Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Major crisis in Russia opposes Airborne Troops to Defense Minister

A major and truly unprecedented crisis is taking place in Russia.  It opposes the Union (of the personnel) of the Airborne Forces to the Russian Defense Minister Anatolyi Serdiukov.  Today, a 3 star General read an appeal of the Airborne Forces Union to the Nation, the President, The Federal Assembly and to the Patriarch of Russia.  Here is the video of this appeal:

This is a machine translation of this appeal:
Appeal paratroopers to the people,
President, the Federal Assembly of Russia,
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

Egregious case of hazing and rudeness Defense Minister A. Serdyukov, in relation to our comrade Hero of Russia one. Colonel Andrei Krasov (head of the Ryazan branch of the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces) has occurred, the 09/30/2010
Visiting Training Center "Selce" near Ryazan, Anatoly Serdyukov in rough form, swearing insulting the Hero of Russia, Colonel Andrei Krasov, humiliated him in from of his subordinates in his professional and personal dignity.  He also offended the religious feelings of the Airbone Troops, who with their voluntary donations  built in "Selce" The Church of Elijah the Prophet - the spiritual patron of the troops. And this is the fourth church that Anatoly Serdyukov ordered demolished.
Such actions and tyranny were already committed by him in the past. This man has no credibility with the troops,  the veterans or the population. He has shown the inability to lead troops in the conflict to force Georgia to peace in August 2008. We remember the news when the President "told Defense Minister on the progress of military operations and development operations, and not vice versa.
Today, the Airborne forces are being deliberately subjected to sophisticated persecutions by the Defense Minister, including:
- The Airborne Academy was separated from the Airborne Force and were subordinated to an outsider to permanently eradicate the "spirit of the victory" of the officers who protect Russia from disintegration and humiliation and brought glory to the Motherland in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, Georgia;
-The Headquarters of the Airborne Forces were moved 300 km away Moscow.  Now the orders of the Supreme Command might be delayed by  8-10 hours, there is no guarantee of  their secrecy;
- Critical elements of the Airborne Forces were disbanded which in the past allowed them to act independently in remote and isolated areas. Now there is nobody to defend Russia's interests;
-For the troops halted pre-conscription training of military specialties (except drivers). Parents now have to pay the Aero Clubs for the parachute training of their children who wish to serve in the Airborne Forces;
The status of the 242nd training center and of the airborne assault brigades has been intentionally diminished in comparison with similar units in other branches of the military;
 A unique museum 80-year history of the army, which gave hundreds of Homeland Heroes, of which more than half were decorated posthumously has been destroyed. It is in all countries this would be called vandalism.
The International Union of paratroopers and commandos Union of Russia (135 organizations, 35,000 members and hundreds of thousands of sympathizers, carrying out patriotic education and training of youth for military service in 64 regions of Russia) appeal to the President of Russia to investigate these facts and take appropriate action.
The lives of our comrades,  and their long-term service to the people of Russia allow us to claim this moral satisfaction.  To insult the Hero of Russia Andrei Krasov - is to insult to all the defenders of our homeland. We appeal to the parties, public and religious organizations; to veterans and youth, which are only preparing themselves to serve in the army and to the country's citizens - support our demand!
We reserve the right take initiatives to defend the honor and dignity of our soldiers!

Chairman of the Union of Russian paratroopers "
full Chevalier Order of Service to the Motherland in the USSR Armed Forces "
Colonel General Vladislav Achalov

Chairman of the International Union of paratroopers
Hero of the Soviet Union,
Lieutenant General Albert Slyusar

This appears to be a very serious situation and it is not a coincidence that the photo of the current Commander of the Airborne Forces, General Shamanov, was displayed (next to the large image of the founder of the VDV General Margelov) during the recordng of this appeal - he must have tacitly approved of it.  In fact the conflict between Defense Minister Serdiukov and General Shamanov has been brewing for a long while already.

It is important to mention here that Serdiukov's idea of "reform" is the gradual dismantlement of the two most combat capable branches of the Russian armed forces: the Special Designation ("Spetsnaz") Brigades and the Airborne Forces.  As a result of Serdiukov's attempts to basically castrate the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and the Spetsnaz Forces it controls, the head of the GRU, General Valentin Korabelnikov, resigned in protest. In contrast, General Shamanov stayed and successfully prevented Serdiukov from eliminating one of the most famous and prestigious of all the Airborne Division of Russia (the 106th).  Considering that the Airborne and Special Designation Forces are by far the most capable and vitally needed forces of the entire Russian military (as they have proven over and over again), these systematic attempts to weaken them can only be considered gross incompetence at best, outright sabotage at worst.

The very fact of having a civilian Minister of Defense is already a very bad decision.  But at least a semi-competent one with some understanding of military matters would have been better than what Russia has today: a former furniture salesman and, later, Deputy Minister of the Russian tax service.

To fully understand how amazing these events are one has to fully appreciate how utterly unbelievable it is to have an entire branch of the Russian armed forces openly rebelling this way; what this appeal really is is a demand that Serdiukov be fired.  If Medvedev has any common sense left at all he will have to agree to replace Serdiukov.  No, not because the VDV will stage a coup, but because such an open and vehement condemnation of Serdiukov by the most elite and most admired part of the armed forces is a political death sentence for this man.  He can stay, of course, but he will be openly reviled and hated.  Furthermore, at this point its either Serdiukov or Shamanov and considering how popular Shamanov is, the regime would deeply alienate a large part of the Russian public opinion if it sided with the incompetent and hated Minister of Defense.

Finally, it is worth remembering here that Serdiukov was not appointed by Medvedev, but by Putin.  Nor does Putin appear to be in any way opposed to Medvedev and his policies.  Any way you put it, it appears that something very rotten is happening in Russia and Russia's betrayal of Iran at the UN is just the latest example of a new orientation of Russian policies which begin to remind me of the Eltsin years.

I really hope that the Airborne Forces, whose motto is "nobody but us", will be able to win this confrontation with a regime which is increasingly acting against the national interests of the Russian nation.

If Serdiukov stays and Shamanov is dismissed, then we will know that Medvedev's regime is serving foreign interests.  What will happen then is anyone's guess.

The Saker