THE RUSSIAN WAY OF WAR: POST SOVIET ADAPTATIONSIN THE RUSSIAN MILITARYA thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. ArmyCommand and General Staff College in partialfulfillment of the requirements for thedegreeMASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCEMilitary HistorybyJAMES A. COPP, MAJOR, UNITED STATES ARMYB.A., Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 2003Fort Leavenworth, Kansas2013-02Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Form ApprovedOMB No. 0704-0188REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGEPublic reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing datasources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing this collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any otheraspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate forInformation Operations and Reports (0704-0188), 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstandingany other provision of law, no person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently valid OMB controlnumber. PLEASE DO NOT RETURN YOUR FORM TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS.1. REPORT DATE (DD-MM-YYYY)2. REPORT TYPE3. DATES COVERED (From - To)13-12-2013Master’s ThesisFEB 2013 – DEC 20134. TITLE AND SUBTITLE5a. CONTRACT NUMBERThe Russian Way of War: Post Soviet Adaptations in the RussianMilitary5b. GRANT NUMBER5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER6. AUTHOR(S)5d. PROJECT NUMBERMajor James A. Copp5e. TASK NUMBER5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES)8. PERFORMING ORG REPORTNUMBERU.S. Army Command and General Staff CollegeATTN: ATZL-SWD-GDFort Leavenworth, KS 66027-23019. SPONSORING / MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES)10. SPONSOR/MONITOR’SACRONYM(S)11. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S REPORTNUMBER(S)12. DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY STATEMENTApproved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES14. ABSTRACTSince the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian federation has deployed forces for threedifferent large-scale combat operations. These three operations—Chechnya 1994, Chechnya1999, and Georgia 2008—were conducted facing in each operation, a differently structuredopponent. As a result of these different structures, Russian forces were required to conduct bothCombat Arms Maneuver and Counter Insurgency. This full spectrum of combat operationsprovides sufficient material to determine if the military of the Russian Federation hasdeveloped a new Russian way of warfare, or if Russian forces are still conducting operationsutilizing the same methods as their Soviet predecessors. The determination of a new Russianway of war will be made at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of warfare. As Russiacontinues to gain wealth from the sale of energy and attempts to expand influence globally,understanding the capabilities and weaknesses of the Russian military will become moreimportant.15. SUBJECT TERMSRussia, Chechnya, Georgia16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF:a. REPORTb. ABSTRACTc. THIS PAGE(U)(U)(U)17. LIMITATIONOF ABSTRACT18. NUMBEROF PAGES(U)14119a. NAME OF RESPONSIBLE PERSON19b. PHONE NUMBER (include area code)Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98)Prescribed by ANSI Std. Z39.18ii
MASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCETHESIS APPROVAL PAGEName of Candidate: Major James A. CoppThesis Title: The Russian Way of War: Post Soviet Adaptations in the Russian MilitaryApproved by:, Thesis Committee ChairSean N. Kalic, Ph.D., MemberGeorge M. Stephenson, M.A., MemberJohn R. Pilloni, M.A.Accepted this 13th day of December 2013 by:, Director, Graduate Degree ProgramsRobert F. Baumann, Ph.D.The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student author and do notnecessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College orany other governmental agency. (References to this study should include the foregoingstatement.)iii
ABSTRACTTHE RUSSIAN WAY OF WAR: POST SOVIET ADAPTATIONS IN THE RUSSIANMILITARY, by Major James A. Copp, 141 pages.Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian federation has deployed forces forthree different large-scale combat operations. These three operations—Chechnya 1994,Chechnya 1999, and Georgia 2008—were conducted facing in each operation, adifferently structured opponent. As a result of these different structures, Russian forceswere required to conduct both Combat Arms Maneuver and Counter Insurgency. This fullspectrum of combat operations provides sufficient material to determine if the military ofthe Russian Federation has developed a new Russian way of warfare, or if Russian forcesare still conducting operations utilizing the same methods as their Soviet predecessors.The determination of a new Russian way of war will be made at the tactical, operationaland strategic levels of warfare. As Russia continues to gain wealth from the sale ofenergy and attempts to expand influence globally, understanding the capabilities andweaknesses of the Russian military will become more important.iv
