New wartime state management system gives full power to Russian military – report

© Mikhail Voskresenskiy
A recent military exercise in southern Russia saw the first real-time test of the state management system that allows the Defense Ministry to assume direct control over municipal and regional authorities, police, state security and emergency services.

In the course of the strategic war games Caucasus-2016, the Defense Ministry has for the first time tried how a military district command can directly manage the regions of the Russian Federation,” popular daily Izvestia quoted an unnamed high-placed military source as saying.

Exercising the interaction with state power bodies was one of the main objectives of the war games. In general it went well, but we also encountered some problems and presently we are preparing some legislative proposals that would correct the revealed drawbacks,” the source added.

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In particular, the military wants to switch completely from the previous scheme, under which in times of war all regional authorities and federal ministries worked on their own dedicated tasks and the Defense Ministry only had a coordinating role.

The new rules of wartime administration would give all administrative powers to the military, which would issue direct commands to regional authorities, law enforcers, rescuers and the National Guard.

Russia currently has five military districts that comprise the Defense Ministry’s territory division units. In times of war, the command of each of these districts will be divided into two parts – the Operative Strategic Command and the Wartime Military District. The former will be in charge of military operations and the latter will control the draft, logistics and execution of all special regime measures, such as maintaining public order and the increased security of strategic installations and communications.

The new system was tested in southern Russia’s Stavropol Region, Ingushetia and Crimea.

Military sources also told reporters that all the proposed changes are in line with the 2016-2020 Plan of Defense signed by President Vladimir Putin in November 2015.

READ MORE: 40 million Russians involved in annual 4-day defense drills

Earlier this month, Russia conducted major civil defense training involving 40 million people nationwide. A total of 200,000 rescue professionals and 50,000 vehicles took part in the exercise, which lasted four days. According to the Emergencies Ministry, the drill was meant to test coordination between federal, regional and local authorities, the feasibility of contingency plans for emergencies, the state of civil defense infrastructure such as shelters and emergency supply stockpiles, and other aspects of the system. However, this year’s exercise was not exceptional in terms of scale – the drill in 2013 involved over 60 million people.