Tag Archives: Igor Korotchenko

Korotchenko’s Spin on Military Reform

Igor Korotchenko

Yesterday Radio Svoboda’s Andrey Shariy interviewed Igor Korotchenko about the course of military reform against the backdrop of two huge ammo depot explosions, a major corruption scandal involving the chief of Russian military medicine, and Major Matveyev’s video address alleging MVD VV troops are being fed dog food.

First, Korotchenko gives his take on the backdrop:

“First and foremost, we have to sort out the facts you mentioned.  First on the explosions.  This is really a quite large-scale problem.  Unfortunately, we are encountering the fact that arsenal fires and explosions repeat again and again.  The munition storage and dismantlement system in the RF doesn’t withstand criticism.  Fundamental decisions are essential.”

“Now – about the arrest of the Chief of the Main Military-Medical Directorate.  I propose this fact shows again that they are fighting corruption in the Armed Forces.  In today’s Defense Ministry, these issues are resolved on a fundamentally different level than before:  there are no untouchables.  Stars and broad stripes notwithstanding, any official in the Defense Ministry system, for whom there is concrete evidence indicating corruptibility, is being held to account.  Of course, the ministry is conducting this work jointly with the FSB’s military counterintelligence department.”

“Finally, as concerns feeding soldiers dog food.  This fact doesn’t have a connection to the Defense Ministry since we’re talking about the MVD’s internal troops units.  This is Rashid Nurgaliyev’s jurisdiction.”

Then, specifically regarding progress on military reform, Korotchenko points to the four unified strategic commands (OSKs).  They will have operational control over forces in wartime, and this conforms to modern military principles, including in the West.

The task of building a modern army and C2 system, he says, is being fulfilled.  He repeats the usual words on how fully manned and equipped brigades have replaced the Soviet mobilization army, and a focus on low intensity, irregular warfare has replaced preparations for “mythical wars with NATO.”

But, he admits, the low level of modern arms and equipment is an obstacle.  Hence, Korotchenko continues, the new GPV is supposed to bring the amount of new weaponry in Russia’s forces close to 70 percent over the next ten years.  And he claims today’s soldiers have more rights and no longer function like a slave labor force.

He sums his view up this way:

“Of course, there are many problems with military reform, but the trend is important.  Movement toward qualitatively changing the Russian Army is noticeable.”

Shariy asks Korotchenko if we can say that military reform is going successfully: 

“We can say that in a number of areas there are substantial results.  But reform is going in a complicated way.”

And how does he square the successes he sees with unpleasant news that attracts society’s attention:

“There are successes, and there are problems.  There’s a lot negative.  We need to overcome it.  The army isn’t located in a sterile environment.  If there’s corruption in the country which has a systemic, large-scale character, of course, all this also comes into the Armed Forces.  If there’s crime in the streets, then young men coming to the barracks bring a certain mentality – from here comes nonregulation relations, fighting, sometimes more serious military crimes.”

Korotchenko rejects suggestions that the army’s on the verge of collapse, and military reform is a failure:

“. . . the Armed Forces are changing, it’s important to see this.”

Korotchenko’s a fairly articulate and dogged proponent of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s reforms.  But he typically doesn’t marshal many facts or examples to support his views.  He usually just relies on his own assertions.  But granted, this was a short interview.

A couple things are disturbing though. 

Korotchenko’s argument that ferreting out high-level corruption is a good thing is a tad specious.  It might be a positive trend if there were any evidence that investigators and prosecutors are actually reducing or deterring some military crime.  But thus far, there aren’t any signs of this.

His argument that an army can’t be better than the society from which it draws has been disproven in advance by the armed forces of many countries.  Former Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov is the past master of blaming the army’s ills on prevailing social conditions.  But setting the bar so low inevitably devolves into a justification for a state of affairs in the military that never improves.  But Korotchenko himself says it is changing for the better.  So which is it really?

Postnikov on the Army and OPK (Part II)

T-90 on Red Square

Continuing with reaction to Ground Troops CINC, General-Colonel Postnikov last week . . .

Speaking to a RIA Novosti press conference, Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (Minpromtorg) Defense-Industrial Complex Development Department, Igor Karavayev answered Postnikov this way:

“Unfortunately, we are encountering unwarranted criticism of the tactical-technical characteristics of Russian military equipment lately.  Allegedly, it doesn’t match its international counterparts.  An objective evaluation of the characteristics and tests conducted, but also the pace at which our exports are growing, attest to the contrary.”  

