Nine years ago - February 15 2007 - President Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Serdyukov Minister of Defense. Despite the fact that he left his post in 2012 because of the corruption scandal around the Oboronservis company, his name will always be associated with the beginning of a radical reform of the Russian armed forces.
The events of nine years ago are well remembered by the military to this day. On that day, around 10: 00 in the morning, a scheduled meeting of the Defense Ministry board was held, at which Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, together with the management of the department, reported on the work done and set tasks for the future. However, in 16: 00, the Deputy Ministers, the Commander-in-Chief of the branches of the armed forces and the commanders of the branches of the armed forces, and the heads of the services of the main and central departments of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff received an order to gather again. The first assumptions about the fact that the discussion will be about personnel changes in the leadership of the department appeared almost immediately, since Vladimir Putin planned to arrive at the re-assembled board of the Ministry of Defense - Putin last time was such confusion in March 2001, when the head of the military department instead of Marshal Igor Sergeev Sergey Ivanov was appointed. A number of high-ranking military officers, contrary to tradition, began to congratulate in advance the Chief of the General Staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, on his appointment as minister - he, a career officer in the rank of army general, was considered the main candidate for this position. Fifteen minutes before the start of the second day of the board meeting on the sidelines, the new name for the military ear, Serdyukov, sounded. The officers began to speculate about who this is: it even reached the point that the governor of the Leningrad Region Valery Serdyukov became a candidate for the ministerial post. But soon Vladimir Putin, Sergey Ivanov and Serdyukov entered the hall, but not Valery, but Anatoly. Until that day, he was not at all the governor, but the head of the Federal Tax Service.
Putin explained the meaning of such a change quite simply: huge funds for rearmament come to the department, the flow of which must be controlled, and it would be easier for a person with relevant experience, that is, Serdyukov. Sergei Ivanov, who combined the posts of minister and deputy prime minister for the military-industrial complex, went up for promotion — he became the first deputy prime minister in the government of Mikhail Fradkov, equaling his status with Dmitry Medvedev.
Almost a year from Anatoly Serdyukov went to revise the inheritance, the formation of the team and the alignment of the central apparatus. It became clear that the minister was appointed not only to control financial flows, but also to give the army a fundamentally new look, providing for the transition from the Soviet system to close to Western standards. It was easier for him, as a person not connected with military traditions, to carry out this thankless job than to a staff officer. After the war with Georgia in August 2008, which actually exposed the weaknesses of the Russian army, Serdyukov was given a blank check to carry out any necessary changes, both in the provision of the armed forces and in the armed forces themselves.
During the time he spent at the head of the Defense Ministry, Anatoly Serdyukov was remembered for his rigidity in making decisions within the department
The Ministry of Defense began building two trunks: civil (financial, economic, social issues) headed by Anatoly Serdyukov and the military (command and control bodies) with Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov, who replaced General Baluyevsky. All steps were aimed at optimization. Thus, the number of military personnel was reduced to 1 million people (but at the same time all units and military units were assigned the category of permanent readiness); of the 355, thousands of officers left about 220 thousand, the institutions of midshipmen and ensigns, as well as parallel units, staffed exclusively from conscripts or contract soldiers, were completely abolished.
Instead of six military districts, four enlarged ones were formed (Western, Southern, Central and Eastern): each was assigned a strategic direction so that in a critical situation his command could unite and take control over all types and branches of troops stationed on its territory. The military command system was reduced to three units: a unified strategic command — operational command — a brigade. The functions of the main commanders were significantly curtailed: from the previous 20 tasks they were left with only five, for example, conducting peacekeeping missions. The ground forces eliminated the system of cadre (not fully manned, but waiting for the mobilization of the population) units, all of which were transferred to a more compact and mobile brigade base. All the armies, corps, divisions and air regiments were abolished in the air force; they were replaced by a system of airbases, air groups and squadrons with the commands above them. Fleet forces were incorporated into the formed military districts. All this was accompanied by the growth of exercises both local and large-scale: with the transfer of troops and equipment over long distances.
