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Thread: The Russian Military: Declining or Better?

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    Default The Russian Military: Declining or Better?

    Moderator Adds

    This thread includes a smaller, more politically themed thread on Russia saying it will become more assertive - before Putin's return as President. There is a separate thread 'Russian Fleet Movements' (ends).


    12 May Washington Times - Russian Military Seen in Decline by Bill Gertz.

    Russia's military forces have steadily deteriorated since the early 1990s and Moscow is trying to compensate by building up its nuclear forces and commando troops, according to military specialists.

    Moscow's military and policy leaders are focused on countering what they view as the threat from the United States and NATO, but they are missing the dangers posed by Islamist extremism and the rise of China, the specialists say.

    "The Russian military all these years has learned nothing and forgotten nothing," said Heritage Foundation specialist Ariel Cohen. "They're still in the Soviet mode of preparing for a global war."

    Russia's emphasis on amphibious forces, interoperability with Chinese forces, building more submarines and test firing ballistic missiles has very little to do with its stated military goal of countering terrorism, Mr. Cohen said.

    "For them, it is about deterring the main adversary, the United States," he said...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2014 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Add Mod's note

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    11 Jan 06 Wall Street Journal, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov:
    ...We have seen a steady trend pointing at a broader scope of use of military force recently, not least because more challenges to national security have emerged. Chief among them is interference in Russia's internal affairs by foreign states -- either directly or through structures that they support -- and the attempts of some countries, coalitions and extremist terrorist organizations to develop or gain access to weapons of mass destruction. We must also be prepared for the possibility of a violent assault on the constitutional order of some post-Soviet states and the border instability that might ensue from that. Arms and drugs trafficking and other kinds of cross-border criminal activity must be closely watched...

    ...The Military Development Plan for 2006-2010 is being devised right now, but the top priorities are already clear.

    - The first is to maintain and develop a strategic deterrent capability minimally sufficient for guaranteed repulsion of contemporary and future military threats. At the end of last year, we deployed another strategic missile regiment armed with silo-based Topol-M (SS-27) systems; more road mobile Topol-Ms (SSX-27), currently unmatched by world rivals, this year; and the Project 955 Borei Yury Dolgoruky strategic nuclear-powered submarine armed with the Bulava-30 (SS-NX-30) sea-launched ballistic missiles within several years. And this is just the top of the list. Needless to say, these are not aimed at any particular target. We have always honored our commitments and will do so in the future, including those made in line with treaties and agreements made with the U.S. on reductions and limitations of strategic offensive weapons, which stipulate a reduction of our nuclear capability to 1,700-2,200 warheads. At the same time, Russia does not intend to give up its nuclear capability as it is still a key deterrent and a crucial instrument in protecting our national interests and achieving certain political objectives.

    - The second priority is the development of conventional forces -- high-alert units in the army, air force, navy and airborne force, manned only by professional soldiers, that will form the backbone of deployable task forces. These are being upgraded with airlift capabilities. All this explains the need for rearmament, new military acquisitions, support for R&D projects, and the optimization of the national defense industry to find a balance between a commitment to arm the Russian military and an opportunity to export arms to countries not subject to U.N. sanctions.

    - The third priority is the development of combat training. In the Russian armed forces, the number and level of large-scale exercises has grown to more than 50 this year. The most significant were tactical and theater-level exercises in the Russian Far East, Central Asia, China and India that enabled our military to network with foreign counterparts in simulating counterterrorist and other peacetime operations. We will continue to hold joint exercises with countries interested in global stability, including partners from the Atlantic Alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We are also ready to run peacekeeping operations mandated by the UN or CIS...

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    CSRC, 17 May 07: Military Service in Russia: No New Model Army
    Key Points

    * Pay and conditions for Russian servicemen, especially those on contract service, have seen substantial recent improvements.

    * Continuing high-profile reporting of rights abuses and violence masks initiatives taken to improve rights and welfare.

    * The move to one-year conscript service will disrupt the system of dedovshchina; but it is unlikely to uproot this kind of bullying altogether as it is not a purely military phenomenon in Russia.

    * The Russian Armed Forces are not adapting fast enough to the challenges of recruiting professional servicemen.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Putin's Powerful Youth Guard

    Russia's military may be in decline, but Putin's youth guard are being financed and trained.

