Reshuffling in Russia’s Defense Industry

There is a great article in the most recent issue of the “_Moscow Defense Brief_”: by _Vedomosti_ newspaper correspondent Aleksey Nikolsky that discusses the reshuffling in the Russian defense industrial complex after Medvedev assumed the presidency. Some main points:

“On June 3, Medvedev effectively dismissed Yury Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff, for his conflict with Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Baluyevsky is now Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, and was replaced by the former Chief of Armaments, Nikolai Makarov… Makarov’s old department will retain responsibility for little more than the maintenance of armaments in service, while *control over military-technical policy will be concentrated in the hands of Serdyukov’s immediate circle*.

There are no grounds to suppose that the rationale of these changes was to increase the efficiency of defense procurement. Rather, they were simply the consequence of the wave of appointments announced by *Medvedev*, who *maintained his mentor’s tradition of shuffling bureaucrats from one position to another without actually getting rid of anyone*.

By way of contrast, the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov has kept his position as the curator of the military-industrial complex is indeed significant… *Ivanov remains the principal and for the time being the only effective restraint on the ambitions of Russian Technologies to obtain a monopoly over the defense and several “near defense” industries as well*.

That said, the constructive side of Ivanov’s activity is less evident. For lack of any real powers, the *Defense Industrial Commission [Ivanov] chairs has proven unable to resolve any of the pressing issues facing the sector, in particular, those that involve strong private interests*…

[T]here is no evidence of the commission’s contribution to resolving the two largest problems facing Russian defense exports: Algeria’s rejection of the Mig-29 and delays in the modernization of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier for India. *When the formation of Russian Technologies is formalized with the signing of a presidential decree, it is likely that [Rosoboronexport’s Sergey] Chemezov will overtake Ivanov in terms of real influence over the defense industry*.”

I’ll blog more about Russia-India in a bit. Meanwhile, Nikolsky’s article, titled “Rites of Spring in the Defense Industry Complex,” is “available here”:

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