Old institutions die hard, but dreams of the former glory of those old institutions die even harder. For several years now the Russian leadership has been trying to create something that would resemble the old Soviet Military-Industrial Commission (VPK), which managed most of the defense industrial complex.

A body with this name has been around for a while, but apparently it didn't quite work. I guess this is why today the commission was created one more time - this time by a presidential decree. It looks like the president decided to start from a scratch - the predecessor was deemed unworthy of a mention. Well, it wasn't a success, was it?

It's hard, however, to tell if the new reincarnation of the commission has been given a higher profile - it is now headed by Sergei Ivanov, the deputy prime minister, while the previous one was headed by the prime minister himself (although Sergei Ivanov is probably higher in the informal Kremlin hierarchy). The day-to-day operations of the commission will be handled by Vladislav Putilin, who was appointed a deputy of the VPK chairman - a newly created ministerial position in the government.

The idea of using the old Soviet experience to manage the military industry is not necessarily a bad one. I would not hold my breath, however. Most of the presidential decree deals with salary for the new minister and other minute and insignificant bureaucratic details. Which tells me that the new commission will be as unremarkable as its predecessor. The military industry is the last thing the authors of this document care about.