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2, June 2009, 400–424
Russia’s war in Georgia: lessons and consequences
Carolina Vendil Pallina and Fredrik Westerlundb
Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden; bSwedish Defence Research Agency, Stockholm, Sweden The Russian military operation during the Five-Day war in Georgia points to a number of lessons with strategic implications for Russia. The deﬁciencies in its military performance – not least concerning C4ISR and precision strike capability – have underscored the need for a modernization of the Armed Forces and a diversiﬁcation of Russia’s military capability. Russia needs to arrive at a strategic decision on the priorities for the future development of its military and defence industry: should it prepare for large-scale wars or postmodern warfare and counter-insurgence? In the meantime, the scope of Russian military strategy will be clearly limited and military force will remain a powerful but blunt security policy instrument. Keywords: interoperability; military force; command and control; communications; weapon systems; intelligence; electronic warfare; reconnaissance; capacity; Russia; Georgia; strategy [S]trategy, which deﬁnes its task in the conduct of military operations as combining operations for achieving the ultimate goal, is not only interested in stating the goal of an operation, but also makes certain requirements of the methods of achieving it.1
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For all the international turmoil and tensions it caused, the Five-Day War in Georgia was a limited military operation for a military organization such as Russia’s. On a strategic level, the war was combined with other measures such as diplomatic ones, but militarily it cannot qualify as a grand military operation.2 It was successful in that it reached the main military objective of the operation, to take irreversible control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but the Russian casualties and the deﬁciencies and problems it struggled with during the operation have implications for the future development of its military. This is obvious from the analyses made in Russia and from statements from its military and political leadership. Plans for a military operation existed, and a military exercise (‘Caucasus 2008’) in the North Caucasus as late as in July 2008 rehearsed a similar scenario. In other words, Russia was prepared and could deploy forces to South Ossetia relatively quickly in spite of the considerable challenges caused by the terrain – especially the bottleneck at the Roki tunnel.3 The swift deployment of close to 20,000 men in a couple of days was key to success against even the limited size
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ISSN 0959-2318 print/ISSN 1743-9558 online q 2009 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/09592310902975539 http://www.informaworld.com
Small Wars & Insurgencies
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of the Georgian armed forces. Compared to Russia’s ﬁrst war in Chechnya in 1994– 1996, this was a military operation that was planned carefully, executed in the main according to plan with formations and units that had trained together and coordinated with other measures such as cyber warfare and a diplomatic offensive. In contrast to the two Chechen wars, Russia’s armed forces faced regular units waging conventional warfare, i.e. an adversary that better suited the Russian military organisation. In spite of these undisputable signs that Russian military capability has improved considerably compared with the 1990s, the record has made military analysts raise concerns about the future of Russia’s military. It was clear that much Russian equipment was obsolete compared even to that of Georgia’s military, which by and large also was equipped with Soviet weapon systems, albeit modernised. Perhaps the greatest worry was breakdowns in command and control, the inability of the army and air force to cooperate efﬁciently, and poor performance when it came to electronic warfare and the use of precision weapons. This is especially troubling for a country that wants to compete with the West and claim its place as one of a handful of great powers globally rather than satisfy itself with a role as a regional power capable of taking on smaller neighbours. In fact, even a limited operation of this size exposed the fundamental challenges that remain for Russia when it comes to reforming its armed forces and the considerable gap that exists between its global ambitions as a great power and the economic and military power to sustain such claims. Russia’s dilemma in a nutshell Russian rhetoric became increasingly anti-Western and, in particular, antiAmerican during Putin’s second term as president. There was a widespread sense of NATO advancing dangerously close to Russia’s borders, taking into account NATO enlargement and the planned missile defence installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia wished to be regarded as one of a handful of great military powers globally and not only because of its nuclear arsenal. Threats of a nuclear attack are a blunt foreign policy instrument to be used with care. Threatening to use nuclear weapons or even threats of deploying missiles in, for example, the Kaliningrad oblast, could have unforeseen consequences or escalate rhetoric and provoke response measures that are opposite to the initially desired effect. Most importantly, when Russia talks of nuclear weapons as a way of de-escalating a conﬂict this has anything but a soothing effect on its potential adversaries.4 The bluntness of the nuclear threat is especially urgent if you do not possess conventional military power to calibrate the nuclear threat with. In conventional military technology Russia is lagging behind the West in some of the key areas in modern warfare. Its precision weapons cannot compete with Western versions and its C4ISR capabilities (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) are in need of upgrading even after recent investments and procurement to improve
but from a national security perspective local wars. and thus availing itself of control and independence. and within Russia and the North Caucasus. would entail a radical shift in Russian military culture and will not come easy. from an organisational point of view it is doubtful whether it is even possible to successfully maintain capability for both large-scale conventional warfare and ﬁghting insurgencies and terrorism within one and the same organisation. but even that could be less than enough given the problematic age structure of Russia’s military research and development sector as well as its defence industry. and if the Russian defence industry cannot implement new technologies it will ﬁnd it difﬁcult to maintain its position as arms supplier in the longer term. as they require very different methods. the products are based on Soviet designs. not least in the South Caucasus. Instead. Few if any serious military analysts in Russia believe that NATO is about to attack Russia or that a Russia-NATO military confrontation is imminent. Furthermore. the ambition to compete with the West in conventional military terms would be difﬁcult if at all possible for the Russian state to sustain. This was evident even before the onset of the economic crisis. The most likely large-scale conﬂict with another great power would be with China. However. In reality.6 To remove the technological gap will take massive investment. Russia’s most pressing security challenges are not to be found on its Western ﬂank. ‘smart’ technology will require that Russia is able to recruit skilled and intelligent soldiers and junior ofﬁcers that can handle the new weapons and equipment and make independent decisions in the ﬁeld. In the words of Dmitri Trenin there is little use in repeating maxims about ‘permanent interests and impermanent friends’ or about how the ‘army and navy are Russia’s only true friends’.7 Trusting junior personnel with more responsibility. not with the West. To prepare for large-scale conventional confrontation with the West is necessary for Russia’s status as a great power. in 2009 the prospects for such a twopronged approach are even less auspicious from a strictly economic point of view. Vendil Pallin and F. there is a ‘danger of the country’s isolation’. but opening up for private and foreign investment. training and equipment. It would signify an enormous burden on the country’s economy and it is most doubtful whether Russia would be able to signiﬁcantly close the technological gap that has Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . At the same time.10 Overall.8 Fighting insurgency and terrorism in the Caucasus is not done best while entertaining a ﬁerce rhetoric against the West and alienating neighbouring states such as Georgia and Ukraine. however. The outlook is bleak for the Russian state being able to ﬁnance a full-scale modernization of the defence industry on its own. Furthermore. new. counterinsurgency warfare and anti-terrorist measures stand out as far more acute to implement. and even that threat is anything but urgent.402 C.9 Nor will Russian oil revenues be able to sustain both missions. Westerlund command and control. has not constituted an appealing alternative for the political leadership. Moscow’s main security dilemma is located on its southern border.5 This has not hindered Russia from becoming one of the world’s most prominent arms exporters in recent years.
The establishment of sizable Russian military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as control over critical mountain crossings has signiﬁcantly improved Russia’s strategic military position in the Caucasus region. A secondary. The primary military objective seems to have been to take control over the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and establish air and sea supremacy. It will furthermore form a military staging ground in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea. An adjustment of the military-strategic situation in the region to Russia’s advantage. An analysis of the conduct of the Russian troops after the ceaseﬁre suggests that an additional objective was to neutralize Georgian military capability by destroying infrastructure and wrecking or seizing weapons and equipment.12 This will make the Russian military presence on Georgian territory as large or larger than it was before Russia withdrew from its three remaining military bases in Akhalkalaki. To straddle both options. but centred on reducing the country’s military capability. as stated above. In order to attain the military goal. the Russian military strategy consisted of swiftly achieving an overwhelming superiority in numbers by combining massive ground deployments with supporting air and naval operations. through aerial attacks on reserve units that were called up and by rendering Georgian airﬁelds difﬁcult to use. roads and railroads. This was achieved by cutting off vital Georgian ports. Apart from ground force bases. is damaging to Russia’s economic growth and to its national security. which appears to be the current strategy. to take irreversible control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. objective was to prevent Georgian and foreign troop reinforcements. something that the war in Georgia made obvious. Batumi and Vaziani. Judging by the reported air strikes. Russian military strategy in the Five-Day War The main goal of the military operation in Georgia and the Black Sea was.13 Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . a strategy fully in line with Soviet military thinking. The Russian forces that took part in the Five-Day War clearly had instructions on how far they were allowed to go when it came to selecting targets and advancing into Georgia. One military commentator was of the opinion that the military operation would have been more successful if Russian troops had been allowed to attack political targets. by removing the geographical bottlenecks to southbound military power projection. the strategy did not include disruption of critical civilian infrastructure in order to paralyse the Georgian political leadership. such as the Georgian political leadership and vital infrastructure. Russia’s other option is to modernize a smaller army and to concentrate on the threats that are most imminent – local wars and insurgencies. Russia started preparations to create a complementary naval base for the Black Sea Fleet in Ochamchire11 and to base aircraft at the former Soviet airbase in Gudauta in Abkhazia. perhaps equally important. In other words.Small Wars & Insurgencies 403 developed between it and the West in a situation of confrontation instead of cooperation. may have been an additional strategic military goal from the very beginning of the campaign.
17 and joint and inter-ministerial operation has been part of several Russian military exercises in the past years. but the thinking is far from becoming integrated in standard operations. even a militarily inferior adversary such as Georgia made obvious a series of ﬂaws and deﬁciencies in Russia’s military capability. it should be noted that the ofﬁcial Russian declarations that the military incursion into Georgia was a peace support operation did not materialize into military strategy. indicating an ambition towards performing joint and interministerial operations. not the initiator of the war. but much of its equipment was modern compared to the Russian equivalent. such as poor command and control technology. a strategic deception intended to act as a smoke screen and to mislead the international opinion. Furthermore. in parallel with the military operation. Vendil Pallin and F. This would be congruent with military strategy in previous Russian and Soviet wars. However. however. The Russian General Staff’s information and media management has. Russia initiated information operations. and Russia’s difﬁculties to locate Georgian artillery – to mention a few examples. the breakdowns in interoperability between the air force and army. As far as can be deduced. the limited success of these elements suggests that Russian strategy has not developed beyond Soviet military thinking. Westerlund Elements indicative of an evolution of Soviet strategy towards contemporary Western warfare could also be observed during the Five-Day War. Georgia was indeed a midget compared to Russia.18 A military operation encompassing several armed services interacting Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . However. such as the Afghan and Chechen wars. as has the lack of Information Warfare (IW) units within the armed forces. The Five-Day War and Russia’s military capability That Russia was able to subdue Georgia was hardly surprising given the disparity in size of the respective armed forces of the two countries. Units belonging to other power ministries. albeit in small numbers.404 C. took part in the military operations. Planning and implementation of the operation Judging by the swift deployment of a considerable number of troops and heavy equipment deep into Georgia. and the Georgian side proved skilful in taking advantage of the Russian military weaknesses. the declarations were merely part of Russian maskirovka. Russian war plans had been prepared long in advance.14 Furthermore.15 An important part of the overall military strategy was also to appear as the victim. consisting of efforts towards creating pro-Russian media coverage of the conﬂict and possibly also IT attacks on ofﬁcial Georgian web servers. been criticized by Russian analysts. There is an ambition to move towards postmodern warfare and new thinking about military strategy is taking form. despite all the planning and preparations. The military command seemingly does not dispose of personnel qualiﬁed to perform professional and efﬁcient IW operations.16 An inﬂuence from the recent development in Western warfare was visible in the Russian conduct.
In June and July. The armed forces. even against an inferior adversary. mainly manned with contract soldiers.19 Within the ground troops. Preparations for a major military operation in Abkhazia were made during the spring and early summer of 2008. Apart from organizational changes. The military high command should have up-to-date contingency planning for possible instances of armed conﬂicts.25 Several of the units that were later to take part in the military operation in Georgia were involved in the exercise. many units had not returned to the bases when the war broke out.22 The Russian peacekeeping unit in Abkhazia had already been reinforced with additional artillery in April. among them the Black Sea Fleet large assault ship (BDK) Tsezar Kunikov. despite Georgian protests against their presence in the breakaway republic. but likely.26 Furthermore. an armed conﬂict was not only plausible. the Russian military intelligence service. the GRU. the KGB.24 In July 2008. A major Russian military operation in Georgia had been planned for at least several years. which took part in the amphibious landing element of ‘Caucasus 2008’. functioning railway links are crucial to a swift forward deployment of mechanized Russian units. Russian as well as American analysts have regarded ‘Caucasus 2008’ as a dress rehearsal for an operation in South Ossetia. The fact that Russia undertook practical preparations for a future operation is more interesting in this context. probably followed the developments in Georgia closely. the main purpose of the exercise was to train for anti-terror operations. two new mountain troop brigades have been created within the North Caucasus Military District (NCMD). Russian railroad troops made repairs on a total of 54 kilometres of railroad track in Abkhazia.23 and further reinforcements were possibly secretly transferred by rail in late July. as well as other Russian armed structures. the military exercise ‘Caucasus 2008’ took place in the southern parts of the NCMD with the participation of at least 8000 troops. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . 700 military vehicles and more than 30 aircraft. As Russian heavy military equipment is transported by railroad and not by road. In the case of Georgia. have over the past years consistently developed their capacity to handle armed conﬂicts and local wars in the Caucasus. Furthermore. the training and exercise activity has focused on joint operations with units from other services and arms of the armed forces as well as units belonging to the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of the Interior.21 The existence of one or several military plans for a war in Georgia does not necessarily signify that there was an intention to attack Georgia. However.20 and several units have been transformed to permanent readiness units. but another aim was to practice peace-enforcement operations in zones of conﬂict. the military high command – as well as the political leadership – seems not to have anticipated the timing of the outbreak of the war.Small Wars & Insurgencies 405 in adverse geographical conditions requires meticulous planning. According to ofﬁcial statements. in particular in South Ossetia where it manned key positions in the breakaway republic’s intelligence service.