He said more than a few countries buy Russian tanks, and the T-90A got a positive evaluation from testing in difficult climatic conditions, including in Saudi Arabia, India, and Malaysia.  In Saudi Arabia, according to Karavayev, the T-90A was the only tank to destroy more than 60 percent of its targets after a road march.  Karavayev continues:

“The tests conducted in Saudi Arabia as part of an open tender fully and completely contradict the Glavkom’s [Postnikov’s] assertions.”

This T-90 modification supposedly has a new turret, a 1,000-hp engine, an improved thermal sight, new active defense measures, and a number of other improvements.  Karavayev flatly said neither the German Leopard, French LeClerc, nor American Abrams is equal to the T-90: 

“So to talk about how our tanks are worse than Western equivalents is not completely reliable information.”

“The price Postnikov quoted exceeds by approximately one and a half times the price at which the producer is ready to supply the vehicle [tank] to the troops.  This situation requires additional professional discussion.”

So that’s about 78 million vice 118 million rubles per T-90.

Izvestiya talked to Uralvagonzavod’s chief armor designer, Vladimir Nevolin, who said:

“The main complaints against the T-90 today are connected with its insufficient survivability.  Its deficiency is the placement of people, weapons, and fuel in one compartment.  In any case of armor penetration, the igniting of fuel is unavoidable.  Even with a fire suppression system, such a possibility isn’t excluded.  Therefore, the development of modern armored equipment is going the way of separating people from the fuel and munitions.  Moreover, the employment of remotely-controlled armaments is essential.  These principles were implemented in our future product – “item 195.”  For example, on it, the tank turret no longer had the crew.  But it turns out no one needed such a project.”

Vesti FM asked Igor Korotchenko whether Postnikov’s claim that Russian arms aren’t up to snuff is true.  He said there are objective problems with Russian-designed weapons, and some planned for introduction are really obsolete.  But, according to Korotchenko, the Defense Ministry’s main criticism is that Russian combat vehicles don’t meet survivability requirements.

At the same time, Korotchenko says Russia can’t fall into dependence on the West.  New armor has to be financed and put into serial production.  Limited purchases of Western military technology and licenses for the newest thermal sights and munitions are acceptable in his view, he says Russia’s national technological base for producing major weapons needs to be protected.

Finally, it was Viktor Baranets’ turn in Komsomolskaya pravda.

Baranets noted Postnikov complained quite openly about Russia’s weapons for a military leader of his rank.  And he opined that Moscow is not only competitive, but superior in some military systems.  But Baranets claims the T-90 cost has doubled from 60 million rubles two years ago due to higher electricity and metal prices as well as adding expensive French or Israeli thermal sights.  Nevertheless, says Baranets, Postnikov exaggerated about buying Leopards for the price of a T-90.

Baranets also interviewed Mikhail Barabanov.

Barabanov says the T-90 really is the 17th modification of the T-72, initially called the T-72BU, but T-90 sounded more modern, at least in 1992.  The T-90A has grown old, but could still be updated with a new turret, gun, and weapons control system.  The 118-million-ruble pricetag comes from a small production run, and it’s steep for a tank that’s not the most modern.

Barabanov says for 118 million you could only buy 3 1980s-vintage Leopard-2A4 from the Bundswehr reserve.  And such tanks don’t have any particular advantage over T-90.  A new Leopard-2A6 is more than $4 million, but with service, training, spares and munitions, it can’t be obtained for less than $10 million.

Baranets asks Barabanov if the share of modern ground armaments really be brought up to 70 percent by 2020.  The latter says:

“It’s realistic given fulfillment of the State Program of Armaments.  But its [the GPV's] fulfillment depends first and foremost on the country’s capacity for high economic growth rates.”

Rosoboronpostavka Understaffed, Ineffective?

This author has written several times that Rosoboronpostavka – the Federal Agency for Supplies of Armaments, Military, Special Equipment and Material Resources – is supposed to be key to making the GOZ and GPV work.  It’s supposed to take responsibility for negotiating, contracting and taking deliveries out of the hands of military men, so they aren’t tempted by bribes and kickbacks from manufacturers, and can concentrate on the specific requirements for weapons and equipment that needs to be made and bought.

In mid-2010, erstwhile Putin ally Viktor Cherkesov (who once warned of infighting and corruption among high-ranking security service veterans) was unceremoniously booted from Rosoboronpostavka.  President Dmitriy Medvedev criticized the agency (and Cherkesov) for not accomplishing much, and he moved it under the Defense Ministry, declaring that it would become a reinvigorated part of the effort to rearm the Armed Forces during the next decade.

