Tag Archives: Southern MD

The 8th Combined Arms Army

Izvestiya reports this morning on the formation of a new 8th Combined Arms Army in Russia’s Southern MD.

Location of new army in Novocherkassk

Location of new army in Novocherkassk

The paper reports the new army’s staff and C3 brigade are standing up in Novocherkassk.  Units will be based in Rostov and Volgograd Oblasts.

The 8th CAA will include the new 150th MRD, also at Novocherkassk, and the 20th MRB in Volgograd.  The establishment of the new army was long rumored in the Russian media, but there was speculation it would be a tank army.

The 8th will be Moscow’s twelfth numbered army, and the third in the Southern MD.  The 49th and 58th armies are based in Stavropol and Vladikavkaz respectively.

The 8th CAA is a major reinforcement in Russia’s “southwestern strategic direction,” and comes against a backdrop of continued fighting between Ukraine and Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The 8th descends from the GPW-era 62nd Army at the Battle of Stalingrad.  It fought to Berlin.  The successor 8th Army occupied East Germany, and returned to the North Caucasus MD in 1992.  A downsized 8th Army Corps disbanded in 1998.

Surprise Inspection

Army General Valeriy Gerasimov

Army General Valeriy Gerasimov

Complete coverage of General Staff Chief Valeriy Gerasimov’s remarks on the surprise inspection and readiness exercise can be found on Radio Voice of Russia or Mil.ru.

According to the newly-minted army general (four stars), the General Staff planned the inspection on the Defense Minister’s order.  It evaluated command and control organs, formations, and units of the Central and Southern MDs, VDV, VTA, and the 12th GUMO.  It was the largest of its kind in 20 years. 

The inspection began at 0400 on 18 February when operational and unit duty officers received packets with General Staff orders to go to higher states of combat readiness and carry out combat training missions.  This, Gerasimov said, required moving and transporting forces to exercise areas and “unfamiliar terrain” far from their permanent deployment locations.  The inspection included 7,000 soldiers, several hundred pieces of equipment, and 48 aircraft.

The General Staff Chief emphasized that the inspection was a complete surprise to command and control organs and troops to allow for objectively the combat readiness of formations and uncovering problems.

He praised the readiness and performance of sub-units of the VDV’s 98th Air-Assault Division (Ivanovo) and the 4th Air Forces and Air Defense Command (Southern MD / Rostov).  What was likely a battalion tactical group of the 98th loaded in twenty Il-76 transports and flew to Shagol outside Chelyabinsk, marched 100 km under difficult conditions (-20° C / -4° F, broken terrain, deep snow cover) to Chebarkul, and conducted its combat training.  For its part, the 4th VVS and PVO Command’s aircraft conducted bombing exercises with good or excellent results.

There were, however, “a number of systematic deficiencies in the state of combat readiness and lever of personnel training.” 

In practically all evaluated elements, duty officers showed weak skill in transmitting orders via automated combat command and control systems.  They weren’t certain how to receive the order to go to higher readiness.  In the VDV and the 201st Military Base, it took too long to send signals to subordinate troops.

In the Central MD’s 28th Motorized Rifle Brigade, training center graduates, drivers, and mechanic-drivers showed a low level of training.  Tank and BMP crews usually got only satisfactory in firing exercises.  Young officers just graduated from military schools exhibited poor knowledge of weapons and equipment.

Equipment generally performed reliably, given the weather conditions and its age.  Some of it required repair in the field, and, according to Gerasimov, this demonstrated the expedience of the Defense Minister’s decision to reestablish maintenance units.  But they need more training, spare parts, and improved organization.  Factory repair is more problematic:

“Sufficiently efficient work by repair factories and industrial enterprises is a serious problem for the troops.  Equipment coming from capital or medium repair, even under a service guarantee, often breaks down in the first months of its use in line units.  An analysis of deficiencies discovered is currently being conducted.”