which was necessary for Russian ground and naval elements of the operation. on the whole there is no doubt that Moscow was prepared for a war with Georgia at some point. For the Russian navy the Five-Day War was the ﬁrst combat assignment since the fall of the Soviet Union (apart from naval infantry in the wars in Chechnya). Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . railroad troops and rear services units. mainly due to the numerical inferiority of the adversary. probably. managing to plan and carry through manoeuvres of this size requires considerable skills.29 The military high command was likewise taken by surprise. Russia furthermore achieved local air superiority. surface-tosurface missile and rocket units belonging to the 58th Army.406 C. the Ministry of the Interior.27 Despite all the planning and preparations and the repeated warnings in Russian media of Georgian aggression towards the breakaway republics. command posts remained operational after the exercise had ended and the 58th Army remained in a state of alert.30 A large number of units from different arms and services took part in the operation: airborne troops.28 the top leadership appears to have been taken by surprise when the war did break out. President Dmitry Medvedev gave the order to start the military operations without consulting parliament. attack helicopters. even though according to the Constitution use of troops outside Russia’s borders should be decided by the upper house. Westerlund according to media reports. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev both attended the Beijing Olympics. air and naval forces within hours of the outbreak of the war. However. ground attack. some 10. Within a few days time. the Black Sea Fleet never met any serious opposition. However. Regardless of this. the operation was conducted according to a well-prepared plan and the military goal was achieved. bomber and long-range bomber aviation as well as transport and reconnaissance aviation from the air force. an overwhelming military force had been deployed outside Russian territory.000 Russian soldiers advanced into South Ossetia and another 9000 troops were deployed to Abkhazia. as will be discussed in the following.32 The Black Sea Fleet swiftly achieved sea supremacy and cut off the most important Georgian ports. Vendil Pallin and F. surface ships and marine infantry belonging to the Black Sea Fleet. and Spetsnaz (special forces) units from the armed forces (the GRU) and.31 Considering the weak Georgian air force. Marine infantry and airborne troop units were landed on the shores of Abkhazia and Georgian navy vessels were destroyed. All in all. On the whole. artillery units. motorized infantry and armour units. the Federation Council. The Security Council did not convene until several hours after Russian troops had crossed the border to South Ossetia and air strikes on target in Georgia proper had commenced. The armed forces were able to deploy combat ready ground. underscoring that the Black Sea Fleet is still a military force to be reckoned with. no other outcome was to be expected. as the Abkhazi coast was undefended and the Georgian navy consisted of a handful missile and patrol boats.
moreover. A certain restraint could be detected in the way ground and air elements of the operation were conducted. On the operational command level the inter-service coordination seems to have been limited to an overall coordination in time. but due to lacking inter-service communications equipment and the absence of a uniﬁed command the war was a ‘joint’ operation only in a superﬁcial meaning of the word. since the post as chief of operations had been left vacant for some time. successful in disturbing Russian communications. Furthermore. which were challenged by the mountainous terrain. For instance. the NCMD commander allegedly had no authority over the air force. most operations ofﬁcers were on leave. the General Staff allegedly could not reach Minister of Defence Anatoliy Serdyukov via telephone for more than 10 hours.34 This most likely affected the capacity of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence to exercise command and control during the war. The chief of the General Staff. A journalist present at the command headquarters of the 58th Army even claimed that a commander borrowed his satellite telephone at one point.33 The Russian air strikes seem to have been directed mainly at military rather than civilian infrastructure and the Georgian political leadership was not targeted. and the key department within the Ministry of Defence.Small Wars & Insurgencies 407 It should also be noted that the Russian forces. which was directed personally by the commander of the air force. rendered the troops more or less ‘blind and . managed to attain the military goals without an indiscriminate use of military force. Colonel-General Aleksandr Zelin from his ofﬁce by mobile phone. Moreover. Army-General Nikolai Makarov. For instance. the Russian ground forces’ advance towards Tskhinvali was reportedly held back to allow for Georgian villages north of the South Ossetian capital to be evacuated. as the directorate was in the middle of relocating its ofﬁces. resulting in vital maps and documents being hard to ﬁnd. control and communications equipment within the ground troops. limiting the force projection to mainly military targets. The Russian military operation was nevertheless sufﬁciently powerful for it to attain the goals set out before third parties could intervene.36 The Georgian forces were. lacked a commanding ofﬁcer when the war broke out. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 Command and control The strategic command over the armed forces initially stumbled and it is doubtful whether effective command and control was fully established during the short war. the Russian command and control capability was hampered by inferior communications equipment compared to the Georgian troops. which resulted in important decisions not being taken. in contrast to the conduct in the two Chechen wars. had recently been appointed. Russian commanders found themselves having to rely on personal mobile phones rather than military communications systems.35 On the tactical level.37 The lack of functioning battleﬁeld command. the Main Operations Directorate. The naval and air elements of the operation did coincide with the ground troops’ manoeuvres.
