Аз, грешный, подсчитан среди прочих.
Media Feature: Who's Who In The Russian Military Expert Community
IAP20130128950083 Caversham BBC Monitoring in Russian 0800 GMT 28 Jan 13
Media feature by BBC Monitoring
Particular names recur regularly every time the Russian media poll experts about military news. But what do we really know about these people?
Some do little more than rebroadcast official communiques. Others, however, take a more analytical, informative and inquisitive approach, which helps the reader make sense of what are often formulaic statements by the military establishment. They are, perhaps, the ones to keep an eye on.
This guide seeks to shed light on the question of "Who's who" in the Russian arms, military and security expert community, and looks at the background and affiliation of some of its most prominent members.
Russian military pundits - a mini directory
Arbatov, Aleksey, has been a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 2011 and is a prominent expert on conventional and nuclear arms control. He is well-known both in Russia and abroad. In various capacities, he was involved in, or advised on, the making of the START I, START II, INF and CFE international arms control treaties. His present association with government agencies and their work includes membership of the consultative councils under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Security Council. Formerly, he was a senior member of the liberal political party Yabloko, and while that party was in parliament he was a deputy chairman of the Defence Committee in the State Duma (lower house of parliament; 1994-2003). Although he remains in the party, he has not been observed in the media to have had a prominent role in Yabloko recently.
Arbatov is the son of Georgiy Arbatov, the founder and director of the USA and Canada Institute, a Russian Academy of Sciences think-tank also known by the abbreviation ISKRAN. At present, Arbatov heads the Centre for International Security at Moscow's World Economy and International Relations Institute, and chairs the Nonproliferation Programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, a subdivision of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington think-tank).
Arbatov might sound pro-Western compared to some of Russia's current nationalist and hardline politicians, possibly because of his collaboration with the Western academic and NGO community, but he is anything but that. He is an advocate of "cooperation" with the West from a position of strength. For example, he welcomed the decision to merge forces into the Aerospace Defence Troops as a "very positive development" because it would "strengthen" Russia's hand over the disputed issue of European missile defence. He has been a consistent critic of NATO expansion, on the basis that it would make Russia peripheral to the European security process. Before the Baltic states joined NATO, he urged the Russian government to establish an "increased military presence" in the Kaliningrad Region exclave, Russia's westernmost territory.
Arbatov's take on European missile defence is similar to his reasoning on NATO expansion. He does not think missile defences in Europe would threaten Russia's nuclear deterrence in the foreseeable future, but believes they would be damaging to the "objective of creating a shared expanse of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region", and would "undermine strategic stability".
Barabanov, Mikhail, is primarily known as the editor in chief of the English-language magazine Moscow Defense Brief (MDB). In this capacity, Barabanov is associated with the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a think-tank on defence industry and arms trade issues which launched the Moscow Defense Brief in 2004. The magazine's website offers an archive of issues, six a year, with most content subscription-based, though some (very little - on average one article an issue) is free to access and view. All content is grouped under the following categories: "International Relations", "Defence Industries", "Arms Trade", "Armed Forces" and "Facts and Figures".
The same website informs us that Barabanov, MDB editor in chief since 2008, "graduated from the Moscow National University of Culture", "then worked for the Moscow City Government". He is described as an "expert on naval history and armaments", and has been acknowledged as such by at least one of his peers, on whose shortlist of naval experts he appears (Korotchenko - see entry below). He often co-writes articles jointly with CAST's co-founders: Ruslan Pukhov, CAST director and a member of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence Public Council; and Konstantin Makiyenko, CAST deputy director.
Barabanov frequently comments in the Russian media on the armed forces as a whole and the navy in particular. Unlike some of his peers, he does not shy away from criticism. This is perhaps reflected in the philosophy of the Moscow Defense Brief, as proclaimed on its website, which is to "present Russian perspectives on security and defence issues" but to do so in a way that positions it as a "comprehensive and reliable source of public information and unbiased analysis on all aspects of Russia's policy and activities in the security and defence spheres". This may explain his absence from overtly pro-Kremlin outlets like state TV, unlike some of his associates, for example, Pukhov.
Baranets, Viktor, Col (retd), is now known chiefly as a military commentator at Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-Kremlin tabloid, and its radio (where he hosts an "extremely frank" weekly military talk show). He is frequently quoted by other media and in particular appears on TV, mostly the privately owned Russian television channel REN TV and Russian TRK Peterburg Channel Five TV. An eloquent speaker, he has been a prominent critic of the military reform presided over by the now former defence minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, and his former chief of the General Staff, Nikolay Makarov. More recently, he has been particularly critical of the extent of corruption in the military, a voice he has found since recent high-profile arrests.