Interesting, where does the fault lie?  The factory or troops and young officers who don’t know how to use or repair it?

Gerasimov admitted and lamented that nearly two-thirds of aircraft (in units being drilled?) is out of repair.  He called effective resolution of this problem the most important joint task of command and control organs and industry.

Gerasimov called the BMD-2 both obsolete and worn-out at 20 to 25 years old, or even more.  At 14.2 metric tons, he said the BMD-4M’s weight is at the limit for air transport, and an Il-76 can only carry three.  The General Staff Chief cited repair problems with Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, Su-25, self-propelled Msta artillery, and R-168-5un radio.  He indicated the still experimental Volk armored vehicle doesn’t meet 12 of its TTZs and won’t undergo repeat state testing.

Gerasimov said the Defense Minister has decided inspections like this will now take place on a regular basis.

Making Soldiers in the Southern MD

Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye’s Oleg Vladykin participated in a press-tour of the Southern MD (OSK South), and last Friday he published his take on what he saw.

Deputy District Commander, General-Lieutenant Igor Turchenyuk set the scene, telling assembled journalists about establishing the YuVO last year:

“A substantial — more than two times — growth in the combat potential of the grouping of troops and forces deployed on YuVO territory is the result of the transformations which have been carried out.”

Turchenyuk said the YuVO conducted more than 200 command-staff and tactical exercises, including jointly with air and naval forces, during the winter training period.  This was reportedly seven times greater than comparable training in the old North Caucasus MD.  

Turchenyuk claims the intensity of everyday combat training has increased noticeably, doubling fuel and ammunition expenditure.  Outsourcing food and laundry services and arms and equipment maintenance made this possible.  By eliminating extraneous duties, a more intense 40-hour week has added more than 300 hours of training time to the year.   

Turchenyuk’s main point:

“As a result, we got the chance to prepare a real professional serviceman-specialist even under the conditions of a one-year training cycle.”

And Vladykin’s:

“Of course, it’s hard to argue with figures.  Therefore, I really wanted to confirm with my own eyes how conscript servicemen are being turned into real professionals.”

Vladykin and the others were taken first to the 34th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (Mountain), built from scratch on President Putin’s order.  The 34th was established as an elite, model formation as good as any “show” unit elsewhere in the Armed Forces.

But, says Vladykin, not everything turned out as imagined, especially with the formation’s manning. 

The brigade found 5,000 contractees to train as professional mountain infantry, but today, with the cut in contractees, more than half the brigade’s manpower are conscripts.  After seeing some training, Vladykin concludes:

“I won’t say that all soldiers looked like high-class mountain infantry.  But since I know most participants in the exercises have served a little over half a year, I’m ready to acknowledge: they’re not badly trained.”

Next up was the 22nd Independent Brigade of Special Designation (Spetsnaz).  Its professionalism needs to be even higher, but this brigade is currently 60 percent draftee.  Vladykin wonders out loud whether they will be able to carry out the brigade’s missions, and whether it’s possible to grow a real soldier from a conscript.

Lastly, in the 19th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade, practically all soldiers and junior commanders (NCOs) are conscripts.  Here, says Vladykin, they learned the difference between draftees and contractees in battles in two Chechen campaigns and in South Ossetia.

Its officers reserve judgement about the efficacy of outsourcing rear service functions.  Conscript drivers learn vehicle maintenance from contracted civilian mechanics who won’t be with them in combat.

The brigade’s chief of staff describes how a reinforced company tactical group meets the formation’s permanent (one-hour) readiness requirement in the volatile North Caucasus.  Another officer says duty officers have returned to the barracks to keep order at night.  The officers here don’t fully trust their conscript soldiers and sergeants.

Vladykin doesn’t provide a larger bottom line.  It seems to be that the YuVO may be turning draftees into soldiers, but not true professionals.  For all the figures about the district’s higher training tempo, Vladykin doesn’t seem too impressed.