43 The Russian air crews that took part in the air assault were most likely among the most experienced Russian pilots.40 On 8 August. Despite steady budget increases for the Russian aviation in the past few years. one Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft and three Su-25 attack planes. The air force lacked forward air controllers in South Ossetia that would have been able to direct attack airplanes and helicopters. the ﬁrst day of the war. The Georgian air force consisted of a dozen Su-25 attack aircraft. Air defence and air support The Russian air component in the Five-Day War indicated a remarkably limited capacity to wage air combat for a country aspiring to be a military great power. The losses may partly have been a result of a lack of intelligence about Georgian air defence units and their positions.408 C. but managed to perform attack missions towards Russian units until the very last day of the war. it is remarkable that the Russian air and air defence units did not manage to neutralize this weak opposition and establish air supremacy in the area of operations.41 The early losses more or less put a halt to the Russian air assault on 9 August. the air force’s intelligence capability was clearly not up to its task. Westerlund deaf’ – something that was lambasted by Russian media.39 Adding aircraft damaged beyond repair. but in spite of this managed to impose losses on the Russian air force during the short war. The Georgian air defence forces managed to down four Russian aircraft according ofﬁcial statements. Another shortcoming in the Russian air element of the operation was insufﬁcient support for the ground units. In several aspects.42 Georgia lacked ﬁghter aircraft as well as a comprehensive and integrated air defence. the Russian helicopters experienced difﬁculties traversing the Caucasus mountain range. belonging to ground attack regiments with extensive experience from air operations in Chechnya or strategic bomber aviation regiments within the Russian Long Range Aviation.38 On the whole.44 Even though the Georgian air attacks were sporadic and on the whole not very successful. Another two have been attributed to Georgian units as well as one friendly-ﬁre incident. which resulted in helicopters being put to extensive use only in the last days of the Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . and it did not regain pace until the following day. the Russian performance was far from satisfactory and the Russian forces appeared technologically challenged. Russia’s losses have been estimated to have exceeded 10 aircraft during some 200 missions in total. In that case. Russia lost ﬁve aircraft: one Tu-22M3 long-range bomber aircraft on a reconnaissance mission. and the ground units could not communicate with the attack helicopters and aircraft crews as the army and the air force did not use compatible radio systems. The losses indicate that even within these units there are deﬁciencies in pilot training and the technical level of the aircraft. Vendil Pallin and F. this must have slowed down the momentum and contributed to losses in friendly ﬁre.45 In addition. the many years of neglect still seem to have a visible negative impact on the capability to perform air operations.
but their use proved to be limited in the Five-Day War. with recurrent cloudiness and a low cloud base. which were able to operate at night. since many aircraft lacked night-vision equipment. the Tu-22M3 bomb runs over Georgia rather underscored the fact that the Russian air force obviously lacked suitable standoff weapons. Moreover. albeit in small numbers. Nevertheless. the Russian air force had to rely on unguided bombs and air-to-surface rockets during the Five-Day War. the Russian mechanized units apparently suffered casualties when they emerged from the strategically important Roki tunnel. The maximum launch distance for the guided weapons currently used by Russian attack aircraft is 12 kilometres.52 Also. As a direct consequence of this. Cruise missiles with a conventional warhead have been part of the Russian air force inventory for some years.51 It also implies that Russia cannot conduct air strikes from a safe distance even in a local war close to its own borders. although primarily intended for targets in the enemy’s rear in large-scale war scenarios.53 Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 .49 Because of this. their ability to drop unguided bombs from altitudes well above the reach of many air defence systems makes them useful also in local conﬂicts.46 This resulted in the ground units having to ﬁght with little or no close air support. the meteorological conditions in Georgia during the war. the Georgian air defence radar units were operational. Furthermore. albeit with obvious limitations.Small Wars & Insurgencies 409 war when a temporary airbase had been established in South Ossetia. Furthermore. restricted the use of laser and TV guided weapons.47 leaving the troops vulnerable to Georgian ambushes. attack aircraft strikes with unguided weapons imply even shorter launch distances and thus a greater risk of attracting enemy air defence ﬁre. which puts the air force capability to precision strikes over longer distances into question. the Russian air units were forced to carry out missions mainly in daylight. Russian pilots have to enter enemy air space when carrying out air raids and this exposes them to enemy ﬁre. there are no indications of air-launched cruise missiles having been used in the Five-Day War. There are a number of guided weapons in the air force weapons arsenal.48 The Russian air force appears to have lacked the training and weapon systems needed for high precision strikes in situations of low visibility. the Russian air force almost completely lacked the ability to wage electronic warfare. exposing the aircraft to enemy air defence.50 The lack of precision strike weapons meant that a larger number of sorties had to be made in order to destroy a given target. which could have contributed to suppressing the Georgian air defence. This was not the case with the modernized Georgian Su-25 aircrafts. Moreover. which make up the bulk of the guided weapons in the Russian arsenal. which implies that the Russian air force for some reason did not use its Kh-28 and Kh-58 anti-radiation missiles. and the guidance systems require ﬂying on a straight course before and after launch. several days into the war. However. and the Tu-22M3 bombers can carry such weapons. exposing more aircraft to the enemy air defence. This might explain the somewhat unexpected use of strategic long-range bombers in a local war.
in combination with the underdeveloped Russian precision and standoff strike capability. It has also been reported that the reactive armour canisters mounted on the T-72 tanks belonging to the 58th Army were empty. and the airlift started early in the war. which was evident from pictures of blown up tanks in the streets of Tskhinvali. the Military Transport Aviation (MTA) performed its duties more or less without mishaps. The same seems to hold true for another key element in modern warfare: close air support to ground units. the Russian ability to combat enemy air defence – one of the key elements in modern warfare – was clearly limited. the airborne units were landed in airports on friendly territory. In contrast to the attack aviation. The armour on the Soviet-made combat vehicles turned out to be insufﬁcient.55 Since tanks are vulnerable in mountainous areas. A number of vehicles suffered breakdowns and caused trafﬁc jams on the only road leading south into Georgia from North Ossetia. a large number of the tanks consisted of older models: T-62 and T-72 tanks made up 60% to 75% of the total number. The headquarters command vehicle initially refused to start and eventually only got some 50 metres before the mufﬂer fell off. but this was due to an overwhelming quantity rather than the quality of the material.56 The armed forces ordered the ﬁrst 10 serial production BMPTs in 2007 after concluding State Tests and the ﬁrst deliveries were planned for 2008. rendering them useless. There had not been time to ﬁll the canisters before the units left for Georgia.59 Within the 58th Army. Vendil Pallin and F. suggests that Russian attack and bomber aviation have only a limited air combat capability. In the course of the Russian operation a number of deﬁciencies concerning the military equipment came to light. The MTA does not appear to have performed any paradrops to spearhead the ground assault in Georgia though. in particular in urban warfare. This is why Russian troops prefer to travel sitting on top of their vehicles rather than inside them. The MTA transported several airborne units from different parts of Russia to North Ossetia and Abkhazia.60 The older models of tanks lacked IFF-equipment (Identiﬁcation Friend or Foe). This. The technical status of the Russian ground troops’ heavy vehicles also negatively affected Russian performance. increasing the risk for friendly-ﬁre incidents – a particular problem when facing .58 Not even the command of the 58th Army seems to have had fully functional vehicles. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 Military equipment The Russian military equipment used in the Five-Day War was sufﬁcient for a victory. Russian as well as Georgian tanks proved to be vulnerable to handheld anti-tank rockets ﬁred at their sides. a Tank Support Combat Vehicle (with the Russian acronym BMPT) armed with nine weapon systems and an advanced target acquisition system has been developed in Russia. Westerlund In sum. even against a small and not particularly advanced adversary.54 The armoured personnel carriers could not resist anti-tank rockets or mines or small calibre armour piercing ammunition.410 C.57 but no BMPTs were available to the NCMD.
was not fully operative due to a subcritical number of satellites in orbit and the ground units lacked receivers. During the war. Russian intelligence also suffered from lack of military equipment. The Russian artillery units engaged in the Five-Day War did not use precision munitions. and radio relay UAVs could have compensated for the difﬁcult signalling conditions in mountainous territory. with broken ground and dense foliage. but such munitions are not part of the Russian arsenal. Krasnopol. UAVs for target acquisition and target designation could have allowed for a more adequate use of laser guided artillery munitions.67 The Soviet armed forces had a highly developed electronic warfare (EW) capacity. Kitolov. resulted in prolonged ﬁre and a larger amount needed per target. Smelchak and Gran.64 Moreover. On the strategic command level.69 So far. the lack of artillery localization radar systems on the Russian side made it more difﬁcult to combat Georgian artillery units. but instead had to rely on less efﬁcient unguided munitions. The Russian satellite navigation system.65 The Russian forces in Georgia also had very limited access to equipment for satellite navigation and positioning. the Georgian soldiers were clearly better equipped than their Russian counterparts. but this Soviet legacy has been squandered over the years. For instance.Small Wars & Insurgencies 411 an opponent that was also ﬁelding Soviet-era armoured vehicles.66 The Russian units reportedly lacked an autonomous targeting system.62 Artillery munitions guided by satellite navigation systems could have proven a useful alternative. which partly obstructed joint operations. Even on an individual level.61 which made it possible for the better equipped Georgian troops to regain during night ground lost during daytime.63 a problem that is not easily solved since the acquisition of UAVs does not appear to be part of the State Procurement Program for 2007 – 2015. The ineffectiveness of Russian EW systems during the military operations in Georgia was later acknowledged by the General Staff. which reduced the combat speed and exposed the artillery units to enemy counter measures.68 The weaknesses in Russian EW were obvious before the Five-Day-War and in order to improve the armed forces’ EW capability Russia had begun the process of creating independent EW troops directly under the General Staff with modern Russian EW systems and contract soldiers. The Russian forces had limited access to modern systems for combat in darkness and reduced visibility. the Russian forces lacked reconnaissance drones. The use of unguided munitions. This slowed down the Russian advance. The terrain in South Ossetia. albeit several times less costly a piece. this does not seem to have allowed Russia to improve its EW capability signiﬁcantly. rendered laser designators less effective and thus restricted the use of laser guided munitions such as Santimetr. Nor did the ground forces appear to have unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in sufﬁcient numbers. the fact that there were no satellite reconnaissance resources resulted in incomplete information on the Georgian preparations for the Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . GLONASS.
The demanding terrain and the concentration of trafﬁc on the few roads available in the area resulted in difﬁcult logistics and the situation was complicated by the long supply lines once the Russian units advanced into Georgia proper. This would arguably have been a suitable task for the NCMD motorized mountain brigades. Even though conscript units were thrown into . One conclusion is that the military equipment currently available to the Russian armed forces does not fully correspond to needs for combat situations of the kind prevalent in the Five-Day War. the General Staff asserted that only contract soldiers would participate in the combat in Georgia. but neither of the two was reported to have participated in the military operation. negatively affected the intelligence capability. Vendil Pallin and F.71 The above-mentioned Russian losses in the air battle indicate that Russian aircraft have insufﬁcient protection against portable SAM systems and possibly that the technical status leaves room for improvement. In an assessment of the Five-Day War by the International Institute of Strategic Studies. despite the fact that they have ofﬁcially been operational since 2007.72 On the whole. the shortage of modern reconnaissance systems. the airborne units were not dropped into the area. A particular concern is the limited C4ISR capability and the technical status of military vehicles. However. indicating that the NCMD did not possess readily available units that could lead the way and secure the terrain for the armoured units. the test of the new system turned out positive. Other shortcomings in the military equipment are the lack of precision and standoff air strike weapons and the limited supply of support systems for combat in darkness and low visibility. and the Russian soldiers displayed better ﬁghting morale and motivation than their Georgian counterparts. However. the authors concluded that ‘[t]he urgent need to modernise the air force may thus be one of the main lessons for the Russian military command to take away from the recent conﬂict’. it is obvious that units with conscript soldiers were deployed as well. Despite this. deﬁciencies in military equipment plagued the armed forces during the Five-Day War and will continue to limit Russian military operations in the foreseeable future. Conduct and professionalism of Russian forces The ground forces’ advance into South Ossetia was spearheaded by airborne troop units. The Russian rear services were put to the test during the Five-Day War and several analysts have criticised their performance. and the interaction between the two seems to have run smoothly. the NCMD now possesses a larger number of readily available – and arguably better trained – units than during the Chechen wars. Westerlund Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 attack on Tskhinvali. Initially.412 C.70 On the operative and tactical command level. as young conscripts soon began turning up in hospitals and morgues.73 The Five-Day War was also the ﬁrst live test of the value of permanent readiness units manned with so-called kontraktniki in accordance with the reintroduced contract soldier system. including UAV systems. but drove into South Ossetia through the Roki tunnel.
the war in Georgia differed substantially in character. as well as an aspiring capacity. some tentative conclusions can be made in the light of the Five-Day War. However. with the result that Russian troops in Georgia looked like partisans. which also accounted for why they were reduced to using armlets to identify themselves. However. The Chechen units were highly motivated and soon retreated to guerrilla warfare.74 Nor were the Russian troops equipped according to ofﬁcial regulations. to joint (inter-service) operations. Furthermore. He lamented the habit of Russian soldiers choosing personal equipment themselves. the fact that the NCMD had to use conscripts in an operation that had been brewing for quite some time indicates that the problems of professionalizing the armed forces are far from solved. had the Georgian forces put up more serious opposition.Small Wars & Insurgencies 413 Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 combat. According to one military analyst. even wider cracks in the joint operation veneer . The character of the Russian intervention – as well as military exercises in recent years – bears witness to an ambition. Finally.76 Furthermore. the lack of attractiveness of a military career has resulted in a large number of kontraktniki with poor health and little or no education coming from rural and socially challenged origins. The overall success of the military operation in Georgia will most likely strengthen the notion of joint operations as an essential element of future Russian military strategy. In Chechnya. many contract soldiers are far from the ideal professional soldier. However. and that it was possible to distinguish commanding ofﬁcers at a far distance. it would be erroneous to conclude that the Russian kontraktniki are professional soldiers in a Western sense – they are more accurately described as mercenaries. a comparison with the strategy and battle performance in the two previous Chechen wars is difﬁcult to make.75 This constituted a further sign of lacking professionalism. Implications for future Russian military strategy What implications do the lessons from the Five-Day War have for Russian military strategy? What are the practical consequences for military strategy from an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses revealed during the war in Georgia? It should be underlined that a short and local war such as the Five-Day War in Georgia does not readily lend itself to far-reaching conclusions about all aspects of Russian strategy or military capability. the Russian forces only rarely faced larger enemy units and never an adversary with a technical level comparable to that of the Georgian forces. incidents of friendly ﬁre occurred not just because of the deﬁciencies in electronic equipment. The organisational culture and the quality of military equipment and training within the Russian armed forces do not support the development of soldier skills radically different from those of conscripted personnel. Even though most of the Russian units deployed in the Five-Day War also took part in the Chechen wars. most of the units were manned with contract soldiers with several years of military training behind them. while the Russian forces in South Ossetia encountered regular military units with a rapidly subsiding morale.