Born in 1946 in eastern Ukraine, Baranets began his army service in 1965. He graduated from the military journalism department of the Higher Military Political School in Lvov (now Lviv, western Ukraine) in 1970 and from the Military Political Academy in 1978. For 13 years, he was in the central office of the Ministry of Defence, where he rose through the ranks to the post of official spokesman for the defence minister. In February 1997, he informs us in his Komsomolskaya Pravda website biography, he published an article in the newspaper Sovershenno Sekretno (Top Secret) with his notes on everyday life in the Defence Ministry and the General Staff, and "on the same day was discharged from the army". He is the author of the books "Yeltsin and his generals", "Lost Army" and "General Staff without secrets", which are said to offer a frank account of the military's behind-the-scenes activities.
Dvorkin, Vladimir, Maj-Gen (retd), has been Aleksey Arbatov's associate for many years and is senior researcher at Moscow's World Economy and International Relations Institute, where Arbatov heads the Centre for International Security. The two have also worked together on a number of projects at the Carnegie Moscow Centre. It is no surprise, then, that on issues of nuclear security, which is Dvorkin's speciality, they often express similar views.
Dvorkin is a strong advocate of further nuclear disarmament and progressive joint efforts by the USA (and NATO) and Russia on missile defence. He believes that the concept of mutual nuclear deterrence "has lost any rational meaning" and argues that a joint missile defence system is "key" to the "transformation of the protracted state of mutual nuclear deterrence". On the first anniversary of the New START Treaty, he said that its signing represented only a "very modest step towards disarmament", and criticized the USA and Russia for "their unwillingness seriously to reduce their nuclear arsenals".
In his commentary, Dvorkin has often disagreed with Russia's official position. For example, he has challenged statements that the proposed deployment of missile defences in Eastern Europe would undermine Russia's nuclear deterrence capability. In 2010, he said that the deployment of 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland would pose "no military threat to Russia" and that a missile defence base in Romania "would not pose a threat to Russia's nuclear deterrence potential because of its geographical position".
Dvorkin's views on nuclear arms control merit attention if only because at the height of his military career he served as head of the Russian Defence Ministry's 4th Central Research Institute, also previously known as the Strategic Missile Troops Institute, which dealt with nuclear planning. He advised on the drafting of a succession of US-Soviet and US-Russian nuclear arms control treaties.
His views on nuclear and missile proliferation also often differ from those of the Russian state. On Iran's nuclear and missile programmes, he has said that "Iran needs no more than a year to fashion an explosive nuclear device, and after that a nuclear warhead, if Tehran makes a political decision, of course". He has also said that Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon would represent an "extremely serious threat".
Dvorkin has accepted America's insistence that the "decision to build a missile defence system was prompted by Iran's successes in building long-range missiles, which its latest space experiments show, and the lack of prospects for a solution to the Iran nuclear crisis".
Frolov, Andrey, a navy and arms trade expert, is the editor in chief of the Russian magazine Eksport Vooruzheniy (Arms Export), published by CAST (Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies) since the centre's inception back in 1997. Published six times a year, the magazine commands a comparatively hefty subscription - over 2,000 dollars a year - but does not depend on sponsors and carries no advertisements. It prides itself on "impartial analysis of the defence industry and objective description of the world arms market", as opposed to what it calls the propaganda of Russian arms as being "unparalleled worldwide" (as often described by state TV).
According to his biography on the CAST website, he graduated with honours from St Petersburg State University's Department of International Relations and in 2003 from the French-Russian Master's School of Political Science and International Relations. In 2003-04, he worked as a researcher at the Centre for Russian Policy Studies (PIR-Centre) and executive editor of the Russian magazine Yadernyy Kontrol (Nuclear Monitoring). He joined CAST as researcher in January 2011.
His Eksport Vooruzheniy editorship means he is well placed to answer questions about the arms trade. This was the case at the time of a recent controversy over reports of Russian helicopter gunship supplies to the Syrian government. His comments - that no new helicopters have been supplied since the 1990s - were quoted by the Russian and foreign media. In addition, he is also able to offer noteworthy insight into the state of the Russian defence industry, such as the article he co-wrote with Mikhail Barabanov on the plans to upgrade Russia's fleet of military aircraft by 2020.
Ivashov, Leonid, Col-Gen (retd), is a smooth-talking geopolitical pundit and former chief of the Russian Federation Defence Ministry's Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation. To many, he needs no introduction as a notoriously anti-Western commentator who makes frequent appearances in the kind of Russian media that can be loosely termed tabloid, be it the pro-Kremlin daily Komsomolskaya Pravda or the weekly programme "Military Secret" on the privately-owned Russian TV channel REN. Most recently, he has been vociferous in attacking the US over Syria. He has also been commenting on Russia's military reform, initiated by the now former defence minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, who he regards as at best ill-suited to the job, and at worst a destructive and corrupt force.
