Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 151

A local paper reported last week that the merger of the Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) and the Military Space Troops had been put on hold. These two organizations — as well as the missile and space defense assets of the Air Defense Troops — were to have been combined by the end of this year. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, the former commander of the SRF, had pushed strongly for the merger and last month appeared to have won the day, despite objections from Defense Council secretary Yury Baturin. The latest report references unnamed sources in the Security Council, where Baturin might have found some belated support. Baturin was credited with objecting to the reorganization on the pragmatic grounds that the U.S. Congress might think twice about contributing any more money to support Russia’s space program if Washington suspected that some of the funds might be funneled off to subsidize the modernization of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. (Delovoi vtornik, August 12; Ekho Moskvy radio, August 17)

Another envisioned merger is that of the Air Force and the Air Defense Troops. On August 15 the chief of the Air Force, Gen. Petr Deinekin, indicated that nearly half of all personnel in the two services would be demobilized in forming a single, combined force. He said that the two organizations together have a current strength of about 340,000, with 160,000 to be let go by the time the merger is complete at the end of next year. He warned that there would be "social upheavals" if the government failed to adequately compensate those released to civilian life. (Rossiiskie vesti & Reuter, August 15)

Political Conflict Deepens Over Kremlin’s Defense Policies.