Tag Archives: Viktor Ozerov

GUBP Retirees Against Reform

 A belated post-script to the Colonel Krasov, Seltsy, SDR flare-up against Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and his reforms . . . .

On the first of this month, Life.ru reported that officers of the now-disbanded Main Directorate of Combat Training and Troop Service (ГУБП or GUBP for short) established a public organization to oppose military reform.

The organizing assembly occurred right after the directorate furled its standard (marking the unit’s dissolution) on 26 November.  Life.ru says 60 men attended.  This new, as yet unnamed organization is apparently seeking official registration.  It expects support from the LDPR faction in the Duma, and from large veterans organizations that have come out against reform.

Its executive secretary, Andrey Serdyuk, said:

“Ill-conceived reform has left the Russian Army without a central combat training methodology – that is, now no one knows what and how we teach soldiers and officers on the battlefield.  Nevertheless, we intend to conduct meetings and demonstrations like our colleagues from the Union of Airborne Troops.  We plan to achieve our goals in three ways – media appearances, organizing public monitoring over the course of reform, and cooperation with public veterans’ organizations.”

Retirees will be the backbone of this organization.  It won’t accept serving military men out of concern for their welfare.

A former chief of the main directorate, General-Colonel Aleksandr Skorodumov will head the group.  He retired in late 2004 after complaining publicly about personnel decisions and reorganizations that look minor compared with Serdyukov’s tenure.  He created a mini-scandal by saying the army had collapsed at that time.

Viktor Ozerov – Chairman of Federation Council’s Defense Committee and an uncritical functionary – admitted:

“There was and undoubtedly will be resistance to reform.  Remember when the General Staff apparatus was cut, how many dissatisfied people there were:  people occupied specific duties, had pay, and then they’re deprived of all this.  But in any instance, there are people standing behind every such decision and their legal rights should be guaranteed upon dismissal.”

Ozerov also said responsibility for combat training will go to the individual services and branches, and inter-service training will be supervised by the military districts / unified strategic commands (OSKs).

Serdyukov himself told the Defense Ministry’s official Public Council on Friday that combat training will be the purview of services, armies, and brigades, and operational training will be under the Genshtab, MDs, and brigades (but apparently not armies?).

The GUBP’s fate was decided in June and sealed in September.  See Moskovskiy komsomolets, Argumenty.ru, and Gazeta.ru for more.  They claim former Moscow MD Commander, General-Colonel Valeriy Gerasimov – newly retooled as a deputy chief of the General Staff – will oversee inter-service training for the Genshtab.  And, by 1 February, a new Directorate of Troop Service and Military Service Security will stand up.  This will actually be a new / old directorate.  It existed several years ago and supervised safety issues, and grappled with crime and dedovshchina among the troops. 

MK presented two opposing opinions on GUBP’s fate. 

Leonid Ivashov said:

“The most experienced officers and generals serve in the GUBP, they develop and monitor combat training.  The Genshtab has several other functions – strategic ones.  No one there will take evaluation trips to far-off garrisons.  Especially since the Genstab’s combat training directorate will be a very truncated version.  Its elimination means our troops won’t be prepared for combat actions.

A Genshtab source gave this view:

“This is simply the latest course of reform which we have going on.  The information about the GUBP’s elimination appeared long ago.  The directorate has a highly inflated number of personnel, and its work has been evaluated as, to put it mildly, ineffective.  No new methods, no training ground equipment, no simulators in recent decades.

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Serdyukov on Contract Service

Wednesday Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov appeared before a closed session of the Federation Council’s ‘government hour,’ and answered 30 prepared questions. 

ITAR-TASS reported the upper legislative chamber’s Speaker Sergey Mironov summarized Serdyukov’s presentation as follows:

“Objectively speaking, we received exhaustive explanations on several positions, some answers explained the situation which had called forth serious questions from the senators.”

Mironov added that Serdyukov’s answers:

“. . . did not completely satisfy FC members.  Personally I and many of my colleagues remained with our own opinions about what is happening in the armed forces.”

Defense and Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ozerov delivered the gist of Serdyukov’s answers to the Russian media, although Serdyukov answered some direct press questions after his session with the legislators.

According to RIA Novosti, Serdyukov said:

“We talked about the transition to the new profile, the numerical composition of the armed forces, the new structure, military units which are being created, draft legislation on pay and proposals concerning the provision of housing to servicemen.”

The major news out of Serdyukov’s parliamentary appearance was the report that he denied Russia is abandoning professional contract service or returning to Soviet-style, all-conscript armed forces.  This contrasted with the recent Newsru.com report saying contractees will soon be drastically cut everywhere except in permanent readiness units, as well as with General Staff Chief Makarov’s February admission that contract service has failed. 

Several media sources reported that Serdyukov indicated contractees would increase 50 percent from a current level of 150,000 to between 200,000 and 250,000.  ITAR-TASS reported his words as:

“In the future it [the number of contractees] will grow, there is potential for this.  In the future the number of contractees will grow to 200-250 thousand, such conditions will be created for them so that they can fulfill their duties as real professionals.”

However, BFM.ru and Regions.ru heard it quite differently.  They reported:

“The Russian Army has not abandoned contract service.  Now in the Armed Forces of Russia there are 150 thousand contractees.  At minimum, this number will be preserved.  If the financial potential of the government allows, we will broaden this component.  Ideally, according to our calculations, the quantity of contractees should be about 200-250 thousand.  They should occupy duties demanding good training and knowledge, service experience.”

According to Ozerov and press sources, Serdyukov addressed other miscellany.

The Defense Minister said the LDPR’s recent draft law proposing to allow young men to buy their way out of the draft for 1 million rubles “raises a whole series of issues.”  He claimed this would interfere with the country’s mobilization potential.  He apparently didn’t say how many guys he thought could afford that much, but he must think a lot can, if it could affect Russia’s human mobilization resources.

Despite recent press indicating a strong presumption that Serdyukov is ready to euthanize premilitary Suvorov and Nakhimov schools (much as VVUZy have been paired back), he told the Federation Council that Suvorov schools will be preserved and strengthened.

Serdyukov demurred from the possibility of more Russian bases abroad, calling them an “expensive pleasure.”

He said the military’s 8,000 plus military towns will be reduced and consolidated into only 184, and those cut would be turned over to the oblasts and republics in which they are located.  The Defense Ministry will discuss with RF subjects and local governments the transfer of housing and other social infrastructure in military towns to their jurisdiction. 

This harks back to the late April announcement about constructing new, large ‘core military towns.’  The smaller number of garrisons sounds more appropriate for a million-man army than 8,000, but taking care of those left stranded without utilities and other services in former garrisons is much more troublesome than simply transferring them to the control of oblasts or local governments.

Serdyukov said the Defense Ministry will acquire 51,000, rather than 45,000 permament apartments for servicemen this year.  He doesn’t see any problem with providing service apartments to every military man by the end of 2012.

He regrets that the Defense Ministry’s request for indexing military pay and pensions has not been approved, but he said this issue is not decided yet.

On the Black Sea Fleet, Ozerov said Serdyukov said the fleet’s personnel will be less than the 24,000 stationed there earlier.  He said Serdyukov said he expects the new Ukrainian government to be much more amenable to discussing deliveries of new weapons and equipment of the Russian fleet.