    With parliamentary and presidential elections coming up, Nashi and its sibling movements have an obvious target—anyone who presumes to challenge Putin and his ruling clique for power. Who might they be? Nashi recently issued a leaflet identifying them. This "Gallery of Traitors," appearing in print and online, featured twisted portraits of such opposition leaders as former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and radical writer Eduard Limonov. They were declared enemies of the people, scheming to subvert their nation and turn it over to foreign spies and conspirators. Among them, too, are exiled Yeltsin-era oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former billionaire brought down after he began funding opposition to Putin in 2004.
    Last month Nashi staged its boldest and most organized mass rally yet. Some 15,000 volunteers donned red jackets, with putin's communicators emblazoned on the back, and spread out across Moscow distributing brochures and 10,000 specially made SIM cards for mobile phones. The cards allowed users to send text messages to the Kremlin—to be answered promptly by Nashi volunteers. Recipients were also instructed to use the cards to report any signs of an incipient Orange revolution. In that event, the cards would instantly relay text-message instructions on what to do and where to rally. "We explained to Muscovites that we should all be prepared for the pro-Western revolution, funded by America," says Nashi activist Tatyana Matiash, 22. "People must know what to do to save their motherland in case their radio and TV stop working."
    "Learning a Skill: Participants in Nashi learn how to use weapons, means of chemical protection and take physical exercises at a children’s camp outside Moscow"
    Last edited by Stan; 01-09-2008 at 08:22 PM.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    The attitude that somehow The Soviet Union was a wonderful place, and only CIA-funded and executed betrayal by Gorbachev and Yeltsin was successful in "ending it all" has traction, and is aped by a "lot" of the Russians/Ukrainians that inhabit the various military forums I inhabit.

    It's almost comical when combined with the "T-72 was superior to the M-1 Abrams in every way" attitude these revisionists have concocted. However, when used as a basis to seize power on behalf of a leader who looks more and more like Stalin or Hitler every day, it is just downright scary.

    Someday I'll tell you the one I heard about Soviet Cars being superior to Japanese/German/American cars, if you are up for a real laugh

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    The attitude that somehow The Soviet Union was a wonderful place, and only CIA-funded and executed betrayal by Gorbachev and Yeltsin was successful in "ending it all" has traction, and is aped by a "lot" of the Russians/Ukrainians that inhabit the various military forums I inhabit.

    It's almost comical when combined with the "T-72 was superior to the M-1 Abrams in every way" attitude these revisionists have concocted. However, when used as a basis to seize power on behalf of a leader who looks more and more like Stalin or Hitler every day, it is just downright scary.

    Someday I'll tell you the one I heard about Soviet Cars being superior to Japanese/German/American cars, if you are up for a real laugh
    Hi Drew !
    I'm ready for the Russian car jokes. Those that we have here are already sufficient for joke material, but the owners get a bit PO'd, so you have to be careful regarding the company you're in when telling these jokes

    It reminds me of the USAs first Humanitarian Demining visit with Navy and Army EOD techs. They brought in Forrester and Vallon detectors (5 to 17 grand a piece) and demonstrated their use and capabilities. Then out comes this Russian detector that goes silent (if and) when it detects metal. The long handle housed 10 D cell batteries

    After an hour of constant beeping and walking around with 7 or 8 kilos, you not only lost all hope (of finding anything), but you couldn't bear to carry it anymore.

    That however is an equipment issue. Russia's financed youth movement demonstrated a real threat when they disabled Estonian government websites, internet and two large banks, all while organizing a looting spree.

    Regards, Stan

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    A lot of my thinking on the Russian military comes from 'Chechnya: Tombstone of Russias power' by Anatol Lieven. Beyond its NBC stocks and weapon sales, the Russians aren't exactly a threat to take seriously except by its own population.

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    Default Become Lethal For Only 19.95

    http://www.spetsnaz-gru.com/

    I sure would like to learn how to swing an Etool like the Russians do

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Goesh !
    Save your money
    The former so-called specialists here work at night clubs and brothels. They probably would work as security guards, but they have to learn the Estonian language first, and that will cost a tad more than 19.95

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    http://www.spetsnaz-gru.com/

    I sure would like to learn how to swing an Etool like the Russians do

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Shoot we do that in Alabama all the time and it didn't cost $19.95.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Shoot we do that in Alabama all the time and it didn't cost $19.95.
    Depends on how much...uh...liquid refreshment y'all have to buy first...
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    CSRC, 28 Jun 07: Pay and Allowances in the Russian Armed Forces
    Almost every assessment of the condition of the Russian Armed Forces makes reference, usually unfavourably, to the earnings of Russian servicemen. This issue has become particularly prominent in discussions of failure to recruit and retain contract servicemen in 2005-2007, where salaries are presumed to play a key role.

