I don't recall from the top of my head who was it, Dmitry Gorenburg, Mark Galeotti or whoever poses today in the Western media and think-tankdom Parnassus as "Russia's military experts", but I remember the phrase about declaration of the return to the Division structure in the Russian Army as "purely symbolic" by one of these "experts". By now this whole list of those "experts" is so mixed up that I barely remember what corner of this "expert" community another round of rubbish comes from. Truth is, Russia restores, dissolved in 1946, Order Of Kutuzov 150th Idritsk-Berlin Motor Rifle Division.
The division will be stationed in Rostov Region and the construction of the quarters for it is in a very active phase. In fact, First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tzalikov already inspected facilities of the newly reborn division and they are really nice accommodations, both for personnel and for officers. The division will have around 10,000 of personnel in six regiments: 3 motor rifle, 1 tank, 1 self-propelled and 1 air defense regiments. Division's HQ will be located in Novocherkassk, which is very close to Rostov-on-Don--a major urban center in Russia's Southern Federal District. But the point is not in that, however remarkable, fact. The point is much larger and deeper.
In 2013, "reformed" into the utter submission, that is reduced to the brigades, 5th Tamanskaya Motor Rifle "Brigade", as well as brought from the verge of being completely disbanded, 4th Guards Tank Kantemirovskaya Division are back in the game and not as "brigades" but as full blown divisions. In fact, these two divisions, together with two, one tank and another motor rifle, brigades, are the core of newly reconstituted 1st Guards Tank Army of the Western Military District.
In all, three new divisions, in words of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, will be re-formed: 2 in the Western Military District, 1-in the Southern.
The question here is next: what happened with this much touted (mostly in the West) "brigade" structure of the "reformed" Russian Army, why return to divisions? The answer is extremely simple and...complex--almost a catastrophic failure of Anatoliy Serdykov's and his minion, former Chief Of General Staff Makarov's, "reforms" of Russian Armed Forces. In the end, the fresh title from one of the major Russian media outlets Vzglyad reads exactly like this--To Defend Against NATO One Needs Larger (than brigade) Units. Welcome to the reality. But the issue here is not just with Serdyukov--a no clue, corrupt imbecile who surrounded himself with coterie of his clueless bimbos. After all, it was none other than Putin who appointed this tax and furniture "specialist" to head Russian Defense Ministry. The issue here is HOW could this "reform", which almost cost Russian Armed Forces the loss of operational control, have happened at all? A large part, the root, of the answer is found in influential SVOP (Council On Foreign and Defense Policies), one of the representatives of which, namely Karaganov, was featured in media (and this blog) very recently. One of the brains and ideologues of that "reform" was late Vitaly Shlykov, GRU Colonel, whose biography reads like a spy novel and whose ideas, later, when Shlykov became Deputy Minister Of Defense of Russian Federation and founded this SVOP, which I mentioned above, played a crucial role in this "reform". It is customary in Russia to follow a very famous proverb: about deceased--either only good or nothing at all. But we are not going to discuss here the personality of late Vitaly Shlykov, who, undeniably, was a Russian patriot and a man who wanted only best for Russian Armed Forces. That is a given. We have to take a look at his ideas. What is also a given is this--spies do not necessarily make good military leaders, in fact, they seldom do. Vitaly Shlykov's ideas are the best proof of that, because they were generated by the person who was by an occupation...drum roll--economist with the slight leaning towards military economics. He graduated famous (or infamous--depends on the point of view) Moscow Institute Of International Relations (MGIMO) with degree in International Relations. This is a red flag immediately. Make no mistake, it is a red flag insofar as any military operational experience goes, for a spy this could be, actually, an advantage. In the end, Shlykov graduated Military-Diplomatic Academy but here is the first major problem with his military education (rather lack thereof) since Shlykov's ideas on the training of officers instigated a disaster of a massive proportion with officer corps of Russia's Armed Forces. It matters a great deal, in fact it is a decisive factor, that Shlykov never went through real system of higher military education which lead to his very bizarre ideas on officer training. Later, that would contribute to almost successful demolition of the system of officers' training in Russia and not that only. After all, SVOP, of which Shlykov was one of the founders and a big shot in SVOP's military-analytical "wing" likes to point it out. In the end, none other than pro-government Rossiiskaya Gazeta (Russian Gazette) published a obituary after Shlykov's untimely death in 2011, which stated that Shlykov's ideas, aka Shlykov's List, were in the foundation of Russian Armed Forces' "reform". And they were, since Shlykov joyfully applauded the appointment of furniture "specialist" ( and a moron, I may add) Anatoly Serdyukov to the position of Defense Minister. It was Shlykov who stated that:In Russian: Здесь не нужен человек со специальными военными знаниями, для этого у президента в подчинении полно генералов(c)In English: There is no need for this position to have a man with special military knowledge, for President has enough generals under his command (c) Needless to say, a lot (MOST???) of Shlykov's ideas have been drawn from US and European military "experiences" (actually, he is overbearing with his references to US Armed Forces) and, actually, found a lot of positive response (still do) from Western "experts". The problem? Shlykov forgot that he wasn't on a spy mission in Switzerland, he was pushing homicidal (or suicidal) principles on one of the greatest armies in human history and he had no experience whatsoever of commanding a platoon, let alone an army, to his credit. In fact, he had zero field experience. Do you remember how Hippocratic Oath goes? I, certainly, remember what Varlam Shalamov told a darling of Western propagandists Solzhenitsyn, while giving him his notes--in whose hands will your literature end up? Well, guess what, according to Solzhenitsyn I should have been born in GULAG and all my relatives should have been executed and I...shouldn't have been born at all, since, well, hundreds of millions (nay, billions) of Russians have died in GULAG. Guess what, Solzhenitsyn didn't spend a day in GULAG (he worked in Sharaga), while Shlykov never commanded anything in his life. Sounds familiar?
To Be Continued..........