Nadezhda Sinikova

With great fanfare, Defense Minister Serdyukov’s confidant, Nadezhda Sinikova took over at Rosoboronpostavka.  This all fit pretty well with Serdyukov’s general intent – to establish strict control over the Defense Ministry’s “financial flows,” and to civilianize Defense Ministry functions that aren’t clearly military in nature.

It’s seemed that Sinikova’s Rosoboronpostavka has remained stillborn, much like it was prior to mid-2010.  At least, nothing was heard from or about it until a 3 March article in Rosbalt.ru.  Now we have to be wary — Cherkesov’s wife, Natalya Chaplina is Rosbalt’s General Director.  Be that as it may, the article seems pretty solid.

According to Rosbalt.ru, Rosstat published data on salaries in the federal executive organs, and experts were surprised the highest average paychecks — 135,000 rubles per month or more than 1.6 million rubles per year — are in Rosoboronpostavka, an organization not even really functioning.  The average 12-month federal salary is 728,000 rubles, about 60,000 per month.
 
Rosoboronpostavka is working only in a technical sense.  The different power ministries and departments haven’t hurried to hand over authority to conclude contracts for them, and they’ve tried to sabotage the agency’s work, according to Igor Korotchenko. 

Rosoboronpostavka’s supposed to have 1,100 professional employees, 980 in the Moscow headquarters.  A source close to Rosoboronpostavka claims that, prior to mid-2010, not more than 10 people worked for the agency, and it didn’t have its own office.  They worked in a room in Rosoboroneksport on Moscow’s Ozerkovskiy Embankment. 

The Rosstat data says Rosoboronpostavka has the lowest staffing level of any executive structure, only 15.5 percent or 152 people against an authorized level of 980.
 
Before the mid-2010 changes, Rosoboronpostavka salaries had been 50-70,000 per month; the director got 70,000 and he reported to Prime Minister Putin.  Now, with its status downgraded and reporting to the Defense Minister, the agency’s pay has increased several times.
 
Experts think the pay’s kept high because the country’s leadership wants to deter corruption in the state defense order (GOZ), but deputy editor-in-chief  the journal “Armaments and Economics,” Professor Sergey Vikulov says this high pay comes “from the naive belief of our leaders that high pay will deter bureaucrats from bribery.” 

One notes Vikulov’s journal is the professional publication of the 46th TsNII, not exactly an objective voice since it used to form the GOZ (and probably collect the bribes) pretty autonomously before Rosoboronpostavka was established.
 
Korotchenko believes even bureaucrats who earn millions will be tempted to “saw off” part of the billion-ruble contracts they oversee.  He goes on to say  corruption in the Defense Ministry directorates occupied with the GOZ and the OPK already caused the failure of the two previous state programs of armaments (GPVs).
 
Rosbalt.ru also claims the Audit Chamber has said GOZ-2009 was only 50 percent completed.  Then it cites NG‘s (Mukhin’s) 70 percent fulfillment figure for GOZ-2010.

Although one expert hopes higher pay at the agency is tied to greater productivity in processing contracts, a Rosbalt.ru source says as before only a small number of contracts are being completed.  The expert is just about ready to give up searching for a logical explanation for the lack of elementary order in Russia’s management structures. 

But Korotchenko thinks it might be early to judge Rosoboronpostavka, since it’s still establishing itself.  Perhaps at the end of this year or the beginning of next, it will take over all power ministry arms and equipment procurement contracting, he says.

Corruption and the GPV

This morning’s press included various accounts of statements from Igor Korotchenko or in the name of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council, on which Korotchenko serves, about mitigating the impact of corruption on the State Program of Armaments (GPV), 2011-2020.

RIA Novosti quoted Korotchenko to the effect that the rearmament program will only be successful with strict financial accounting and effective measures against corruption in the State Defense Order (GOZ or гособоронзаказ).

He said Defense Minister Serdyukov is taking steps to ensure that resources are used as intended, including the establishment of a Military Products Price Formation Department and the resubordination of the Federal Arms, Military, Special Equipment and Material Resources Supply Agency (Rosoboronpostavka) to the Defense Ministry.  But the latter step was done over six months ago, and not much has been heard about it since.

Novyye izvestiya and Novyy region quoted the Public Council’s statement:

“But for the army to receive all this [equipment in the GPV], money is simply not enough – it’s necessary to make things so that Defense Ministry generals, who to this point were occupied simultaneously with orders and purchases of weapons, don’t get access to money, are occupied only with formulating lists of everything needed for the conduct of modern war, but the function of monitoring prices and purchases should be transferred to other departments.  Otherwise, government resources allocated to the GPV will get ‘sawed off,’ placing this program in jeopardy.”

