Tag Archives: Vladimir Shamanov

Data on VDV

One can’t call this news.  News not discovered or reported promptly is just data. Not less important to this mind.  But on with the story . . .

Last summer, VDV Commander General-Colonel Vladimir Shamanov told the press about pending changes in the Russian Airborne Troops’ manning and structure.  Not clear if, when, or at what level they’ve been approved.  But fait accompli is Shamanov’s style.  His influence is larger than his nominal rank and post, and he often gets what he wants.

Specifically (among many things), Shamanov claimed the VDV will:

  • Upgrade some regiments to brigades;
  • Establish a logistics brigade;
  • Raise some companies to battalions; and
  • Add a third maneuver regiment to each VDV division.
Valeriy Vostrotin

Valeriy Vostrotin

That’s all context . . . last October, chairman of the Union of Airborne of Russia (SDR or СДР), retired General-Colonel Valeriy Vostrotin gave out two data points in a comment to Rossiyskaya gazeta:

“We veterans were satisfied with the news that it’s now been decided to reinforce the VDV significantly, to increase their numbers by another 20 thousand men.  For me personally, it’s particularly pleasant that, in 2015 in Voronezh an air-assault brigade with the number 345 will be formed and the banner of the famous 345th regiment, which I once commanded in Afghanistan, will be transferred to it . . . .”

So . . . another 20,000 men for VDV, and a new brigade.  Not confirmed, but possibly on the horizon.

Today Russia’s airborne forces are thought to number about 30,000.  Down from an “on-hand” strength ranging anywhere from 55,000 to 75,000 in the late 1980s or very early 1990s.  Desantura.ru gives figures like that.

Going back to 50,000 would be significant, and would add lots of contractees to the ranks.  Equipping a new formation and other new units would not be a minor undertaking either. 

Again, data not news.  May or may not happen.  But we were informed.

VDV Gets Army’s Air Assault Brigades

Mil.ru reported today on President Putin’s 11 October ukaz transferring administrative and operational control of air assault brigades in Ussuriysk, Ulan-Ude, and Kamyshin from Eastern and Southern MD Commanders to General-Colonel Vladimir Shamanov and the VDV.

The MOD website says the decree is No. 776; it doesn’t appear on Kremlin.ru yet, but may later.

Mil.ru reported VDV commissions are already surveying the condition of weapons, equipment, and facilities in the three brigades, and converting their training program to match that of the VDV.

Shamanov announced that this change, and others, were pending back in early August.

VDV Day

Today was the 81st anniversary of VDV’s establishment . . .

VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov is looking for 20 new An-124 transport aircraft to support his troops by the end of GPV-2020, according to ITAR-TASS

Shamanov told Rossiyskaya gazeta he plans to return to jumping next year, despite injuries received when his vehicle was hit by a truck last fall.

He’s  disappointed the BMD-4M hasn’t completed its evaluation; armor testing remains.  And Shamanov admitted:

“There’s still no firm agreement on the schedules for testing and supplying this equipment to the troops.”

Shamanov’s first deputy and chief of staff, General-Lieutenant Nikolay Ignatov also told Ekho Moskvy a final decision on the BMD-4M’s readiness for combat employment will come after upcoming tests at Kubinka.

Ignatov talked to Ekho about the VDV’s plans for professional sergeants.  He said the VDV will start getting contractees from professional NCO training next fall, and will have only professional sergeants by 2016.  They will be “high class” specialists, and platoon and deputy platoon commanders to compensate for officer reductions.  The chief of staff said base [rank] contract pay will be 15-25,000 rubles per month, supplemented by a range of duty-related bonuses. Contractees will sign up initially for three years, and their units and divisions will decide if they’re offered a second contract.

Ignatov spoke disparagingly of the 2004-2007 contract service experiment, in which the 76th DShD served as test bed.  He said low pay and the lack of service housing for married soldiers bedeviled the program, and the government should have taken responsibility for pay and benefits rather than leaving them to the division.

About conscription, Ignatov said flatly:

“. . . today’s conscript servicemen simply won’t have a chance, he won’t be capable of mastering this equipment [new armaments] fully in all its characteristics.”

Ignatov also spoke at length about a new VDV automated C2 system called Andromeda-D, developed by the Scientific-Research Institute of Communications and Command and Control Systems (NIISSU or НИИССУ).

