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Kosachyov Sees START Ratification This Month

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Kosachyov Sees START Ratification This Month
11 January 2011

The Associated Press

Russian lawmakers will likely ratify the New START arms treaty with the United States by the end of the month, State Duma Deputy Konstantin Kosachyov said.

The Duma gave preliminary approval to the treaty before the New Year's holidays but decided to delay a final vote to give the Russian side time to study the resolution passed by the U.S. Senate when it ratified the pact last month.

Kosachyov, who heads the Duma's International Affairs Committee, said Friday that Russia was now ready to ratify New START and has written its own amendments to the ratification document "to balance the work that has been done by the Senate."

He said the Duma's legislation would state how Russia's interpretation of the treaty differed from that of the Senate, but he stressed that the text of the treaty itself would remain unchanged.

"We don't accept certain interpretations from the American side, they will definitely not accept certain interpretations from the Russian side and then we will have to live with the existing treaty," Kosachyov said in an interview.

The U.S. legislation accompanying the treaty addressed Republican concerns that it would restrict U.S. plans to develop a missile defense system. Republicans also had sought increased funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Kosachyov said the Duma would take two additional steps in ratifying the treaty: approve one statement addressed to "our American colleagues and partners" and another addressed to the leadership of Russia about the current state of the Russian nuclear arsenal and plans for its future development. He gave no specifics.

The Duma will likely consider the ratification bill in a second reading on Jan. 14, he said, while the third and final reading would likely wait until after the Federation Council returns Jan. 26. Both houses need to ratify the treaty. Both are under Kremlin control.

"We need to have more success stories in our bilateral relations and this is why I am very much in favor of ratifying the New START treaty as soon as possible," Kosachyov said.

New START would limit each country to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would re-establish a system for monitoring and verification that ended in late 2009 with the expiration of the previous arms control agreement.

The treaty, which Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April, is a centerpiece of Obama's efforts to "reset" ties with Russia.

PM Putin to visit Korolyov space centre
Jan 11, 2011 01:46 Moscow Time

On Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Korolyov’s space centre on the outskirts of Moscow to envisage the preparations for the celebration of 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight.

The festive evens are due to take place in  April 2011. The events will include exhibitions dedicated to the life and work of the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Priime Minister Putin to visit Mission Control Centre near Moscow

11.01.2011, 02.15

MOSCOW, January 11 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will on Tuesday visit the Mission Control Centre in Korolyov near Moscow to hold a meeting of a committee that will organize the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into outer space. The meeting will also discuss the implementation of a plan of main events devoted to the jubilee date, the government press service reports.

Vladimir Putin will also see the work of the Mission Control Centre.

The organizing committee was set up on July 31, 2008, following a decree of the Russian president on celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into outer space. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the committee’s head.

The organizing committee has approved a plan of preparations for the celebrations, including the construction of new museum facilities and cultural institutions and the reconstruction and renovation of the old ones in the town of Gagarin and other places that are directly linked to man’s first flight to outer space. Other measures include the organisation of festivals, exhibitions and expositions, including at the All-Russian Exhibition Centre and at aerospace shows in 2010-2011, as well as the holding of jubilee conferences, Olympiads and contests.

The Russian government is planning to institute a state award (medal) and a prize to commend contribution to developing Russian space science and provide material assistance for the veterans of the space industry and those who took part in launching the world’s first cosmonaut into outer space.

Russia to scrap outdated weapons
RT News line, January 11

Within the next 10 years the Russian military will discard 8 million artillery shells and over 500,000 missiles of different types, as well as 50,000 old tanks and armored vehicles, all as part of a federal program adopted earlier.

The program will involve the development of new arms and ammunition disposal technologies and construction of special facilities.

Still, about 40 percent of outdated weapons and vehicles will be adopted for long-term storage in Defense Ministry depots.

Nezavisimaya: Ministry of personnel maneuvers

Published: 11 January, 2011, 04:22

The Kremlin continues to reform the Armed Forces’ leadership structure

By Vladimir Mukhin

The Kremlin continues to reform the Armed Forces’ leadership structure. This fact was demonstrated by a wave of presidential decrees made before and after the New Year. The latest decree on military and naval personnel changes was announced last Saturday. New personnel in the structural subdivisions of the majority of formed brigades and armies, as well as four new military districts, have been appointed. However, the expected assignments for several vacant positions within the central and main directorates and the apparatus of the Defense Ministry have yet to be made.