Galkin Promoted

A thing rare in recent times was announced today . . . the promotion of a general officer.  In this case, Southern MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Aleksandr Galkin picked up his third star. 

President Medvedev’s decree on General-Colonel Galkin was dated June 11, according to RIA Novosti.

Large, well-publicized general officer promotion ceremonies used to be the norm, but no longer. 

Recall one of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s objectives was turning the “bloated egg” of the officer corps into a pyramid.  As part of this, he planned to trim 1,100 generals to 900. 

Of course, Serdyukov had to walk back part of his decision on cutting officers this year, but generally it’s clear that lots of O-6s now occupy billets once held by one-stars.  Army commanders routinely two-stars in the past now wear only one.  And MD commanders who typically wore three, have been wearing only two . . . at least until now. 

Galkin joins Western MD Commander, General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin at the three-star rank. 

Galkin’s promotion shows the team has to be rewarded for doing the heavy lifting of establishing the “new profile.”  Three-star rank also extends his statutory retirement to 60. 

Central MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin and Eastern MD Commander, Vice-Admiral Konstantin Sidenko are both older than Galkin.  They are likely serving on extensions right now, and might be better candidates for retirement than promotion.  But another star can’t be ruled out.  In Chirkin’s case, the recent arsenal explosions in his AOR won’t help him.

Aleksandr Viktorovich Galkin is especially strongly linked to General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov through his service in the former Siberian MD in the 2000s.  Bakhin and Chirkin are also “Siberians” with ties to Makarov.

Some details on Galkin:  He was born March 22, 1958 in Ordzhonikidze (now Vladikavkaz), North-Ossetian ASSR.  He graduated the Ordzhonikidze Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1979, and served in motorized rifle command posts up to chief of staff and deputy commander of a battalion in the GSFG.  He was a battalion commander in the Far East MD.  In 1990, he completed the Frunze Military Academy, and served as a motorized rifle regiment commander in the Transcaucasus, and chief of staff and deputy commander of a motorized rifle division in the Far East MD.  On completing the General Staff Academy in 2003, he served as deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army (Novosibirsk), and chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 36th Combined Arms Army (Borzya).  In 2006-2007, he commanded the 41st.  In 2008, Galkin became deputy commander, then chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Siberian MD.  In early 2010, he became commander of the North Caucasus MD, and the renamed Southern MD early this year.

More Appointments, Dismissals, Etc.

Yesterday’s decree on military appointments, dismissals, etc., is extremely long.  It’s part of the process of redistributing staff personnel from 6 into 4 MDs.  The Southern and Eastern MD staffs, in particular, get fleshed out by it.  The outline of the new MD staff structure becomes visible with these changes.  And the breadth and depth of the rotation and change in personnel pretty much assures it’ll take a while for the commands of the new MDs to operate smoothly.

There are other individual notable points in this list.  There’s now a Main Combat Training Directorate (GUBP or ГУБП) inside the Ground Troops, instead of a directorate.  Maybe this is part of replacing the Defense Ministry-level GUBP.  The MDs have their own troop training directorates . . . it’s interesting that the 3rd Air-Space (i.e. Aerospace) Defense Brigade is subordinate to the Baltic Fleet rather than the Western MD . . . a 49th Army has popped up in the Southern MD . . . Ryadovoy.ru says it’s headquartered in the former RVSN communications institute in Stavropol . . . Air Defense Chiefs renamed Chiefs of Air Defense Troops and Aviation.

Here’s what the 9 January decree does.