He describes Andromeda-D as a division-to-soldier system, with stationary points for commanders down to battalion, and vehicle-mounted systems for tactical units.  Andromeda-D has passed troop testing, has been deployed in the 76th DShD, and is in the GOZ to buy it for the 7th DShD, 98th VDD, and 31st DShBr, according to Ignatov. 

He told Krasnaya zvezda the existing Polet-K system will be integrated into the new Andromeda-D system.

He also says the VDV plans to deploy GLONASS receivers in its vehicles as part of its C2 system.

Shamanov on the VDV’s GOZ

General-Lieutenant Shamanov (photo: RIA Novosti / Petr Chernov)

Last Thursday VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov returned to a bit of media spotlight for the first time since returning to duty following serious injuries in a collision with a truck last fall.

Shamanov said the VDV’s part of the state defense order (GOZ) isn’t necessarily proceeding well.  But he claims the BMD-4M was ordered.  He lobbied for a piece of the Arctic defense mission.  And he repeated past calls for his own helicopters.

RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS reported Shamanov saying he’s satisfied “on the whole” that the rearmament of the VDV:

“. . . is going according to the strict parameters which were established.  First of all, this concerns the modernization of BMD-1 and BMD-2 and ‘Nona’ self-propelled artillery with automation means.”

But he added:

“The issue of fulfilling the 2011 state defense order for 10 BMD-4M and for 10 standardized ‘Rakushka’ armored personnel carriers, built on a BMD-4M base, is not completely resolved.  The thing is Kurganmashzavod didn’t give a guarantee it would produce them.  Presently, Kurganmashzavod’s financial situation is causing concern.  There are no guarantees that, if all the money comes, the order will be met.” 

Last year Shamanov said the firm was developing and producing the first BMD-4M models on its own to the tune of 200 million rubles.

Still he hopes the problem with fulfilling the 2011 GOZ for the VDV will be resolved soon.  He said there are negotiations, and the problem should be resolved in week or two.

The VDV Commander indicated he’s sending the Genshtab a proposal under which his branch would participate in defending Russia’s Arctic shelf jointly with the Ground Troops.

He told journalists he gave his deputy, General-Major Aleksandr Lentsov,  the task of developing options for VDV units to work with the Ground Troops and Navy in the Arctic.  Shamanov invited the commanders of Naval Infantry brigades and Ground Troops’ air-assault brigades to the VDV’s operational conference in Ryazan the week before last.

Shamanov opined that establishment of an inter-service grouping for the Arctic is “fully possible” but how it might happen remains a topic of discussion.

The press services said Shamanov resurfaced his previous calls for a helicopter regiment co-located with the VDV brigade in Ulyanovsk or division in Pskov.  He said he plans to submit two variants of such a proposal to the Genshtab when it is finished.  

Press sources said he requested the same thing at this time last year.  The Ground Troops-dominated Genshtab apparently frowns on an idea that would eat resources and possibly duplicate the capabilities of the army’s own air-assault brigades.  For his part, maybe Shamanov benefits by repeatedly laying down a marker indicating that the VDV lacks something he considers essential.

Shamanov Returns to Duty

VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov reported for duty today a little more than three months after his BMW was slammed by a truck on the highway between Tula and Moscow.

Shamanov was discharged from Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital in late December, and has been on rehabilitation leave in Sochi since then.

Also injured in the accident, then-acting commander of the Tula-based 106th Airborne Division, Colonel Aleksey Naumets remains in the hospital in satisfactory condition after more surgery.

The Tajik national who rammed into Shamanov’s service vehicle admitted his guilt in the accident.  He remains in custody while the investigation and court proceedings continue.

Shamanov Addendum

Komsomolskaya pravda’s Viktor Baranets spoke with VDV Commander Shamanov by phone yesterday.  Asked how he’s feeling, Shamanov said:

“Normal.  I’m already walking without crutches and a cane.  However, of course, there are still problems with the ulnar joint of my right hand and my left hip.”

Asked when he’ll return to duty, he said:

“I think rehabilitation will take 4-6 months.  But I’ll most likely do part of it while on duty.  My condition, thank God, allows it.”

Shamanov Leaves Hospital

VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov was discharged from the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital this morning, nearly two months after his BMW-525 was hit by a truck near Tula on 30 October. 

Shamanov’s spokesman said he’s already held his first staff meeting, and participated in a commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of VDV founder Margelov’s birth.  He called Shamanov’s condition normal following the accident and more than one surgery, according to ITAR-TASS.  Shamanov had several hours of surgery on his hip on 1 November. 