Under Sergei Shoigu, the headquarters of combat training was re-established, liquidated by his predecessor
Photo: Anatoly Zhdanov, Kommersant
Photo: Anatoly Zhdanov, Kommersant
The structure of the General Staff also underwent changes, as a result of which it became a full-fledged strategic planning body. Functions related to the maintenance of equipment, the maintenance of military camps, food, trade and consumer services, were outsourced to the holding Oboronservis. Since then, servicemen should have been engaged exclusively in combat training, without being distracted by the performance of unusual tasks. According to the source "Vlasti" in the General Staff, the reform of Serdyukov created a fairly solid foundation, which after his dismissal did not make sense to destroy to the ground: "The government has repeatedly said that the reform justified itself more than not."
During the time he spent at the head of the Ministry of Defense, Anatoly Serdyukov remembered for his rigidity in making decisions within the department. He was rather cool about the generals; in his entourage, officers were jokingly called green men - he preferred to rely on people from the tax authorities, whom he had brought to the Ministry of Defense, to solve many issues. However, incidents arose with them: having diverged in their views on the expenditure of funds allocated under the state defense order, Serdyukov dismissed his deputy in finance, Mikhail Mokretsov, whom he knew from joint work in tax authorities and who was considered his friend.
With other departments and cabinet ministers, things were no better: in five years, Anatoly Serdyukov fell out with everyone he could. So, instead of himself, he sent to the meetings to the vice-premier for the defense complex Sergey Ivanov, not even his deputies, but heads of specialized departments. With Dmitry Rogozin, who replaced Ivanov, he was in conflict because of the desire to acquire military products abroad, in particular Iveco LMV-65 armored cars and Mistral type helicopter carriers. Problems with security officials arose for a variety of reasons: the minister chose not to respond to ideas about the elimination of violations of the chief military prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky, as well as the statements of the head of the Accounts Chamber, Sergey Stepashin. And having ignited the idea of creating a military police, he encroached on the powers of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee. The FSB also reacted nervously to this: they considered that the creation of such a powerful intelligence service inside the Defense Ministry would make it difficult for military counterintelligence to work in the army. In addition, it was under Serdyukov’s patronage that his assistant, Sergei Korolev, was assigned to the FSB’s own security department, which the security officers regarded as interfering with their activities. The conflict with the Ministry of Finance over the amount of funds allocated for the rearmament of the army, was the reason for the resignation of Alexei Kudrin.
The defense-industrial complex, according to Rogozin, Serdyukov’s resignation "was simply applauded while standing," because it was during his leadership that the Defense Ministry led price wars to enterprises: he tried to force the industry, which was used to invest the initially overpriced cost, to practice this practice. This was constantly accompanied by scandals: the largest contracts with shipbuilders worth more than 280 billion rubles. were concluded only in November 2011, and those after the direct intervention of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was in charge of shipbuilding at that time, and Vladimir Putin personally. Difficult relations were with the head of the Rostec state corporation, Sergey Chemezov: the reason for this was Serdyukov’s attempt to make a Mistral deal without the participation of the state intermediary in Rosoboronexport, as well as his desire to subordinate this company to the Defense Ministry.
In this situation, the number of allies at the head of the Ministry of Defense was melting before our eyes. However, due to the fact that the reform of the army was in the active phase, and the minister was firmly associated with the accompanying negative, there was no talk about his resignation, despite the growing discontent. For her there should have been a weighty reason. This was the reason for the “Oboronservis case”. ”
At the end of 2012, the Main Military Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case on the facts of abuses when selling property and assets of the military department at deliberately low prices, which, according to investigators, caused damage of at least 3 billion rubles. The main person involved in the case was Yevgenia Vasilyeva, head of the Department of Property Relations of the Ministry of Defense, close to the Minister, as well as former heads of companies who in one way or another participated in the sale of military property. After the first searches in the apartments of the defendants, questions from the investigation appeared by the time of Anatoly Serdyukov himself. 6 November 2012, he came to the Kremlin to meet with Vladimir Putin, after which he was relieved of his post.
On the same day, the governor of the Moscow region, Sergei Shoigu, was appointed the new minister of defense.