ACKNOWLEDGMENTSMy most sincere appreciation to my wife Sara, for her patience and understandingduring the many sacrificed weeknights and weekends. My committee (Dr. Kalic, Mr.Stephenson, and Mr. Pilloni) for their expert guidance and continual coaching. Withouteveryone above I would not have completed this endeavor.v
TABLE OF CONTENTSPageMASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCE THESIS APPROVAL PAGE . iiiABSTRACT. ivACKNOWLEDGMENTS . vTABLE OF CONTENTS . viILLUSTRATIONS . viiiCHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION . 1Importance and Scope of the Study . 1Primary and Secondary Research Questions . 3Soviet Way of War. 4Doctrine. 4Manning . 5Policy . 6Background: Turmoil of the Post Soviet Army . 7CHAPTER 2 FIRST CHECHEN WAR . 10Prelude to War: Political Maneuvers and Buildup . 10Russian Threats Prior to Armed Conflict. 15Russian Military Preparation . 20Invasion . 22Fall of Grozny . 25Initial Attack . 25Siege and Fall . 27Russian Counterinsurgency . 35Aftermath . 39CHAPTER 3 SECOND CHECHEN WAR . 41Prelude to War: de facto Chechen Independence . 41Russian Reaction to the Conflict in Dagestan. 43Political Maneuvers . 45Russian Military Buildup . 50Military Developments . 52Russian Invasion . 53Russian Siege of Grozny. 60Fall of Grozny . 69vi
Russian Counterinsurgency . 70Techniques . 70Aftermath . 76CHAPTER 4 GEORGIAN WAR . 78Prelude to War . 78Russian and Georgian Political Maneuvering. 80Build-up of Forces and Border Skirmishes . 84Initiation of Hostilities . 88Georgian Strategy . 90Russia’s Strategy. 91Ground Forces . 93South Ossetia Action. 93Abkhazia Action . 95Air Force . 96Operational Challenges . 99Aftermath . 101Political . 101Economic . 102CHAPTER 5 SUMMATION OF RUSSIAN STRATEGY . 104How Russian Forces Developed to fit the Operational Environment . 104Creation of New Doctrine and TTPs to Meet Operational Needs . 107Russian Organizational Development. 107Smaller Force . 108Conscription . 110Kontraktniki . 112Utilization of Soviet Doctrine and TTPs to Meet Operational Needs . 115Lack of Modernity . 115Russian Response to a Conventional Threat . 118Conclusion . 120A Post-Soviet Way of War? . 120BIBLIOGRAPHY . 124vii
ILLUSTRATIONSPageFigure 1. Initial Invasion of Chechnya .23Figure 2. New Year’s Assault on the Center of Grozny .31Figure 3. Destruction of 131st and Relief Column .34Figure 4. Chechen Seizure of Grozny “Zero Option” .39Figure 5. Diagram1.65viii
CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONImportance and Scope of the StudySince the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation involved itself inthree major ground operations. This thesis will identify from these three events, (19941996 Chechen War, 1999-2009 Chechen War, and the 2008 Georgia War) thecommonalities in post Soviet military operations of the Russian Federation and determineif there is a new post Soviet Russian way of war.Since the 1999 assumption to the presidency by Vladimir Putin, Russia has againattempted to assert itself on the international scene. The ability of the Russians to play animportant role in negotiations throughout the Syrian civil war highlights this point. 1 TheRussian Federation is no longer the new sick man of Europe. 2 With their abundance ofenergy and the willingness to flex diplomatic and military muscle, the Russians are againan important actor in regional and international politics. The development of a capablemilitary is crucial to maintaining this rebuilt international influence. With continualdevelopment, the decline of American prestige worldwide, and an increase in defensefunds available as a result of energy sales, Russia stands poised to exert its growing1Amy Woods, “Rogers: Syrian Deal ‘Big Win’ for Putin, ‘Dangerous’ for US,”Newsmax, 15 September 2013, ous/2013/09/15/id525743 (accessed 25 November 2013).
the Russian Federation has developed a new Russian way of warfare, or if Russian forces are still conducting operations utilizing the same methods as their Soviet predecessors. The determination of a new Russian way of war will be made at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of warfare. As Russia continues to gain wealth from the sale of