07MOSCOW1537, NEW RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER STILL AN ENIGMA

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07MOSCOW1537.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW1537 2007-04-06 11:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Appears in these articles:
http://rusrep.ru/article/2011/02/04/serdyukov/

VZCZCXRO7112
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #1537/01 0961139
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061139Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8981
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001537 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2017 
TAGS: PINR MARR MCAP PREL PGOV RS
SUBJECT: NEW RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER STILL AN ENIGMA 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 1144 
     B. MOSCOW 692 
 
C...

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001537 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2017 TAGS: PINR MARR MCAP PREL PGOV RS
1. (C) SUMMARY: More than a month and a half after his appointment as Defense Minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov continues to take a low-key approach to his new job. He has not circulated widely among Defense Ministry officials or military personnel, nor has he publicly articulated a strategic vision for the Ministry. Senior uniformed officials have grumbled that their new civilian chief lacked national security credentials; some commentators have dismissed him as a "furniture salesman." However, Serdykov's experience as head of the Federal Tax Service could make him better qualified than his predecessor to impose discipline on the Ministry's notoriously loose financial control system. Seen as an effective manager, Serdyukov is not expected to initiate major changes. END SUMMARY.
ANOTHER ST. PETERSBURG SON MAKES GOOD
2. (SBU) Appointed Minister of Defense February 15, Anatoliy Serdyukov promptly drew fire from senior military officials, though only retired officers did so openly. Serdyukov's lack of military experience or security credentials was the main reason for their dismay, and many looked upon his surprise appointment as an affront to the military establishment. Others, in and out of the Ministry, mocked his previous experience as a "furniture dealer" from Putin's hometown, who arrived at his position solely through fealty to Putin. His connections to Financial Monitoring Service Director Viktor Zubkov, another of Putin's former St. Petersburg colleagues, was frequently mentioned as the primary vehicle by which Serdyukov came to Moscow three years ago and eventually become head of the Federal Tax Service (FTS).
3. (C) Aleksandr Golts, a respected defense analyst, was among those critical of Serdyukov's appointment. Golts told us that Serdyukov's inexperience on military issues would undermine his credibility with the General Staff and other senior officers, hindering his ability to push through needed reforms. He noted that former DefMin Ivanov had many weaknesses, but his intelligence background, along with his personal ties to Putin, had gained him some respect, albeit grudgingly, from the brass. Former general Vladimir Sizov, who retired from the Army after 32 years and now works as the head of political-military analysis at the USA-Canada Institute, was also critical. Sizov mentioned that senior military officials resented the appointment and would find it difficult to work with the new Minister.
LOW -- BUT RISING – PROFILE
4. (SBU) Serdyukov has kept a low profile since assuming his new duties. He is apparently getting a crash course in all things military at one of the uniformed services' senior staff colleges. A month passed before he began to visit major military commands, starting with the Strategic Rocket Forces Command March 16. He has spoken little in public, and offered no clues concerning the direction he wants to take the military establishment to take; nor has Serduykov articulated a strategy for advancing arms modernization and defense reform. There are indications, however, that Serdyukov is beginning to make his presence felt. He dismissed Colonel-General Anatoliy Mazurkevich, who had headed the Ministry's International Cooperation Department. He has also invited FTS auditors into the Ministry to review accounting procedures, which has prompted speculation of imminent resignations and dismissals of senior officials. Serdyukov recently paid a surprise visit to a military installation in Leningrad Oblast. Arriving unannounced, Serdyukov found conditions at the facility not up to standards and apparently dismissed the commander on the spot.
5. (C) As head of the FTS, Serdyukov had established a reputation as a detail-oriented micromanager and ruthless policy administrator in his zealous pursuit of Yukos and its former CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovskiy. Many believe Serdyukov will have to retain this approach if he wants to succeed in his new job. Ivan Safranchuk, from the Center for Defense Information, noted to us that the Defense Ministry is a powerful institution that can "chew up anybody." Safranchuk told us that it was hard, in particular, to change the generals' mentality. He thought the Ministry establishment MOSCOW 00001537 002 OF 002 would try to "outlast" any reforms that Serdyukov sought to impose, with the brass counting on Serdyukov to adjust to their way of thinking -- or at least to stay out of their way. Safranchuk told us that former DefMin Ivanov ultimately had not made a significant impact on how things functioned within the Ministry, despite his reform efforts, and predicted the same fate for Serdyukov.
RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB?
6. (C) Other contacts thought Serdyukov was precisely the right prescription for the Defense Ministry
. Sergey Sumbayev, a former journalist with Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), told us that management and accountability within the Ministry were dysfunctional and fostered inefficiency and corruption. He referred both to financial accountability and responsibility for policy implementation. Sumbayev thought the Ministry's entrenched bureaucracy resisted, mostly successfully, institutional change, which generated considerable waste and delayed delivery of modern weapons systems to the armed forces. Independent defense analyst Pavel Felgengauer made a similar point to us (Ref A), emphasizing that much of the heavy budget outlays for arms modernization in recent years had not resulted in the right production mix required by the military.
7. (C) Sumbayev did not expect Serdyukov to undertake major defense initiatives, particularly with less than a year to go before presidential elections. According to Sumbayev, one of Ivanov's weaknesses was his inability to exert adequate control over the Ministry's day-to-day bureaucracy. Serdyukov's management experience and tenacious work ethic make him the ideal "technical" manager that the Ministry needs. While acknowledging Serdyukov's political connections, Sumbayev did not think Serdyukov harbored any political ambitions. He was chosen mainly for his managerial expertise, loyalty, and willingness to please his political bosses. Serdyukov could probably make progress in streamlining the Ministry's management structure, reducing waste, and exerting more control over its financial accounting systems. One year, however, would not be sufficient to accomplish these tasks.
STRONG POLITICAL CONNECTIONS
8. (C) Apart from his ties to Zubkov, multiple press reports claim that Serdyukov is allied with the Kremlin's siloviki wing, including Igor Sechin and Viktor Ivanov, as well as with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. Retired General Sizov viewed recent changes at the Defense Ministry in political terms, telling us that it had taken six years to prepare Ivanov as a presidential contender; he wondered, only half jokingly, how many years it would take to groom Serdyukov for higher positions. Sumbayev speculated that keeping the General Staff off-balance and focused on internal matters over the next year was one of Putin's objectives in appointing Serdyukov. In this respect, he suggested that Serdyukov had a mandate to shake things up in the Ministry without sparking too much discontent.
COMMENT
9. (C) Serdyukov has his work cut out for him in bringing order to a Ministry badly in need of reform. While he lacks military credentials, Serdyukov has proven capable of making tough decisions -- and serving as a hatchet man when called upon to do so. We anticipate he will take the same approach as Defense Minister, while continuing to shy away from publicity. The next year could be a difficult one for senior Ministry officials.
BURNS

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: