, in this case Navy officers, allowing the ‘untouchables’ to demonstrate their toughness and avoid responsibility.  Kommersant noted that the warnings for Vysotskiy and Tatarinov are just a step from dismissal.  But history shows other general and flag officers have gotten such warnings and still moved forward in their careers. 

Gzt.ru broached the subject of whether this could provide Medvedev an occasion to purge the Defense Ministry and fill it with his ‘own people.’ Konstantin Sivkov and Aleksandr Konovalov agree that he could use this opportunity.  But one has to ask, does this make sense in the scheme of tandem politics?  Medvedev has changed few in the cast inherited from Putin, and he’s very unlikely to start with a stolid Team Putin guy like Serdyukov.  Especially when he appears to be the first man to make some real headway in fixing the post-Soviet military.

Disappearing Deputy Defense Minister Portfolios

Or who will answer for what?

On Tuesday, Kommersant and Rossiyskaya gazeta described, even if they can’t explain, Deputy Defense Minister portfolio changes.  The shuffling began in early July, when Grigoriy Naginskiy was ‘freed’ from his responsibilities as Chief of Housing and Construction but remained a Deputy Defense Minister.

According to a decree known, but not published, Medvedev removed General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov from his post as Chief of Rear Services, while retaining him as a Deputy Defense Minister without specific duties.  It’s widely believed, of course, Bulgakov has taken charge of a new Material-Technical Support (MTO) empire that will encompass not only logistics but also arms and equipment supplies.

For his part, Defense Ministry Apparatus Chief Mikhail Mokretsov formally became a Deputy Defense Minister (no longer holding just informal ‘Deputy Minister status’).

Kommersant points out there are still eight Deputy Ministers (six are civilians).  A Defense Ministry source told the paper, however, that Bulgakov might be civilianized.  And his MTO organization will be part of the Defense Ministry’s ‘civilian component’ as opposed to its ‘military component.’  Kommersant says the ‘military component’ (planning and operational troop command and control) will just be the General Staff when the current Defense Ministry reorganization is complete.

Bulgakov has apparently indicated that MTO will have a planning and coordination department, a resource and transportation support department, Main Automotive-Armor Directorate (GABTU), and also repair-refurbishment and metrological directorates.  As announced elsewhere, ten new MTO brigades are to be established in the four new OSKs.  Recall that, in the same presidential decree on Naginskiy, Bulgakov’s rear services chief of staff Sergey Zhirov became Chief of the Planning and Coordination Department (read staff).

One should really look at Mil.ru’s ‘Leadership Structure’ page here.  In it, you’ll see Vera Chistova retains her clear responsibility for finance-economic work.  Bulgakov’s biography notes he became simply Deputy Defense Minister in July.  Naginskiy’s contains no similar notation though it could.  Then comes the oft-forgotten Dmitriy Chushkin who followed Defense Minister Serdyukov from the Federal Tax Service in late 2008.  He has no portfolio spelled out in his title, but his bio reads:

“Responsible for forming and conducting the Defense Ministry’s united military-technical policy in the information and telecommunications technology area which aims to increase the effectiveness of the command and control system, as well as supporting and developing its foundations.”

Mokretsov’s bio has a note that he added Deputy Defense Minister to his title in July.

The ultimate plan behind these moves isn’t clear yet.  But it does seem to go back to late June’s replacement of Kolmakov with Popovkin in one of the Defense Ministry’s two First Deputy slots.  More support functions were and are being consolidated under civilians, while purely military training, planning, and operations may now be more solidly under General Staff Chief, First Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Makarov.

General Staff Chief Makarov’s Press Conference

Sound bites from General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov’s press conference today dribbled out one at a time, as usual.

Makarov told reporters President Medvedev signed a decree establishing four operational-strategic commands (OSK) to replace the existing military districts on 6 July, but the text hasn’t been published.  Makarov also said arrangements putting the OSKs in place would be complete on 1 December.

Makarov talked more about the new “unified system of material-technical support (MTO)” also apparently covered in Medvedev’s decree.

Rear Services Chief, Deputy Defense Minister, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov, as expected, will head the unified MTO system, and new First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin will supervise the new state armaments program, 2011-2020, as well as coordination with military industries. 

