Russia's Conventional Armed Forces and the Georgian War   [open pdf - 339KB]

"Russia's rapid military victory over Georgia in August 2008 surprised many commentators, since it stood in stark contrast to the manner in which Russian forces had once become bogged down in a protracted conflict in Chechnya. On the other hand, the conflict might be thought of as the final war of the twentieth century, fought by a Soviet legacy force, desperately seeking to make do with dated equipment and a top-heavy command and control system more suited to conducting the kind of large-scale conventional warfare that had passed into the annals of military history. Damage to Russia's international reputation also ensued, jeopardizing the nation's relations with the European Union and NATO and raising questions regarding the legality of what Moscow dubbed a 'peace enforcement operation' that precipitated its unilateral recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia's military actions provoked widespread international condemnation, spread panic among foreign investors, and left the East European and Baltic members of NATO calling for protection from a 'resurgent Russia.' In the following analysis, the lessons learned by the Russian military will be examined in the context of an announced military reform and rearmament program aimed at producing a more efficient, combat-capable conventional force by 2020. Despite the rapid victory, the war itself exposed fundamental weaknesses and shortcomings in Russia's armed forces, reinforcing conditions that were already known and served as a catalyst for the military reform program."

2009 Roger N. McDermott.
Retrieved From:
U.S. Army War College, Parameters: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/
Media Type:
Parameters: United States Army War College Quarterly (Spring 2009), v.39 no.1, p.65-80
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