Those are, of course, the jobs of the new Price Formation Department and Rosoboronpostavka.  Serdyukov’s tax service veterans are supposed to free the payments system from graft, and use their experience to uncover complex theft schemes.  Military prosecutors are also expected to be more active here.  Main Military Prosecutor (GVP) Sergey Fridinskiy told Novyy region about prosecutors’ work in uncovering the theft of 6.5 billion rubles’ worth of military budget.  He claimed his prosecutors have stopped 240,000 violations, suspended 12,000 illegal actions, held 40,000 people to account, and returned 4 billion rubles to the treasury.  But it’s not clear what time period he’s talking about.

RIA Novosti recounted Korotchenko’s comments about preventing corruption in military RDT&E:

“Special control needs to be provided on scientific-research work and justification of expenditures on it, but also on the development of new types of armaments, since it’s precisely here that opportunities for different types of financial machinations and abuse exist.”

Of course, reminds RIA Novosti, RDT&E only amounts to 10 percent of the GPV.  Bigger chances for theft exist in procurement, which is supposed to be 78-80 percent of the rearmament plan.

According to Novyye izvestiya, on the procurement side, Korotchenko says, in past years, a minimum of 45-50 percent of money for arms simply ended up in someone’s pocket.  For this reason:

“For the very same money, Russia buys 14 tanks a year, and India 100.  This led the country’s leadership to the kind of thinking reflected in the Defense Minister’s authority to reorganize the entire purchasing scheme.  This time [the new GPV] 19 trillion rubles are at stake.  Can you imagine with what interest the ‘market players’ are waiting for them?  But the state machinery is running: many OPK directors are already being removed, in the case of the director of one of the system-forming design bureaus, suspected of stealing money from a state order through offshore shell companies, an investigation is being conducted, and other criminal cases in orders-purchases from previous years are also possible.”

The nongovernmental National Anticorruption Committee says the average kickback in civilian contracting is 30 percent, but, in defense, it’s 60 to 70 percent.  Because arms prices are secret [and hard to determine anyway], no one knows how much this is.  But common sense says this makes everything cost nearly twice what it should.

Zelin Out?

An Interfaks source in the Defense Ministry says Air Forces CINC, General-Colonel Aleksandr Zelin might be retiring on age grounds.  The rumor goes that Zelin’s Deputy for Aviation, General-Lieutenant Igor Sadofyev will relieve him, while Zelin moves into a defense industry job.  RIA Novosti reports the same story, citing several media outlets.  The Air Forces spokesman, meanwhile, says the VVS cannot comment because it doesn’t have any information to this effect.

RIA Novosti talked to defense commentator Igor Korotchenko, who expressed caution about the Zelin rumor, but said the move to four MDs / OSKs has diminished the service CINC’s influence:

“The role and place of the main commands of the services of the Armed Forces has been reduced accordingly.  Practically all aviation, except strategic, will be subordinate to the OSK commander.”

He says the story of Zelin’s possible departure may have surfaced because of the downgrading of the service CINCs.

It’s interesting that age was cited since Zelin’s only 57, and can serve until age 60 under the law.  He’s headed the VVS since May 2007. 

The three-star general was the subject of dismissal rumors in 2009 when the General Staff Chief and Defense Minister were allegedly unhappy with his insufficient command of air-space (aerospace) defense (VKO) issues.  See Newsru.com and Grani.ru for that story.

The Air Forces and the GPV

General-Lieutenant Sadofyev

Last week, General-Lieutenant Igor Sadofyev – Chief of Aviation, Deputy CINC of the Air Forces (VVS) for Aviation – spoke to the press about his service’s ambitious plans for procurement under State Armaments Program (GPV), 2011-2020.

General-Lieutenant Sadofyev told RIA Novosti the VVS will receive 1,500 new, and 400 modernized aircraft by 2020.  The Chief of Aviation said the State Defense Order (GOZ or ГОЗ) for 2011 includes acquisition of Su-27SM, Su-30M2, Su-34, Su-35S, and Yak-130 aircraft for the VVS, as well as Ka-52, Mi-28N, Mi-8AMTSh (MTV-5-1), Ka-226, Ansat-U helicopters for Army Aviation.  But he provided no specific procurement numbers for next year.