The spokesman said it’s completely possible Shamanov might return to duty earlier than his doctors have directed.  He said Shamanov completed his hospital rehabilitation, will take routine medical leave, and continue rehabilitation as an outpatient.

The acting commander of the VDV’s 106th Airborne Division in Tula, Colonel Aleksey Naumets, even more severely injured in the crash, transferred from intensive care to a general ward yesterday.  A source told RIA Novosti that Naumets has regular visits from fellow servicemen, and is interested in what’s going on in the division, but it’s still hard to say when he might be discharged.

A preliminary hearing in the criminal case against Dovlatsho Elbigiyev, the driver accused of hitting Shamanov’s car, will take place Wednesday in Tula’s Zarechenskiy Rayon Court.

Short Takes

A Navy Main Staff source has told Interfaks that Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy will launch its first Bulava SLBM on 17 December.

The RVSN has decided to implement testing for narcotics use among its personnel, according to ITAR-TASS.  It will begin next year.  The RVSN spokesman provided no explanation why his branch will institute drug testing. 

RIA Novosti reports Russia will have contract reservists from 2016.  GOMU Chief Vasiliy Smirnov tells the wire service conscripts will be asked if they want to stay in the reserves for pay.  Russia’s requirement for reserves should be lower in the future given the recent shift to smaller, higher readiness forces and away from cadre units that would need fleshing out with mobilized reservists.  This story’s been around for a while.  It’s not clear how much reservists would be paid, or what their commitment would be.  It hasn’t been easy for military commissariats to mobilize reservists even for infrequent exercises and training assemblies in the past.

Lenta.ua is reporting a Defense Aerospace story that the Indians have moved acceptance of the Admiral Gorshkov (Vikramaditya) carrier off from the beginning to the end of 2012 because the ship will need more work.

RIA Novosti cites military medical sources saying VDV Commander, General-Lieutenant Shamanov may not be discharged from the hospital until after 1 January.

IA Regnum reports the Chelyabinsk governor has complained to Defense Minister Serdyukov about the resumption of explosive ammunition disposal at Chebarkul, and also about Su-24 flights over Chelyabinsk.

RIA Novosti and Lifenews.ru report that a document creating a Russian DARPA may soon be put before President Medvedev.  The agency would be independent of the Defense Ministry, but conduct ‘breakthrough research in the interests of national security.’  The idea was first raised back in September.

Shamanov Doing Well, His Staff Not So Well

Interfaks reports the VDV’s spokesman says Airborne Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Shamanov is doing well enough to receive visitors and work from his hospital bed, though doctors won’t say at this point when he might be discharged.

Tuesday’s Argumenty.ru reported bad news for Shamanov’s staff.  A Defense Ministry commission working in the VDV will soon issue its decision on cutting the airborne staff.  A military source says it’s only a formality since a decision, not favorable to the VDV, has already been made.

The officer said the commission arrived immediately after Defense Minister Serdyukov’s 30 September dust-up with VDV Colonel Krasov at the Seltsy training center near Ryazan.  It had mainly finance and personnel people.  Scheduled to work for two weeks, the commission needed more than a month, and didn’t finish until after Shamanov’s car accident on 30 October.

According to Argumenty.ru’s source, the report will consider it expedient to cut the VDV’s Main Staff by two times, transfer its headquarters from Moscow to Ryazan or Tula, and sell its current premises in Sokolniki.

Shurygin on the VDV’s Discontent

Writing in Zavtra, Vladislav Shurygin has added his take on Sunday’s VDV protest.  As usual, it’s a different cut with different details, but a unique one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Here’s the gist.  Shurygin says it’s not just the VDV’s discontent, but the military’s.  He enumerates the VDV’s specific grievances.  He claims the airborne has lost its status as the Supreme CINC’s strategic reserve and been placed operationally under OSKs West, South, Central, and East. 

Much of Shurygin’s article comes down to the VDV’s alleged loss of elite status.  Others, however, would say Serdyukov’s handled the airborne with kid gloves compared to how other services have suffered.  They might also say it’s high time the VDV got knocked down a notch or two.  

Shurygin seems to want to say that vlasti are more worried, or should be more worried, about discontent in the army than they appear.  He says Serdyukov can’t be dislodged from the Defense Ministry by his opponents, only the internal imperatives of vlasti will move him to another job; then he’ll be replaced by someone who’ll begin his own reform.