    Unfortunately the vast majority of references to military wages are excessively generalised, and therefore misleading; they do not take account of the complex nature of Russian service pay which means that first, every serviceman takes home far more than the published basic wage figure; and second, servicemen of similar rank doing similar jobs can be earning wildly different amounts. Unlike in the British Armed Forces, where the earnings of a serviceman not in possession of some exotic speciality can often be approximately deduced with reference to his or her rank, in the Russian Armed Forces no such generalisation is possible.

    This note therefore leads with a broad summary of the overall structure of Russian servicemen’s pay, which should be sufficient to demonstrate the point above, followed by a more detailed explanation of some of its component elements for readers with a more specific interest. Although illustrative examples are given, this is in no way a comprehensive report on all Russian benefits and entitlements, and its main aim is to warn against issuing, or believing, sweeping generalisations about Russian soldier earnings....

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Pro-Pay

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Thanks for the post,Ted. An excellent document with some intriguing pay issues. Specifically, bonuses for EOD and Nuclear related activities.

    50% Bonus for Locating and destroying explosive devices
    35% Reloading of nuclear reactors
    20% Strategic Missile Forces bonus

    It will be noted that many of the increments in the table above have direct equivalents in British military practice. But an additional peculiarity is that in addition to the monthly rate of extra pay to a specialist, there are one-off payments for every time he actually uses his special skills.
    I'm somewhat caught between should we ever be worried to Holy Sierra
    Last edited by Stan; 06-30-2007 at 05:29 PM.

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    Council Member Dominique R. Poirier's Avatar
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    There is a very interesting report written by Stephen J. Blank on that matter. You can find it on SSI at the following link:

    http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute....cfm?pubID=749

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Contract Soldiers' Crimes to Raise Russia's Army Budget

    Kommersant, Russia's Daily Online reports "Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinsky has made it clear that the army has faced serious problems switching to contract soldiers."

    Crime in the Russian Army is on decline but the share of crimes committed by contract soldiers is soaring, Russia’s chief military prosecutor told reporters Monday. Now the military will have a good reason to ask for more money when the Defense Ministry is debating a program on the transfer to a contract-based army.

    The number of crimes in the army fell 20 percent this year, Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinsky said. The offences include grave crimes, arms and armaments misappropriation as well as hazing where crime dropped 30 percent. The military prosecutor added that the number of offences among contract soldiers more than doubled in 2006 to 4,000 and doubled further this year.

    Prosecutor Fridinsky mentioned poor conditions of life in some divisions and unprincipled commanders who go an extra mile to overfulfill a quota on contract soldiers.
    More at the link

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    Russia gives Gazprom right to form armed units


    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament handed gas giant Gazprom the right to form its own armed units on Wednesday with a law one legislator said opened a "Pandora's box" that could lead to the creation of a private army.

    A law backed by 341 lawmakers in the 450-seat State Duma lower house of parliament gave Gazprom, and oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, special exemption from strict limits on private businesses wielding arms.


    The two state-controlled companies will for the first time be allowed to employ their own armed operatives instead of contracting an outside security firm. Their armed units will also have access to more weapons and more freedom to use them than private security companies

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    Default Ivan Embraces Transformation

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblog...matio.asp#more

    This squares with what little I know about the Red Army (primarily from Andrew Cockburn's The Threat) but I'd love to hear what more knowledgeable SWJ members (Stan?) think.

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    Excellent link, Granite State. Yes, the Russians are not about low-level leadership, unit cohesion, training, tactics, or anything else along those lines in particular. Never have been, and I doubt ever will be in anything like the foreseeable future.

    The Russians are above all about the operational level of war. There are few Armies that have ever matched, let alone surpassed the Russians' record of operational successes. The Russians were the first true masters of the Operational Art as they first developed it between the two World Wars. Even the Germans as a whole never really quite mastered Operational Art (although von Manstein himself was perhaps the ablest practitioner of the Operational Art of WWII).

    I very much doubt that any attempt by the Russian Army as a whole to "Transform" along more Western-lines (with vaster greater focus upon the tactical-level) would be likely to succeed. Russian society and culture strongly militate against it.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Here's what little I know !

    Hey Granite State !

    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblog...matio.asp#more

    This squares with what little I know about the Red Army (primarily from Andrew Cockburn's The Threat) but I'd love to hear what more knowledgeable SWJ members (Stan?) think.
    I missed my calling, but was otherwise engaged with 'honey do's'

    Indeed corrupt and distrust just sort of comes with the territory. Even now, there’s little sign of formal discipline in any training, and no sense of responsibility among the officers and NCOs (more like no-fault insurance). Combine an all-conscript army with barely sub-standard living conditions and low wages; no wonder there’s an overall lack of will or incentive.