as displayed in the Five-Day War. The capacity for air support and air combat also needs to be signiﬁcantly enhanced. control and communications (C3) need to develop in order to allow for uniﬁed command within the armed forces.77 In the meantime. Battalion and company level C4ISR systems were scarce and of low quality. The EW and IW capability also needs to be improved in order to be able to wage postmodern warfare. a number of improvements need to be made. but can with time be remedied. The lack of modern night vision equipment brought the Russian offensive to a near standstill when dark. which still appears to be a large-scale military confrontation with NATO forces. Another important technological aspect inﬂuencing Russian strategy is the poor quality of Russian combat support systems revealed in the Five-Day War. not least since the organisational culture of the armed forces does not support the development of postmodern warfare qualities. This negatively affected the situational awareness and the ability to perform efﬁcient targeting for the Russian troops. in particular in mountainous and overgrown terrain such as in the Caucasus. of course. The Russian defence industry has been developing such systems for the armed forces. have been regarded as exceptions to the norm. but the record from the war in Georgia suggests that Russian ground and air forces still have a long way to go before the ability to make precision strikes is developed sufﬁciently. organisation. On the national level. the Chechen wars.414 C. as they lack the necessary qualities in personnel. but provided a clean and clear military conﬂict. what future wars Russia is most likely to ﬁnd itself engaged in. brute force and strength in numbers. Future Russian military strategy will most likely be based on other elements of postmodern warfare as well such as the capacity to make precision strikes from a safe distance. The question is. The Russian armed forces can only to a limited extent wage postmodern warfare. Vendil Pallin and F. In order to incorporate the concept of joint operations into future Russian strategy. and the intelligence and reconnaissance resources needed to support tasking leads to the conclusion that it will take time before such a capacity can become a reliable part of Russian military strategy. inter-service C3 infrastructure and procedures are also require more investment and training of personnel for Russia to be able to perform truly joint inter-service operations. Russian military strategy will have to rely on good planning. as well as the Afghan war. This will limit the scope of Russian military strategy in near future. The current lack of precision strike weapons. First and foremost. The Russian air forces’ capacity for close air support to ground troops and suppression of enemy air defence. training and leadership. The Five-Day War was not a large-scale war. Westerlund would have appeared. equipment. In Russia. This will sufﬁce against an inferior adversary relying on traditional military tactics in fair weather and daylight. This will take considerable time to change. has serious deﬁciencies and will not be able to fully support ground and naval units in a joint operation. a satellite positioning system that is operational. the infrastructure and routines for command. with an easily distinguished and suitably Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 .
80 The evaluation of Russian military capability from the very apex of the military organization was thus highly critical in spite of the fact that the military objective in South Ossetia had been reached.000 to 3114. the target for the overall size Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . For example.Small Wars & Insurgencies 415 inferior adversary providing readily attainable and morally justiﬁable military goals. Despite earlier promises that military reform was over and that the time had come for consolidation and ‘modernization’ as late as December 2007. He went on to say that it was time to stop prepare Russian troops from yesterday’s war and that they had to prepare for battle with ‘a strong and technologically equipped adversary taking into account all the news that have appeared in military theory’. stated in front of foreign military attaches that ‘taking into account both military training of troops and experiences from military conﬂicts in recent years. The chief of the ´ General Staff. Although the reform plan as a whole was neither prepared as a result of lessons learned in Georgia nor primarily by Serdyukov. The current Russian military strategy would serve Russia well in a regular military confrontation with any other state in the former Soviet area. In addition. The Russian military in domestic politics Any hopes Russia’s military ofﬁcers might have harboured that its success in reaching the military objective in Georgia in August 2008 would translate into greater inﬂuence over national security or even the fate of the armed forces were dashed when Minister of Defence Anatoliy Serdyukov made public new plans to cut back on the number of servicemen. the kind of war that old school military strategists would like to prepare for. but it would face difﬁculties if the opponent were well versed in asymmetric and guerrilla warfare or in high-technology postmodern warfare. Apart from the military decorations awarded for the military operation in Georgia. Russia’s ofﬁcer corps found itself faced with the most far-reaching plans to sack ofﬁcers since the Yeltsin era. Serdyukov’s reform plans signiﬁed a substantial reduction of the ofﬁcer corps by 2012.78 and would also serve Russia better in the hypothetical conﬂict with NATO forces. A well-developed joint interagency operations capability is critical for effectively waging counter-insurgency warfare. much points to the Five-Day War being an exception and counterinsurgency warfare being the norm in the future. the number of colonels was to be reduced from over 15.79 These plans must have been sanctioned at the very apex of Russia’s political leadership and were probably the result of planning and analyses taking place before the war in Georgia. the ofﬁcers of the armed forces as a whole would be unwise to expect large dividends from the war. among which the military action of our troops in Southern Ossetia. However. The war in Georgia was used to emphasise the urgency of reform and the need to invest in new equipment to improve Russia’s military capability. In short. it is impossible to not notice a certain gap between theory and practice’. the Five-Day War inﬂuenced the way in which it was presented and executed. The overall aim was to change the ratio of one ofﬁcer for every two or three soldiers to one per ﬁfteen. Makarov.
