Experts told, what are the lessons learned and the generals in Moscow and Tbilisi after the 2008 war
8 August 2013, 08:00
Text: Andrew Carvers,
On the fifth anniversary of the Russian-Georgian conflict VZGLYAD decided to compare how it changed the army of all its participants. Experts believe that in Georgia, the generals changed the entire tactics from offensive to defensive. And in the Russian army in the North Caucasus has received new equipment and more modern weapons.
The President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov on Wednesday evening said that does not preclude a new attack of Georgia, despite the fact that representatives of the new government in Tbilisi not just talking about the impossibility of the use of force against the now independent South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Tibilov stressed that, “indeed, in Georgia, came to power new people, changing the rhetoric, these people assess the events of August 2008, but in 2008, during the Georgian aggression, no one has expressed protest against the actions of President Mikheil Saakashvili. “We need to strengthen our state, and our military forces must be always combat – ready” – Tibilov was quoted by “RIA Novosti”.
Five-year plan of military reforms
As you know, the August war lasted five days. Despite its transience, according to experts, military leaders had identified the problems in the armies of both sides. And the staffs on both sides of the Caucasus mountains were the lessons learned.
Most of all, of course, the victim has changed then a complete defeat of the army of Georgia. Before the war, she was preparing for offensive operations, now focused on defense. Now the Georgian Armed forces include the army, special operations forces (special forces, subordinate to the General staff), national guard, and units and institutions of the Central subordination.
Immediately after the war, the US provided Georgia with 1 billion dollars, “restoration of military potential.” Washington also promised to help “in the reform and modernization of its defense system.
After the war, Tbilisi has intensified its program of development of military-industrial potential, production of weapons and military equipment. In may 2011, began production of armored “Didgori”, a year later came the prototype IFV “Lazika”, began testing reactive systems of volley fire ZCRS-122 on the chassis of KrAZ-6322 and a prototype of the drone.
At the same time measures were taken for military training of the population. The school has a compulsory subject “Civil defense and safety”, which implies “the development of the military spirit and military training skills. In 2012, the government began to pay for the full course of study (including master’s) students who have served two years in the army.
The reform of the army was accelerated. In early 2009, Georgia signed with the United States “Charter on strategic partnership”, according to which the Americans pledged to modernize the Georgian army and enhance the country’s defense.
In late 2009, the land forces had established anti-tank unit in 2010 – eliminated the air force, and combat-ready aircraft and helicopters were transferred to the land forces. Also in 2010, in connection with the transition to NATO standards has been cancelled several military ranks, left over from Soviet times: corporal, Sergeant, petty officer, seaman, and Lieutenant.
Since March last year from 12 to 15 months increased the term of military service. A little later it was announced the reconstruction of a system of units of reservists, the total number of which in 2012 amounted to 70 thousand people in the future should be increased to 150 thousand people. However, the process was not so smooth: in may 2009, the tank battalion in Mukhrovani declared disobedience to the authorities, but after negotiations, the soldiers surrendered to the government forces.
According to a report by the International Institute for strategic studies, the total number of Armed forces of Georgia in 2011 was 20 655 soldiers, and in 2012 – 37 800. The mobilization resource of the country is up to 300 thousand people. In July 2012, President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili said that the part of Junior officers of the army will be training at the USA. In July this year introduced uniform of the new sample.
Through the reform, in fact, the only of Georgian Armed forces began ground forces (SV). They are designed for combat on their own or in cooperation with units of the special operations forces. The basic tactical unit in the army was brigade. SV include five infantry, two artillery, one engineering, one aviation brigade and one brigade of air defence. In addition, the composition of ST. five separate battalions, two light infantry battalion, battalion, battalion electronic warfare and medical battalion.
Aircraft SV constitute a separate aviation brigade and a private heliport. Structurally entering in the army, it actually combines the functions of army aviation and the air force abolished. Special operations forces (SSO) is designed for reconnaissance, implementation of special and counter-terrorist operations.
Note that the basis of the reserve of the Armed forces is the national guard, which is intended for elimination of consequences of emergency situations, protection of important strategic objects, the suppression of mass riots and carrying out activities of civil defense.
