1 Dmitry Boltenkov, Aleksey Gayday, Anton Karnaukhov, Anton Lavrov, Vyacheslav Tseluiko Russia's New Army Edited by Mikhail Barabanov Foreword by David Glantz Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Moscow, Russia
2 UDK 355/359 BBK Russia's New Army / D. Boltenkov, A. Gayday, A. Karnaukhov, A. Lavrov, V. Tseluiko; Edited by M. Barabanov. Мoscow, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, pages. This collection of essays analyses e ongoing radical reform of e Russian armed forces and eir transition to e New Look model, which was launched in ISBN Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, 2011
3 Contents 05 Foreword 09 Reform of e Russian Army 33 Reform of e Airborne Troops 51 Reform of e Russian Air Force 81 Reform of e Russian Navy 103 Russian Military Doctrine and e State of its Armed Forces. Theories and Reality 117 The Auors 119 About CAST
4 4 List of Abbreviations AEW&C Airborne Early Warning & Control APC Armored Personnel Carrier BKhRVT Arms Storage and Repair Depot BKhVT Arms and Equipment Storage Depot BTG Battalion-size Tactical Group CRD Central Reserve Depot CRDF Collective Rapid Deployment Force CRRF Collective Rapid Reaction Force CSTO Collective Security Treaty Organization HQ Headquarters ICBM Intercontinental Ballistic Missile IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle FEMD Far East Military District JSC Joint Strategic Command MD Military District MoD Ministry of Defence MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected MTA Military Transport Aviation NBC Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare NCMD Nor Caucasus Military District PAK FA Russian steal fif generation fighter R&D Research and Development SAM Surface-to-air Missile SLBM Sea-launched Ballistic Missile SMD Siberian Military District UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle USD Universal Supply Depot VDV Airborne Troops VUMD Volga Urals Military District
5 Foreword The matter of reforming a country s military establishment, like reform of any type, is inherently as controversial as it is necessary. The goal of military reform is to alter a country s armed forces so at ey can better perform eir traditional function of protecting and defending bo it and its people. The perception itself at reform is necessary implies widespread belief, in particular on e part of e government, at fundamental problems in e armed forces as presently configured prevent em from performing ose traditional functions to a satisfactory degree. Therefore, military reform requires changes, often fundamental and wholesale in nature, in e country s armed forces. Since changing a complex organization of long standing also means overcoming institutional resistance wiin e organization, military reform is as difficult to carry out as it is necessary and controversial. Historically, because e motive force for reform is problems, real or perceived, military reform in e Russian Federation, as well as in its imperial and Soviet antecedents, took place eier in e wake of stinging military defeats or in response to e altered nature and configuration of e State or e geopolitical conditions in which it existed. In Imperial Russia, for example, e famous Miliutin and Stolypin reforms occurred largely in reaction to e
6 6 David M. Glantz performance (or lack ereof) of Russia s Armed Forces in e Crimean and Russo-Japanese Wars. Similarly, during e 1920s and 1930s, e Frunze and Tukhachevsky reforms responded to e perceived security needs of e fledgling Soviet State, first, after e Russian Civil War and, later still, after e rise of German Nazism. Again, as Europe was being engulfed in a Second World War, e Timoshenko reforms sought to create a Soviet military establishment able to contend wi e requirements of global war and fight e Armed Forces of Hitler s Germany. Then, after e Soviet Union was itself engulfed by war in June 1941, first, simple survival and, later, e necessity for total victory, provided e necessary impetus for wholesale military reforms in e incredibly difficult circumstances of numerous defeats and total war. Nor did victory in e Second World War negate e necessity for subsequent periodic military reform. Faced wi e double-barreled challenges of rapid technological changes (most important, e advent of atomic and nuclear weapons) and constantly evolving global political relationships of e Cold War world, e Soviet Union implemented e Zhukov reforms of e mid-1950s, reforms associated wi Khrushchev s nuclear Revolution in Military Affairs of e early 1960s, and e Ogarkov reforms of e late 1970s and early 1980s. Last but not least, e fundamental changes associated wi e demise of e Soviet Union and emergence of e Russian Federation in 1991 once again necessitated root and branch reform of e Russian Federation s Armed Forces. In is instance, however, economic, political, and social realities inhibited effective reform for nearly 20 years. As a result, after numerous attempts at military reform, which were only partially successful, only today do prospects for successful reform seem more favorable. As history indicates, while always difficult to implement, military reform may succeed, fail, or merely provide temporary respite to long-standing and persistent problems. Regardless of outcome, however, e success or failure of reform depends largely on a orough understanding of bo e problems involved and e remedies posited to resolve em. This short book, or more properly, anology of essays on specific military topics, provides context as well as a useful blueprint for on-going and future Russian military reforms. In regard to context, it begins by describing e circumstances at gave rise to e need for military reform, specifically, e altered form and nature of e Russian Federation after While clearly defining e most fundamental problems (specifically, five in number) e Russian State has faced as it attempted to construct a military establishment suited to meet its security needs, it explains how, one by one, successive Russian ministers of defence have attempted to resolve ese problems. This involves careful examination of all developments but, in particular, wars, which have provided bo context and a testing ground for e effectiveness of ose reforms.