Defense Ministry sources tell Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG) it is unlikely that these assignments will take place earlier than April 1, 2011 – that is, by the time when, in accordance with the Five-Year Military Construction Plan, the Defense Ministry is due to complete restructuring events.      

These events are associated with the final separation of functions between the Defense Ministry and the General Staff and further reduction of officer positions within the central apparatus of the Defense Ministry.  

Under a December 27, 2010 presidential decree, the defense minister is allowed to have 10 deputies. Note that the previous defense minister, Sergey Ivanov, had only five deputies. They were all professional soldiers. At that time, reduction of the number of deputies within the ministries and other state agencies was regarded as one of the ways of fighting against bureaucracy. Now it seems that a new post-Soviet record has been set for the number of officials, vested with significant powers, who are members of the defense minister’s entourage.       

For now, however, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has only eight deputies. Only two of them hold active military ranks. The rest are either retired generals or politicians (members of the ruling party), as well as former employees of the Federal Tax Service (FTS), which was previously headed by Serdyukov.   

It is still not entirely clear as to what specific functions are performed by the deputies of the minister from the so-called fiscal-civilian sector. For example, Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Chushkin, according to the ministry’s official report, “is responsible for the formation and realization of a single military-technical policy in the sphere of information and telecommunication technologies, aimed at improving the efficiency of the management system.” Note that in accordance with guidance documents, the responsibility for this area of work falls on the Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy Defense Minister, the General of the Army Nikolay Makarov. He has been appointed head of the Armed Forces Communications Directorate, which is responsible for the efficiency of management in the army.     

Judging from various facts, problems associated with the quartering and resettlement of troops, as well as the provision of housing to the officers, are currently being handled by two deputy ministers at the same time: Tatiana Shevtsova (a former FTS employee) and Grigory Naginsky, a former United Russia activist and senator. Previously, only one person was responsible for this area of work: the head of the quartering of troops, who did not have the status of a deputy defense minister.  

The position of deputy defense minister for financial and economic matters, which until November 2010 was held by Vera Chistova, remains vacant. After the president’s New Year’s decree, another deputy position opened within the Defense Ministry, but who is meant to take it and what functions it includes has not been specified.  

NG’s sources in the Defense Ministry say that the given position has been opened to be subsequently filled by a person who will oversee “the human factor” and internal problems within the Defense Ministry. The source noted that the Main Department for Disciplinary Work has been reorganized as the Chief Directorate for Work with Staff. And though the given structure has been reduced, it has been assigned “wider-ranging functions.”

In the Kremlin, it is considered that these functions should be well-controlled. It is possible that soon, under the presidential decree, a person will be appointed within Anatoly Serdyukov’s entourage, who will manage the entire “military constituency” of the country. State Duma sources say that the documents, which had been drafted for Serdyukov’s December 2010 parliamentary address, included the following thesis: “Disciplinary education is the key aim of the reorganized structures’ work with staff. Moreover, they are responsible for moral and psychological support, public outreach, organizational and technical support of elections, social research… Thus, the notion of ‘work with staff’ is certainly broader than ‘disciplinary work.’”  

“This thesis does not simply state the fact that the Main Department for Disciplinary Work, which is responsible for the staff, is playing a certain new role,” said Colonel Eduard Rodyukov, a corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences. “This seems to be a way to prepare the public for the fact that, in the future, the Defense Ministry will be ready to perform certain political functions and control the level of the moral and psychological state of the troops.”    

“The transformations involving officials from the government and tax agencies within Anatoly Serdyukov’s circle are nothing more than a facade,” said First Rank Captain Konstantin Sivkov, who was once in charge of military construction and military and technical policies within the Center for Strategic Research of the General Staff. “The minister must do two things: prevent politicization of the army and reduce its maintenance costs. In reality, there is a third component: inclusion of the commercial structures in the country’s defense system and provision of an opportunity to work on defense issues with the help of the business sector.”   

According to the expert, the American model does not work in Russia: “Russia is one of the most corrupt states in the world. Hence the country is standing at a dangerous threshold, associated with the loss of not only fighting efficiency, but also of the troops’ efficiency. The attempt to broaden the functions of the structures that work with staff means creating another governmental structure which, just as during the Communist Party’s rule, exercises political control over the situation in the army and the fleet.”

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