Makarov stressed uniting transportation and supply functions under Bulgakov:

“We had a disconnect when all transport for supplies of material means to the troops was at the disposal of the Deputy Defense Minister for Rear Services, but he didn’t have anything he needed to move with this transport.  The other Deputy Defense Minister, on the other hand, had armaments, but no means for transporting them to the troops.”

“This is very important because now the management of transportation and armaments is concentrated in the hands of one man.  The correctness of the decision was confirmed by the recently completed ‘Vostok-2010’ operational-strategic exercise in the Far East.”

 “Now one official serving as a Deputy Defense Minister heads a unified system of material-technical support which has united rear services and armaments.  He alone personally answer for both the transport of supplies of material-technical means, and for these means themselves.  Now one man answers for the state of affairs with armaments and for their supply to the troops, who will also now be responsible for that.”

The way Makarov puts it, Popovkin be on the hook for product quality:

“He will work with defense-industrial complex enterprises to control their production of armaments and military equipment for the Armed Forces.”

Popovkin’s old job of Chief of Armaments, Deputy Defense Minister will disappear most likely.

Makarov told reporters Russia plans to move to netcentric command and control by 2015, once it equips its troops with new C3 systems united in one information space.  Such systems are now scarce, but he says, they are working hard so to install digital equipment everywhere.  Makarov calls this the main renovation that he’s giving all structures and troops starting in the fall of this year.  He says Russia’s new command posts unite reconnaissance, target designation, and troops and weapons to execute combat missions in real time.

It’s interesting that RIA Novosti took time to explain that the netcentric concept is an American creation more than 10 years old, and one not loved by those used to strictly centralized command and control.

Makarov told the press the army will begin forming light brigades, which it currently doesn’t have, this year.  They’ll have light combat vehicles of some type.  While not providing details, Makarov emphasized that light brigades will be built around a standard vehicle, so that, as in Vostok-2010, a brigade can fly in and its personnel can marry up with their normal vehicles in their place of deployment. 

Answering a question, Makarov said Russia will buy more Il-78 tankers in GPV 2011-2020, but he didn’t specify a number.

Makarov announced an intention to equip all Russian combat aircraft with new targeting-navigation systems over the next three years.  He said the new equipment will increase the accuracy of air strikes and allow the Air Forces to “abandon the previous practice of area bombing.”  He said the new system was tried on a Su-24M2 during Vostok-2010.  Installation of the targeting equipment on the Su-24M2 began in 2007.  Makarov said the VVS has nearly 300 Su-24 of all variants, and naval aviation about 60.

Stoletiye.ru had an interesting observation on Makarov and efforts to streamline command and control in the Russian Army.  It said the move to 4 OSKs and other steps are intended to reduce duplication of officer responsibilities and make 2-3 officers responsible for the fulfillment of combat missions.  It quoted Makarov, “We’ve eliminated the system of spreading responsibility throughout the Defense Ministry.”

Testing Army Reforms in Vostok-2010

Readers seem eager for anything they can get on Vostok-2010.  Here’s something. 

Russia’s largest maneuvers of the year, Vostok-2010, began June 29, and continue until July 8.  This broad-scale operational-strategic exercise (OSU or ОСУ) encompasses the Siberian and Far East MDs, as well as the Pacific Fleet—in other words, what will reportedly become the new Far East MD or operational-strategic command (OSK or ОСК) before the end of 2010.  

General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov talked to RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS at length about Vostok-2010 recently.  He said the Far East was chosen for its broad expanses, limited infrastructure, and difficult weather and climate.  Eleven combined arms, 3 air forces, and 4 naval training ranges will be used.  Makarov noted up to 20,000 soldiers, 2,500 weapons systems and pieces of equipment, 70 aircraft, and 30 ships will take part in the exercise. 

Makarov said Vostok-2010 will be a logical continuation of last year’s large training events.  Beyond Defense Ministry forces, operational groups and sub-units from the MVD, FSB, FSO, MChS, and FSIN will participate.

As is customary, Makarov said the maneuvers:

“. . . are not directed against any real country or military-political bloc.  They have an exclusively defensive orientation for ensuring the security and defense of the state’s interests on the Far East border against a notional enemy.”

And the exercise’s theme is:

“. . . preparation and employment of formations [military units] in a new TO&E structure to fulfill missions in isolated sectors to ensure the Russian Federation’s military security.”

