Tag Archives: Admiralty

Navy Main Staff Moved

Admiralty (photo: http://www.1tv.ru)

The Navy Main Staff’s officially moved to St. Petersburg after several years of on-again, off-again plans and delays.  Pervyy kanal covered a Senate Square ceremony and the raising of the Andreyevskiy flag over Admiralty in a light snowfall last Wednesday.

Wonder if there’s a “for sale” sign on the building on Bolshoy Kozlovskiy in Moscow.

Navy Main Staff Moving 1 June

Navy Main Staff in Moscow

A Defense Ministry representative told RIA Novosti Friday that the main complex of the Navy’s Main Command has to be emptied before 1 June in connection with its move to St. Petersburg.  This means the Navy Main Staff building on Bolshoy Kozlovskiy.  The representative said 200 admirals and other officers have to head for the northern capital by the end of the month.
The source couldn’t say who will occupy the Main Staff’s old digs.  But other Navy Glavkomat buildings in Moscow aren’t being emptied yet.  These include the Navy Armaments Staff on Bolshoy Zlatoustinskiy, the Naval Aviation Staff in Skakovaya Alley, and the Rear Services Staff on Spartakovskaya Square.
RIA Novosti notes the back-and-forth, on-again / off-again nature of talk about moving the Navy’s headquarters to Piter.  Admiralty’s had a sign for several years saying it’s the home of the Navy Main Staff and Navy CINC.

The wire service failed to mention that Defense Minister Serdyukov has been solid all along, saying the transfer would happen eventually and gradually, even if his deputies or senior uniformed officers sometimes wavered on the issue.

Proyekt 636 Subs Being Laid Down for BSF

On 17 August, Russian news agencies reported that Admiralty will build a proyekt 636 diesel-electric submarine for the Black Sea Fleet (BSF).  The keel-laying was scheduled for 20 August.  Navy CINC Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy says, in all, three proyekt 636 submarines will be laid down for the BSF before year’s end. 

Krasnaya zvezda writes that, although Admiralty has produced export submarines since 1983, Novorossiysk will be its first proyekt 636 for the Russian Navy.

Ocean TV reports Novorossiysk will be complete in 2013, and the other two in 2014.

The Rubin Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology has made changes in the construction of systems and equipment of the proyekt 636 for its use in the Russian Navy.  RIA Novosti said the new BSF submarines will be armed with the Klab-S antiship cruise missiles.

The Navy Main Staff calls Novorossiysk the start of its long-term plan to restore the BSF’s combat readiness.  The fleet is also slated to receive the Sevastopol, the third unit of new fourth generation proyekt 677 submarines.  According to Krasnaya zvezda, the transfer of Baltic Fleet Neustrashimyy and Yaroslav Mudryy frigates to the BSF is still being worked, and could take place in the next year.

A related aside . . . it’s been almost four months and there’s no mention of the BSF basing report that, on 1 May, President Medvedev ordered Defense Minister Serdyukov to present in a month.

Pressing the French on Mistral

Vladimir Socor has a good piece describing Russian shipbuilders’ complaints to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) about the Mistral purchase as another way to press Paris to finalize the deal on Moscow’s terms.  Socor says: 

“In line with the Russian government’s tactics, [Deputy PM and OSK Board Chairman] Sechin is signaling that Moscow could turn to other international shipbuilders, or ultimately to Russian shipbuilders, if France does not sweeten the terms of the Mistral deal for Russia.” 

“Thus, Sechin’s subsidiaries [Yantar and Admiralty] ostensibly seek anti-monopoly action in a case handled by Sechin himself for the Russian government.” 

This points up the bizarre circumstance in which Sechin is negotiating with the French, while his OSK subsidiaries complain about the potential deal. 

But, as Interfaks wrote on Wednesday, FAS says it lacks jurisdiction over the complaint from Yantar and Admiralty.  FAS also says there’s no basis for a complaint since no deal for Mistral has been reached. 

The shipyards argue they’ve been excluded from bidding to build amphibious assault ships for the Navy, and the terms of the competition weren’t publicly announced.  Their complaint seems to have merit since, from the outset, the Defense Ministry went directly after a specific ship and supplier, without issuing general requirements for a ship class. 

According to Interfaks, OSK supports Yantar and Admiralty, and calls the Defense Ministry’s actions ‘obscure.’ Its representatives periodically speak of Mistral like a done deal, but how the deal will proceed remains unclear.  An OSK source says, “And every time such statements deliver a blow to the self-esteem of domestic shipbuilders who know how to make these ships.”  

And, as Socor notes, talks continue also with the Dutch and Spanish [as Defense Minister Serdyukov has always pointed out] and now the possibility of a deal with the South Koreans has been thrown in, further roiling the waters. 

Izvestiya yesterday said OSK President Roman Trotsenko sent a letter to Defense Minister Serdyukov proposing a review of the military’s plans to acquire Mistral.  In its place, Trotsenko suggests building the South Korean Dokdo under license in a Russian shipyard.  He says he can build it in three years, and more cheaply than Mistral by one-third.  OSK has a joint production agreement with Dokdo builder Daewoo. 