7 Foreword 7 Structurally, e book consists of five chapters, four of which address military reform experiences in e Russian Army, Airborne Troops, e Air Force, and e Navy since The fif, and in my opinion e most important, focuses on Russian military doctrine and e current state of its Armed Forces. The first four chapters survey developments in each of e major branches [services] of e Russian Armed Forces in detail, being careful to highlight e unique characteristics of each branch [service] and e historical and contemporary role each has performed and will likely perform in e future. The final chapter, which addresses Russian military doctrine, provides e essential glue, which holds e entire book togeer. It correctly concludes at, by definition and tradition, e military doctrine of e Russian Federation, meaning e place and role of e Armed Forces in guaranteeing e security of e Russian State, provides e only valid basis for structuring and reforming e Russian Armed Forces. This, it asserts, has yet to be done. Instead, as presently articulated, military doctrine often contradicts e nature and structure of various elements of e Armed Forces. Thus, if military reform is to succeed, one of e foremost tasks is to ensure ese reform measures conform to accepted and well-defined military doctrine. To avoid stealing e book s under furer, I simply recommend at any and all who are interested in e Russian military, Russian military doctrine, or Russian military security in general, carefully read is book and include a copy in eir library. In short, is slender volume is e soundest, most objective, and most perceptive study yet to appear on is most important of topics. David M. Glantz Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA
9 Reform of e Russian Army Aleksey Gayday The Russian Armed Forces have undergone several rounds of reform since eir official creation date 18 years ago on May 7, The reforms were aimed at improving e fighting ability of e armed forces and making em more fit for e task of protecting and defending e Russian Federation. The arrival of every successive defense minister has signaled a new round of reforms. The current minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, appointed on February 15, 2007, is no exception. But e reform at was devised and is now being implemented under his leadership is probably more radical and ambitions an any of e previous ones. It aims to reshape e Russian Armed Forces into what has become known as e New Look model. The latest reform has attracted unprecedented public attention. Its progress has become e subject of lively debate involving political parties, senior government officials, MoD representatives, NGOs and e general public. The transition towards e New Look model has also attracted a lot of media coverage. The assessments vary. Some commentators are extremely critical, saying at e New Look reform has completely destroyed e Russian Armed Forces and undermined e country s ability to defend itself. Oers are fully supportive and
10 10 Aleksey Gayday believe e reform was someing of a stroke of genius. It is still hard to say what e final verdict of public opinion will be. Everyone agrees, however, at e New Look reform has been e most radical transformation of e entire Russian Armed Forces since e break-up of e Soviet Union. That is beyond any doubt. There have been serious changes in e organizational and personnel structure of all e military units and formations. The procurement, logistical, financial, medical and oer services of e Russian army have also been reshaped. The mobilization system has been completely overhauled, for e first time in 18 years. The recruitment system has also been reformed, and so on. The ideas underlying e latest round of e Russian military reform were not born overnight. The ongoing transformations build upon all e reforms undertaken since 1992, and e New Look of e Russian Armed Forces is an attempt to overcome all e difficulties and problems at e previous reforms had run into. Russian Army under Minister Pavel Grachev The first detailed proposals for reforming e Russian Armed Forces were drawn up immediately after ose forces were created as an independent structure. The process of dividing e Soviet Army and Navy between e newly independent republics after e collapse of e former Soviet Union had lasted for about ree years. As a result, Russia essentially had to build its entire military system from scratch. On May 18, 1992 President Yeltsin appointed Army General Pavel Grachev as Defense Minister. Gen. Grachev oversaw e drafting of e plans for e first round of Russia s military reforms, which began in early There is a widely held opinion at all ose reforms boiled down to reducing e size of e Russian army, but at is not so. The task facing e MoD and e minister was very complex. Public opinion was in favor of cutting e armed forces, and so was e Russian leadership. The country was in a deep economic crisis, and defense spending had to be cut. 1 A large part of e defense budget was spent on e rapid pullout of e former Soviet Union s troops from Eastern Europe and some of e former Soviet republics. The MoD, meanwhile, was facing several difficult problems which e Russian Armed Forces had inherited from e Soviet army. Problem No 1 was e cumbersome mobilization system. It was designed for a large-scale war wi e NATO countries in Europe and wi China in e Far East and e Trans-Baikal region. The system s main goal was to mobilize up to 5m people on a very tight schedule during e reat period. Problem No 2 was at none of e units and formations of e Russian Armed Forces were being kept at eir full nominal streng. All of em needed additional personnel to be brought in, one way or anoer, in e