Shurygin quotes one Russian Airborne Union (SDR or СДР) official on how servicemen are left socially unprotected:

“In the framework of this reform which is destructive for the country, the overwhelming majority of servicemen have been dismissed without serving the term enabling them to get a pension.  Half of them don’t have housing.  Our country already has a sad experience of dismantling troops.  In the distant 1950s, the Defense Ministry decided to eliminate Naval Infantry under the pretext of missile-nuclear weapons development, saying that, if necessary, conventional infantry could fully replace it.  Nearly 50 years later history’s repeating itself.  Only now the VDV and Spetsnaz ended up in the role of unneeded forces.”

Shurygin continues:

“Meanwhile, the attitude of high state officials toward the VDV has been drawing criticism for a long time already.  In July, when the VDV observed its 80th anniversary, neither the Supreme CINC, nor the Prime Minister appeared at a ceremonial concert in the Kremlin palace and they didn’t even send the nominal greeting customary in such instances.  Then a directive according to which the VDV command would become subordinate to the Main Command of the Ground Troops was prepared, and VDV formations and units are in fact being transferred into operational subordination to the commands of strategic axes ‘North,’ [sic] ‘West,’ ‘South,’ and ‘East.’  That is, they’re being taken from the reserve of and immediate subordination to the Supreme CINC of the RF Armed Forces.  Add to this the estrangement of the VDV from work with premilitary youth in DOSAAF and the elimination of the Ryazan Airborne Higher Military Command School, which has been dropped into the Ground Troops training center (Combined Arms Academy), and the elimination of the VDV Personnel Directorate, which will put a final end to the elite status of the VDV, traditionally proud of its own unique personnel school.  In fact, a quiet destruction of the troops is going on.”

Shurygin says VDV Commander Shamanov’s doctors say confidentially that, in intensive care, he was in no condition for paperwork, and his right hand was immobilized when he supposedly authored his message urging VDV on Poklonnaya Gora to avoid confronting the Defense Ministry.   

So Shurygin doubts Shamanov wrote this, but he doesn’t allow for the possibility that the general dictated words to be issued in his name.

Shurygin adds that sources close to the Defense Ministry say the Shamanov document turned up in the hands of Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov, was edited by his people, and sent to the hospital for Shamanov’s signature as he was being wheeled into surgery. 

Shurygin shifts gears reprinting part of an interview he gave Baltinform prior to the Poklonnaya Gora demonstration.  Asked about Serdyukov, he says:

“The reform Serdyukov is conducting causes confusion in specialists.  The opposition to the pogrom he’s conducted in the army is very great.  Tens of thousands of people are opposed — they really see what is happening in the troops, and are trying to get this information to the public.”

“The fact that this [Seltsy] scandal received publicity is not evidence of conspiracy, but evidence of the crudest error in Serdyukov’s judgment, who left himself open, conducting himself rudely and offending an honored officer, a Hero of Russia.  And this outrageous incident only became the latest reason again to raise the theme of reform.  If the main reformer conducts himself in such an unworthy manner, then this automatically calls forth questions about the entire reform he’s conducted.  I think that opposition to Serdyukov is located not at the Kremlin level or any mysterious officials, but at the level of those whom military reform has literally ‘run over like a tank.'”

 I relate to [Serdyukov] as an absolutely incompetent person who occupies a job that is not his.  And for three years already he’s been learning the completely new business of managing the army at the cost of huge damage to the latter.  First they constantly destroy army structures like a house of cards, then they try to ‘sculpt’ and create something out of them.”

  “Some directives are suspended, others are given out and then are suspended.  The army leadership is feverishly searching as if trying to get a careening wagon down a hill in the necessary direction, but still just increasing the chaos and disintegration.  Massive break-ups were undertaken in place of approaching reforms from a scientific viewpoint and working out experiments on specially selected parts.”

“The Armed Forces have been ‘cut to the bone.’  They’ve broken everything in them, both the bad, and the good.  They broke it, then observed the mistakes, and are now trying to correct them.”

Asked if Serdyukov will finish his reforms or be replaced because of complaints from his opponents, Shurygin concludes:

“It seems to me he’ll go to that phase when it’ll be officially acknowledged that the reform has taken place.  Then a moment will come when it’s necessary to make a change in the official hierarchy, and Serdyukov will be transferred to another position.  The one who comes into his place, will begin his own reform anew, perhaps, a more ‘quiet’ one.  But he won’t avoid long work analyzing the mess of forest cut down by Serdyukov.”