Tag Archives: Tatyana Shevtsova

Kremlin Raising Military Pay

Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova told journalists on Friday that military pay and pensions will increase four percent per annum in 2018, 2019, and 2020. RIA Novosti reported that the defense budget will include 18, 22.6, and 41.2 billion rubles each year for that purpose.

Kremlin Raising Military Pay

Shevtsova said a lieutenant serving as a platoon commander will make 66,100 rubles on average this month. That’s roughly 2,500 rubles more than he earned each month in 2017. A lieutenant colonel battalion commander will add 3,400 rubles making his pay 88,700 per month.

It’s sounds like four percent is being applied to the entire pay package — to rank and duty pay and to supplements [надбавки] that not all serviceman get. If this is the case, four percent won’t have the same monthly impact for officers and contractees not receiving supplemental pay. Past pay increases have typically applied only to rank and duty pay.

Shevtsova’s 18 billion would provide an extra 30,000 rubles a year for 600,000 officers and contractees, but 41.2 billion in 2020 won’t cover that year’s bill. A lieutenant might get an extra 8,000 per month or 96,000 in 2020. Multiply that times 600,000 and the MOD will need 57.6 billion rubles.

Shevtsova says a retired battalion commander will receive an extra 947, 1,932, and 2,956 rubles in his pension every month in 2018, 2019, and 2020. That means the pension for that lieutenant colonel is 23,675 rubles at present. The increase reportedly will go to 2.6 million military pensioners, according to RIA Novosti.

As NVO noted, in June 2017, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin addressed military pay publicly for the first time since 2012. It hasn’t been indexed for inflation once during the interval according to NVO.

But Putin said he wants to improve the “material stimulus” for the MOD, MVD, FSB, and SVR. With another presidential election looming, he wanted to show he’s still concerned about men in uniform.

This isn’t easy when the federal budgets scarcely have money for it and economic recovery is weak.

Still four percent raises will be welcome. But they won’t make up for the eroded purchasing power of military pay. The CPI in Russia has increased more than 50 percent since May 2012. 

Military men are doing reasonably well in the Russian economic context now.

Shevtsova claimed the average monthly military salary in 2014 was 62,000 rubles, roughly the same as in 2017. She said that was 10 percent more than average pay in Russia’s oil and gas sector, according to RIA Novosti. It also appears to exceed what’s paid to the average worker in defense industries.

As long as that pay arrives on time, their housing needs are met, and their work is the focus of national resources and attention, servicemen should be satisfied with their lot. So it’s interesting that Putin still felt a military pay increase was needed in an election year. But, as some say, campaign promises are made to be broken.


A Promise That Can’t Be Kept

Shevtsova Holds the Military Housing Portfolio

Yesterday a number of media sources picked up an Interfaks story in which a Defense Ministry source alleges the military’s program of permanent housing construction for servicemen has broken down because a whopping 78,000 new apartments remain unoccupied. 

Yes, that’s not 33,000 as announced a couple weeks ago, but a reported 78,000.

Moreover, the Interfaks source says 30,000 service apartments are currently in a dilapidated condition.

The source concludes:

“It’s possible to state that the program to provide service housing to servicemen before the end of 2012 will collapse.”

The Interfaks interlocutor adds that inside the Defense Ministry they’re currently trying to determine who’s to blame for the housing mess.

Actually, the service housing deadline is now the end of 2013 according to Prime Minister Putin.  The permanent apartment suspense is the end of 2012.  But perhaps these are mere details.  The larger point is that the entire effort to furnish servicemen — active and retired — with apartments owed them under the law looks like it’s set to fail next year.

On the heels of yesterday’s very significant stat, Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova talked to ITAR-TASS today about putting off permanent apartments for servicemen and retirees until 2013.  She also said the 134,000 apartments (that both Putin and Defense Minister Serdyukov have cited) acquired between 2009 and 2011 is actually 116,000 plus 18,000 to be acquired in the next three days (by the end of 2011)!

Bottom line:  The political leadership’s 2010 and 2012 military housing promises weren’t kept.  The 2012 and 2013 promises can’t be kept given severe problems with apartments already built and rejected by military men.  In sum, the military apartment imbroglio may introduce its share of complications into Prime Minister Putin’s plan to return to the Kremlin in the spring. 

More on the Unwanted Apartments

Microrayon for Ex-Servicemen (photo: Podolsk.ru)

A Defense Ministry source tells Interfaks nearly 800 former officers and generals who served in the military’s central command and control organs are suing the department over its failure to allocate them housing in Moscow.

The news agency’s source says these men have a right to apartments in Moscow and are refusing the Defense Ministry’s offer of housing in the capital’s suburbs.  He says new buildings in Moscow Oblast lack infrastructure, schools, and medical services, and it’s difficult to find work. 

In particular, he notes more than 21,000 apartments are being finished in the close-in suburbs of Podolsk and Balashikha.  But many remain unoccupied.  The military department decided to build housing there in 2008 because the cost per square meter was 35,000 rubles — less than half the prevailing cost in Moscow.

The agency’s interlocutor says, in Podolsk, the military is building an entire microrayon with more than 14,000 apartments, and Balashikha will have more than 7,000.

