Russian Military victory in Georgia exposes weaknesses in Russian Military

Video reposted to show some examples of what is stated in Article


ANALYSIS-Georgia war shows Russian army strong but flawed
20 Aug 2008 17:26:04 GMT

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Source: Reuters

By Christian Lowe 

MOSCOW, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Russian soldiers rode into battle against Georgia perched on top of their armoured personnel carriers, not out of bravado but because a flaw in their armour can make it more dangerous to travel inside. 

The conflict — Russia’s biggest combat operation outside its borders since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan — showed its armed forces have emerged from years of neglect as a formidable fighting force, but revealed important deficiencies. 

Those weaknesses, especially in missiles and air capability, leave Russia still lagging behind the image of a world-class military power it projects to the rest of the world. 

“The victory over the Georgian army … should become for Russia not a cause for euphoria and excessive joy, but serve to speed up military transformations in Russia,” Ruslan Pukhov, director of Russia’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technology, wrote in a report. 

The performance of the armed forces will be examined closely by NATO planners, who have been prompted by Russia’s newly assertive foreign policy to start viewing the Kremlin once again as a potential adversary. 

It could also hold lessons for defence strategists in the Middle East: Russia supplies some of its hardware to countries such as Syria and Iran, while their foe Israel helps equip Georgia’s security forces. 


Russian forces were deployed in response to Georgian troops moving into Georgia’s Moscow-backed breakaway region, South Ossetia. Russia quickly crushed the Georgian army and its troops pressed on to within 45 km (30 miles) of the capital, Tbilisi. 

It was never in doubt that Russia would defeat the much smaller and less well-equipped Georgian force, but the manner of the victory exposed some shortcomings: 

* Anatoly Khrulyev, the commander of the 58th army which spearheaded the operation, was wounded in a Georgian attack on day two of the Russian deployment. 

Media reports said he was travelling in a column of armoured personnel carriers (APCs), along with a group of Russian journalists, when they were ambushed by Georgian troops. 

Analysts said Russian APCs are not well protected against strikes by large-calibre weapons or land mines, which is one reason why troops often prefer to travel on top. 

* Russia said four of its aircraft — including one Tupolev-22 long-range supersonic bomber — were shot down by Georgia’s air defences. 

“It was remarkable that they shot down a number of Russian fighters, which Russia probably did not expect,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. Marcel de Haas, Russia and security expert at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael. 

Analysts said Russia failed to destroy Georgia’s anti-aircraft systems fast enough, probably because they did not have the aerial reconnaissance to establish where they were. 

“Initial reconnaissance was difficult,” Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of Russia’s General Staff, told Reuters. “We will be introducing serious changes, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, for example.” 

* Russia’s tactics broadly followed a Soviet pattern, with an air and artillery attack followed by the deployment of a large ground force. 

Analysts said the need to send in a large ground force may have been dictated by a shortage of precision-guided missiles. 

“Missiles and rockets would negate the need for large-scale troop deployments in the way they had to carry them out,” said Colonel Christopher Langton, Senior Fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. 


The Kremlin has declared modernising its armed forces a priority. Its defence budget for last year was 22 percent higher than in 2006 and it plans to spend $189 billion on new hardware over eight years. 

Improvements were in evidence in the Georgian campaign. In contrast with the rag-tag conscripts humiliated in Russia’s rebel Chechnya region in the 1990s, commanders said the force in Georgia was made up entirely of professional soldiers. 

Reuters reporters on the ground saw disciplined, well-equipped troops. Petrol trucks shuttled around the front line refuelling tanks and APCs, and trucks ferried supplies of rations to soldiers manning checkpoints. 

But Langton said Russia’s campaign in Georgia left many questions about its military capability unanswered. 

“There is no way they could say from this operation that they are capable of carrying out operations against something as sophisticated as NATO forces,” he said. “It wasn’t a serious test for them.” (Additional reporting by Aydar Buribaev in Moscow, James Kilner in Tbilisi and Oleg Shchedrov in Sochi; writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Tim Pearce)


3 Responses

  1. The problem is that in exposing Russian ‘weakness’ it also showed the one thing they trump the west on in spades-balls and moral clarity. You can disagree with what they did but they simply do not give a damn. I suspect part of this is a tacit understanding that the western press and by extension leftist blabbogenzia will run interference or them to whatever degree since they still get that ‘not so fresh feeling’ and wax nostalgic for the old days when the Russians bankrolled their activities here in the US.

    To fight Ivan you need an entrenched ,multi-layered, and morally certain force who will meet them with precision, zeal, and fervor and be willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to thwart his advance. We have destroyed this capability in western forces to play massive round robin CoIn games. Something will have to give there is a rot in our military culture at low levels because of the desperation to “keep troop density” at all costs.

    The “failure” of Ivan having a large footprint falls into the trap of thinking Ivan was concerned with running a US style “4th gen” playbook or that Ivan’s goals were limited in scope. What was going on was a balls to the floorboard if it moves kill it advance and the footprint was large PRECISELY BECAUSE Putin was testing how far the west would be willing to let him go. Ivan has the moral clarity to know that when he has decided on an objective collateral is not to be feared but welcomed. He is always 100% in the right because his largely to this day state controlled press tells him so.

    They are not interested in much beyond reestablish “Pan-Russia”. There WERE serious structural failures and were we serious about things we likely could have interdicted this. Word on the street had Ivan severely underequipped there is wholesale pillaging going on because of the deleterious nature of their financials in their force. Jam them up that could come into play as a morale killer.

    They had a HUGE build time necessary because of their bad deadline rates and poor logistics. A serious Georgia would have had humint in the likely regions for a Russian thrust. They did not a touch of complacency, naivete, and tunnel vision likely had their eyes squarely on the balls in Ossetia, and Iraq.

    Assuming that Georgia as constituted survives believe me that is gonna change.


  2. RE: Infantry riding on the outside of BTRs.

    Soviet wheeled APCs are very cramped and hard to enter and exit (you can only do so through the top hatch unless you want to get run over). So if there is no credibly artillery, NBC or direct fire threat, riding on the outside (and storing all your loot inside) is the sensible option.

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