Su-34 (photo: RIA Novosti / Igor Rumyantsev)

For Long-Range Aviation (LRA or ДА), he said the VVS will modernize existing Tu-160, Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3, and Il-78M aircraft.  The goal is to update 80 percent of this inventory in what he calls the medium-term future – defined by him as 2020.  What he has in mind here is service life extension and the replacement of some electronics and other systems.

For Military-Transport Aviation (VTA or ВТА), Sadofyev says the VVS will modernize its existing aircraft, and purchase more than 50 percent new ones.  He doesn’t break it down by particular types of transports.

For Frontal Aviation, some existing aircraft will be modernized, and over that medium-term future (2020) more than half the order-of-battle will be replaced with new aircraft, and 14 percent of the inventory will be ‘perspektivnyy’ (перспективный) aircraft.  One supposes that means PAK FA.  If that 14 percent is 70 PAK FAs, that would put Frontal Aviation at about 500 aircraft total.

Army Aviation, according to Sadofyev, will get 70 percent new aircraft by 2020, and 100 percent sometime afterward.  He said the VVS will begin getting the Ка-52 / Alligator next year.  And he made a point of noting that Army Aviation will remain within the VVS, despite rumors it might return to the Ground Troops.

He said serial deliveries of the Yak-130 trainer will begin next year to replace 1970s-vintage L-39 jets.  Flight instructors and technical personnel will learn the Yak-130 at Lipetsk before using it to train young pilots at Krasnodar.

Sadofyev also told RIA Novosti the number of VVS day-night, all-weather aircraft will increase 4.5 times, and this will lower aircraft losses by a factor of 10-12.  According to him, the share of precision weapons in the VVS will increase 18 times, taking it to 70 percent of the inventory by 2020.  So less than 4 percent of current air-delivered munitions qualify as precision weapons.  UAVs will be increased 6 times, taking them to 30 percent of the aircraft inventory.  So they are about 5 percent at present.  Sadofyev adds that money will go to providing a common reconnaissance-information environment for the VVS.

Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Vladimir Drik also talked about VVS procurement last week.  He said the VVS got new and modernized aircraft this year, including Su-27SM and Su-25SM, and Mi-24PM and Ansat-U helicopters.  But he had to admit only the Ansat-U is new, and he didn’t provide numbers.

There was a major garble over the Su-27SM.  RIA Novosti quoted Drik as saying the VVS “received four squadrons of modernized Su-27SM” this year.  In fact, the transfer of the final 4 of 48 Su-27SM happened in late November 2009.

Drik said Russia’s air defenses will be 100 percent new by 2020, with the VVS operating the S-400, S-500, and Pantsir-S.  Once again, no one seems to want to talk about what’s going on with SAM production.

Igor Korotchenko’s take on VVS procurement from October looks pretty on-target in light of this latest press.  He said the priorities were precision weapons, automated C2, aircraft, and air defense systems.  And, at that time, he put the acquisition numbers at 500 new aircraft, 1,000 helicopters, and 200 air defense systems.

All in all, an extremely ambitious plan.  Fulfilling it will demand complete and timely funding, and even then it will be a challenge for Russia’s aviation industry.  Also, Sergey Ivanov says the GPV has gone to the government today, so maybe we’ll learn how VVS requirements fare.  VVS will be a priority, but we’ll have to see how high.

Military-Theft Forces

Prosecutors Rate the Most Corrupt Service Branches

40-50 Percent of State Defense Order Simply Stolen in Recent Years . . . no wonder large-scale procurement hasn’t happened.  Serdyukov supporter Korotchenko tries to paint opponents of military reforms as people trying to protect their corrupt schemes.  This surely goes on, but there also have to be people opposing them for reasons other than greed.  Finally, it’s at least conceivable that, if Serdyukov doesn’t make progress against corruption, it could cost him his job (if he stays that long, he is approaching the four-year mark).  Thus endeth the precis for this post . . .

This week Profil investigates military corruption.  The magazine notes the number and scale of Defense Ministry corruption cases is growing by leaps and bounds, reaching losses of 2.2 billion rubles for the first ten months of 2010.  It concludes, despite a significant cut in the officer corps and Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov’s battle against “thieves in broad stripes [generals],” the number of corruption crimes is not only not declining, but has substantially increased.  Profil obtained an analytical report compiled by the Main Military Prosecutor (GVP) showing who has stolen how much this year.

The GVP presented its report to a closed session of the Duma Defense Committee.  It says its analysis shows “efforts to counteract corruption in the troops are insufficiently effective.”