President Medvedev and Defense Minister Serdyukov Toured Podolsk Military Housing in January

Interfaks added that Deputy Defense Minister Tatyana Shevtsova, who holds the housing portfolio, acknowledged in September that there are 8,000 officers awaiting housing in Moscow, and indicated apartment blocks might be erected on Defense Ministry property in the city.  At the time, she also suggested that many of those who wanted apartments sooner were accepting ones in the nearby suburbs. 

Exactly a year ago, Defense Minister Serdyukov said the military could not afford to, and would not provide servicemen permanent apartments in Moscow, according to RIA NovostiMoskovskiy komsomolets at the time noted that the Defense Minister’s order clearly contradicted the Law “On the Status of Servicemen.”  As this NVO editorial indicates, Shevtsova’s September statements on Moscow housing came in the context of the flap over 160 generals and colonels who retired, probably in the hope of privatizing a service apartment, rather than obey orders to rotate to duties outside the capital. 


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.


Deputy Defense Minister Shevtsova

Tatyana Shevtsova at the FNS

Last Friday, Tatyana Shevtsova became the newest deputy defense minister – the ninth overall, seventh civilian, second female.  By all accounts, Shevtsova will oversee and audit Defense Ministry spending and other activities.  Kommersant calls her an ‘oversight and monitoring specialist.’  The Defense Ministry’s spokesman has said as much, according to Vedomosti (read it in Moscow Times as well).  Shevtsova’s another member of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s former team at the Federal Tax Service (FNS or ФНС).  Kommersant describes her as a ‘trusted individual’ who will help Serdyukov supervise all but the Defense Ministry’s purely military functions.  In particular, several commentators believe Shevtsova will track outsourced service and support activities paid for in the state defense order (GOZ).

The 41-year-old Shevtsova was born in Kozelsk, Kaluga Oblast, and graduated from the Leningrad Financial-Economic Institute in 1991.  She’s a candidate of economic sciences (Ph.D.). 

She started in the tax service in 1991 as an inspector in the central rayon of St. Petersburg, eventually heading the tax service’s St. Petersburg directorate.  Kommersant reminds that Serdyukov was a deputy director in the St. Petersburg directorate during Shevtsova’s time there in the early 2000s. 

Shevtsova went to Moscow to head the tax service’s large taxpayer department in early 2004.  In mid-2004, Serdyukov became Director of the FNS, and Shevtsova became one of his deputies. 

Shevtsova stayed at the tax service under Mikhail Mokretsov after Serdyukov left for the Defense Ministry in early 2007.  She was in charge of the oversight directorate and all nine inter-regional inspectorates for large taxpayers.

When Mokretsov and others members of Serdyukov’s FNS team departed for the Defense Ministry in mid-2010, Shevtsova did likewise, becoming an advisor.  According to one official who spoke to Kommersant, she spent the last few months ‘studying the situation’ in the Defense Ministry.

A former Defense Ministry official told Vedomosti Shevtsova is “a talented economist as well as an exacting official, whose subordinates at the Federal Tax Service were very afraid of her.”  She reportedly will turn ten Defense Ministry oversight bodies into a system.

Kommersant said Shevtsova will direct oversight organs for administrative, organizational, and financial activities as well as military housing.  The paper’s source says this could translate into oversight over everything except military command and control and operations.  The ninth deputy minister will reportedly gain some responsibilities once discharged by the chiefs of the ministry’s apparatus, Rear Services, and Housing and Construction Service.

Radio Svoboda was kind enough to interview Aleksandr Golts who concluded:

“It’s more or less obvious Anatoliy Eduardovich Serdyukov rapidly gathers his team in those areas important to him.  As we know, at present a so-called second civilian branch of the Defense Ministry is being formed.  Operational troop command and control, combat training remain with the Genshtab.  At the same time, a very strong area which will withdraw from the ministry a great number of functions connected with service and support of all Defense Ministry units and formations is being formed.  This is very complex work in the realm of the state defense order and the like.  Evidently, Ms. Shevtsova will work in this area.”

 Asked about her first steps, Golts commented:

 “If there will be first steps, we haven’t found out anything about them.  The Defense Ministry very precisely hides the most important directions of its activity from any public scrutiny.  Everything happens very quietly.”

Radio Svoboda also asked Viktor Baranets about ‘civilianization’ and the appointment of a reported 50 women to high posts under Serdyukov:

“They are already sarcastically joking  in the army about the ‘feminization’ of the Defense Ministry leadership.  A large number of women who’ve appeared in key Defense Ministry posts, at various times crossed paths with Serdyukov, and with Putin, and with Medvedev.  Of course, they’re Petersburg natives . . . .  There are unofficial reports that [Shevtsova] actively assisted Serdyukov in destroying Khodorkovskiy’s empire.”

Baranets’ sources in the Defense Ministry also say Shevtsova will be responsible for large sums of service and support funding being directed to contractors.  His general and colonel friends joke:

“We only have one vacant post left – deputy defense minister for corruption.  Because all the other jobs are filled.”

 Or anti-corruption one supposes . . . .

Igor Korotchenko told Vedomosti the Defense Ministry’s growing civilian component is designed to supervise the generals’ spending and accounting, especially in the GOZ.  Ruslan Pukhov calls the ‘invasion’ of former tax officials perfectly normal since Western defense ministries are full of civilian auditors who scrutinize massive military budgets.