Russian Military Reform, 1992-2002

Russian Military Reform, 1992-2002

Russian Military Reform, 1992-2002

Russian Military Reform, 1992-2002

Excerpt

History demonstrates that the efficacy of a modern nation-state's national security policy, if not the survival of the state itself, depends directly upon its ability to develop and maintain military forces sufficient to suit the requirements of its military policy and military strategy. In an era of dizzying technological developments within the context of sharply changing geopolitical, social, and economic conditions, achieving sufficiency in terms of military forces requires states to contemplate and institute near-constant military reform. Key to this process is the ability to anticipate, plan, and implement those changes that guarantee the continued relevance and utility of the state's armed forces.

As with its illustrious predecessor, the Soviet Union, military reform in the Russian Federation has been a most elusive goal. Although wedded to the scientific approach to reform by its rigid adherence to the ideological tenets of Marxism-Leninism throughout the over 70 years of its existence, the Soviet Union's attempts to master the chimera of military reform were plagued by practical realities. Inhibited by traditions and practices inherited from its Tsarist imperial past and the stifling political, economic, and social climate inherent in communist totalitarianism, military reform in the Soviet Union always proved farsighted in its intent but, in the end, enticingly incomplete, frequently with disastrous or near-disastrous consequences.

The Soviet Union's long experience with military reform began in the 1920s, as its new Bolshevik leadership struggled to shape and define the ideal military institutions suited to satisfy the unique ideological and political needs and aims of the new Socialist state. The ensuing reforms, which bore the imprimatur of M.V. Frunze, People's Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, ostensibly formed a modern Red Army uniquely socialist in its composition and, after further reforms in the 1930s, expandable in time of war. In the process and wake of these root-and-branch reforms, famous 'great captains' and eminent military theorists such as A.A. Svechin, V.K. Triandafillov, and M.N. Tukhachevsky inculcated advanced military theories into the Red Army's arsenal of military thought and an imposing force structure to match.

Tragically for the Soviet Union, during the late 1930s the Soviet system itself undermined and largely negated the positive effects of previous military reforms. The paranoid fears of an oriental-style despot, I.V. Stalin, resulting in a literal 'permanent purge' of key

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