Under Sergei Shoigu, the headquarters of combat training was re-established, liquidated by his predecessor
Photo: Anatoly Zhdanov, Kommersant [/ center]
The experts interviewed by Vlast are convinced that Sergei Shoigu has got a very good inheritance that he has managed to “polish” over the past years. Despite the fact that the new minister did not always evaluate his predecessor's activities positively (he criticized for reducing the number of military camps to 192 units, for the large amount of objects not commissioned for the Defense Ministry, for “price wars”), in 2013, Vladimir Putin urged him to improve the army "without constant rushing, without endless revisions of earlier decisions": "The overall strategic logic of the renewal of the armed forces remains unchanged." Since then, the process of creating full-fledged groups in all strategic areas has been completed, and a new unified command, the North, has appeared. The number of exercises, coupled with sudden checks, involving the transfer of military personnel, military equipment to unfamiliar training grounds, has increased several times. In addition, it was under Shoigu that the construction of the Russian military infrastructure in the Arctic began.
Despite the marked improvement in relations between the military and industry (this can be considered a merit of the Deputy Defense Minister for Armaments Yuri Borisov), the interaction is still based on the rules of the Ministry of Defense. In the meantime, the troops receive equipment and weapons purchased under the state armament program for 2011-2020, all 19 trillion rubles. for this he knocked out exactly Anatoly Serdyukov. The newest Su-30CM and Su-35 fighters currently participating in the Syrian operation, the C-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, sea-based and ground-launched cruise missiles were all ordered by the predecessor of the current Minister of Defense. You can not underestimate the role of Serdyukov and in the operation to unite Crimea to Russia that unfolded in 2014, the preparation of the same "polite people" started already with him. According to Vlast, it was under Serdyukov that the department came up with the idea of creating special operations forces - an analogue of the American "sea lions", a unit capable of carrying out tasks of particular importance both inside and outside the country.
With the current minister in the army, much has changed. For example, the combat training department, which was liquidated during the reform in 2009, was restored, the number of military acceptance staff was increased to 25 thousand, Shoigu revived medical, created sports and scientific companies, called for return to work in the department of dismissed officers, began to correct housing situation.
At the same time, there are still a lot of problems in the army. The successor of Oboronservis, the Garrison, is being reformed, but so far the military has failed to get rid of all unnecessary repair plants in the Aircraft Repair Department, Spetsremont and Remvooruzheniya. The only provider of housing and utility services was the initiative created by the Minister of State Housing and Communal Services, but there are occasional problems with arrears in payments for electricity and water.
The course chosen by Sergei Shoigu is largely a continuation of the reforms initiated by Anatoly Serdyukov
According to sources, "Power" in government agencies, given the successful actions of the Russian military in Syria, the country's leadership is satisfied with the activities of the last minister. In addition, since his appointment Sergei Shoigu occupies the first line in the popularity rating of ministers, than Anatoly Serdyukov could never boast. The new minister also managed to create a spiritual atmosphere in the team. It is said that before one of the meetings with Vladimir Putin, Shoigu entered the office, where the commanders-in-chief of the troops and the commanders of the branches of the troops were waiting for him. Everyone was ready to stand at attention, but he indicated with a gesture that he did not need to do this, and joined the conversation with his subordinates. And even told a joke. When Serdyukov this could not happen.
Against the background of an obvious economic crisis, Shoigu still manages to convince the White House not to cut spending on arms purchases, but it’s hard to imagine how long it’s enough. In the meantime, it is known that the adoption of a new ten-year state armaments program was postponed for the period after 2017, although initially it was supposed to come into force this year.
One way or another, the course chosen by Sergei Shoigu is in many ways a continuation of the reforms initiated by Anatoly Serdyukov. The latter spent five years on bringing the army to a "new look", did it with mistakes and shortcomings, but in the end the country received armed forces capable of withstanding modern threats. Dmitry Medvedev, during the presidency of which almost the entire term of work of the ex-defense minister fell, a few weeks after his resignation, in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, said: “You can do nothing, but you can carry out transformations. Anatoly Serdyukov spent them.”