Tag Archives: Nadezhda Sinikova

Rosoboronpostavka Understaffed, Ineffective?

This author has written several times that Rosoboronpostavka – the Federal Agency for Supplies of Armaments, Military, Special Equipment and Material Resources – is supposed to be key to making the GOZ and GPV work.  It’s supposed to take responsibility for negotiating, contracting and taking deliveries out of the hands of military men, so they aren’t tempted by bribes and kickbacks from manufacturers, and can concentrate on the specific requirements for weapons and equipment that needs to be made and bought.

In mid-2010, erstwhile Putin ally Viktor Cherkesov (who once warned of infighting and corruption among high-ranking security service veterans) was unceremoniously booted from Rosoboronpostavka.  President Dmitriy Medvedev criticized the agency (and Cherkesov) for not accomplishing much, and he moved it under the Defense Ministry, declaring that it would become a reinvigorated part of the effort to rearm the Armed Forces during the next decade.

Nadezhda Sinikova

With great fanfare, Defense Minister Serdyukov’s confidant, Nadezhda Sinikova took over at Rosoboronpostavka.  This all fit pretty well with Serdyukov’s general intent – to establish strict control over the Defense Ministry’s “financial flows,” and to civilianize Defense Ministry functions that aren’t clearly military in nature.

It’s seemed that Sinikova’s Rosoboronpostavka has remained stillborn, much like it was prior to mid-2010.  At least, nothing was heard from or about it until a 3 March article in Rosbalt.ru.  Now we have to be wary — Cherkesov’s wife, Natalya Chaplina is Rosbalt’s General Director.  Be that as it may, the article seems pretty solid.

According to Rosbalt.ru, Rosstat published data on salaries in the federal executive organs, and experts were surprised the highest average paychecks — 135,000 rubles per month or more than 1.6 million rubles per year — are in Rosoboronpostavka, an organization not even really functioning.  The average 12-month federal salary is 728,000 rubles, about 60,000 per month.
 
Rosoboronpostavka is working only in a technical sense.  The different power ministries and departments haven’t hurried to hand over authority to conclude contracts for them, and they’ve tried to sabotage the agency’s work, according to Igor Korotchenko. 

Rosoboronpostavka’s supposed to have 1,100 professional employees, 980 in the Moscow headquarters.  A source close to Rosoboronpostavka claims that, prior to mid-2010, not more than 10 people worked for the agency, and it didn’t have its own office.  They worked in a room in Rosoboroneksport on Moscow’s Ozerkovskiy Embankment. 

The Rosstat data says Rosoboronpostavka has the lowest staffing level of any executive structure, only 15.5 percent or 152 people against an authorized level of 980.
 
Before the mid-2010 changes, Rosoboronpostavka salaries had been 50-70,000 per month; the director got 70,000 and he reported to Prime Minister Putin.  Now, with its status downgraded and reporting to the Defense Minister, the agency’s pay has increased several times.
 
Experts think the pay’s kept high because the country’s leadership wants to deter corruption in the state defense order (GOZ), but deputy editor-in-chief  the journal “Armaments and Economics,” Professor Sergey Vikulov says this high pay comes “from the naive belief of our leaders that high pay will deter bureaucrats from bribery.” 

One notes Vikulov’s journal is the professional publication of the 46th TsNII, not exactly an objective voice since it used to form the GOZ (and probably collect the bribes) pretty autonomously before Rosoboronpostavka was established.
 
Korotchenko believes even bureaucrats who earn millions will be tempted to “saw off” part of the billion-ruble contracts they oversee.  He goes on to say  corruption in the Defense Ministry directorates occupied with the GOZ and the OPK already caused the failure of the two previous state programs of armaments (GPVs).
 
Rosbalt.ru also claims the Audit Chamber has said GOZ-2009 was only 50 percent completed.  Then it cites NG‘s (Mukhin’s) 70 percent fulfillment figure for GOZ-2010.

Although one expert hopes higher pay at the agency is tied to greater productivity in processing contracts, a Rosbalt.ru source says as before only a small number of contracts are being completed.  The expert is just about ready to give up searching for a logical explanation for the lack of elementary order in Russia’s management structures. 