“Morally-fighting spirit has increased”
Editor in chief of the Georgian independent military-analytical magazine “Arsenal” Irakli Aladashvili said that after the war to analyze its results began in both countries, in his opinion, the war has accelerated large-scale reform of the Russian defense Ministry. However, it is known that the project “new image of Russian army” was announced in Moscow before the war.
“As for Georgia, we went to some changes. If the main point was in offensive operations after the war the emphasis was on defensive operations,” said Aladashvili the newspaper VIEW. The expert still believes the Russian troops stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia “occupation”.
The expert notes that the Russian military remains very close to strategic objects in Georgia. “From Tbilisi to occupied Akhalgori district about 40 kilometers. This distance can overcome the artillery and jet systems of volley fire. Another danger lies in the fact that the occupying forces are just a few kilometers from the main road – both road and rail, which connect Tbilisi to Gori and Western Georgia. So this and other circumstances, the Russian troops are in Abkhazia) must be taken into consideration”, – said the expert.
Thus, Aladashvili said that unlike Russia, Georgia itself does not produce weapons, in addition to several prototypes of armored vehicles. “Although Russia is again accusing Georgia builds up your muscles, but it is not so. With the help of intelligence agencies and political methods works, so that all transactions of the Georgian side with countries that sell weapons, frustrated,” – said the expert.
Aladashvili said that the situation in the country has changed after the elections last year, “the government will have no reason to use the same President Saakashvili to resume hostilities. “Now in Georgia develops another type of power, not one that was before 2008,” said the analyst.
However, the morale of the army, according to the expert, and when the new government remains high, despite the fact that 90% of the military personnel – contract employees. According to him, according to a recent survey of the Ministry of defense, 70% of contractors agreed to extend the contracts for further service. “This means that morale and fighting spirit became stronger. People want to serve in the army,” he said.
The most capable in the army are considered to be fought with the Taliban soldiers, who, however, are different parts. In Afghanistan, the military are for six months, where at the same time are trained according to NATO standards. After returning, told Aladashvili, a continued service.
“Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia was all the time in wars, and actively participated in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. The officers and enlisted men go through it. But the August war lasted a few days, but many have received the experience,” he said.
“Trying to compete with Azerbaijan”
Experts in Moscow believe that Georgia has still not regained the combat potential that she had in 2008. The head of the Center for military forecasting Anatoly Tsyganok believes that the results of the August campaign was “very discouraging”. After that, the Georgian elite was irritation over plans by the military to solve problems in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“After the war substantially decreased the military budget of Georgia. In 2012 alone, the budget increased by 213 million lari. Now the military budget is approximately $ 427 million, or 3% of GDP,” says Tsyganok.
According to him, Georgia dropped out of a regional arms race, which minimizes the possibility of revenge in the next five years. “If before the war it was believed that Georgia joins NATO, about this now almost no one talks about – neither in Tbilisi nor in Brussels. About Georgia just forgot,” said Tsyganok.
The expert noted that Georgia changed the system of combat training and strategic planning. If 2008 was planned the return of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, now much attention is paid to defense.
“Although in 2009 military spending was reduced, but regional racing Georgia will not retreat. She is trying to compete with Azerbaijan. Not so long ago adopted a national security concept and military doctrine. The main threat to Georgia is Russia. During this time, increased strategic partnership with the United States and Turkey,” – said Tsyganok.
Combat experience Georgian soldiers continue to gain in Afghanistan. Roma pointed out that there are 295 Georgians: the battalion under the command of the U.S. and the company under the French early. “The operation in Afghanistan, Georgia has lost 17 soldiers and officers. While preparing to send another 750 Georgian soldiers,” – said the expert, noting also that after the August war Georgia had to spend on sea joint strategic military exercises with Turkey.
Got a new outfit
Chief editor of the Russian magazine “national defense” Igor Korotchenko, the main novelty in the last five years sees the beginning of deliveries in parts of the Caucasus modern weapons.
“This is particularly true of armored vehicles, helicopters, strike aircraft in General. Russia has updated the fleet weapons have the exact parts that are in the southern direction”, – said Korotchenko the newspaper VIEW.
According to experts, it is also important that soldiers and officers got new comfortable field form, “these kits are designed for both summer and winter time.” “Failed, in large measure, to deploy a new communications system, including guaranteed durability, which does not allow to intercept enemy information messages”, – said the expert, noting that Russia also had a significant rearmament of the troops of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Korotchenko agree with Aladashvili that the events of August 2008 accelerated “serdyukovskaya reform”.
