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Meeting with Defence Ministry senior officials

September 21, 2012, Sochi

Vladimir Putin had a meeting with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov. The meeting addressed the results of the Kavkaz 2012 military exercises, as well as the provision of housing to servicemen.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

We intended to review the results of the military exercises, so please, go ahead.

Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov: Mr President, we are completing the main phase of the Kavkaz 2012 strategic military exercises. The primary objectives were to check the cohesion of the Southern Military District’s strategic and tactical command and, accordingly, test automated control systems that are currently being implemented in the military.

We worked at four firing ranges in the Southern Military District and two water zones in the Black and Caspian Seas. We also tested the new high-precision weaponry now installed on our vessels and, concordantly, our mobile armament and military equipment systems.

Overall, I think we achieved the goals set as the main purpose of the exercises. We will analyse the outcomes on September 24. We want to award some officers, sergeants and soldiers. Some awards will be on behalf of the Defence Minister, others will be the Russian President’s awards.

Vladimir Putin: In other words, some awards fall within your competence while others are subject to respective presidential executive orders. I shall be pleased to sign them.

Indeed, this massive undertaking has been held at a very high organisational level and produced good results. The troops showed cohesiveness and efficacy in their operation. Overall, the training is not in vain, and everything done to advance modernisation, supply many new weapons and apply new tactics taking into account the new developments by the General Staff Academy and the General Staff itself is of great use.

How does the General Staff assess these efforts?

Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation’S Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, I should add that a particular feature of the exercises was that the military district’s senior officers and strategic command were resolving two very serious challenges: planning troop management to settle domestic conflicts while simultaneously resolving the problem of responding to an external attack. In other words, these were two important strategic challenges which were essentially very difficult in and of themselves. I must say that the district successfully overcame this challenge, confidently managing troops and forces.

The exercises were widespread taking place in all the water zones of the Black and Caspian Seas, and at numerous training grounds for terrestrial troops, where exercises were held for combat shooting as well as bilateral exercises. And the strategic, command operations and especially tactical commanders gained good experience. The brigade, battalion, and squadron commanders really showed an increased skill level and cohesion in all subdivisions. I believe they deserve a positive assessment.

At the same time, we encountered certain problems. I think that we will resolve them within a year, and we will approach the next exercises with reduced problems and difficulties.

”The Kavkaz 2012 military exercises has been held at a very high organisational level and produced good results. The troops showed cohesiveness and efficacy in their operation.“

Vladimir Putin: The exercises are held for the very purpose of not just taking stock of what has been done in terms of training, but also to reveal any weak spots or shortcomings, to come to conclusions and move forward, eliminating these problems and moving on.

Please go ahead and make your suggestions regarding awards.

The second issue is a purely social one. Training is right, good and necessary, and it is great that we have held these exercises. But one of the most pressing questions is the social issue pertaining to housing.

We have already been working actively on this matter for some time, and we are allotting unprecedentedly significant funding for this purpose. We should be reaching the conclusion of this programme. How does it stand right now?

Anatoly Serdyukov: Mr President, at the beginning of the year, we had a list of 54,000 service members entitled to receive permanent housing. Over the course of the year, we believe that eight to ten thousand more officers will gain this right.

Vladimir Putin: This year?

Anatoly Serdyukov: Yes, this year. Currently, we have already provided housing for 33,000 servicemen and are now commissioning and granting 1,500 to 1,600 apartments weekly. We have 21,000 more to do by the end of this year. According to the plans and contracts we have signed, we will be able to process almost all of those twenty-something thousand by the end of the year.

We still have a small number of officers who have expressed a desire to live in Moscow. We had already signed corresponding contracts on building housing in Moscow as well, but by the end of the year only some of the apartment buildings will be commissioned, while others will likely be commissioned during the first quarter of 2013. In any case, we must essentially take care of the entire existing waiting-list, as well as those that will be added over the course of this year, by the end of the first half of 2013, and successfully meet the goal of providing housing to the military in accordance with the objective you set out for us. Around 2022–2023, we will be able to draw this programme entirely to a close in its current form.

Vladimir Putin: I would like to draw your attention to two things. The first is the budgetary resources to resolve this problem, ensuring that there is enough money in this year’s budget, and especially in the 2013 budget – that sufficient funding is allocated to solve this problem.

And second, as you know, is administrative support and the creation of necessary conditions to ensure processing and registering housing for the military in a timely manner with the fewest possible delays caused by excessive bureaucracy. I already asked you to open additional stations for processing the documents required. What has been done in this regard?

Anatoly Serdyukov: We opened 37 additional registration stations. We have significantly reduced the list of documents that servicemen must present and have taken a large part of efforts on ourselves. This has greatly accelerated the process itself. As I already said, we are now working at a good rate of providing 1,650 apartments per week. If we maintain the pace through the end of the year then I think we should resolve this problem by the end of the year.

Vladimir Putin: Very well.


September 21, 2012, Sochi