Born in 1943 in the city then called Frunze (now Bishkek), the capital of Soviet Kirgizia (now Kyrgyzstan), Ivashov graduated from the Higher All-Arms Command School in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1964. He went on to serve in the group of Soviet forces in Germany and was deployed to Czechoslovakia as part of the Soviet action against the Prague Spring uprising of 1968. In the central office of the Ministry of Defence since 1976, he headed the secretariat of the then defence minister, Dmitriy Ustinov, and became a general in 1988. He became head of the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation in 1996. It was in this post that he came to prominence with his vitriolic condemnation of NATO's bombing of the now former Yugoslavia. He was retired from the Ministry of Defence in 2001. In 2004, he appeared as a witness for the defence at the trial of former President Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague.
Khramchikhin, Aleksandr, is deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis (IPVA), which is headed by Prof Aleksandr Sharavin (see separate entry). Several sources refer to him as head of the institute's analytical section. He has been with the institute since 1996, when it was founded. Born in 1967, he graduated from Moscow State University's Department of Physics in 1990. His forays into politics include work as an analyst in the electoral HQ of Boris Yeltsin's Our Home is Russia party and that of President Yeltsin himself back in 1995-96. He was also involved in the State Duma election campaign of the liberal Union of Right Forces in 1999.
Khramchikhin is a familiar name in both the Russian media and the media abroad. In Russia, he has written for the military weekly Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (NVO) and has appeared occasionally on Russian state-owned news channel Rossiya 24. He has been extensively quoted elsewhere by a wide range of Russian media, such as the pro-government Russian newspaper Izvestiya, the Russian liberal news website Newsru.com or the Russian news website Svobodnaya Pressa (often critical of the authorities on leftist or left-nationalist grounds), to name but a few. Abroad, he has been interviewed on military and security topics by outlets such as the British broadsheet The Daily Telegraph and Germany's external radio broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.
According to his biographical summary on the Argumenty i Fakty website, he specializes in the Russian and foreign military, as well as Russia's domestic and foreign policy, with "hundreds" of publications and interviews on these subjects to his name. Khramchikhin is often rather outspoken in his remarks, and on occasion somewhat argumentative. Some of what he subscribes to has earned him a reputation as someone with outlandish views. This in particular applies to his view that China is Russia's main threat, which some say he is exaggerating. He has also repeatedly talked about the threat of a pre-emptive US strike against Russia's nuclear capabilities. To some, his authority was undermined when the day before the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008, he all but ruled out a "full-scale" war in South Ossetia, arguing that Georgia was in no position to attack. Others note what they say is his excessive pessimism about the state of the Russian military.
Nevertheless, he comes across as a knowledgeable commentator on both Russian and foreign military and security matters. And he does not shy away from criticizing Russia's military and security policy. This was apparent in November 2011 in his critical comments about a statement by the then president, Dmitriy Medvedev, on NATO's missile defence plans.
Kokoshin, Andrey, is a national security and strategic stability expert, formerly a politician and a statesman. Born in Moscow in 1945, he graduated from the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU, now called the Bauman Moscow State Technical University) in 1969 as a radio engineer. He is an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2006) and a member of several other academies, including the Academy of Military Sciences and the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences. His career was launched and progressed at the USA and Canada Institute (1972-92). He was the Russian Federation Security Council's sixth secretary (1998). In 1992-97, he was first deputy defence minister. In the 2000s, he was elected to the State Duma, where he represented the pro-Kremlin majority One Russia [United Russia] party.
Kokoshin's website biography states that in the 1980s, under Soviet academician Yevgeniy Velikhov, who oversaw defence research at the Academy of Sciences, he was actively involved in the work on the USSR's "asymmetrical" response to US President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative. In later years, he himself oversaw the Topol-M and Yars ICBM programmes, as well as a range of other strategic arms such as the Borey-class ballistic missile submarines and the nuclear-powered battle cruiser Petr Velikiy (also spelt Pyotr Velikiy). He also says he was instrumental in the decision to develop the Sineva upgrade of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Throughout his career, he has dealt with strategic policy and nuclear deterrence issues.
As his biography suggests, Kokoshin is what can be described as a national security establishment figure, his views always representative of official policy. He applauded an article by Vladimir Putin on national security policy published in February 2012, when Putin was prime minister and a presidential candidate, describing it as one that befits Russia as a "great power". He has been quoted extensively in the Russian media, mainly those aligned with the Kremlin, where he comes across as wary of the US on a range of issues, from missile defence to cooperation in the Arctic. As an apparent political insider, he can be relied on as an authority on present national security thinking.
Konovalov, Aleksandr, is an expert on foreign and military policy issues, according to his biography on the website of the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. He has a PhD in technical science and began his career as a defence analyst at the USA and Canada Institute under Georgiy Arbatov in 1982. He left in 1998 and since then has been a professor at the elite Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and at the Higher School of Economics, as well as a "political adviser" for state-controlled Channel One TV. Konovalov is president of the Institute of Strategic Assessments, a nongovernmental think-tank.
Despite these academic credentials, Konovalov rarely appears on Russian state TV nowadays - not surprising, perhaps, given that he has often disagreed with Russia's official policy on international and defence matters, such as missile defence and relations with NATO. Konovalov has also questioned Russia's pursuit of the "multipolar world" policy and Russia's policy on Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
On Russia's strong opposition to missile defence plans for Eastern Europe, specifically plans for a radar in the Czech Republic, he has said that the threat has been overestimated. "It seems that someone wants this country to look ignored and insulted. It is not the United States and NATO, but southern neighbours, such as China, Iran, Israel and Pakistan, that pose the main threat to Russia," he said.
In 2008, Konovalov was critical of then President Dmitriy Medvedev's vision of a multipolar world - a common theme in Russian officials' foreign policy pronouncements - on the basis that such a world would be "extremely dangerous" for Russia.
Konovalov questioned Moscow's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states in the wake of the Russian-Georgian war, and argued that Russia had thus placed a "time bomb" in its volatile North Caucasus region.
Most recently, he described Russia's child adoption ban for American nationals, a piece of legislation passed in response to the US Magnitskiy Act, as "abhorrent".
Korotchenko, Igor, is a military publisher, pundit and official, and is regularly quoted as a commentator on military news. Born in 1960 into a military family in Soviet Latvia, he, despite his Ukrainian surname, describes himself as an ethnic Russian - information that comes from his page on the website of the military monthly Natsionalnaya Oborona (NO), which he founded and publishes. This is just one of the titles he is associated with.
A military aircraft engineer by education, Korotchenko served in the Soviet Air Force, including its Main Staff, and in the Soviet Union General Staff in the latter years of the USSR. On his own LiveJournal page, which reproduces a photograph of his Soviet Army General Staff ID (number 36 of "no more than 50" - one of a select few), he is vague about his service there, although he states he had authority to "inspect any military unit". The rest is still a "state secret".
From the mid-1990s, he worked as a military correspondent for the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG) and was one of those behind the military weekly Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (NVO). In 2003, he fell out with NG's then owner, Boris Berezovskiy, over the latter's "anti-state" policy. Latterly, he edited the defence industry weekly Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer (VPK). He heads TsAMTO (World Arms Trade Analysis Centre) and chairs the Public Council under the Russian Defence Ministry, a PR/liaison body.
As perhaps both his CV and certainly his comments suggest, Korotchenko can always be relied on to comment on issues from a staunchly pro-Russia, if not nationalist, perspective.
Kramnik, Ilya, has a fairly prominent presence in the Russian community of military commentators, although he is yet to make his mark in the mainstream media. In recent articles, he is described as a military commentator for the Russian state external radio broadcaster RGRK Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia). He is also a columnist for Vzglyad, a pro-Kremlin online newspaper, and has written articles for others, such as Natsionalnaya Oborona and the Russian military news agency Oruzhiye Rossii (Russian Arms). He has also been referred to as a military correspondent for the RIA Novosti news agency. A fellow military pundit has put him on his shortlist of naval experts, although he also writes on other military topics (notably the air force).
Born in 1978 in Moscow, Kramnik graduated from Moscow State University's law school in 2001 but went on to specialize in the military as a journalist, a Vzglyad article informs us. His article on the English-language website of Voice of Russia in which he weighs the pros and cons of Russia's future strategic bomber design project is just one example of his recent work.
In another, published by Natsionalnaya Oborona Online (Natsionalnaya Oborona's website), he comprehensively analyses and largely endorses the Russian military reform three years after it was launched by Russia's political and military leadership during Dmitriy Medvedev's presidency.
This, as well as his other articles, which can be found in his LiveJournal blog (http://legatus-minor.livejournal.com/ - a very active and varied resource), showcases his thoughtful analysis of military subject matter.
Litovkin, Viktor, is a retired colonel who edits Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta's supplement on defence and security matters. According to his biographical summary on the RIA Novosti website, where he worked between 2002 and 2007, he describes himself as a "professional military journalist". His RIA Novosti biography also notes that he was born "in April 1945 on the day that our tanks entered Berlin", and that he has worked "in practically every hot spot across the expanse of the former Soviet Union - Abkhazia, Dniester, South Ossetia and, of course, Chechnya", as well as in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He says about himself elsewhere that he crewed "Caspian Shipping Line vessels that sailed abroad", and served in the Russian armed forces in 1964-95, during which time he worked for Leninskoye Znamya (Lenin Banner), a mouthpiece of the Soviet Southern Group of Troops (Hungary), and Znamenosets (Flag Bearer), a Soviet Ministry of Defence newspaper.
On contentious international security issues, Litovkin generally echoes the official position of the Russian government, although he has been known to be critical on policy issues. For example, he has expressed probing criticism on a number of occasions since the start of Russia's latest military reform.