“The war with Georgia became the Foundation for a radical reform, which was started by former defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, although his name is unpopular today, and is associated with corruption. But we must pay tribute to that radical change began after the war with Georgia.” The initiator is largely made himself Serdyukov admitted Korotchenko.
“Along with the negative aspects of the reform (the sequester of military medicine, the ill-conceived reform of military education) it is important to note the main direction which does not change. Created a fortified military district. The four of them. Created and continue to operate a joint strategic command. Managed to increase the allowances of the officer corps, which became a real middle class,” he listed the expert. He added that under the new Minister Sergei Shoigu was created by special operations forces, including missions abroad.
The expert also said about the creation of cyber command in the structure of the aircraft. “In 2008 we actually lost the information war in Georgia. Including due to the lack of viable information and cyberstructure”, – he stressed.
While Korotchenko stressed that the anniversary of the war again to fix that Georgia was the aggressor, should seek to build relations with the new authorities to “key ideologists and executors of the crimes were prosecuted”. “We need to ensure that Saakashvili was legally declared a war criminal,” – said the expert.
Korotchenko doubt that the coming to power of the Georgian government Bidzina Ivanishvili has a severe impact on the atmosphere in the army. “According to recent reports, allegedly created the triple Alliance of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. This suggests that certain of the ambitions of the Georgian military left. I believe that it is necessary to draw the sting from Georgia, to diseaseclinical of the country, as was done denazification of Nazi Germany,” – said the expert.
To the North of the Caucasus mountain range
As you know, the troops of the southern areas is given special attention, not accidentally in the spring of this year, President Vladimir Putin ordered here to hold snap exercises. It is obvious that the troops here should indirectly improve security on the background of preparations for the winter Olympic games in Sochi.
Gypsy recalls that after 2008, the Russian command changed the deployment of troops in the Caucasus and sped up their rearmament. In the framework of the overall reform instead of the North-Caucasian district as a part of the southern district appeared tactical command.
According to Gypsy on the territory of the County remained 17th and 18th brigade on the basis of the former 42nd division in Chechnya, the 19th brigade on the basis of the former 19th division in North Ossetia, 20 brigade on the basis of the former 20th motorized rifle division in Volgograd. In the district deployed three mountain brigade: 33rd in Dagestan and the 34th in Karachay-Cherkessia and the 8th brigade in Chechnya.
In addition, there are two divisions of special forces and air assault, missile, artillery and anti-aircraft missile brigade. In addition, there are three military bases in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Armenia.
In November 2011 in the region appeared first on the engineering team, which has 750 units of engineering equipment. In service of the Caspian flotilla also includes two new combat units: the patrol ship “Tatarstan” and small artillery ship “Astrakhan”. In the foreseeable future, the fleet is expected to have one patrol boat.
Of the border in the southern operational district is divided into 19 detachments is roughly 160 thousand people, of which about 20 thousand civilians.
With regard to three military bases, in the composition of the groups in Armenia include Russian 102nd base and three motorized infantry regiments. In South Ossetia deployed the 4th military base, is 693 motorized rifle brigade (in 2010 there were additionally deployed heavy division mobile missile systems “Smerch”, which has irritated Turkey and Romania, and in 2011 – division complexes “Tochka-U”), and placed in Abkhazia 7th military base on the basis of the 131st motorized rifle brigade.
Tsyganok also said that the district is actively upgrading. For example, the 19th and the 20th brigade received a new T-90 tanks. All available command are 12 tactical missile launchers “Tochka-U”, about 400 tanks, 600 infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers 450, about 400 self-propelled guns, towed guns 100, 250 mortars, 230 reactive systems of volley fire, 150 military air defense systems, 100 anti-aircraft missiles on self-propelled base, 100 bombers and reconnaissance su-24 40 su-25, 80 su-27 and MiG-29 and 40 attack helicopters.
In addition, the expert said, if not officially, then actually took place, integration of the Armed forces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into a single structure. “They can no longer be considered in the concept of security in the South Caucasus as an independent,” – said Tsyganok.Related posts: