Pravda.Ru talked about the issues of reforming the Russian army and the current state of the armed forces with the chief scientist of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, retired Major General Vladimir Dvorkin.
On the military reform and the problems of the armed forces:
"The military reform is multi-step. When Anatoly Serdyukov received carte blanche from the President of Russia, he was given a task to bring the armed forces of the Russian Federation in shape and structure that exists in the advanced countries like the United States and the UK.
Generally, the task was justified. Many independent experts wrote and argued that the reform of the armed forces was necessary.
But this reform was carried out with improper methods, without any justification. We all know how it ended.
And then, when the new Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was appointed, Putin said that there should be no fluctuations, and fine-tuned work should be conducted.
But expert analysis showed that it could not be done without a radical change of the structure implemented by Serdyukov. Shoigu, in fact, began a partial return to the former structure and abandoned the reforms introduced by Serdyukov.
A three-tier management structure of the Army was created, and divisions were transformed into brigades. The 201st Division in Tajikistan was the only one that was left, as well as another one in the Far East. But it turned out that the staffing of the brigades and their ability to conduct combat operations did not meet the real challenges and threats. It was necessary to partially go back to the divisional structure.
Instead of six districts under the former minister four districts were created and combined with operational and strategic commands.
In fact, this is pure profanation. The function of operational and strategic command combined in one district, the same people are in command; this is not a sustainable structure. The operational and strategic command must engage in planning and preparation of operations and be removed from the administrative function. This is perhaps one of the drawbacks of this military reform.
Thank God there have not been any changes in the nuclear forces.
What has been done to the military institutes, colleges, was also a complete failure. First of all, it was a failure because of the loss of professional staff. The entire military education and science were reduced to ten research centers, everything was combined. Military specialists are not easy to train, this requires highly qualified teachers.
Gradual degradation of the military education system was apparent before Serdyukov, but under Serdyukov this disappearance of staff and researchers essentially led to largely irreparable loss. It will take an extremely long time to restore everything.
Monetary funding has increased. This is easy to achieve - when there is money, increase the funding. The number of military exercises has increase. It's all good, but it is also a question of funding.
The military-industrial complex also has plenty of concerns. The main statement from all chief designers who have not yet become effective managers is: "There is money but no workers." This is very significant and will take time to fix."
On the possibility of an armed conflict with NATO:
"It's all fantasy. Russia has a powerful nuclear deterrent. NATO will never attack nuclear Russia, and Russia will never launch any military action against NATO. Therefore, conflict scenarios are made up and alarmist. I think it's wrong to consider them, it is not the right time."
On the state of the Russian Army:
The Army exists, it is capable of local, limited combat actions. Although, of course, not with the efficiency that could be achieved with the right reforms. There are many technological problems. But you cannot say that we are crushed.
Everything must be considered in the context of the real political situation. We must learn to conduct combat operations in limited conflicts. We must learn to effectively carry out peacekeeping operations, if necessary. These are the reasons for the work that is to some extent is conducted now.
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