11 Reform of e Russian Army 11 event of war. The bulk of e Army was made up of reduced-streng formations (manned to 50 per cent of eir full streng) and skeletonstreng formations (10-20 per cent). Those units relied on mobilization to bring em to eir full wartime streng. In 1991 e Soviet Army had 32 tank divisions and 100 motorized rifle divisions. 2 Of ose 132 divisions, only 20 were kept at about 70 per cent of eir full streng in terms of personnel and equipment. The rest were reduced or skeleton-streng formations. 3 Problem No 3 was at due to e complexity of e mobilization structure, e entire military command system was geared towards implementing mobilization plans raer an actually commanding e troops. In e 1980s e Soviet Union had 16 military districts and four groups of forces stationed abroad. There were also Soviet troops in Mongolia (e 39 Army) and in Afghanistan (e 40 Army), which were subordinated to e homeland military districts. 4 The General Staff commanded military districts in peacetime, and fronts during wartime. The chain of command en went down from military districts (fronts) to e respective armies, en on to army corps, and furer down to e actual military units and formations. Wi 70 to 80 per cent of e units and formations manned at reduced or skeleton streng levels, e entire command system was very top-heavy. Problem No 4 was huge variations in e tables of equipment used across e armed forces. That was largely because e Soviet defense industry produced many duplicate types of weaponry. To illustrate, e Soviet Army simultaneously operated ree main battle tanks (T-80, T-72 and T-64) 5 of e same generation. They all had different guns, engines, and fire-control systems, alough eir performance specifications were very similar. The situation wi armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles was e same. The Russian Armed Forces had also inherited large numbers of obsolete Soviet weaponry (such as e T-10M, T-62, T-55 and T-54 tanks, field artillery pieces designed back in e 1930s and 1940s, etc.) Even e huge Soviet defense industry could not produce enough modern hardware to equip all e units of e vast Soviet army wi e latest weaponry. As a result, a lot of obsolete equipment was kept in service raer an being decommissioned. Problem No 5. Due to e huge size of e arsenals and heavy reliance on mobilization, e Soviet army had to keep much of its hardware and supplies in storage. In wartime e army depots were to release at hardware and supplies to equip e army units and formations being brought to eir full streng as part of e mobilization plans, and to replenish any combat losses. In peacetime all ose supplies needed to be stored and refreshed from time to time, while e equipment needed to be kept in good working order. That
12 12 Aleksey Gayday required a lot of manpower, so out of e 3.4 million people who served in e Soviet army in 1991, almost 1.2 million manned e army depots. The Russian Defense Ministry aimed to resolve all ese difficult problems during e transformation of e Soviet armed forces into e Russian ones. It was clear right from e start at resolving em all at e same time would not be possible. In eir early reform proposals e MoD and e General Staff proposed e creation of e so-called Mobile Forces. Those would consist of several independent motorized rifle brigades manned and equipped at wartime streng levels (i.e per cent of eir full streng). All ose brigades were also supposed to be identical in terms of eir personnel numbers and specific types of equipment. It was an experiment aimed at trying out a standard new table of organization and equipment before rolling it out across e rest of e Army. 6 That way e MoD and e General Staff were hoping to address e lack of standardization in terms of personnel and equipment, and, most importantly, get rid of e reduced and skeleton-streng units. That would enable e MoD to abandon e cumbersome mobilization system. The plan was for a gradual transition from a conscript army to a mixed force consisting of conscripts and professional soldiers serving under contract, and eventually to a purely professional force. But ose ambitions plans fell foul of e economic and political situation in e country at e time. Instead of e proposed five independent motorized rifle brigades for e Mobile Forces, e go-ahead was given for only ree. By late 1993, e Russian Armed Forces had e 74 Independent Motorized rifle brigade based in Yurga 7, e 131 st (Maykop) 8, e 135 (Prokhladnyy) 9 and e 136 (Buynaksk). 