Appoint:

  • Captain 1st Rank Ildar Ferdinandovich Akhmerov, Deputy Commander, Primorskiy Mixed Forces Flotilla, Pacific Fleet.
  • General-Major Vladimir Vladimirovich Derkach, Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander, Space Troops, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander, Space Troops.
  • Colonel Sergey Borisovich Ryzhkov, Commander, 39th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade, Eastern MD.
  • General-Lieutenant Nikolay Vasilyevich Bogdanovskiy, Deputy CINC, Ground Troops, Chief, Main Combat Training Directorate, Ground Troops, relieved of duty as Commander, Leningrad MD.
  • Colonel Yuriy Aleksandrovich Popov, Commander, 3rd Air-Space Defense Brigade, Baltic Fleet.
  • General-Major Viktor Borisovich Astapov, Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander, 49th Army, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander, 41st Army.
  • General-Major Sergey Sergeyevich Bashkin, Chief, Air Defense Troops and Aviation, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Air Defense Troops, North Caucasus MD.
  • Captain 1st Rank Oleg Georgiyevich Gurinov, Chief, Naval Directorate, Southern MD.
  • Colonel Igor Vladimirovich Dashko, Chief of Reconnaissance, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reconnaissance, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Reconnaissance, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reconnaissance, North Caucasus MD.
  • Colonel Igor Mikhaylovich Yemelyanov, Chief, Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense (РХБЗ) Troops, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, North Caucasus MD.
  • Colonel Igor Gennadyevich Kovalenko, Deputy Chief of Staff, Southern MD.
  • General-Major Andrey Anatolyevich Kozlov, Chief, Railroad Troops Directorate, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Commander, 7th Territorial Command, Railroad Troops.
  • General-Major Andrey Nikolayevich Kolesov, Chief, Organization-Mobilization Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff for Organization-Mobilization Work, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Organization-Mobilization Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff for Organization-Mobilization Work, North Caucasus MD.
  • General-Major Sergey Vasilyevich Kuralenko, Commander, 49th Army, relieved of duty as Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander, 5th Army.
  • Colonel Aleksey Pavlovich Lemyakin, Chief, Material-Technical Support Planning and Coordination Directorate, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Rear Services, Deputy Commander for Rear Services,  2nd Army.
  • Colonel Oleg Gennadyevich Maltsev, Chief, Automotive Service, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Automotive Service, North Caucasus MD.
  • Colonel Mikhail Yevgenyevich Mizintsev, Chief, Operational Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Operational Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, North Caucasus MD.
  • Colonel Sergey Mikhaylovich Panevchik, Chief, Personnel Directorate, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Personnel Directorate, North Caucasus MD.
  • General-Major Fraiz Fazlyakhmetovich Salyyev, Chief, Technical Support Directorate, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Staff, Armament, First Deputy Chief of Armaments, North Caucasus MD.
  • General-Major Vladimir Vladimirovich Samoylov, Deputy Commander, 49th Army.
  • General-Major Oleg Yuryevich Torgashev, Chief, Troop Training Directorate, Southern MD, relieved of duty as  Chief, Combat Training Directorate, Moscow MD.
  • Colonel Oleg Viktorovich Chernyavskiy, Chief, Armor Service, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, 5th Army.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shvetsov, Deputy Commander for Material-Technical Support, Southern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Rear Services, Deputy Commander for Rear Services, Leningrad MD.
  • Colonel Stepan Stepanovich Yaroshchuk, Chief, Missile Troops and Artillery, Southern MD.
  • Colonel Sergey Anatolyevich Bakaneyev, Chief, Missile Troops and Artillery, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Commander, 39th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade, Far East MD.
  • Rear-Admiral Yuriy Yuryevich Berdnikov, Chief, Naval Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander, Troops and Forces in the North-East.
  • Rear-Admiral Vladimir Nikolayevich Vdovenko, Deputy Commander, Troops and Forces in the North-East.
  • Colonel Andrey Aleksandrovich Volkov, Chief, Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, Siberian MD.
  • Colonel Vladimir Andreyevich Voropayev, Deputy Chief, Main Communications Directorate, RF Armed Forces, relieved of duty as Chief of Communications, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Volga-Ural MD.
  • Colonel Aleksandr Vladimirovich Glushchenko, Chief, Automotive Service, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Automotive Service, Far East MD.
  • General-Major Vladimir Vladimirovich Gorodnichiy, Deputy Commander for Material-Technical Support, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, Siberian MD.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov, Deputy Commander, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Commander, 5th Army.