The main reason. Meanwhile. A talented young man could receive many times the salary in private business compared to what the armed forces were able to offer. In spite of Medvedev’s assurances that procurement would continue according to plan. The reform plans solicited ﬁerce criticism from ofﬁcers and a number of military analysts – this in spite of the fact that much of its content was far from new.000 men – a reduction of about 200. more or less lose their human rights when they enter service. The Ministry of Defence continued to have problems convincing young Russian men that the military was a promising career. The defence budget may have increased nominally but remains at the same level of GDP not least since all increases are eaten away by inﬂation. however. Apart from the personnel reductions among ofﬁcers. Even in South Ossetia in late 2008. other power ministries have managed to move forward their positions at the expense of the military. Russian soldiers taking part in what surely must be a prioritised military activity for Russia complained of squalid conditions. even the limited increased funding promised was put in question. the round and even ﬁgure of one million men has ﬁgured in previous reform initiatives.000 servicemen (it is notoriously difﬁcult to establish the size of the armed forces). However.84 Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . a substantial part of these will still be employed by the armed forces and retain their assignments. this was due to the fact that society had changed and that there were a number of more luring opportunities around.81 nor is the move to a military organization divided into brigades rather than divisions and regiments entirely new.416 C. Vendil Pallin and F. Nor did the boost of morale that the war initially signiﬁed for the armed forces result in an increased willingness of Russian youth to serve in its ranks. Many soldiers ﬁnd themselves humiliated and deprived of basic comforts while discovering that violence is used routinely to instil discipline. Westerlund of the armed forces was 1. the military operation in Georgia and the predilection of top political leaders to visit military units – often sporting a uniform – the military is not a towering force in Russian politics or even in overall security policy-making. Its attempts at playing a political role have been inept. In part. is probably to be found in the fact that Russian soldiers. the question remains where the money would come from at a time when the Russian budget is coming under increasing pressure as a result of falling oil prices and crumbling domestic industries that need and receive state support to survive. the military has instead been forced to accept that some of the top positions inside the Ministry of Defence were taken over by former security service ofﬁcials.000 – 300. During Putin’s term as president. whether conscripts or contract soldiers.000. albeit as civilians. as did the tarnished reputation of the profession due to the accident prone nature of the service as well as the frequent reports of hazing and exploiting of conscripts and contract soldiers by commanding ofﬁcers for personal ﬁnancial gain. The fact that servicemen are restricted when it comes to travelling abroad also reduced the attractiveness of the military profession.82 In spite of increased defence budgets.83 The war in Georgia did not change the position of the military in this respect to the better and as the reality of the economic crisis hit Russia in late 2008 and early 2009.
and from the Russian analyses made after the wars in Iraq in 1990 and 2003.86 If Russia’s military is less than successful in pressing its agenda upon the rest of society – short of symbolic displays of unity when military victories and history is used to infuse society with patriotism – the political leadership has proved unable to make sure its decisions are transformed into practical action inside the Ministry of Defence. However. Russia was nowhere near the technological level of the West when it came to. This is clear both from ofﬁcial documents.Small Wars & Insurgencies 417 The controversial desertion of Aleksandr Glukhov reinforced the impression that soldiers still had to suffer hardships while serving in the Russian military. The chances of this situation changing for the better in the near future are not auspicious. For all the brouhaha about radical reform under Serdyukov. the risk of military confrontation between Russia and the West was very low. Russian authorities claimed initially that Glukhov had been captured and pressured into discrediting the Russian army. the Kremlin and the military leadership knew perfectly well that it was lagging behind the West when it came to conventional warfare and that it would not be able to engage in such a conﬂict with NATO. precision weapons and development of command and control. The level of corruption inside the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces is staggering. Russia had by no means abandoned the ambition to compete with the West militarily in the future. the claimed monopoly on military know-how and the lack of transparency and independent oversight of the armed forces have made political control over them superﬁcial at best. and the possibilities for subverting political directives through sheer inertia are endless. Russia’s military ofﬁcers are deeply sceptical of radical changes. in particular if more pressing political issues emerge in the wake of the global ﬁnancial crisis and a deep economic crisis with possible social unrest to follow. when it comes to the ofﬁcer corps. while Georgia granted Glukhov refugee status. However. Russian military power in the international arena Russia drew the conclusion that the military operation in Georgia was successful overall. while Tbilisi maintained that he had surrendered himself to Georgian police voluntarily because of being beaten by the major in his unit. Although the military operation in Georgia was immensely Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 .85 Later. As most bureaucracies. for example. Russia acknowledged that Glukhov had indeed left his unit voluntarily and pressed charges for desertion. such as the so-called White Paper that the Russian Ministry of Defence published in 2003. Fortunately. Russian inferiority in modern conventional warfare was not overlooked by Western analysts. the political leadership in the end will most likely prove unwilling to take the political risk involved in antagonizing the military organization by pushing through painful and costly reforms. but that it made obvious a number of weaknesses of its military organization if it were to compete with the West. Even before the war in Georgia.
moreover. Westerlund better planned and implemented than the war in Chechnya in 1994 –1996. the limited Russian capacity for postmodern warfare results in Russian troops being more restricted in their use in international peacekeeping missions than you would expect of a military great power. In the introductory quote. the Russian military has severe constraints on its ability to wage counterinsurgency warfare. Apart from the political aspects. Apart from Russia’s participation in the NATO operation Active Endeavour. Russia suffers from a lack of diversiﬁcation in military capability. Russian soldiers apparently behaved in a manner not desirable within a peacekeeping operation. looting military and civilian property during and after the war. Russia’s relations with its neighbours are more complicated than this. The Russian war record. the war was a success if it dissuaded other small neighbouring states from seeking confrontation with Moscow in the future. Any military cooperation between Russia and the West in the near future will take place in spite of analyses of Russia’s military performance in Georgia rather than because of them. Vendil Pallin and F. In other words. the deﬁciencies were obvious and serious enough to make the West conclude that Russia is nowhere close to catching up with the West technologically or when it comes to recruiting and training the kind of soldiers and junior ofﬁcers needed for warfare in the twenty-ﬁrst century. The fact that Russia’s armed forces are perceived as equipped and trained for wars of the past together with Western disillusion with Russia’s political position in recent years (not least the decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia) will make international military cooperation difﬁcult in the near future. However. and countries such as Sweden decided to freeze all military cooperation as a direct result of Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions in Georgia. From a Russian perspective. and few other neighbouring states are comparable with Georgia. Russia displayed both its readiness to use military force and its ability to deploy quickly in the Five-Day War.87 Furthermore. Although NATO and Russia re-established their relations in early 2009. Nor is the Russian view of what peace operations entail compatible with most Western countries’ apprehension. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . It would follow that a narrow array of methods limits the scope for adapting appropriate and efﬁcient strategies to different challenges. judging from the ‘peace enforcement’ operation in Georgia and previous Russian peace supporting interventions. there are precious few examples of practical military cooperation. raises doubts as to whether its military would be able to wage war against a more advanced adversary or one able to deploy larger forces or attract help from a third party. The logistical problems also raise the question of Russia’s ability to sustain an operation for a longer period of time. Aleksandr Svechin states that strategy apart from stating the goal of an operation ‘also makes certain requirements of the methods of achieving it’. the illusions and hopes attached to the NATO-Russia Council in 2002 have been thoroughly dashed.418 C. Russia is anything but impressed with the European Union as a military actor on the international arena. Furthermore.
