08/03/1998 12:51:12 Russia puts military focus on small, local wars
MOSCOW, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Russia is focusing its military efforts on
training a small, crack force ready to intervene in regional conflicts along the
border of the former Soviet Union, a top official said on Monday.
Andrei Kokoshin, secretary of Russia's advisory security council, told
reporters the government's latest revision of its defence doctrine concentrates
on small local conflicts rather than all-out war.
"Local conflicts of differing levels of intensity remain asubject of
special attention and are possible along the entire perimeter of Russia and the
Commonweath of Independent States," he said. "They will need our decisive and
sometimes uncompromising actions."
Since the collapse of communism in 1991 and the end of the Cold War, Russia
has acknowledged that the likelihood of an all-out attack from abroad is
But Moscow has fared poorly in its efforts to fight smaller, local
conflicts. It lost a war against separatist fighters in the breakway region of
Chechnya in 1994-96.
The post-Soviet period has also seen wars in Georgia, Azerbaijan and
"We have carried out sober analysis of the situation and strict analysis of
conditions, without closing our eyes to the critical financial situation and the
very tough restrictions which this situation entails," Kokoshin said in
outlining the idea of a small, mobile force.
Russian public television reported the doctrine envisioned 10 infantry
divisions which were fully equipped and in a high state of combat readiness. The
document also seeks to eliminate a number of military departments to create
greater efficiency in the armed forces.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin has pressed for military reforms leading to
a fully professional (as opposed to conscript) army, but has been hampered by
continuing budget woes.