Makarov said the maneuvers will:

  • Check the effectiveness of the newly-created three-level system of troop command and control;
  • Evaluate the readiness of new TO&E formations and military units to  conduct combat actions in isolated sectors in a constantly changing situation, as well as their mobility and combat possibilities;
  • Resolve training and command and control issues at the operational-strategic and operational level while conducting combat actions;       
  • Organize coordination of military command and control organs with the troops and military formations of other federal ministries and departments, and also local organs of executive authority in resolving joint missions; and
  • Investigate the capabilities of a unified system of material-technical support (MTO) which was created during the structural reformation of the army and fleet.

The exercise will include special operations, air defense and ship combat firings, and air and amphibious assaults.  Makarov said the RVSN will join the exercise play, but no ICBM training launches will occur.  Military transports will bring independent sub-units from the Moscow and Volga-Ural MDs to join the exercise, but they will draw their weapons and equipment from Siberian and Far East storage bases.

Makarov noted the participation of an unidentified number of Su-24M and Su-34 aircraft arriving from Central Russia during a direct flight with aerial refueling.   Black Sea Fleet flagship Slava-class CG Moskva and Northern Fleet Kirov-class CGN Petr Velikiy also completed long-range cruises to participate.

Makarov said new operational and operational-strategic level command and control posts will be used in the exercise, as will ‘fifth generation’ radio communications gear and future soldier systems under development at Sozvezdiye.  Iskander operational-tactical missiles and Russian-made UAVs will also be employed.

Siberian MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin told Krasnaya zvezda the exercise will focus on defensive operations, but also special operations to localize and destroy irregular armed formations in several RF regions.  He said there will be more than a little new given that new combat regulations will be used.  He added:

“We’re moving away from linear tactics, from large-scale front operations.  As the experience of local wars and armed conflicts in recent years shows, there’s no need to utilize a massive quantity of forces and means to conduct front and army operations.”

In Nezavisimaya gazeta, Vladimir Mukhin focused on the logistics of Vostok-2010.  He noted Rear Services Chief, General-Colonel Dmitriy Bulgakov’s expectation that President Medvedev will soon issue a decree combining the jobs of Chief of Armaments and Chief of Rear Services.  And leaving First Deputy Defense Minister Popovkin’s old job vacant could be a hint of this.  After Vostok-2010, Mukhin expects a new deputy defense minister for material-technical support (MTO), presumably Bulgakov, to be appointed.

A lot of the activity before Vostok-2010 has apparently involved trying out new combat service and support arrangements.  A special logistics exercise tested the new MTO system.  And this year, according to Mukhin’s information, ten MTO brigades will be formed, one for each combined arms army.  The Railroad Troops will reportedly be downgraded to a directorate and each MD (OSK) will absorb the Railroad Troops units on their territory.

Krasnaya zvezda described these exercises.  Rear Services troops used 4,000 men, 30 units of different sizes, and 1,000 pieces of equipment in a pipeline-building exercise, training to repair damaged bridges over the Aga River, and refueling a brigade before its Onon River crossing.

General-Colonel Bulgakov talked about the new MTO regiments and the exercises.  He said they are permanent combat readiness units which have all necessary troops support structures and sub-units.  This was the first test of the new TO&E structure for logistics.  Based on the results, Bulgakov thinks this year the army can move from material support regiments (PMO) to material support brigades.  In every district (OSK), there will be a minimum of two, according to him.  Unlike regiments, material support brigades (BMOs?) will have repair and maintenance battalions.  Brigades were chosen to conform as much as possible to the prevailing three link ‘district-army-brigade’ command scheme.

Trud’s Mikhail Lukanin put Vostok-2010’s most difficult missions this way:

  • Moving troops great distances, including Siberian river crossings;
  • Supplying fuel, ammunition, and food to the area of combat actions;
  • Conducting an amphibious assault under enemy fire.

Prominent commentators view Vostok-2010 as a test of the success of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s army reforms.  Trud talked to independent defense analyst Aleksandr Khramchikhin who said:

“Military reform has gone on already for more than a year and a half, but there’s still no answer to the main question:  what have we gotten from it?  That is, after radical cuts in the officer ranks, the reorganization of military command and control organs, turning former divisions into combined arms brigades, are the Armed Forces capable of conducting modern combat actions.”

Anatoliy Tsyganok believes the army made a hash of Zapad-2009, with only 30 percent  of Russia’s maneuver brigades receiving good evaluations, most only satisfactory, and a handful unsatisfactory.  Presumably, he doesn’t expect to be more impressed by Vostok-2010.