  • Colonel Sergey Anatolyevich Dolotin, Deputy Commander for Personnel Work, Chief, Personnel Work Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander for Socialization Work, Far East MD.
  • Colonel Sergey Romanovich Yeger, Chief, Railroad Troops Directorate, Eastern MD.
  • General-Major Sergey Aleksandrovich Zhmurin, Chief, Air Defense Troops and Aviation, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Chief for Training and Scientific Work, Military Academy of Troop Air Defense, RF Armed Forces.
  • General-Major Andrey Nikolayevich Serdyukov, Commander, 5th Army, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander, 5th Army.
  • General-Major Konstantin Georgiyevich Kastornov, Deputy Commander, 5th Army, relieved of duty as Commander, 70th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade.
  • Captain 1st Rank Valeriya Pavlovich Kostin, Chief, Personnel Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Personnel Directorate, Pacific Fleet.
  • Colonel Aleksey Vladimirovich Ostrovskiy, Commander, 70th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Vasilyevich Peryazev, Chief, Troop Training Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Combat Training Directorate, Far East MD.
  • Colonel Pavel Vladimirovich Petrunin, Chief of Reconnaissance, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reconnaissance, Eastern MD.
  • Colonel Yevgeniy Valentinovich Poplavskiy, Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander, 29th Army, relieved of duty as Chief, Operational Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, Volga-Ural MD.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Vladimirovich Romanchuk, Commander, 29th Army, relieved of duty as Chief of Staff, First Deputy Commander, 41st Army.
  • Colonel Vladimir Petrovich Ryzhkovich, Chief, Technical Support Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, 36th Army.
  • Colonel Konstantin Yevgenyevich Smeshko, Chief, Engineering Troops, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Engineering Troops, Far East MD.
  • Colonel Valeriy Mikhaylovich Timoshenko, Chief, Armor Service, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armor Service, Far East MD.
  • Colonel Vladimir Viktorovich Trishunkin, Chief, Material-Technical Support Planning and Coordination Directorate, Eastern MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Staff, First Deputy Chief of Rear Services, Far East MD.
  • General-Major Sergey Valeryevich Chebotarev, Deputy Commander, 29th Army, relieved of duty as Commander, 7th Military Base, North Caucasus MD.
  • Colonel Aleksey Yuryevich Avdeyev, Deputy Commander, 41st Army, relieved of duty as Chief, Organization-Mobilization Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff for Organization-Mobilization Work, Siberian MD.
  • General-Major Vladimir Ivanovich Ashitok, Chief, Troop Training Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Combat Training Directorate, Volga-Ural MD.
  • Colonel Oleg Anatolyevich Bragin, Chief, Railroad Troops Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Commander, 5th Territorial Command, Railroad Troops.
  • Colonel Andrey Zaurovich Gagloyev, Chief, Engineering Troops, Central MD.
  • Colonel Aleksandr Albertovich Glushchenko, Chief, Missile Troops and Artillery, Central MD.
  • Colonel Oleg Vitalyevich Demyanenko, Chief of Communications, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Central MD.
  • General-Major Sergey Yuryevich Istrakov, Deputy Commander, Central MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander, Siberian MD.
  • Colonel Oleg Valeryevich Karpov, Chief, Rear Support Directorate, Central MD.
  • Colonel Aleksandr Nikolayevich Logachev, Chief, Armor Service, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armor Service, Volga-Ural MD.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Ivanovich Nesterov, Chief, Personnel Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Personnel Directorate, Volga-Ural MD.
  • Colonel Oleg Olegovich Polguyev, Chief of Reconnaissance, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reconnaissance, Central MD.
  • General-Major Yuriy Aleksandrovich Svintsov, Deputy Commander for Material-Technical Support, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Rear Services, Deputy Commander for Rear Services, Volga-Ural MD.
  • Colonel Mikhail Vyacheslavovich Smyslov, Deputy Commander for Personnel Work, Chief, Personnel Work Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Commander for Socialization Work, Siberian MD.
  • Colonel Igor Petrovich Sokorenko, Chief, Operational Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, Central MD.
  • Colonel Yevgeniy Nikolayevich Tuchkov, Chief, Air Defense Troops and Aviation, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Air Defense Troops, Volga-Ural MD.
  • General-Major Sergey Viktorovich Khokh, Chief, Technical Support Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, 2nd Army.
  • General-Major Eduard Anatolyevich Cherkasov, Chief, Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops, Central MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Chief of Armaments, Ground Troops.
  • General-Major Sergey Anatolyevich Chuvakin, Deputy Chief of Staff, Central MD, relieved of duty as Deputy Chief of Staff, Volga-Ural MD.
  • Colonel Leonid Vladimirovich Chumakov, Chief, Material-Technical Support Planning and Coordination Directorate, Central MD, relieved of duty as Chief of Staff of Rear Services, First Deputy Chief of Rear Services, Volga-Ural MD.