The Defense Ministry insists Russian builders demurred when asked if they could build these ships.  Izvestiya doubts Trotsenko’s offer is realistic given the lack of available Russian buildingways.  But the paper concludes the appearance of the letter shows the struggle for the amphibious carrier contract isn’t over.

Navy Main Staff Move to Piter Back On


Unnamed Navy sources told the media this week that the Navy Main Staff’s postponed transfer to Admiralty in St. Petersburg is back on, and will begin in July.  But the Navy has not commented officially.  

The Leningrad Naval Base left Admiralty for Kronshtadt, leaving space for the Navy Main Staff in the former.  The Naval Engineering Institute may or may not have left Admiralty for Pushkin. 

The first elements to move could be administrative elements not bearing on the fleet’s combat readiness, while the Navy’s ‘operational services’ remain on Bolshoy Kozlovskiy Lane providing uninterrupted command and control of the fleet, and naval strategic forces in particular.  Some press pieces have said the transfer process could stretch out into 2012. 

A radical ‘optimization’ [i.e. personnel cut] in the Navy’s command and control structures, beginning 1 March, will reportedly precede the move to Admiralty.  Some press sources say the cut will focus on the Navy’s Central Command Post (ЦКП).   

Cutting Navy headquarters personnel may not be all that hard.  Izvestiya notes that, according to some sources, 300 Navy staff officers came out against the transfer to Petersburg when the story first broke in 2007.  Nezavisimaya gazeta has repeated the rumor that  only 10-15 percent of current staff officers will move to Piter and Grani.ru claims most are already looking for other work in Moscow. 

Recall that Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov first ‘suggested’ the move to Defense Minister Serdyukov in fall 2007, saying that the Navy should return to Russia’s ‘naval capital’ already replete with naval educational institutions and shipbuilding enterprises, and lighten Moscow’s heavy load of governmental organs.  

The plan called forth the late 2007 protest letter signed by many retired admirals, asserting that moving the Navy Main Staff  would “not only lack common sense, but actually undermine the country’s defense capability.”  

Former General Staff Chief Yuriy Baluyevskiy was publicly ambivalent about the wisdom of the transfer.  In early 2009, Navy CINC Vysotskiy told the press he had no orders on the move.  However, new General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov was quick to remind Vysotskiy: 

“Now command and control organs of the armed forces can be located anywhere.  The main thing is a reliable command and control system should be created which allows for carrying out missions in peace and wartime.” 

But can it really be located anywhere?  

Retired General-Major Vladimir Belous of IMEMO’s International Security Center has been quoted everywhere saying that, in St. Petersburg, the Navy headquarters could come under a devastating enemy air attack in as little as 15-20 minutes. 

Some have guessed the price tag for relocating to Piter at between 26 and 50 billion rubles, Grani.ru guesses 80 billion, and still others say completely rebuilding the Navy’s Moscow infrastructure in the country’s second capital would cost up to 1 trillion rubles.  In any event, a gigantic sum forcing the Defense Ministry to forego lots of other good uses for its money.   

Many experts believe the Navy’s command posts, comms, and underground bunkers will remain in Moscow and Moscow suburbs, since relocating them to Piter will be physically or financially impossible.  Former First Deputy Navy CINC Igor Kasatonov has been widely quoted saying that Piter will be no more than an alternate headquarters for the Navy CINC, from which it will be possible only to exert tactical control over the fleet. 

IA Regnum concludes that, although military experts unanimously believe a Moscow-to-Petersburg move will undermine the Navy’s combat readiness, it’s not clear it matters given the other things [i.e. political considerations, business interests] that are in play. 

Vladimir Temnyy writing for Grani.ru makes the point that old admirals’ alarmist rumblings about disrupting the Navy’s command and control are unimportant to those who want to build a business center and expensive apartments in place of the Navy Main Staff building near the Krasnyye Vorota metro station. 

In Stoletie.ru, Sergey Ptichkin calls the possible move ‘administrative caprice,’ adding that there’s profit motive in this caprice since the Navy headquarter’s building is valuable central Moscow property.  He says not a single expert or Navy leader can justify the move, and brands Gryzlov’s talk of returning the Navy to Russia’s ‘naval capital’ the height of naivete.  He makes the point that the Navy was only in Piter because Piter was the capital of the Russian Empire.  Otherwise, the Navy’s headquarters should be with the rest of the nation’s leadership.  Ptichkin concludes the modern Russian Navy can only be commanded from Moscow’s infrastructure and to replicate it in Piter is, if not impossible, then insanely expensive, especially at a time when there are questions about what kind of Navy will remains to be commanded.

An editorial in Friday’s Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye concluded that the “ambitions of the powers-that-be trump common sense” and “the fact that arguments ‘against’ are clearly superior doesn’t bother them.”