For many years, Litovkin has been one of Russia's most prolific defence journalists. He is the author of the "Russian Arms" documentary series on official state Rossiya 1 TV. He is partial to Soviet euphemisms - such as the "nuclear-missile shield", a common term among retired-military-turned-analysts and like-minded pundits.
Makiyenko, Konstantin, is a very frequent source of military comment in the Russian media. Together with Ruslan Pukhov, he co-founded the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) back in 1997, of which he is deputy director. He also sits on the expert council under the Russian Federation State Duma Defence Committee. As noted in the Barabanov entry above, several articles have been co-written by the trio of Barabanov, Makiyenko and Pukhov.
The website of the English-language magazine Moscow Defense Brief, which is published by CAST, tells us that Makiyenko graduated from the Oriental Studies Department of the elite Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in 1995 and the French-Russian Master's School of Political Science and International Relations in 1996. Together with Pukhov, he headed the conventional arms project at the Centre for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR Centre) in 1996-97.
Makiyenko has attracted attention for what could be described as his highly politicized rhetoric. In the spring of 2011, after India opted for the French Rafale fighter aircraft over Russia's upgraded MiG-35, Makiyenko suggested that what he clearly regarded as a snub "must not be left without consequences", and that the MiG should instead be offered to Pakistan. In another case, he called for Russia to support Syria politically, warning of losses of several billion dollars for the Russian arms trade in the event of UN sanctions against Syria.
Podvig, Pavel, a physicist, is well-known both inside and outside Russia as an authority on nuclear arms control. Strategic offensive and defensive weapons have been the focus of his studies. He was the editor and one of the authors of "Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces", one of the most comprehensive guides to Soviet and Russian nuclear weapons - if not the most comprehensive - published by the Centre for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1998.
(The group that published it included Russian nuclear arms expert Igor Sutyagin, who was convicted of espionage in Russia in 2004 but was swapped by Russia in 2010 for a group of suspected Russian spies deported from the US, including Anna Chapman (she has since gained celebrity status in Russia). See a link to a RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) page about Dr Sutyagin's recent "member's lecture": "Putin's Presidential Return: Implications for Missile Defence and Russian Foreign Policy" (http://www.rusi.org/events/past/ref:E4F991FB1F3CAF/))
Podvig believes that the main threats to the security of states, including Russia, "have essentially nothing to do with whether they do or do not have nuclear weapons", and advocates verified arms cuts leading to complete nuclear disarmament. Unlike many in Russia, he dismisses the notion that high-precision conventional weapons can have a "significant effect" on nuclear deterrence, but says that "a system of relations in which the USA would be dominant owing to its non-nuclear forces' superiority" would not work and contemplates a world "where the role of military power is minimal".
Podvig has also been affiliated with the World Economy and International Relations Institute mentioned above, where he earned his PhD in political science. His website, "Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces", has an English-language version that is a wealth of reference and discussion material for students of Russia's nuclear forces.
Perhaps due to his immersion in academic research, which has included collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University and work at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, he has had relatively limited exposure in the media as a pundit.
Pukhov, Ruslan, co-founded the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a think-tank on defence industry and arms trade issues, in 1997. He is now its director, with the other co-founder, Konstantin Makiyenko, its deputy director. He is a member of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence Public Council, which combines (somewhat uneasily, some might say) the functions of publicly overseeing specific aspects of the armed forces' activities, such as "social and legal" support for servicemen, notably conscripts; and popularizing military service (according to the Ministry of Defence website).
Pukhov is quoted extensively in the Russian media as a defence analyst. As mentioned in the Barabanov and Makiyenko entries above, the three have co-written articles together. Pukhov has been interviewed more than once on state-controlled Russian Channel One TV's "I Serve the Fatherland", a Sunday morning military magazine broadcast every two weeks which features newsworthy military content and promotes patriotic and Russian Orthodox values. A CAST document explains that he is in fact on the staff of Channel One as a military adviser.
Under ex-Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, Pukhov was repeatedly supportive in his comments on Serdyukov's drive to reform the country's military. The reform process is a wrench but is necessary if Russia's armed forces are to be able to fight the "wars of the future, not those of the past", he once told "I Serve the Fatherland".
Sharavin, Aleksandr, professor, has been director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis since 1996. He has a doctorate in "technical sciences" and is a "candidate of military sciences", the latter academic title one rung below the former. He has the military rank of colonel in the reserves and is a full member of the Russian Federation Academy of Military Sciences. For 20 years (1973-93), he was an officer in the Soviet and Russian army. In 1990-93, he headed a research group on national security and the development of military doctrine at the Armed Forces General Staff's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies - a subject on which he continues to comment now.
