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Subject: Putin in Stalin's Footsteps
Will.Spencer    11/16/2003 11:03:38 AM 31/07/2003 The Moscow Times PUTIN IN STALIN'S FOOTSTEPS By Pavel Felgenhauer It's official: President Vladimir Putin has declared the end of military reform in Russia. Meeting with military top brass in the Kremlin this week, he announced that any talk of a serious reorganization of the so-called power ministries should end. It is time to optimize and rearm the existing armed forces, the president said. Military reforms that started in 2000 with promises to drastically cut personnel and at the same time boost the quality of troops and create a leaner, more efficient, better armed and trained force have been abandoned. The Defense Ministry in its official statements has not even used the term "military reform" for over a year. The power ministries consist of four separate military bodies that are the successor organizations of the Soviet Defense Ministry: the Defense Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Railroad Troops and Spetsstroi (a highly secretive department in charge of building bunkers and nuclear installations). The overall number of personnel in these four departments is more than 2.5 million, including civilian employees. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is officially considered a civilian, although he has the rank of two-star general. Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu is in active service and has the rank of four-star general. There are also four militarized agencies that are successor organizations of the KGB: The FSB counterintelligence service, that now commands the Federal Border Service with their separate air force and navy also; the Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR; the Federal Guard Service; and the president's bodyguard. More than 600,000 people in total. The bodyguards alone are over 200,000 strong. Unlike the KGB and the Soviet Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry was never broken up and indeed the number of Interior Ministry military personnel has grown substantially since Soviet times. The Interior Ministry army consists of motor-rifle (armored) divisions and a separate combat airforce, as well as regional police and paramilitary forces that have been used as auxiliary infantry in the Chechnya war also. The total number of uniformed, armed Interior Ministry personnel is more than 2.5 million. The Justice Ministry is also a militarized organization: Its special forces (spetsnaz) have been fighting in Chechnya. Personnel of the Prosecutor General's Office also wear uniforms with epaulets. Military prosecutors in the army and the navy are also part of this office. Prosecutors in military fatigues are present en masse in Chechnya, taking part in antiterrorist operations. A new militarized anti-drug agency is being created in Russia. Its military personnel may also be used in Chechnya in the future. The State Customs Committee is also a militarized department, but its personnel do not fight in Chechnya. The Foreign Ministry is, according to the Constitution, a power ministry. It has its own intelligence service and military personnel serve in it. All of these power ministries are directly subordinate to the Kremlin and do not report any of their activities to the Duma or the general public. The actual number of federal employees, especially military personnel, is not regularly reported to the public. In many cases it is still considered a state secret. From time to time, this or that government official reports on personnel figures, but it's never possible to verify them and they seldom add up. Because of the lack of official statistics, I am using my own estimates in this column. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Russia did not demilitarize or seriously cut the overall number of military personnel. The power ministries continue to be totally secretive and their activities remain out of the public's reach. Now it's clear that Putin does not want to change this situation. When meeting Western leaders, Putin often talks of the need for partnership and integrating Russia with the West. Inside Russia, Putin emphasizes his desire to recreate and reinforce a great Soviet-style military derzhava. These two faces of Putin seem to contradict each other. It's now clear that the Kremlin wants Western investments and technology to refurbish Russia's economy and double GDP, so that it will have money to rearm and recreate a Soviet-style global military machine that could in the future threaten the West. This is a strategy that was successfully employed by Josef Stalin in the 1930s -- Putin clearly wants to copycat. Pavel Felgenhauer is an independent defense analyst.
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Final Historian    RE:Putin in Stalin's Footsteps   11/16/2003 1:08:12 PM
Russian Nationalism is a potent force that should never be ignored. Many Russians are fed up with the state of their nation, once a super-power, and now almost 3rd rate. Many would go along with such a plan, if it does in fact exist.
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Phoenix Rising    RE:Putin in Stalin's Footsteps   12/6/2003 4:03:32 AM
I have to go with FH on this one; wounded pride is one of the most potent motivators of people, regardless of time or place. If Putin could deliver on such a vision, everyday Russians at the moment would put up with a lot of his human rights abuses and other autocratic tendencies. Personally, though, I don't think Russia has the resources at the moment to pull it off. They certainly have all the natural resources a country could ever ask for, but their human and administrative resources for managing their country are in poor shape. Most Russians have very limited contact with the West and don't realize that even if they could get back to where the USSR was in the 1970's, they wouldn't be the balancing bloc that they were back then; the West, even the demilitarizing nations of Western Europe, has progressed immeasurably since then. Russia has and would still have their enormous nuclear arsenal, which will always make them a potent player in the highest of politics--national survival. However, nuclear weapons are of little use in "lesser" issues ... emphasis on the quotation marks, as the mundane issues often add up to be just as important as the great ones. I had no idea Felgenhauer's material had appeared on a site like; most of his stuff that I've read has been off of CDI (a highly respectable site, very much like FAS). --Phoenix Rising
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Final Historian    PR   12/6/2003 7:35:25 PM
There is precedent for using wounded pride to take control. The National Social Worker's Party of Germany made good use of wounded pride, shame and economic depression to take power.
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commie55    Putin is no Stalin   12/17/2003 11:08:55 AM
Putin is merely a copycat but yes russian pride can never been ignored, The Russians will eventually rebuild and they will again become a super power but atleast not for another 10 to 20 years not until they crush the cheychans
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Phoenix Rising    RE:Putin is no Stalin   12/18/2003 7:27:43 AM
commie, Think for a moment. How will "crushing the Chechens" make Russia a superpower again? It takes money, technology, training, and leadership to be a military superpower. Russia has technology at the moment (not quite up to US standards anymore but still potentially first-world class), but not the money to roll out equipment in enough quantity to equip capable large formations, nor the core of experienced soldiers (especially NCO's) necessary to make a potent 21st-century fighting force. Russia would do much better to let its military largely go for a while in order to get their economy moving, if they can. It's much easier to build and maintain an army if you've got cash to throw around. --Phoenix Rising
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commie55    RE:Putin is no Stalin   12/18/2003 10:50:56 AM
i ment by crushing the cheychans the Russians will have an easier time rebuilding their country and economy. You are right tho, the Russians can afford to let their army go for a little. but it will take alot of time for them to become the super power they once were
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