Academic journal article Military Review

Russia's Checken Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat

Academic journal article Military Review

Russia's Checken Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat

Article excerpt

RUSSIA'S CHECHEN WARS 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat, Olga Oliker, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, 2001, 102 pages, $15.00.

More than a century and a half ago, the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov remarked of Chechens: "Their god is freedom, their law is war." It is questionable whether, in the intervening years, the Russians have taken Lermontov's admonition to heart. Only recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his 2002 State of the Nation address, declared that the military phase of the conflict in Chechnya might be considered closed. Almost concurrently ambushes in Grozny and elsewhere killed more than two dozen servicemen and police; thereby placing a sharp question mark after Putin's public assertion.

In Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-- 2000: Lessons from Urban Combat, Olga Oliker considers exactly what the Russian military learned in Chechnya. Specifically, what did they learn from the first Chechen operation that influenced planning and execution of the second? Oliker examines the differences in approach to fighting that the Russians took in each experience. The disastrous initial battle for Grozny in late 1994 and early 1995 did, in fact, prompt Russian rethinking before the Grozny redux of 1999-2000. Oliker recounts changes in tactics, equipment, and coordination, among other improvements. She credits the Russian military for acknowledging existing failings in their military and compensating for them. …

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