Evolution of Russian Military Force Since 1979

Christopher Chappell


This paper aims to show the evolution of the Russian military through the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine. Each conflict provides a lesson in army organization, strategy, and tactics to the Russian military. The section on Afghanistan details the strategy of the Soviet invasion. Rough terrain as well as too much emphasis on holding critical routes drew attention away from creating positive interactions with the local population. Only protecting critical routes allowed the Mujahideen to operate freely and harass Soviet helicopters. The section on Chechnya argues that the Russian military learned that contracted, professional soldiers in conjunction with special forces were more effective than conscripts. The conflict in Georgia broadened warfare to include cyber, economic, and political attacks. The final section about Ukraine argues that through the Gerasimov doctrine, Russia is able to use ambiguity to achieve its foreign policy goals in countries of the former Soviet Union.

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