Relieve of duty:

  • Colonel Vadim Vladimirovich Karpovich, Deputy Chief, Missile Troops and Artillery, RF Armed Forces.
  • Colonel Sergey Vladimirovich Bibik, Chief, Armor Service, Armaments Directorate, Moscow MD.
  • Colonel Andrey Aleksandrovich Mityushkin, Chief, Rear Services, Deputy Commander for Rear Services, Moscow MD.
  • Colonel Vladimir Levontyevich Zharov, Deputy Commander for Socialization Work, Moscow MD.
  • Colonel Stepan Aleksandrovich Vorontsov, Chief of Rear Services, Deputy Commander for Rear Services, 41st Army.
  • Colonel Viktor Viktorovich Tarayev, Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, 41st Army.
  • Colonel Zabit Sabirovich Kheirbekov, Chief, Armaments, Deputy Commander for Armaments, 35th Army.

Relieve of duty and dismiss from military service:

  • General-Major Mikhail Gennadyevich Krasnov, Chief, Serpukhov Branch, Military Academy of the RVSN.
  • General-Major Sergey Leonidovich Melnikov, Chief, Economic, Finance and Accounting Directorate, RF Federal Service of Special Construction.
  • General-Lieutenant Aleksey Nikolayevich Nemkov, First Deputy Director, Federal Agency of Special Construction.

Dismiss from military service:

  • General-Major Igor Alekseyevich Fedotov.
  • General-Major Yuriy Alekseyevich Gusev.
  • General-Major Aleksandr Grigoryevich Bondarenko.
  • General-Major Andrey Stepanovich Konyukhov.

Southern MD and Black Sea Fleet

BSF Commander Vladimir Korolev told IA Rosbalt today he thinks resubordinating the BSF to the Southern MD will allow for resolving a large number of missions:

“The South-Western Axis which existed in Soviet times allowed us to coordinate the efforts of various services and troop branches.  This experience is extremely opportune today.”

Korolev acknowledged that military reform may progress painfully:

“Fundamental changes in any structure aren’t coped with easily, naturally, they can’t proceed painlessly in an organism as complex as the fleet.  The strategic command isn’t swallowing the fleet, the BSF will become an integral part of it with its specific sphere of missions.  Adjusting the synchronization of the work of structures, processes, mutual adaptation, delineation of authorities — all this is not simple at all, but it’s very important because such large-scale changes are happening for the first time in the history of our Armed Forces.  But we have to go for this in order for the fleet to develop, to get stronger in accordance with modern requirements.”