Sharavin is one of a band of experts that enjoy privileged access to Russia's politico-military leadership. In February 2012, a little more than a week before Russia's 4 March presidential election, the then Russian prime minister who duly returned as president, Vladimir Putin, was joined by Aleksey Arbatov, Leonid Ivashov, Andrey Kokoshin, Igor Korotchenko, Ruslan Pukhov and Aleksandr Sharavin, among others, on a visit to Russia's Sarov nuclear centre on the Volga.
Although this might suggest that his views are perhaps broadly in line with those of the political leadership and almost certainly with those of the military, he has a track record of noteworthy and critical comment, often delving into historical background. He is quoted by, and has appeared on, military-themed talk shows hosted by both official and nonofficial media, such as the state-owned Russian news channel Rossiya 24, and the Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy. Taken together, these factors commend him as an expert of note.
Shurygin, Vladislav, was born on 18 February 1963. He is a writer and commentator on all things military. An active LiveJournal blogger, his personal profile suggests a strongly nationalist streak. He is associated with the newspaper Zavtra, a left-nationalist, anti-Western weekly edited by the well-known anti-liberal commentator Aleksandr Prokhanov.
About himself, he writes that he was born into an officer's family, went to school in Moscow and went on to become an officer after he graduated from the military journalism department of the Higher Military Political School in Lvov (now Lviv, Ukraine). After a stint as a "military bureaucrat" in Moscow, which made him "ashamed" of himself, he became a military correspondent for a newspaper, where he notched up "more than 100" assignments as a war reporter. As a "volunteer", he fought in the Dniester and Abkhaz conflicts, as well as in Serbia.
Shurygin only rarely appears on state TV, whether or not because of his own views or his association with Prokhanov, who also seldom gets state TV airtime, perhaps for fear he might say something too radical. Shurygin is a regular contributor to online Den TV, a link to which can be found on Zavtra's website. He has also appeared regularly on the weekly programme "Military Secret" on privately owned Russian REN TV. There and elsewhere, he has been consistently critical of the military reform launched by the now former defence minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov.
Tsyganok, Anatoliy, professor, heads the Military Forecasting Centre, an independent offshoot of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis since 2005, according to his personal website. In other publications, he is referred to as a member of the Academy of Military Sciences, assistant professor at the Moscow State University's School of World Policy and head of the Scientific and Analytical Centre on the Problems of National Security at the Oruzhiye Rossii (Russian Arms) military news agency (http://www.arms-expo.ru/). He has the military rank of colonel.
Born in Altay, Siberia, in 1946, Tsyganok graduated from the Omsk All-Arms Higher Military School in 1967 and the Frunze Military Academy in 1980. His career in the armed forces spanned 30 years (1963-93), first in military intelligence and then in command positions. He describes himself as an analyst, historian and academic, as well as a member, since 2012, of the public council under the chairman of the Russian government's Military-Industrial Commission, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin. This might explain why he sided with Rogozin in a recent public disagreement over a strategic military programme. Rogozin said at the time that Russia did not need a new strategic bomber. Rogozin's remarks, however, contrasted sharply with Medvedev's and Putin's subsequent comments.
Tsyganok is frequently quoted in a wide range of Russian media outlets, both official and nonofficial. His analysis includes an equally wide variety of military matters: from Russian military developments to foreign military crises, such as the recent conflicts in Libya and Syria. His comments testify to his pro-Russia and anti-Western attitude, as shown in his analysis of the war in Libya in an article published in the military and defence newspaper Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer a year ago. Military aggression against Russia would be possible if it were weakened enough, he warned, urging Russia to draw lessons from the Libyan war.
Yesin, Viktor, Col-Gen (retd), is regularly interviewed on strategic issues. A Russian Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN) veteran, his career culminated in a stint as the chief of the RVSN's Main Staff in 1994-96. His career began in 1962 around the time of the Cuban missile crisis, when he was in the thick of it as a young lieutenant directly involved in Soviet Operation Anadyr to ship nuclear missiles to Cuba. He reminisced about his Cuban deployment in a recent interview for one of Russian TV's range of weekly military programmes.
In his current capacity as consultant to the RVSN commander, Yesin regularly features in the Russian media with news or analysis of Russia's strategic arms or, more generally, the strategic arms sector and questions of Russian-US nuclear parity. He is the author of one of the chapters in the book "Missile Defence: Confrontation or Cooperation?" which he launched at Moscow's Carnegie Centre on 27 November 2012.
His comment tends to be technical in nature, such as details of new strategic arms projects, a subject one assumes he can speak with authority on. Sometimes Yesin veers into the politico-military domain, for example on the issue of nuclear deterrence, as with his recent call for Russia and America to lower their nuclear missiles' alert status.
As a past and apparently present establishment figure, he continues to be in demand with the official media. Yesin never speaks out of turn about official policy but is by no means fervently nationalist, unlike some others.
