Late Thursday Interfaks learned that Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov signed an order naming acting commanders of Russia’s four new military districts, or operational-strategic commands (OSKs).
Volga-Ural MD Commander, General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin will be the interim commander of the new Western MD. Siberian MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin will temporarily head the new Central MD. Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Konstantin Sidenko will command the new Far East MD for now. And North Caucasus MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Aleksandr Galkin will head the the new Southern MD.
Serdyukov wants the new command and control scheme operating from the start of the new training year on 1 December.
Kommersant noted general surprise that a naval officer was picked to head the Far East MD. Ground Troops generals have always commanded the army-dominated MDs. But a Navy Main Staff source said Sidenko is not new to commanding army units; he once commanded the combined Navy-Ground Troops force on Kamchatka.
Kommersant also said extramural Defense Ministry collegiums will evaluate the effectiveness of these reorganizations before the end of the year.
Makarov’s Guys Take Key Posts
Bakhin, Chirkin, and Galkin prospered under General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov when he was Siberian MD Commander from 2002-2007. Each of them served as an army commander, deputy MD commander, and chief of staff, first deputy MD commander under Makarov in Siberia (or immediately after his departure for Moscow). Chirkin served as Bakhin’s chief of staff, first deputy commander of the Volga-Ural MD, before becoming Siberian MD Commander this year.
Sidenko is a submariner, and most of his career has been in the Pacific Fleet. His experience as ‘Commander of Troops and Forces in the North-East’ is, interestingly enough, a little similar to Makarov’s late 1990s time as ’Commander of Ground and Coastal Troops, Deputy Commander of the Baltic Fleet for Ground and Coastal Troops.’