10 The funding allocated for e creation of e Mobile Forces was enough to implement less an half of what was planned. For example, e transition to a standard personnel and equipment table across e brigades was never completed ere were major differences even between individual battalions wiin e same brigade. In 1993 e Russian government ordered a reduction in e number of conscripts being drafted by 35 per cent. But calculations by e Main Organization and Mobilization Department of e General Staff indicated at as a result of at reduction, ere would not be enough conscripts to bring even e newly created brigades to eir full streng, let alone e rest of e Army units. The MoD was erefore forced to retain its old mobilization system. Even in e new brigades some of e units and formations were kept at reduced or skeleton-streng levels. On December 11, 1994, Russia began e operation to restore constitutional order in e Chechen Republic, known as e First Chechen Campaign. The ensuring events received generous coverage in e media and drew a lot of public
13 Reform of e Russian Army 13 attention, eventually leading to a political crisis in Russia, in which Defense Minister Pavel Grachev lost his job. During e planning of e operation to send troops to Chechnya, Grachev asked e prime minister s office and President Yeltsin personally to announce a limited mobilization, so as to bring e units involved in e Chechen operation to eir full streng. His proposal was rejected out of hand. No wonder en at e troops sent to Chechnya had to be cobbled togeer by e MoD and e General Staff from all across Russia. The MoD even had to resort to using e personnel manning e arms depots. The system of command used for e troops in Chechnya also demonstrated its numerous shortcomings. The command system of e Russian Armed Forces in general was far too cumbersome; it was designed primarily for mobilizing and en commanding a 10-million-strong force. The General Staff would send its orders and directives to e HQ of e Nor Caucasus Military District; from ere e orders were passed on to e HQ of e 58 Army, and only en to e HQ of e Combined Force in Chechnya. The absurdness of at system was at e HQs of e Nor Caucasus Military District and of e 58 Army were not actually in command of e operation. They served as mere relay stages for orders and information flowing between e HQ of e Combined Force in Chechnya and e General Staff/MoD. Russian Army under Igor Rodionov and Igor Sergeev The First Chechen Campaign officially ended on August 31, 1996, after Pavel Grachev was replaced by Col. Gen. Igor Rodionov (who was promoted to Army General on October 5, 1996). After e unexpectedly heavy losses in Chechnya and e entirely unsatisfactory Khasavyurt peace deal 11, e Russian Armed Forces came under scaing criticism from all quarters. The new defense minister was facing a very difficult task. He needed to kick-start real reforms in e Russian army, and to address all e shortcomings and failings laid bare by e war in Chechnya. The first proposal Gen. Rodionov made was to always to keep at least some of e units at eir full streng, and to equip em using standard weaponry. The government agreed wi at proposal by e MoD and even promised to allocate funds for its implementation. The transition of e Russian Armed Forces to e new personnel and equipment tables was completed under Rodionov s successor Igor Sergeev, Russia s first and so far its only Marshal (promoted to at rank in 1997). The transition plan was actually very modest. It was decided at every division should have one regiment manned and equipped at full wartime streng. Several entire motorized rifle divisions, a number of combat support units, and all e divisions and brigades of e Airborne Troops were to be brought to eir full streng as well. Some of e reduced and skeleton-streng units and
14 14 Aleksey Gayday formations were disbanded, and eir personnel used to bring e permanent combat readiness units to eir full streng. Oer skeleton-streng units became e core of e new Arms and Equipment Storage Depots (BKhVT); eir personnel numbers were reduced even furer. The MoD also set up several Central Reserve Depots (CRD), each specializing in a particular types of arms and equipment, such as tanks, artillery, engineering and communications equipment, NBC, etc. 12 But all ose reforms failed to resolve e most intractable problems of e Russian Armed Forces. The mobilization system still remained largely unchanged. The command chain (General Staff-Military District-Army-Division or Brigade) was also left as it had been for decades. Army corps commands were disbanded in 1998 (except for e 67 Army Corps of e Nor Caucasus Military District, which survived until 2001, and e 68 Army Corps of e Far East Military District on Sakhalin, which was disbanded on