The Russian Military Resurgence

Post-Soviet Decline and Rebuilding, 1992–2018


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About the Book

The transition from the Soviet to the post–1991 Russian military is a fascinating story of decline and reinvention. The Soviet army suffered a slow demise, dissolving in 2000 and only gradually reforming based on radically different principles. The First Chechnya War (1994–1996) was the lowest point for the Soviet military but the Second Chechnya War (1999–2004) saw the initial stirrings of the new Russian army. The Five Day War with Georgia in August 2008 was its first major success and marked Russia’s return to world power status. Lively accounts and maps describe the actions of these wars, along with the Crimea operation of 2014, the separatist struggles in eastern Ukraine and the ongoing Russian intervention in Syria.

About the Author(s)

René De La Pedraja, PhD, University of Chicago, has researched and written numerous publications. He is a professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

René De La Pedraja

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 392
Bibliographic Info: 12 maps, notes, bibliography, index.
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6991-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3449-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1

Part I: The Downward Spiral
1. The Soviet Union: Mounting Tensions 3
Strategic Encirclement: NATO, China and Japan  4
The Armed Forces in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union  10
The Soviet Army and Nationalities  12
The KGB and the Survival of the Soviet Union  18
2. The War in Afghanistan, 1979–1989 24
The Origins of the Soviet Invastion of Afghanistan  24
The Main Stages in the War, 1979–1989  31
The Soviet–Afghan War in World History  36
3. The ­Self-Destruction of the Soviet Union 40
Mikhail Gorbachev and the Economic Collapse  41
A Foreign Policy for Military Reductions  43
The Revolt of the Nationalities  44
The August 1991 Coup Attempt  56
The Decisive Days of 19–21 August 1991  60
From the Coup Attempt to Russia  68
4. The Birth of the Russian Federation 71
From Soviet to Russian Armed Forces  71
A New Structure for the Russian Armed Forces  75
Parliament Versus the President  77
The Russian Army in Shambles  79
5. Trouble in the “Near Abroad” 88
War in Transnistria  89
Ukraine and the Soviet Military  94
Georgia: War and Turmoil  101
6. The First Chechnya War 107
Chechens in the Soviet Union  107
Chechnya and the Russian Federation  110
The Invasion of Chechnya  116
The Insurgency  120
7. Russia in Decline 125
The Presidential Campaign and the First Chechnya War  125
The Reorganization of the Military  132
The Fading Yeltsin Presidency  138

Part II: Halting the Decline
8. Saving Russia: The Second Chechnya War 145
From Failed State to War  145
The Russian Invasion and the Battle of Grozny  148
The Insurgency  155
The Russian Counterinsurgency  160
The Turning Point: The Rebel Offensive of 2004  164
The End of the Insurgency  165
9. The Revival of Russian Institutions 171
A String of Successes on the Civilian Front  172
Progress and Setbacks on the Military Front  179
10. The Turning Point: The Five Day War with Georgia 191
Growing Disputes  191
The Path to War  195
“A Splendid Little War”  201
The Aftermath  211

Part III: Reconstruction
11. The New Look 217
Structural Changes for the Military  217
Crisis in Recruitment  226
The Revolt of the Officers  230
12. Asia 235
The Alliance with China  235
Central Asia: The Great Game of Empire  245
The Far East: Vostok–2010  250
13. Russia, Ukraine and Crimea 256
Ukraine: The Making of a Failed State  256
Confrontation in Crimea  261
The End of Ukrainian Crimea  265
14. Turmoil and War in Ukraine 269
The Defense of Crimea  269
The Revolt of Eastern Ukraine  272
The Ukrainian Military Offensive  276
Victory  280
Stalemate  284
15. The Russian Expedition to Syria 287
Russia and Syria 2000–2010  287
The Syrian Civil War  294
The Russian Intervention  297
16. The Russian Military for the ­Twenty-First Century 309
Weapons and the Defense Industry  309
Personnel: Quality and Quantity  311

Chapter Notes 329
Annotated Bibliography 369
Index 373