But Korotchenko thinks it might be early to judge Rosoboronpostavka, since it’s still establishing itself.  Perhaps at the end of this year or the beginning of next, it will take over all power ministry arms and equipment procurement contracting, he says.

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Emblem of Procurement Problems

On Friday, amidst Krasnaya zvezda’s usual fare, there was interesting coverage of a high-level meeting to review the military’s UAV (BPLA or БПЛА) procurement program.

Technically, it was a session of the collegium of the Federal Service for the Defense Order (Rosoboronzakaz or Рособоронзаказ) with the agenda item “Results of Inspecting the Placement and Fulfillment of the State Defense Order (GOZ) in the Area of Development and Supply of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”

Rosoboronzakaz Director Aleksandr Sukhorukov, a former Serdyukov tax service deputy, conducted the session.  Also participating were newly-minted Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova, also a former Serdyukov tax service deputy, and Director of the Federal Agency for Supplies of Armaments, Military and Special Equipment, and Material Resources (Rosoboronpostavka), Nadezhda Sinikova, another of the Defense Minister’s long-time proteges.

The military paper noted that representatives of the government, ministries, and other federal executive organs, state customers from the Defense Ministry, FSB, FSO, MVD, and MChS, representatives of the Main Military Prosecutor, and OPK officials also attended.

One Yu. Stolyarov gave the main report.  He’s Chief of the Directorate of Oversight of the State Defense Order in the Area of General Armaments and Military Equipment, Aviation Equipment, Aerospace Defense Means and Armaments, Ships, and Naval Armaments and Military Equipment.  Quite a broad portfolio.  Krasnaya zvezda didn’t elaborate on what Mr. Stolyarov said, however.

Ground Troops CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov, VDV Chief of Staff and First Deputy Commander, General-Lieutenant Nikolay Ignatov, an OAO Tupolev deputy chief designer, and OAO ‘Vega’ Radiobuilding Concern General Director, V. Verba also spoke at the session.  Their remarks weren’t reported either.

Krasnaya zvezda reported that all presentations were thorough and constructive, and the collegium adopted some draft directive, but we don’t know what it said.  The paper, however, says the main theme of all presentations was the same:

“. . . in their TTKh (ТТХ – tactical-technical characteristics) domestic UAVs must not lag behind foreign ones and it’s essential to do everything to achieve this.  State money has to be spent with maximum effectiveness.  Troops and power structures need to be supplied with those UAVs that will be most effective on the battlefield, and in conducting special operations.”

What should we conclude from this?  Firstly, the meeting highlighted Shevtsova’s new oversight and auditing role in procurement.

Secondly, the Defense Ministry’s leaving the door open for domestic UAV producers, and so this seems to amount to just another warning to them.  It doesn’t seem to be anything like a decision to include Russian firms or exclude foreign ones, or vice versa.

It’s not surprising the Defense Ministry highlighted this particular program review.  Few procurement issues have caused Russia as much angst recently as UAVs. 

Georgia’s Israeli-supplied UAV capabilities, and Russia’s relative lack of them, highlighted this issue in 2008.  Moscow had to risk manned aircraft instead of employing unmanned ones on reconnaissance missions.  What’s worse, two years after the five-day war, there’s still no fix to the UAV problem.  And it will become more acute should unmanned aircraft become the backbone of future air power for the world’s leading militaries.  Russia’s clearly behind on UAVs, and questions remain about whether it should catch up, and whether it can.

The Russian defense establishment has spent months debating buying from foreign manufacturers, purchasing sample quantities abroad, or producing jointly to jumpstart or pressure domestic producers.  In late 2009, Air Forces CINC, General-Colonel Zelin flatly stated it would be ‘criminal’ to accept inferior Russian UAVs into the arms inventory.  The FSB reportedly said it would buy Israeli UAVs.  In March, Defense Minister Serdyukov admitted domestic UAVs ‘seriously lag’ behind world standards, and, in April, then Armaments Chief, now First Deputy Defense Minister Popovkin reported that Russia had spent 5 billion rubles on UAVs without result.

So UAVs joined the list of other systems – helicopter carriers, soldier systems, light armored vehicles, etc. – that could be bought abroad, but it doesn’t look like Moscow is ready to rely, at least entirely, on foreign producers for any of them.