December 1, 2006). And alough e Russian Armed Forces now had fully manned and equipped formations, e bulk of e units were still being kept at reduced or skeleton-streng levels; some were stripped down of personnel to become BKhVTs. The Russian army still operated a large number of depots storing various hardware and supplies, and requiring a lot of personnel to maintain em. The transition to e new personnel and equipment tables had been completed by As a result, e Russian Army now consisted of e following types of units and formations: Permanent combat readiness units, manned to per cent of eir wartime streng; Reduced-streng units (Types A and B) manned to 70 per cent of eir wartime streng; Arms and Equipment Storage Depots, manned to 5-10 per cent of eir wartime streng; Skeleton streng formations, manned to 5-10 per cent of eir wartime streng. After several rounds of cuts and reorganizations, e size and structure of e Russian Army had stabilized in and remained relatively unchanged for almost a decade, until e beginning of e latest round of reforms in Plans for a transition from a conscription-based army to a fully professional force also remained hanging in e air. Public opinion was strongly in favor of abolishing conscription, especially after e heavy losses among e conscripts during e First Chechen Campaign. But all e country s economy could afford was a slight increase in e numbers of professional soldiers serving under contract.
15 Reform of e Russian Army 15 The first real test of e reforms implemented under ministers Rodionov and en Sergeev came during e second war in Chechnya, which broke out after militants invaded Dagestan on August 7, The federal forces first crushed e armed rebels in Dagestan, and en on September 30, 1999 entered Chechnya itself. Over e period from August 7 to September 30 e MoD had assembled a strong force on e territory of Dagestan, Stavropol Territory and Nor Ossetia. In terms of its numbers and composition it was stronger an e attacking Russian force assembled in The core of it was made of permanent combat readiness formations, as well as units of e Airborne Troops. But Defense Minister I. Sergeev and e chief of e General Staff, Army General A. Kvashnin, had decided at e new permanent-readiness brigades and divisions should send only one battalion-size tactical group each to e force assembled for e new operation in Chechnya. Those tactical groups were made of motorized rifle battalions reinforced by tanks, artillery and engineers. The only exception was e 74 Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade of e Siberian Military District, which brought all of its streng (3,500 troops) to e Second Chechen Campaign. 13 The idea behind sending only one battalionstreng tactical group from each of e permanent-readiness formations was at e remaining streng of ose formations would stay at eir permanent bases and be used to replenish e combat losses of e units fighting in Chechnya. Just as during e First Chechen Campaign, e government had decided against announcing mobilization. The prime minister s office, e MoD and e General Staff believed at is time around, e troops and equipment already available to em should suffice. The en prime minister, Vladimir Putin, said in an interview at e force sent to fight in Chechnya had to be assembled from all across e Russian Armed Forces. That claim is not entirely accurate. In 1998 e streng of e Russian Armed Forces was million servicemen, including 360,000 people in e Army. Out of ose 360,000, about 100,000 were serving wi e permanent-readiness units. Anoer 35,000 were serving wi e Airborne Troops. 14 Only about 35,000 servicemen, including soldiers of e Airborne Troops, were involved in e first stage of e operation at began in 1999, so e situation was not quite as desperate. As e operation unfolded, e number of personnel involved in it was brought up to 90,000 people (as of May 1, 2003). The losses sustained by e units fighting in Chechnya were replenished from eir home bases. But e system did not work very well, so some of e reinforcements had to be drawn from reduced-streng formations, BKhVTs, CSDs and skeleton-streng units. Starting from late 1999 e MoD began to replace e conscripts in e units fighting in Chechnya wi professional soldiers. The Russian leadership simply did not have any oer choice. No-one wanted a repeat of e events