Profil’s first graphic . . .

Growth of Corruption Crimes in the Army (First 10 Months of 2010)

Troops/Military District/Fleet                     2009       2010       Growth (%)

North Caucasus MD                                             184          311                 69

Moscow MD                                                              94           152                61.7

Air-Assault Troops (VDV)                                 34            119                250

Siberian MD                                                             76            117                 54

Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN)                  59              93                 57.6       

Northern Fleet                                                      50              59                 18

Space Troops                                                        27              44                 63

Caspian Flotilla                                                      5                  7                 40

Black Sea Fleet                                                      2                  6                 200

Profil suggests the recent wave of military retirements signed off by President Dmitriy Medvedev could have been sparked by corruption charges.  While possible, there’s no evidence to support this thesis. 

A Profil source in the Defense Ministry says, not surprisingly, officials responsible for the State Defense Order (GOZ or ГОЗ), capital construction, and the disposition of military property (first and foremost real estate) inflict the greatest losses on the budget.  The article quotes Igor Korotchenko:

“In the course of recent years, 40-50% of resources allocated for the State Defense Order were simply stolen.  This happened, for example, when money was directed at the fulfillment of some concrete work, but there were no real results.  Write-offs appeared in the end or a weapons system was developed that simply didn’t meet its technical requirements.”

Profil suggests that many officers are rushing to get one last bite of military money before Serdyukov’s reforms completely derail their schemes.  It cites Ruslan Pukhov offering two different explanations for rising military corruption:

“Feeling an impending dismissal, officials are probably trying to take the maximum from their positions.  However, it can’t be ruled out that the prosecutor has really reinforced his work in different areas.  Corruption is an acute issue for the prosecutor.”

Pukhov thinks that, although the percentage increase in corruption looks really bad for the VDV, “corruption in the armed forces is spread equally and the growth in corruption crimes in separate branches or districts is connected only with where they are being investigated.”

A very good point, Mr. Pukhov.  Yes, the results of this little anticorruption experiment are very much influenced by where and how it is being conducted.  One should also pay much more attention to the absolute numbers of corruption cases than the percentage changes, and nothing has been said about the relative size of the various parts of the armed forces . . . no per capita figures are provided.  Are 44 crimes in the relatively small Space Troops more significant than 152 in the larger Moscow MD?

Korotchenko, a fairly strong Serdyukov proponent, says the Defense Minister and his tax service colleagues are beginning to break existing corrupt ties, institute financial transparency, and deprive the generals of the right to conclude any contracts.  Dividing the Ministry into military and civilian halves will keep military men out of financial expenditures, and this “process of shifting generals out of the feeding trough” will continue until 2012.  The generals will provide requirements, and civilians will allocate the financing.

A second graphic with some absolute figures on losses due to corruption . . .

Growth of Corruption Crimes in the Army (First 10 Months of 2010)

Troops                                                                  Loss Amount                      Annual Growth

                                                                           (millions of rubles)                        (times)

Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN)                      59.8                                            15          

Air-Assault Troops (VDV)                                   57.5                                            12.2

Space Troops                                                            47.6                                              2.2

Korotchenko claims:

“The campaign against Serdyukov is mainly heated up by those people who’ve been deprived of the feeding trough.  So, the director of a large defense enterprise has for many years sawed off rubles by the billion every year in the transfer of money that comes to fulfill the Gosoboronzakaz.  When Serdyukov deprived this director of such a trough, he began to finance any actions directed at discrediting and, possibly, even removing the Defense Minister.”

So, Korotchenko asserts most conflicts over army reform are banal conflicts of interest for those who can’t steal like they used to.  But didn’t the GVP just say they’re doing a better job of stealing than ever before?

Korotchenko continues:

“Of course, Serdyukov is not an angel, and many of his actions on the military reform plane call forth questions, but it’s another thing that before he arrived, corruption in the Defense Ministry had achieved such a level that he was forced to cut to the bone.  Many scandals proceed only because their financial-economic interests were affected:  the meetings of the airborne guys is just one in this series.”

Then Profil turns to Vitaliy Shlykov, who says:

“Broad publicity for corruption scandals in the Defense Ministry cannot but affect the minister.”

But he believes the Kremlin knows no one can fight corruption like Serdyukov, therefore the GVP report isn’t a real blow to him.

Profil concludes, so far, Serdyukov hasn’t squandered the trust placed in him, but the struggle against corruption only strengthens him as long as it’s a success.  If corruption keeps growing, it’s possible the Defense Minister himself could wind up on the “shot list.”