Zolotarev, Pavel, Maj-Gen (retd), is deputy director of the Russian Federation Academy of Sciences USA and Canada Institute (where he heads the "politico-military and information" sectors, according to the institute's website) and a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences. He regularly writes for Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, often in conjunction with others, like Yesin, mostly on strategic issues such as nuclear deterrence or missile defence. He is also frequently interviewed by official media such as the Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) radio station, although he is no stranger to nonofficial outlets such as Ekho Moskvy radio.
Zolotarev's biography on the institute's website states that he was born in Donetsk, Ukraine, in 1947, and says simply that he graduated from a military academy. He served in the Soviet Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN), including in the RVSN's Main Staff, where he was "directly responsible for the development of the RVSN's automated control system and reserve combat control systems". He continued that work in the Soviet Army's General Staff and graduated from the General Staff's Military Academy in 1992. He went on to work on military doctrine. He joined the USA and Canada Institute in 1999. He is a member of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy think-tank.
The USA and Canada Institute (ISKRAN) is Russia's primary think-tank dedicated to the study of North America and as such is an indispensable tool for Russian policy makers (as, for that matter, is the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy). As it states on its website, "ISKRAN is one of the main centres for the development of recommendations for senior government officials on domestic, foreign and military policy". Institute members, therefore, always comment on politico-military matters from the viewpoint of Russia's national interests, and Zolotarev is no exception.
Felgengauer, Pavel, is a prominent analyst who writes in particular for the Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which is often critical of the government, and for the Jamestown Foundation, a think-tank based in Washington DC (its motto "Information without political agenda, from Eurasia, China and the world of terrorism").
Born in 1951, he grew up in an English-speaking environment, with an American father who came to Soviet Russia in 1937 as a 17-year-old. He says in a Radio Liberty interview that he used to listen to the BBC's World Service in English, which, unlike Russian-language broadcasts, were not jammed. A biologist by education, he graduated from Moscow State University (MGU) in 1975. A stint as a biologist at the Soviet Academy of Sciences followed. With the fall of the Soviet Union, his "hobby" - his interest in conflict research, the military and security - became his livelihood when he joined Nezavisimaya Gazeta in 1991. He decided to go it alone in 1999 as a commentator and analyst on the Russian military.
Felgengauer has his detractors, including those who paint him as an agent provocateur - if not agent - for the Russian security agencies. For the most part, however, his opponents take issue with what they regard as his consistently negative view of the state of the Russian military. Indeed, his articles on this subject do not pull any punches. His denunciations of Russia's political leadership can likewise be damning.
Golts, Aleksandr, is another independent, a journalist rather than strictly speaking military expert, who co-edits the anti-Kremlin Russian current affairs website Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal, where he is a columnist notably on military matters.
He admits to his lack of military education and advises on his own page on the Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal website that, while he is often referred to as a military expert, he can be described as such "at a stretch". Nevertheless, a journalist by education - he graduated from Moscow State University's school of journalism - he has written about the "problems of the Armed Forces" for the past 25 years, 16 of them in the Ministry of Defence daily Krasnaya Zvezda and latterly in Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal.
His mission statement, to be found on the same page, argues that a handful of "talented" analysts notwithstanding (the late Vitaliy Shlykov, Andrey Kokoshin and Aleksey Arbatov among them), there is "in effect no independent military analysis as an institution" in Russia. To trust Russia's top brass in the matter, meanwhile, "would be like asking for the opinion of the fireplace industry when installing a central heating system". He holds that the principles that underpin Russia's military organization are utterly outmoded.
Perhaps as a result of his opposition-minded attitude, his analysis, which tends to delve into broader issues rather than confine itself purely to military points, appears at times overly politicized. In a recent article posted on the Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal website, he describes a plan reportedly to stage an amphibious landing during an exercise by the Russian Navy off Syria as "madness", if only given the current political situation. He admits that the plan is quite possibly simply sensationalist or propaganda, adding, however, that "no madness appears entirely incredible".
Other pundits in brief
This account would not be complete without mentioning some of the other experts - some of them perhaps more narrowly focused on purely technical aspects of the military - who have appeared in Russia's traditional and new media. The following are a few of the more prominent among them (in alphabetical order):
Mikhail Baryatinskiy (tanks and armour); Mikhail Khodarenok (missile technology); Dmitriy Kornev (independent, editor of the MilitaryRussia website); Vladimir Korovin (missile technology); Aleksandr Mozgovoy (NO's navy expert); Viktor Murakhovskiy (tanks and armour); Viktor Myasnikov (NVO/NG writer on the military); Maksim Popenker (small arms); Vladimir Shcherbakov (NVO's navy expert); Aleksandr Shirokorad (tanks and armour); Konstantin Sivkov (Ivashov's Academy of Geopolitical Problems first vice president); Prokhor Tebin (independent, navy); Vladimir Yevseyev (missile weaponry); and Yuriy Zaytsev (an RVSN veteran - strategic arms). The scope of this work is too limited to name others, such as newspaper correspondents.
