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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine -- Military well-prepared for Ukraine -- By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

President Vladimir Putin has turned a once-moribund Russian military into a lean, quick-strike force that can invade Chechnya, Georgia and now Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

Under Mr. Putin, Russia has developed the world's third-largest defense budget, at $70 billion. The underpaid army of post-Cold War conscripts has given way to special operations troops and experienced guns for hire, some of whom showed up in Crimea in not readily identifiable uniforms. Overall, headquarters have been consolidated and soldiers fight out of brigades, not large divisions.

Mr. Putin, who has lamented the end of the Soviet empire, is using Russia's energy riches to buy military technology overseas such as communications networks and drones. Germany, its eastern half once ruled by Stalinist countrymen, built for Russia a sophisticated training center for infantry units that can simulate an array of war scenarios, such as invading a neighbor.

After Mr. Putin's re-election in 2012, the military began a series of "snap exercises" — surprise orders to see how fast army units mobilize, leave bases and arrive at objectives. Orders for larger exercises recognize the military's inability to fight a long war and include the use of nuclear weapons to defend the homeland.
In all, Mr. Putin has built a military that can unleash a force to reclaim territory lost in the Soviet empire's demise.

"What they've done is fashion a force structure that can deal with local crises in adjoining states, and right now that means states that, by rights in their view, should belong to the Russian Federation," said David Glantz, a retired Army officer trained as a Sovietologist who just completed a book about the Battle of Stalingrad. "Crimea is the most sensitive and obvious place to operate because that is where they've had the military bases."

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