16 16 Aleksey Gayday of According to official MoD statistics as of June 1, 2003, some 45 per cent of e combined force fighting in Chechnya was made up of professional soldiers serving under contract. The results of e Second Chechen Campaign suggested at e Russian Armed Forces had benefitted from e reforms at had been implemented since e first campaign. But a new difficulty arose. The system of keeping e units fighting in Chechnya at eir full streng by drawing reinforcements from oer units had turned out to be problematic. It had led to e weakening of e units at supplied e replenishments. To illustrate, e soldiers sent to keep e 140 Guard Tank Regiment fighting in Chechnya at its full streng had originated not only from e 5 Guard Tank Division, to which e regiment belonged, but also from e 131 st Motorized Rifle Division stationed nearby, and from oer formations of e Siberian Military District s 36 Army. The situation was e same across all e oer units involved in e counter-terrorism operation. According to official MoD statistics, one Army officer in every ree had taken part in e combat operations in Chechnya between 1998 and 2003, when e active phase of e campaign ended. There was erefore a clear need to create a standing reserve component in e Russian Armed Forces, an equivalent of e National Guard and of e Reserve in e U.S. armed forces. The partial transition from conscription to professional service in some units also revealed anoer problem. More an 85 per cent of e servicemen who had signed e contract needed to be retrained for a new military specialty before ey could join eir new units, because prior to signing up ey had different military specialties in eir home units. Indeed, some had even served wi a different type of troops or a different armed service. For example, on August 11, 2000 some 153 servicemen signed a contract to serve wi e 245 Motorized Rifle Regiment of e 3 rd Motorized Rifle Division. Only 13 had previously served in e Army; e rest had been wi e Navy, e Air Force or even e Strategic Missile Troops. No wonder en at all of e remaining 140 soldiers who had signed e contract needed to be retrained. Russian Army under Sergey Ivanov Sergey Ivanov was appointed defense minister on March 28, He became Russia s first civilian defense minister in a very long time. In 2003, immediately upon completion of e active phase of e operation in Chechnya, e MoD and e General Staff proposed a new plan for e reform of e Russian Armed Forces. The plan aimed to address e problems revealed during e campaign in Chechnya. The essence of e reform echoed e proposals made back in 1993 under Gen. Grachev. The idea was to replace all e remaining conscripts in e permanent-readiness units wi professional soldiers. The rest of e units,
17 Reform of e Russian Army 17 as well as e arms storage depots, central reserve depots and oer military facilities, would still be manned mostly by conscripts. But e mobilization system remained unchanged. Neier did e plan answer e question of what to do wi e numerous depots or e obsolete weaponry moballed at e BKhVTs and CRDs. For example, e BKhVT at Abakan, which was supposed to field a motor rifle division in e event of war, stored obsolete anti-aircraft artillery (57 mm S-60 towed AA guns) raer an SAM systems, because under e existing wartime plans at motorized rifle division was still supposed to have an AA artillery regiment. 15 In 2003 e Russian government gave e go-ahead for e implementation of e federal program called Transition of permanent-readiness units to professional service. 16 The experiment involved an airborne regiment of e 76 Guard Airborne Division based in Pskov. It continued until 2005, and revealed a large number of problems at made service under contract in e regiment a raer unattractive proposal. Despite e mixed results e experiment had produced, it was deemed a success, and in 2005 e MoD began e transition of oer units and formations to fully professional service. In 2005 e chief of e General Staff, Army General Y. Baluyevskiy, initiated a new plan to restructure e military command system. The general s idea was to make e system simpler, and also to create command structures at would give orders to units and formations of all e types of troops and armed services. Essentially he proposed e creation of ree regional commands. The Western Command was to subsume e Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, e Baltic and Norern Fleets, and e Special Air Force and Air Defense Command (i.e. e former Moscow Air Force and Air Defense District). The Souern Command was to subsume e Nor Caucasus Military District, a small part of e Volga-Urals Military District, and e Caspian Military Flotilla. The Eastern Regional Command was to be e biggest one, after taking over e Far Eastern, Siberian and e larger part of e Volga-Urals Military Districts, plus e Pacific Fleet. The regional commands were also to be put in charge of e centrally-commanded formations, such as artillery and engineers, air force and air defense units, communications and oer types of troops, including Airborne Troops, stationed on eir respective territories. The individual central commands for e armed services were to be abolished. But all e available financing was being ploughed into replacing conscripts wi professional soldiers when e proposals were made; e respective federal program was already falling behind schedule. It was erefore decided to postpone e creation of e regional commands. In e program to phase out conscription came to e brink of collapse. Suffice to say at many units had lost almost all of eir previously hired professional soldiers over a 12-mon period. For example, e 382 nd