He called ‘synergistic cooperation’ the main benefit of establishing the common command uniting the fleet and army:

“The fleet, aviation, and ground units won’t compete among themselves, but organically supplement and support each other.  The events of August 2008 showed how important it is to have a powerful grouping of varied forces which have to act according to a single plan, dispose of an entire arsenal of forces and means, including modern communications systems, on the Southern, as well as on any other axis.”

Rosbalt said the BSF and Caspian Flotilla will transform into the Operational Command of Naval Forces (OKMS or ОКМС) within the Southern MD.

Now it seems Korolev’s putting a happy face on this; it won’t be easy.  Establishing real unified commands is just as hard as it is necessary.  Like it or not, the BSF is getting swallowed and subordinated.  It will operate according to plans made largely by green uniforms in Rostov-na-Donu.

If true, what Rosbalt says about the naval ‘Operational Command’ is very significant.  Remember the much-ballyhooed shift to a three-tier command structure?  The tiers are military district, operational command, and brigade.  The name sounds like the fleet’s being reduced from equal of the MD to equivalent of an army, another operational-level command.  Quite a come down.

Winners and Losers in Organizing New MDs and Armies

Today a Ground Troops spokesman told ITAR-TASS three current Leningrad Military District (MD) brigades will form a 6th Combined Arms Army (CAA) in the new Western MD.  The 200th, 138th, and 25th Motorized Rifle Brigades will comprise the new army, and its headquarters will probably be Agalatovo, just north of St. Petersburg.  The spokesman also said a surface-to-air missile brigade and independent engineering brigade will be added to the Western MD.

These comments came in conjunction with a visit by Ground Troops CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Postnikov to the region to check on the formation of the new MD.  The spokesman said Postnikov may be working on peacetime coordination between the district’s Ground Troops, the Northern and Baltic Fleets, and Air Forces units.  He said, in wartime, “everything’s clear – [the district’s] commander directly commands everything deployed within the district’s boundaries.  But there’s still no experience of coordination in peacetime and we need to get it.”

Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Vladimir Mukhin also wrote today that the third new CAA will be based in Maykop, Southern MD.  Mukhin says that staffs, commands, formations, and military units in the Far East, Siberian, and Moscow MDs are being liquidated in the shift to four new MDs / OSKs, and, as a result, several thousand officers will be placed outside the TO&E beginning 1 September.  He thinks many of them won’t find vacant posts, and will be discharged from the army.

Serdyukov’s Defense Ministry will also be putting some soon-to-be-vacant properties up for sale, e.g. Moscow MD headquarters (Polina Osipenko Street, Moscow), Far East MD headquarters (Seryshev Street, Khabarovsk).  The initial asking prices for these buildings and land will be several billion U.S. dollars.  As long planned, proceeds from these sales, along with the sale of the Navy Main Staff, military educational institutions, and other military establishments in Moscow, are supposed to fund construction of housing for servicemen as well as military garrison infrastructure in new army deployment locations.

Mukhin talked to General-Lieutenant Yuriy Netkachev about Maykop.  Netkachev says Moscow is resurrecting the army headquarters located there until 1993.  He believes Maykop was chosen to reinforce against threats from Georgia as well as threats to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In the Central MD, Mukhin says the 67th Spetsnaz Brigade will move yet again, from IVVAIU in Irkutsk to Chita or Transbaykal Kray.  The IVVAIU building will be sold.

Mukhin sees Moscow’s demilitarization and moving forces closer to their likely operational theaters as the right policy, but asks if it’s underpinned with resources.  It has serious impact on servicemen and their families, and they’ve been forgotten in this process.

Mukhin quotes servicemen’s union chief Oleg Shvedkov:

“Continuing steps to transition the troops into a new profile supposes not only a significant cut in professional servicemen, but also their relocation to a new place of service.  And this means new everyday life problems are possible:  transfers, absence of housing, work for spouses, education for children, and the like.  The Defense Ministry is trying to resolve these issues on its own, but it would be more correct for the government to work on them through a special federal program.”