    As the Estonian soldiers say, distrust is ‘that’ thin line drawn between Russian officers and enlisted…who gets the booty first, wins! The other favorite saying includes “eternally expendable Russian soldier“. Some of the ‘special’ troops are either loaned or assigned to assist and/or manipulate organized crime and sovereign countries. Typically an NCO can achieve our equivalent of E-9 in 5 years. During those arduous years, one has barely commanded a wheeled vehicle, yet alone troops.

    IMO, Russia’s current political masters lack both the cultural understanding and political will to seek victory at home or abroad. They are rather content with increasing enemy body counts and civilian casualties (as in Chechnya). If I recall correctly, in early 2005 the Russian Defense Minister declared Russia having it’s first ‘all professional motor company’ (division) stationed in the Chechen Theater.

    One would hope there’s more than just one

    There are literally thousands of post-Soviet military here ‘turned entrepreneurs’ with no desire in returning ‘home’.

    But for all their faults, they still manage (out of perhaps fear) to go where the Kremlin dictates.

    This November article leads me to conclude that even Russia’s Flag Officers need a dictator and not a leader.

    Just a smigin from the article, but indeed my favorite

    Baluevsky was getting a little nervous waiting for the supreme commander. The tasks he had to fulfill were about to be given to him.

    Putin did what Baluevsky needed. He set tasks.
    The usually tight-lipped Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov read a lengthy report. Rumor has it that Serdyukov is popular in his ministry, and I understood why as I listened to his nicely delivered half-hour report devoted to the new structure of Army financing and the problems of clothing and housing its soldiers and providing them with medical treatment. Only of the main tasks for 2008, he said, is “introducing a new standard of rations. And then every soldier will see the steps forward that have been taken in feeding them.” How could they not like him?

    Serdyukov said nothing about military tasks ahead and mentioned only a few exercises as the accomplishments of 2007. In last year's report, defense minister at the time Sergey Ivanov was much more ambitious and spent a large part of his address on the challenges and successes of opposing the United States. Sources tell me that, in the text of his speech, there was written that “at present, the U.S. Army is undertaking a reconfiguration of its forced,” which cannot but cause the Russian military command serious concern. But he did not read that passage.
    And finally, the Pres slams one home

    After the minister had taken his seat and Baluevsky looked as though he would announce a break, the president asked about the construction of the military hospital at Vilyuchinsk. No one was expecting the question.

    “The hospital was supposed to be partially operational before your visit in September,” Serdyukov began hesitantly.

    “And we didn't go there because what was supposed to be ready wasn't ready!” the president said, stumbling a little over his words. “So why?”

    There was complete silence, for lack of volunteers for the suicide mission of answering the question. Officers never take those missions.

    “Is our so-called chief doctor here?” the president asked.

    It took a long time for Vladimir Shappo, the head of the military medicine division to reach the podium. He explained that “The medical service of the armed forces has made every effort to make the hospital operational.”

    “If every effort had been made, Bykov wouldn't have been fired,” Putin replied, referring to the last chief doctor. “Since he was fired, it must not have been every effort. When will it be operational?”

    “The hospital is practically ready now and will begin operating on November 30.”

    “Why wasn't it done on time?” the president asked implacably. “You're new. Maybe you have a fresh view on things. I just want to know what prevented it from being done on schedule.”

    Putin asked another general about the “stinking huts” he was building to house his soldiers and demanded that building standards be raised.

  20. #20
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Disquiet in the Ranks

    A True Father to His Troops, By Alexander Golts, Moscow Times Opinion Columnist

    At first glance, it would seem that the Nov. 20 gathering of the military's top brass was filled with positive news only.

    Putin emphasized the growing threat that the country is facing: "In violation of previous agreements, military resources of NATO members are being built up next to our borders. Of course, we cannot allow ourselves to remain indifferent to this obvious muscle-flexing."

    We can only guess what he meant in referring to NATO's "muscle-flexing" on Russia's borders. Perhaps he meant the four jets that patrol the airspace of the Baltic states?
    Moreover, Putin decided to play the role of the caring "father to his troops."

    According to script, the image of the caring father of the troops should be combined with a certain sternness that is suitable for the commander in chief. In this capacity, Putin fired the military's chief of construction, blaming him for the fact that officers are still living in "stinking slums."

    Putin also staged a public dressing-down of a senior general over this same housing issue, despite the fact that the general was responsible for health care in the military and had no connection whatsoever with housing.

    This is one example of how the commander in chief is increasingly alienated from the real state of affairs in the military.
    As we can see, there is nothing heroic here. Serdyukov is trying to put the army in at least some kind of order and to improve the way the armed forces are managed.

    ...Putin doesn't need the armed forces for the purposes of defending the country. He needs the military for public relations and propaganda purposes.

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