This work covers major events and figures in Russian military history from the end of Mongol domination in the 14th century to the present day. More than 650 entries by scores of expert contributors detail events, individuals, organizations, and ideas that have influenced Russian warfare over 800 years. Two alphabetically arranged volumes explore such conflicts as the Russo-Polish Wars, the Great Northern War, the Russo-Turkish Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Cross references and further readings in each entry serve as jumping-off points for further exploration.
Timothy C. Dowling is professor of history at the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA.
This is the first comprehensive insight for the West into a Soviet "army within an army" whose existence has been known until recently only to a few highly placed people--most of whom would deny it.
The spetsnaz Soviet special forces are one of the more shadowy and ruthless secret special forces in the world. Controlled by military intelligence (the GRU), spetsnaz units are recruited from the ranks of the toughest officers and men in the Soviet Army, the cutting edge of Soviety military might. In modern warfare their primary task is the destruction of enemy tactical nuclear weapons, but the training of anyone selected for spetsnaz prepares him or her for an unlimited range of tasks--from undercover activity as a member of a Soviet Olympic sports team to piloting a midget submarine.
As an officer in the GRU, the author was directly involved in the control and planning of spetsnaz. In this revealing and sometimes shocking book, he talks about his own experience; about the military code of an armed force that kills its own wounded; about the weapons, strategy, and training. For anyone interested in the true military capability of the Soviet Union, this book is essential reading.
How could a country lacking modernized structures-political, institutional, social, fiscal, economic, industrial, and cultural-sustain this level of military effort and support the largest standing army in Europe? What impact did the strain of this commitment of men and money, including the invasion of 1812, have on the state and society-particularly on those who were either conscripted or the dependents they left behind? Despite the success of the Russian state, by 1825 the strains would become almost unsustainable.
Of interest to both students and nonexperts, the work tells the stories of soldiers who suffered in the trenches, U-boat and anti-U-boat personnel, German Americans in the United States, and women activists like Florence Jaffrey Harriman. Through the perspectives of commanders, captives, civilians, and social workers, readers will learn why British soldiers in the Netherlands were called "maiden robbers," how the YMCA set up huts to care for prisoners in POW camps, and how efforts to entertain U.S. troops led to the the largest theatrical enterprise in history.
At the center of Khodarkovsky's sweeping account is Semen Atarshchikov (1807–1845). His father was a Chechen translator in the Russian army, and Atarshchikov grew up with roots in both Russian and Chechen cultures. His facility with local languages earned him quick promotion in the Russian army. Atarshchikov enjoyed the confidence of his superiors, yet he saw the violence that the Russians inflicted on the native population and was torn between his duties as a Russian officer and his affinity with the highlanders. Twice he deserted the army to join the highlanders in raids against his former colleagues. In the end he was betrayed by a compatriot who sought to gain favor with the Russians by killing the infamous Atarshchikov.
Khodarkovsky places Atarshchikov's life in a rich context: we learn a great deal about the region's geography, its peoples, their history, and their conflicts with both the Russians and one another. Khodarkovsky reveals disputes among the Russian commanders and the policies they advocated; some argued for humane approaches but always lost out to those who preferred more violent means. Like Hadji Murat—the hero of Tolstoy's last great work—Atarshchikov moved back and forth between Russian and local allegiances; his biography is the story of the North Caucasus, one as relevant today as in the nineteenth century.