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General Anatoly Kvashnin
Chief of the General Staff

In 2000 the open conflict between the Minister of Defense, Marshal Igor Sergeyev and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Anatoly Kvashnin, in which both sides decided that they could "air their laundry in public," clearly took everyone by surprise, including President Vladimir Putin, the Russian public, and the military itself. The Chief of the General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Kvashnin, openly ignores his direct superior, Igor Sergeyev. Without informing the head of the military department, Kvashnin sends the president his own plan for reforming the Armed Forces. The basic condition that made it possible for the Chief of the General Staff -- who is the Deputy Defense Minister -- no longer to consider himself a subordinate of the Defense Minister was Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to allow Kvashnin to report to him personally and to make him a member of the Security Council.

In April 2002 the Defense Ministry initiated a new streamlining of the staff structure in the supreme command of the Armed Forces. The changes were in line with President Vladimir Putin's demands concerning reduction of the administration staff and expenses on its maintenance that were voiced in his address to the Federal Assembly (parliament). In accordance with restructuring plans, ranks that correspond to most posts of generals in the Defense Ministry and General Staff were lowered, and some of the posts currently held by generals were held by colonels after the reduction. Almost 90 percent of posts of chiefs of main and central departments in the ministry and General Staff correspond to the rank of lieutenant general. Deputy chiefs hold the rank of major general. A total number of deputy chiefs was reduced. The new staff structure was to start functioning on 01 June 2002. In addition to the Defense Ministry and General Staff, staff restructuring was effected in commands of armed services, and about 200 posts of generals were abolished as a result of the reform.

Kvashnin and Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov fought for power and over virtually every defense policy issue, revealing Moscow's inability to forge or control defense policy. As of mid-2003 Anatoly Kvashnin was said to be slated to be removed from position of Chief of the General Staff. To all appearances, everybody was tired of his inconsistent moves related to army reformation. By his proposal the combat arms of RVSN, the Space Forces and the Missile-Space Defense Forces were merged into the new force - the RVSN. By 2003 this phase of a military reform had been admitted as fallacious and the Space Forces and the Space Defense Forces had again become independent forces. The RVSN had also lost its status of a force (it became an independent combat arm). The Ground Forces Main Command was disbanded in 1998. It was restored in 2001 and the status of the Main Ground Forces Commander was brought to the level of deputy defense minister.

In July 2004 Anatoly Kvashnin was dismissed as Chief of Russia's all-powerful General Staff, after seven years of holding the job. A few months later Kvashnin was appointed Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian Federal District, where he represented the President in the Siberian Federal District, ensures the exercise of the President's constitutional powers throughout the federal district.




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