This week, it was reported that process of radical personnel renovation was started in the Russian Defense Ministry. According to well informed sources in the Defense Ministry, after the appointment of new deputy defense ministers (Army General Nikolai Makarov became Chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin became Deputy Defense Minister for armament) director of the main operational department and Senior Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Alexander Rukshin, Deputy Chief of the General Staff and chair of the military scientific committee of the General Staff, Colonel General Alexander Skvortsov and director of communication service of the Armed Forces and Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Yevgeny Karpov lost their posts too. Presidential decree No. 1010 was signed on June 30. The Defense Ministry announced part of it dedicated to the appointment of Popovkin as deputy defense minister and the dismissal of Skvortsov due to achieving the maximum age. However, information about the dismissal of Rukshin and Karpov leaked to mass media only on July 7. These people embodied the elite of the Defense Ministry and came to their posts when Anatoly Kvashnin was the chief of the General Staff. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, they were considered the nearest allies of Yury Baluevsky who was dismissed from the post of the chief of the General Staff recently too.
After Colonel General Skvortsov turned 60 years old in May, his dismissal from military service was expected. Meanwhile, the dismissal of Rukshin and Karpov was unexpected for many people from their entourage. They could serve on their posts for a whole year until achievement of the maximum allowed age (60 years old). However, Rukshin and Karpov were urgently dismissed according to the initiative of the Defense Minister. The posts of director of the main operational department and director of communication are among the most responsible and important in the Defense Ministry. It is very difficult to find candidates for them. Moreover so that Army General Makarov will seek candidates for these posts. He is a new person in the General Staff. Makarov has never served there and does not know many specific peculiarities of the service there. Meanwhile, the main operational department and communication represent the brain of the Armed Forces. These very main departments write scenarios of exercises and combat operations, determine the system of hidden commanding of troops, form the notions and characteristics of military threats and determine the look of the Armed Forces.
Interestingly, the Defense Ministry misguided the public and the mass media into reporting that Rukshin and Karpov were dismissed from the General Staff due to the age limitations. This is not so. Rukshin was born on April 1 of 1949 and Karpov was born on March 21 of 1949. Thus, they could serve at least for an additional year.
A well informed source in the Defense Ministry reported to WPS that one of the versions of dismissal of Rukshin and Karpov was connected with the fact that they disagreed with the reforms started in the Defense Ministry. For instance, Rukshin told Serdyukov in the open that he disagreed with the 40% reduction of the central staff of the Armed Forces proposed by the Defense Minister, as well as liquidation of the institution of warrant officers and radical reduction of officers’ posts in the army (their replacement with sergeant posts).
Karpov was disagreeable too. After the appointment of Oleg Eskin, curator of information technologies implementation in the army in November of 2007, a kind of diarchy in the field of communication appeared in the Defense Ministry. Eskin did not serve in the Defense Ministry for a single day before. Suddenly he came and became deputy defense minister for IT. Formerly, the General Staff and one of the deputy chiefs of the General Staff Karpov was responsible for this field. It seems that there are no opponents for Serdyukov and Eskin are left after dismissal of Rukshin and Karpov. Along with this, it is alarming that top-ranking vacancies in the Defense Ministry and General Staff are filled with the people who have never worked there before.
Some mass media wrote that other deputy chiefs of the General Staff will lose their posts too. For example, they said that director of the main organizational and mobilization department of the General Staff, Colonel General Vasily Smirnov, submitted a resignation report. The Defense Ministry denied this information. Thus, the following people from the “old guard” remain deputies of the incumbent chief of the General Staff: senior deputy Lieutenant General Alexander Burutin (he has been advisor to President Vladimir Putin), director of the main intelligence department Army General Valentin Korabenikov (personal friend of Putin) and director of the main organizational and mobilization department Vasily Smirnov (he has always had a neutral position in discussions about reforms in the army). According to information from the Defense Ministry, these people will continue their service because they fully satisfy incumbent Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov from the standpoint of their professional qualities.