Russians' fascination with the military, together with the government's desire to promote the army and "patriotic values", means there is a large number of military programmes on Russian TV, all of them fronted by those who could be justifiably described as being militarily knowledgeable:
Mikhail Dolgikh ("Marsh-Brosok" (Forced March), Moscow-government-owned Centre TV); Sergey Kuznetsov ("Smotr" (Parade), Gazprom-Media's NTV, who also has his own informative photo blog); Igor Prokopenko ("Voyennaya Tayna" (Military Secret), privately owned REN TV); Aleksandr Sladkov ("Voyennaya Programma" (Military Programme), official state Rossiya 1 TV); and Anatoliy Yermolin ("Voyennyy Sovet" (Military Council), Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy and the Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV).
The rise of new media has been enthusiastically exploited by those interested in the military. Many of those named above have their own blogs, including Kramnik, Korotchenko, Kuznetsov and Tebin. Commentator and photographer bloggers are also weighing in. The ex-soldier Denis Mokrushin, for example, who is also a special correspondent for the magazine Natsionalnaya Oborona, runs a blog with informed commentary on the state of the army. And Oleg Kuleshov, a Severodvinsk-based photo blogger, provides a wealth of photography on the Russian Navy.
 Premier.gov.ru website (the Russian prime minister's official website), Moscow, in English 24 Feb 12
 Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1332 gmt 21 Nov 02
 BNS news agency, Kaliningrad, in Russian 1113 gmt 19 Oct 99
 Mirovaya Ekonomika i Mezhdunarodnyye Otnosheniya (monthly journal of Russia's World Economy and International Relations Institute), Moscow, in Russian 30 Jun 2012
 http://mdb.cast.ru/ (Moscow Defense Brief website)
 http://www.kp.ru/daily/column/10/ (Komsomolskaya Pravda website)
 Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer (defence industry weekly) website, Moscow, in Russian 9 Feb 11
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 2115 gmt 7 Apr 11
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 2115 gmt 7 Apr 11
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0549 gmt 21 Sep 10
 Interfax-AVN military news agency website, Moscow, in Russian 0918 and 0920 gmt 5 Feb 10
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0743 gmt 11 Jan 12
 Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, in Russian 1810 gmt 26 Apr 11
 Interfax-AVN military news agency website, Moscow, in Russian 0918 and 0920 gmt 5 Feb 10
 http://www.cast.ru/journal/ (CAST website)
 http://vpk-news.ru/articles/12848 (the website of Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer)
 http://akademiagp.ru/ivashov-leonid-grigorevich/ (the website of Ivashov's Academy of Geopolitical Problems)
 http://www.aif.ru/dossier/903 (the website of Argumenty i Fakty, Russia's most popular newspaper)
 http://www.regnum.ru/news/1037955.html (Regnum, an internet-based news agency)
 The New Times (anti-establishment weekly) website, Moscow, in Russian 28 Nov 11
 http://aakokoshin.ru/ (Kokoshin's own website)
 Interfax-AVN military news agency website, Moscow, in English 1255 gmt 10 Jul 08
 BBC Monitoring research 6 Oct 08
 Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1252 gmt 27 Aug 08
 Russian news website Svobodnaya Pressa, in Russian, 17 Dec 12
 http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_07_30/New-Russian-bomber-needless-expenditure-or-fut ure-necessity/
 Natsionalnaya Oborona Online, Moscow, in Russian 30 Jun 12
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1433 gmt 28 Apr 11
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0800 gmt 23 Aug 11
 An interview with Vremya Novostey newspaper on 27 November 2009 while he was at Stanford University
 Channel One TV, Moscow, in Russian 0450gmt 1 Nov 09
 Media observation by BBC Monitoring in Russian 1916 gmt 24 Feb 12
 http://xianyoung.livejournal.com/320709.html - Shurygin's interview with Kramnik on the future of Russian air force
 OSC Analysis: "Russian senior officials clash over future strategic bomber"
 Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer website, Moscow, in Russian 1 Feb 12
 "Marsh-Brosok", Russian Centre TV, owned by the Moscow city government, in Russian, 0210 gmt 15 Dec 12
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0903 gmt 28 Nov 12
 Interfax-AVN military news agency, Moscow, in Russian, 1004 gmt 8 Nov 12
 Felgengauer's page on Novaya Gazeta's website - http://www.novayagazeta.ru/profile/207/
 http://www.ej.ru/?a=author&id=2 (Yezhednevnyy Zhurnal website)
[Description of Source: Caversham BBC Monitoring in Russian -- Monitoring service of the BBC, the United Kingdom's public service broadcaster]
...А все когда-то началось с Ленты.Ру, за что ей спасибо :-)