Posts by Dmitry Gorenburg

Dmitry Gorenburg 08-27-2012
  The widely publicized trial of Pussy Riot has brought a great deal of attention to  the role played by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in setting state policy in Russia. In the last few years, the church has sought a role in shaping the Russian military as well. The extent to which it has succeeded in this endeavor is made clear in two recent articles in VPK. Back in July 2009, President Medvedev announced that the position of chaplain would be...
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Dmitry Gorenburg 07-12-2012
  The Russian Navy recently announced that it is sending a number of warships to conduct exercises in the Mediterranean. What’s more, these ships are expected to stop in Tartus, the Russian refueling facility in Syria, and several of the ships are carrying naval infantry. This deployment has obviously raised concern in the West, much as a previous (false) report of Russian marines being sent to Syria did. The New York Times and Forbes.com’s Mark Adomanis...
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Dmitry Gorenburg 07-10-2012
  In a post on his blog, Ilya Kramnik today made a set of predictions regarding upcoming procurement plans for the Russian air force. Here’s a translation:
Combat aircraft: a second contract for 48 Su-35s in 2014 or 2015, with deliveries in 2016-20. a second contract for 24-32  Su-30SMs for naval aviation in 2013-2014, with deliveries in 2015-18. accepting the option on 16 more Su-34s, in addition to 124 already ordered, with deliveries through...
Dmitry Gorenburg 07-02-2012
  I’ve covered Russian arms exports to Syria on this blog before, but the CAST report has some useful new information on this topic. Barabanov and Aliev note that Russian arms exports to Syria were very limited until the restructuring of Soviet-era Syrian debt to Russia in 2005.  Shortly after that, the two countries signed a series of arms contracts with a total value of 4.5 billion dollars. While these contracts were not publicized, available...
Dmitry Gorenburg 06-29-2012
  The Russian defense think tank CAST has produced a new report on Russian interests in Syria, by Mikhail Barabanov and Ruslan Aliev. This report largely supports my recent contention that while Russia has significant material interests in Syria, they are not the main reason for its support of the Assad regime. Let me first address what the report says about Russian motivations. Tomorrow, I’ll address the part of the report that spells out Russian...
Dmitry Gorenburg 06-14-2012
  Josh Tucker from The Monkey Cage asked me to comment on the Russian helicopters supposedly heading to Syria. Here’s what I wrote: Yesterday’s statement by Hillary Clinton that Russia is supplying Syria with attack helicopters has stirred up a great deal of controversy, providing more ammunition (so to speak) to US domestic opponents of the Obama administration’s policy of normalization of relations with Russia. This policy has already been damaged by...
Dmitry Gorenburg 06-12-2012
  For months, I’ve been arguing that the Russian military does not actually have the one million soldiers that it officially lists as serving in its ranks. A recent article by Aleksei Nikolskii in Vedomosti confirms my argument with official statistics. Nikolskii cites an official report by Nikolai Pankov, the MOD State Secretary, to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdiukov. According to this document, in April 2012 the total number of people serving in the...
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Dmitry Gorenburg 06-05-2012
  I just came across an article that reports the results of a survey of Russian soldiers, primarily junior officers. Unfortunately, the text is only available to subscribers. Here’s the citation for those with access to the right databases: СУРКОВА И.Ю. Удовлетворенность воинской службой в российской армии: факторы и прогнозы, Социологические исследования, 2012, #3. First, some demographic background: The survey was conducted in all four military...
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Dmitry Gorenburg 03-20-2012
  Various sensationalist media accounts yesterday and this morning have been reporting that Russia has sent some sort of anti-terror troops to Syria. The whole media frenzy seems to go back to this ABC News report, which in turn is based on what is almost certainly a misinterpretation of this report on the RIA-Novosti Arabic site. It seems pretty clear that this is a major exaggeration of what is actually happening in Tartus. Obviously, I don’t have...
Dmitry Gorenburg 03-19-2012
  In last Friday’s NVO, Ruslan Pukhov takes on the always controversial topic of how to reduce military expenditures. He notes that the plans set out by President Putin in his article on security issues require a high level of financing, which may not be available if the price for oil and natural gas declines or if Russian economic growth slows down. He mentions that the Ministry of Finance is discussing the option of reducing defense expenditures by as...
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