Russian Strategy in Chechnya: A Case Study in Failure
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Russia initiated activity in Chechnya as a covert intelligence operation. It changed into an internal security mission which, in turn, became a mid-intensity conflict and then evolved into in a low-intensity conflict. The low-intensity conflict exposed the weakness of the Russian military and drove the country to the brink of economic and political disaster. Despite massive use of air and ground power a grossly inferior force could not be beaten. The principal reasons for the failure included the lack of a clear and attainable national objective, a dysfunctional national military strategy and operational miscalculations as conventional tactics and doctrine were applied to a low-intensity conflict situation. Other reasons for the failure included the inability of the frail economy to support both guns and butter, the role of the independent media which shaped resistance to the war, and a general inefficiency within the military. The aftermath of the Chechnya campaign may dramatically alter the future role of the military in the Russian republic. The conflict also provides notable examples concerning the use of air power which are worthy of further analysis.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics