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Sergey Ivanov

In a major shake-up at the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin named a new chief of staff after his powerful, long-term ally, Sergei Ivanov, was dismissed unexpectedly 12 August 2016. The staff change is the biggest made inside the Kremlin in several years. The move came as Russia continues to deal with an economic crisis and about a month before nationwide parliamentary elections. It also follows a reshuffle of regional leaders in July. In the past year, the chief of the Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin; antinarcotics tsar Viktor Ivanov; and security service chief Yevgeny Murov have all lost their jobs.

The reason of Ivanov's dismissal are unclear, but state media reported Putin as framing the decision as mutual during a meeting with Ivanov and his replacement, Anton Vaino. "I remember well our agreement that you had asked me not to keep you as chief of the presidential administration for more than four years," Putin said. "That is why I understand your desire to choose another line of work." Ivanov continued to work as a special envoy for transportation and environment - a stark demotion for a man considered one of the most influential people in Russia. Ivanov, who served with Putin in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency, was Russia's defense minister for six years before being appointed Kremlin chief of staff in 2011 - months before Putin's 2012 re-election.

Sergei Ivanov is a close friend and confidante of Putin, a former KGB officer who has served under Putin as a defense minister and deputy prime minister. According to the 1993 Russian Constitution a President can only serve two consecutive terms, though a president can serve more than two terms. In the fall of 2007 Putin made it clear that he would not attempt to amend the Constitution and seek a third consecutive term as as President of Russia. In 2008, Ivanov was considered a likely successor to Putin, Along with Medvedev, Putin could have supported either First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov or Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov for the position. Putin picked Dmitry Medvedev to run for president.

Ivanov shared a KGB background with Putin. Ivanov's November 2005 appointment as Deputy Prime Minister made him second in line to the presidency, after Dmitry Medvedev. His February 2007 promotion, giving him a position equal to that of Medvedev while removing him from the much criticized and tarnished Defense Ministry, was seen as increasing the chance that Ivanov would become Putin's successor.

Sergey Ivanov left behind a mixed legacy as Defense Minister. Ivanov ultimately had not made a significant impact on how things functioned within the Ministry, despite his reform efforts. He could claim credit for increased defense funding and launching a multi-year modernization program for the armed forces. He also sparked some reform initiatives, like the Ministry's revised procurement procedures.

Inside the Ministry, he was perceived as a corporate CEO providing strategic direction and allowing the General Staff to manage operational issues. Ivanov showed his forceful side by overseeing the consolidation of several aircraft producers into the United Aircraft Corporation. The Ministry's intractable problems did nothing to advance Ivanov's presidential ambitions and, in fact, his poor handling of the Private Sychov hazing incident was a PR disaster for him.

Ivanov was born on January 31, 1953 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad). His father died early and his mother, an optical engineer, brought him on her own. Ivanov attended a specialized school with enhanced English education. While in senior school, he made the decision to become a diplomat. He graduated in 1970 and entered the translators’ faculty of Leningrad State University. While studying there he was an active member of the Komsomol (The Communist Union of Youth, the youth wing of the Communist Party). In his fourth year, he undertook an internship at the Thames Valley University in London.

After graduating from the university Ivanov was invited to work for the Russian Intelligence Service. He was first introduced to the Russian KGB system in 1976, when he worked in the counter-intelligence office, before moving to foreign intelligence. In 1976-1977 he worked in the First Directorate of the KGB in Leningrad and the Leningrad Region, together with Vladimir Putin, the current Russian Prime Minister. Later that same year he underwent KGB training in Minsk and in 1982 he graduated from the Moscow School number 101 of the KGB (now the Russian Federation Intelligence Service Academy).

Starting in 1981 he worked for the main KGB Directorate, taking prolonged work trips abroad. Some sources state that from 1981-1983 he worked as a secretary in the Russian embassy in London and was expelled on espionage charges, but the British government denies this. Beginning in 1985 he worked as an intelligence officer, first in Helsinki, then in Kenya.

Ivanov does not like to speak about his 18 years in the intelligence service, preferring only to say that he has worked in England and Africa.

In 1991 Ivanov began working in the External Intelligence Service, which was created on the base of the former Soviet KGB Directorate. His last post there, in 1998, was as Deputy Director of the European Department. In August 1998 Ivanov was appointed Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service (which at the time was headed by Vladimir Putin) and Director of the Department of Analysis, Prognosis and Strategic Planning, which in fact put him in charge of the information supply to the Kremlin.

In the spring of 1999 Ivanov entered the Interdepartmental Commission on Russia’s participation in the G8 and in autumn that same year the president appointed him Secretary of the Russian Security Council. In May the following year, the new president, Vladimir Putin, reinstated him to the post. In autumn 2000, Sergey Ivanov led the development of the “Information Security Doctrine” which suggested the restoration of elements of state censorship.

President Vladimir Putin named Sergei Ivanov as Russia's first civilian defense minister in March 2001. He is not to be confused with one-time Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. As with President Vladimir Putin, Sergei Borisovich Ivanov from St. Petersburg and served in the KGB. He first met met Vladimir Putin, who was serving in the same subsection Sergei Ivanov was in, in the late 1970s. Ivanov held postings as an intelligence officer in Scandinavia and Africa. In mid 1990's he became one of the youngest generals in the organization rising to the rank of Lieutenant-General before he "retired". In August 1998 he became Deputy Director of Russia's Federal Security Service and Chief of the organization's Department of Analysis, Forecasts and Strategic Planning. On 15 November 1999 he became Secretary of Russia's Security Council, at the suggestion of Vladimir Putin.

March 9, 2004 President Vladimir Putin signed the decree "On the System and Structure of Federal Executive Bodies". The document highlighted the main principles of the administrative reform and defined the structure and functions of federal executive bodies (ministries, federal services and federal agencies). At the same time, President Putin signed decrees appointing members of the Government of the Russian Federation. He said this resulted in "... a new, more compact Government with one deputy prime minister and almost half the number of ministers. There used to be 30 ministers, including the Prime Minister, and now there are 17. ... the essential aim is not a mechanical amalgamation of departments, but in avoiding double-ups, to logically combine previously disconnected and isolated functions, to make new ministries more effective and influential, and give them more boost and independence."

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov succeeded in the consolidation of numerous functions under the direction of the Defense Ministry, including the Railroad Troops, the Special Construction Troops, Military-Technical Cooperation Service, Defense Order Service, Technical and Export Controls Service, as well as portions of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy. As a result, the ministry grew by 100,000 people, and no reduction of either the ministry or the number of central military administrations was initially planned. According to Mr. Ivanov, "their numbers are within reasonable limits of about 1000 employees per 1.1 million military personnel".

At that time there were said to be plans to reduce the existing seven deputy ministers and two first deputy ministers to one deputy and one first deputy minister. The remaining six deputy ministers (commander-in-chief of the land forces, Army General Nikolai Kormiltsev; rear services commander, Army General Vladimir Isakov; commander of armaments, Colonel-General Aleksei Moskovsky; head of the Main Personnel Administration, Colonel-General Nikolai Pankov; commander of troop organization and quartering, Colonel-General Anatoly Grebenyuk; and head of the Main Financial and Economic Administration, Lyubov Kudelina) would no longer combined their duties with the job of deputy minister. [By 2008 there were two First Deputy Ministers of Defence, three Deputy Ministers of Defence, and three Chiefs of Services].

Ivanov was unable to resolve the personnel issues in Russia's entrenched, bloated military relying on a conscript force during a demographic downturn. Establishing a professional volunteer military was a worthy goal but service conditions were still so poor that many first-term soldiers and junior officers failed to renew their contracts.

About 12,000 junior officers left the service every year at the end of their first terms. Ivanov left with the military still unable to compete for Russia's best and brightest human talent, particularly as more lucrative opportunities became available for young people. Neither the military (nor Russia in general) had yet come to terms with the demographic crisis; the declining pool of manpower clashed with Ivanov's goal of maintaining the armed forces at 1.1 million personnel. The inability of the military to develop a professional non-commissioned officer corps would constrain its effort to field a qualified force capable of successfully using its new, modern equipment.

Ivanov's success in implementing a modernization program was also questioned by experts. Independent defense analyst Pavel Felgengauer took issue with Ivanov's assertion concerning the nation's missile force. He was not confident that Russia's defense industry would be able to produce the number of ICBMs envisioned in the program by 2015 or that problems associated with the Bulava missile would be resolved soon. Even if Ivanov's production goals were met, Felgengauer pointed out that Russia planned to destroy several hundred ballistic missiles under its international treaty obligations. This would still leave Russia with a missile force capable of deterring any foreseeable threat, but he thought that the ministry's missile modernization plans were overly ambitious and could undermine efforts to overhaul the military's conventional armaments.

Within the Ministry, Ivanov reportedly worked out a relatively efficient delineation of responsibilities between military and civilian officials. From the outset of his tenure Ivanov surrounded himself with a close circle of civilian advisors (many of whom were associates from his days in intelligence), who focused on broad political and managerial concerns affecting the ministry and national security. The General Staff and other military officers were given a relatively free hand to concentrate on traditional military and operational issues. The division of labor generally worked well, particularly after Yuriy Baluyevskiy was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 2004. Some observers attributed Ivanov's relative success to Baluyevskiy's pliancy but were skeptical that reform would survive Ivanov's departure.

Tensions occasionally did arise between the military and civilian staffs. Many senior military officers did not respect Ivanov and/or resented strong civilian control within the Ministry. Ivanov tended to promote officers lacking in charisma or ambition in order to minimize their ability to challenge his authority. At the same time, Ivanov's lack of military expertise compelled him to defer to the brass more and constrained his ability to respond to issues more pragmatically. Ivanov's clumsy, insensitive response to the hazing of Private Sychov in 2006 was an example. Ivanov sided with the military on several subsequent hazing incidents as well.

Ivanov's management style is best described as that of a corporate CEO providing strategic direction, although many initiatives came from his civilian advisors, and he sometimes failed to follow through on his own ideas. As Defense Minister, Ivanov seemed to rely on advice from the Ministry's Main Behavioral Directorate, which was charged with personnel reform, though Sumbayev said it was difficult to pinpoint precisely who constituted Ivanov's inner circle.

Two programs that emerged from his civilian advisors were designed ostensibly to foster public understanding of the military -- the establishment of parents committees and a public chamber within the Ministry. Both initiatives were widely perceived as simply public relations ploys aimed at containing the damage caused by Ivanov's public gaffes, notably on hazing. The consensus among experts was that Ivanov's actions were best understood when viewed through the prism of his presidential ambitions.

Ivanov was charged by Putin in 2006 to oversee civil aviation, and he is credited with overseeing creation of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The UAC, a GOR consolidation of many of Russia's aircraft manufacturers, would probably not have occurred without a forced, top-down restructuring under Ivanov's direction. In contrast to his collegial style at the Ministry of Defense, Ivanov proved a more forceful manager in civil aviation. Embassy contacts have told us that they were worried that Ivanov would soon reorganize their agencies and fire current managers. The heads of the Federal Authority for Transportation Oversight and the Ministry of Transport's Department of State Policy for Civil Aviation, in fact, were dismissed in 2007.

Ivanov, as First Deputy Prime Minister, stayed connected to the defense establishment via chairmanship of the Military Industrial Commission (MIC), created by Putin in 2006. At that time, the move to appoint Ivanov as MIC chairman was seen as a modest boost to his standing as potential successor to Putin. Although most defense analysts at the time criticized the MIC as a futile attempt to streamline the bureaucratic defense procurement process, it was a step in the right direction and had little risk for Ivanov. Ivanov's MIC garnered mostly positive press coverage. Favorable media reporting of plans to spend 5 trillion rubles (about $192 billion) on the Ministry of Defense's ambitious modernization program burnished Ivanov's image, making him look presidential, without having to produce many tangible results.

After being appointed Deputy Prime Minister in November 2005, Russia's defense minister became not only the official responsible for the state's defense capabilities, but a significant political figure. Evidence of that can be found in Sergei Ivanov's appointments. In his six years with the military, Russia's first civilian defense minister became the deputy prime minister in charge of the defense industry, the chairman of the government's Military-Industrial Commission, and the head of the Unified Aviation Corporation. Ivanov was appointed as the official responsible for civil aviation flight safety, and for GLONASS development.

Ivanov was promoted to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister in February 2007. At that time, Sergei Ivanov was removed as Minister of Defense, and considered a strong candidate for the presidential elections in 2008, along with fellow First Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev. "The prime minister has repeatedly raised the necessity of changing the government's structure. One of the main problems is giving the Russian economy more innovative features," Putin said. He said he hopes "the civil sector will help expand the positive experience in the military industrial sector."

While it can be argued that long-overdue modernization was mostly a function of Russia's economic revival, Ivanov nonetheless got the ball rolling. Ivanov likewise did a credible job overseeing a ministry justly famed for its intractable structural and personnel problems. The public, however, will remember his tenure most for his poor handling of the Private Sychov hazing scandal.

Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov appeared before the State Duma on 07 February 2007. Ivanov used the occasion to summarize his accomplishments at the Ministry's helm. In a nod to legislators for their approval of significant increases in the budget since 2001, he outlined the defense establishment's plans to step up procurement of both conventional and nuclear weapons systems as part of the modernization program he instituted in 2003. He claimed that almost half of the military's equipment inventory would be replaced by 2015. Ivanov emphasized procurement of ballistic missiles, noting that the Ministry would obtain 17 new ICBMs in 2007 and press ahead with procurement of the sea-launched Bulava missile system (despite repeated test failures). Upgrading armaments for ground combat units was another priority touted by Ivanov, including re-equipping 40 tank, 97 mechanized infantry, and 50 airborne battalions.

Ivanov highlighted efforts to increase salaries and to improve housing conditions for servicemen and their families. He updated the legislature on professional contract soldiers, claiming that some combat units had already achieved 100% of their recruiting goals. Although the Russian military would never be completely comprised of volunteers, increasing the number of professional soldiers equipped with modern arms, was necessary to fight "wars of the future," as well as to maintain the ability to project power and launch pre-emptive strikes, if required. Ivanov also told legislators that the Ministry had revamped its procurement process, which would be in place by 2008.

While Ivanov claimed credit for initiating programs to modernize Russia's armed forces, his success was a function of Russia's flush coffers, and not of his bureaucratic or political savvy. The modernization program demonstrated Russia's intention to complement its political and economic resurgence with enhanced military power. In spite of increased funding, however, modernization would probably not be sufficient for the military to meet all its goals even under the most favorable conditions.

Ivanov failed in his efforts to reform the MOD when Minister, and had demonstrated little appetite for the nuts and bolts of the job. Ivanov relinquished his position and was promoted to First Deputy Prime Minister, putting him on par with his rival for the presidency, Dmitriy Medvedev.

Medvedev demonstrated "tough, experienced, but restrained" qualities during the "real presidential campaign," the two-year trial period that preceded Putin's public endorsement of Medvedev. Unlike presidential candidate Sergey Ivanov, Medvedev refused to conduct himself like a president-in-waiting, and had remained immersed in the details of the National Priority Projects for which he was responsible.

Sergey Borisovich Ivanov is a Russian politician and First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. He is a reserve colonel general and a member of the Russian Security Council. In September 2000 Ivanov was elected to chair the Committee of Security Council Secretaries of CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization countries. In November he was included into the Commission on Military and Technological Cooperation between the Russian Federation and Foreign Countries. On 9 November he was dismissed from military service by an order of the Russian President based on Ivanov’s own report, with the rank of lieutenant general. On 28 March 2001 Ivanov was appointed Russian Defense Minister, then on 18 May, at a session of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers, he was elected chairman. On 15 February 2007, Ivanov was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and relieved from his duties as Defense Minister. Sergey Ivanov stood for wider enlistment of students into the military, and as a means of achieving this, on the abolishment of reserve officer training departments in Russian universities. He named international terrorism as the main threat to world stability, saying that, “the actions of terrorists are internationally coordinated.” He believes that terrorism in the North Caucasus is a part and a product of international terrorism and is apt to accuse the West of patronizing terrorists. Ivanov holds a 2nd class Order of Merit for the Motherland.

Sergey Ivanov speaks fluent English and Swedish and has a good aural memory: he is capable of easily memorizing and reproducing voice pitches. His hobbies include fishing and reading intellectual detective novels in their original versions. He plays football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, tennis and golf. Ivanov is a zealous admirer of the Soviet historical novelist Valentin Pikul, buys all of the writer’s publications and dreams of creating a museum in his name. Sergey Ivanov is married and has two children.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2019 11:56:08 ZULU