Russian Military Officers Quitting In Protest of Reforms

Anatoly Serdyukov. Source: lenta.ruDiscontent is growing among the highest orders of Russia’s Ministry of Defense. As the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper wrote on March 24th, military officers are dissatisfied with the performance of Anatoly Serdyukov, the current Defense Minister.

An unnamed source told the paper that the generals and officers are protesting, in part, against military reforms, the privatization of military assets, as well as the reorganization and budget cuts for the administration’s headquarters. Many of the military leaders are planning to tender their resignation, and others have already turned in their documents.

The most notable of the discontented officers is Yury Baluevsky, the chief of the General Staff, whose resignation has been confirmed by army sources. The publication writes that he is protesting the politics of the reforms instituted by Serdyukov.

According to the paper’s source, the dissent is also widespread among the top officials of the General Staff and the Ministry, including General Vasily Smirnov, who leads the General Staff directorate responsible for manning the armed forces. Smirnov would neither confirm nor deny his resignation.

Serdyukov, who hails from a civilian background, has been at odds with military brass for some time. For now, military sources have refused to comment or confirm the information brought forth by Nezavisimaya Gazeta. A series of unofficial comments, however, indicate that Russia’s leadership is now doing everything it can to quash the escalating conflict between the generals and their minister.