Cimbala and Rainow. 411. CAST. Felgenhauer. The GAP. 23. ‘Voina c neizvestnoi tseliu’. ‘Voina s neizvestnoi tseliu’. 11. Strategy. ‘Russians Melded Old-School Blitz With Modern Military Tactics’. Vitaly Shlykov has deﬁned it as ‘an armed low-intensity conﬂict with conventional weapons and completely traditional tactical methods’. 1155– 61. 83. ‘Little Wars. Shcherbakov. 14. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 Notes 1. 15. ‘Russia resurgent? Moscow’s campaign to “coerce Georgia to peace”’. Dagestan and Zelenchukskaia. ‘The Nuclear Forces and Doctrines of the Russian Federation’. Svechin. Karachai-Cherkessiia respectively were reportedly established in 2007. 6. On the debate about the GRU’s ability or failure to warn Moscow. 10. Schneider. The units are exclusively manned with contract soldiers. 3. Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie. see Shlykov. Litovkin. 2. Trenin. it will have to make a strategic decision as to how it should prioritize when modernizing its armed forces. 3. 16. 18. Allison. ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. and Things That Go Bump in the Night’. x –xiii. ‘Spetspropaganda otsidelas v kustakh’ [The Special Propaganda hopes it will soon blow over]. Tsyganok. This was also part of the Soviet strategy for the 1967 Six-Day War. 1151. ‘Russia resurgent?’. Simonian. 17. Developments. ‘General Shamanov tratit milliardy’. ‘Russia’s rapid reaction’. Needless to say. ‘Dengi reshaiot ne vse’. see Allison. Cimbala and Rainow. Russia and Postmodern Deterrence. 8. Ginor and Remez. 5. Klein. 13. any errors or transgressions that remain are solely the responsibility of the authors. Tsyganok. ‘Military implications of the Georgia War’. Menkiszak. Shanker. 116. 21. 19. 12. ‘Russians Melded Old-School Blitz With Modern Military Tactics’. ‘Moscow the Muscular’. . 22. Russia and Postmodern Deterrence. 9. Simonian. ‘Russian Rail Road Troops Complete Mission in Abkhazia’. ‘Russian Invasion of Georgia. Even a military superpower such as the US has had obvious difﬁculties in this respect. ‘Moskva prikroet Abkhaziiu s vozdukha’. 43. Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Economy in Transition. See for instance Fishel. Shanker. more importantly in times of scarce resources. for providing perceptive comments and advice on a draft of this article. ‘Preliminary Results of Russia’s Arms Trade in 2007’. OOTW. IISS. Objectives and Consequences’. Foxbats over Dimona. See also Kiselev. 24. ‘Russia resurgent?’. 17 – 18. Small Wars. ‘Distantsionnoe protivoborstvo’. Russia will have to rectify many of the deﬁciencies an analysis of the Five-Day War made obvious and. 4. 1149. Allison. Shlykov.Small Wars & Insurgencies 419 In order to use its military as an efﬁcient tool in the future. 7. 269. Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to Vasily Zatsepin. Cf. 20. The 33rd and 34th Motorized Mountain Troop Brigades based in Botlikh. For an analysis of the ‘peacekeeping’ aspects of the Russian military intervention. LIC. ‘Chernomorskii ﬂot dreifuet v Ochamchiru’.
54. ‘Voina meniaet biudzhet armii’. ‘Moscow Orchestrates War Scare in South Ossetia’. Otstavit!’ 35. 48.. Tichonov. ‘Boi vtemnuiu’. Khramchikhin. IISS. 47. 33. 29. Petrov. ” – ne polychilos’. ‘K beskontaktnym operatsiiam XXI veka ne gotovy’. Baranov. Baev. ‘Armiia shla na voinu v starykh latakh’. 57. 28. . As cruise missiles are expensive compared to conventional bombs. Vendil Pallin and F. 64. Cited in Klein. ‘Tsena pobedy’. ‘Voina na Kavkazskogo khrebta’. Baev. See. . Socor. 34. ‘Uroki ratnykh uspekhov i neudach’. 58. 37. Ibid. economic considerations may have motivated the use of other munitions. Kedrov. ‘Russian Army’s weaknesses exposed during war in Georgia’. Nikolskiy. Westerlund 25. ‘Ispolnenie gosudarstvennogo oboronnogo zakaza Rossii v 2007 godu’. Khramchikhin. Felgenhauer. 31. ‘Uroki ratnykh uspekhov i neudach’. . Babchenko. ‘Georgia’s Air Defense in the War with South Ossetia’. ‘K beskontaktnym operatsiiam XXI veka ne gotovy’. 63. Felgenhauer. ‘Georgia’s Air Defense in the War with South Ossetia’. 43. Nikolskiy. ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. ‘Gruziia-200’ (the title of the article refers to the Russian military term gruz-200. ‘Military Implications of the Georgia War’. 30. Tsyganok. Aminov. Borisov. 42. 45. 38. ‘K beskontaktnym operatsiiam XXI veka ne gotovy’. Solovev. ‘Boi vtemnuiu’. ‘Russians Melded Old-School Blitz With Modern Military Tactics’. 39. 59. ‘Voina meniaet biudzhet armii’. ‘The August War between Russia and Georgia’. ‘Uroki ratnykh uspekhov i neudach’. But Planned War’. 52. Downloaded At: 14:14 27 August 2010 . 53. Shanker. Rastopshin. Muchin. for instance. . ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. 66. Bozheva. Aminov. ‘Russia’s rapid reaction’. ‘Russian Army’s weaknesses exposed during war in Georgia’. ‘Russia’s rapid reaction’. Borisov. 32. ‘Russians Melded OldSchool Blitz With Modern Military Tactics’. ‘V armii: Voenno-ekonomicheskie manevry’. ‘Uroki ratnykh uspekhov i neudach’. Khramchikhin. Rastopshin. ‘Russian “Tandemocracy” Stumbles into a War’. 56. Ibid. 60. 41. which is a cover word for transporting deceased personnel). ‘“Kavkaz-2008”: zaslon terroru’. 50. Tsyganok. ‘Voina na Kavkazskogo khrebta’. ‘It Was No Spontaneous. Tsyganok. ‘Russians Melded Old-School Blitz With Modern Military Tactics’. Baranets. Lukanin. 27. ‘Uroki ratnykh uspekhov i neudach’. ‘Russian “Tandemocracy” Stumbles into a War’. 13. ‘Russia’s rapid reaction’. Rastopshin. ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. Ibid. Khramchikhin. 44. Frolov. Baranov. IISS. Khramchikhin. ‘Russian Rail Road Troops Complete Mission in Abkhazia’. 46. 36. Shanker.420 C. IISS. 49. ‘The August War between Russia and Georgia’. 61. Tsyganok. ‘Boi vtemnuiu’. ‘Ravniais! SMI . Marine infantry units did indeed take part in the ﬁrst Chechen War. ‘Uroki piatidnevnoi voiny v Zakavkaze’. ‘“Ot rossiiskogo informbiuro . 62. however not in their capacity as naval forces but merely for want of available infantry units. See also Kedrov. Borisov. 26. 40. Petrov. 55. 51. 65. Shanker.
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