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General Igor Korobov is the new chief of GRU

The new chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces was appointed Lieutenant-General Igor Korobov. His appointment has become official Tuesday (2016 February 2), according a press release of the Defence Ministry from Moscow.

Shoigu_Korobov”Russian Minister of Defence General of the Army Sergei Shoigu has presented a personal standard to the new Chief of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Igor Korobov.

Lieutenant General Igor Korobov was appointed to the position of the Chief of the Main Directorate of the General Staff – Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces by a Decree of the President of the Russian Federation.”

The ceremony was held at the headquarters of the central board. On Friday, February 5, Korobov will take his new study.

Korobov’s predecessor, Igor Sergun, died on January 3 at the age of 58. He had held the position since 2011.

Last week, Russian mass-media wrote that late GRU Chief General-Colonel Igor Sergun’s successor will be one of the military intelligence directorate’s current deputy chiefs:  Vyacheslav Kondrashov, Sergey Gizunov, Igor Lelin, or Igor Korobov. Of the four officers, accidentally or not, about Korobov‘s career is known the less information. One thing is clear: Korobov is a top insider and will keep continuity in this important secret agency. The GRU bureaucracy fears about appointment of an outside chief (from the FSO or SVR) were groundless. Really groundless ?! I have some doubts because… there is an interesting move.

What about Dyumin ?

Speculation focused on name of Aleksey Dyumin (former Ground Forces Chief of Staff) was quickly turned up as a Deputy Minister of Defense appointment.  And, upss! … also today the President Putin appointed Alexei Dyumin Acting Governor of Tula Region until the newly elected Governor assumes office (after the resignation of Tula Region Governor Vladimir Gruzdev). Another Executive Order relieves Alexei Dyumin of his duties as Deputy Defence Minister of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Putin with Alexei Dyumin (left) and Vladimir Gruzdev at Novo-Ogaryovo residence

Vladimir Putin with Alexei Dyumin (left) and Vladimir Gruzdev at Novo-Ogaryovo residence

”Mr Dyumin, you know, just as we all do, that Tula and Tula Region is the nation’s armoury. Considering your previous job – I am referring to the time you were Acting Ground Forces Chief of Staff – you should understand the importance of this region.

Moreover, in your capacity as Deputy Defence Minister you are in charge of the department of construction, housing and property relations, the expert directorate and the Main Military Medical Directorate – in a word, things that are of great importance in civilian life as well. Therefore, I expect you to use your knowledge and experience at your new job and to gain the people’s trust. You should strive to use the real results of your work, which the people should be aware of in their everyday life, in order to win their votes in the future” said President Vladimir Putin to the new Acting Governor of Tula Region.

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Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff – the central body of military intelligence in Russia. Created in 1918 under the name Registration Management Field Staff of the Revolutionary Military Council. We are dealing with all kinds of intelligence in the interest of the armed forces including intelligence electronic aerospace as well as reconnaissance and sabotage operations. In Soviet times it was one of the main centers of analysis of information on military-technical and military-industrial potential of the potential enemy.

Photo by credit Kremlin Press Service and Russian Ministry of Defence 

Hungary intends to spend half billion $ to buy 30 Russian Choppers

According to Russia’s Arms Trade Analysis Centre, Hungary is interested in purchasing 30 new Russian helicopters.
Hungary plans to buy about 30 Russian helicopters with the value of the contract expected to reach $490 million, a spokesperson for Russia’s Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) said Friday.

Russian Helicopter Kamov Ka-60

Russian Helicopter Kamov Ka-60

“In February, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban plans to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin*, during which they will discuss the delivery of up to 30 Russian helicopters to the Hungarian Air Force” the spokesperson of Hungary government said.

*Accordind Sputnik, Orban could visit Russia on February 17 to meet country’s leadership and to discuss mainly cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy. According to the newspaper, Orban could discuss the extension of the only Hungarian Paks nuclear power plant (NPP).

The spokesperson added that the value of the potential contract has been estimated at 142 billion Hungarian forints (some $490 million).

The spokesperson pointed out that in the future the scope of the contract between the two countries could be expanded since Hungary is seeking to replace its fleet of Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopters, some of which have been in operation since 1969.

Romania’s Prime Minister Resigns. But on the streets the protests go on !

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced the resignation of his government Wednesday following huge protests in the wake of a nightclub fire that killed more than 30 people.

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city's main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city’s main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

“I’m handing in my mandate, I’m resigning, and implicitly my government too” Ponta said in a statement. He said the government would stay on until a new one is in place. “I am obliged to take note of the legitimate grievances which exist in society” said Ponta.

Although former Prime Minister said: “I hope handing in my and my government’s mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters”, the protests continue in Romania’s capital and the main cities. People ask about the Parliament resign and early elections. Romania is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in December 2016, but some are now predicting that they could be held as early as the spring, with an interim cabinet in place until then.

About 20,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on Tuesday evening in a spontaneous protest calling for the resignation of Ponta, the interior minister, Gabriel Oprea, and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub was located.

UPDATE:  As protests in Romania continue, despite the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, it has become clear that Cioloș will take over as prime minister until elections are held in December 2016, said Euroactiv.com.

”Having the former Commissioner in charge seems like a good idea. Not only will it be seen well in Brussels, but Cioloș is one of the rare public figures in Romania who is not perceived as corrupt. Indeed, Cioloș didn’t spend much time in public office in Romania. Before becoming Commissioner in 2009, he worked for the European Commission’s delegation to Romania, and before that, as a scholar on internships in France. His wife Valérie is French.”