A Military History of Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to the by David Stone

By David Stone

This booklet brings to gentle Russia's undeservedly-obscure army earlier, rectifying the tendency of yankee and Western army historians to forget the Russian part of items. Russia, as either a Western and non-Western society, demanding situations our brooding about Western army superiority. Russia has constantly struggled with backwardness compared to extra constructed powers, at a few instances extra effectively than others. The imperatives of survival in a aggressive overseas atmosphere have, in addition, produced in Russian society a excessive measure of militarization. whereas together with operational and tactical aspect that appeals to army historical past fanatics, this e-book at the same time integrates army historical past into the wider issues of Russian historical past and attracts comparisons to advancements in Europe. The publication additionally demanding situations previous assumptions concerning the Russian army. Russian army historical past can't be summed up easily in one inventory word, even if perennial incompetence or luck merely via stolid, stoic safety; it additionally exhibits a number of examples of remarkable offensive successes.

Stone strains Russia's interesting army heritage, and its lengthy fight to grasp Western army know-how with out Western social and political associations. It covers the army dimensions of the emergence of Muscovy, the disastrous reign of Ivan the poor, and the next construction of the recent Romanov dynasty. It bargains with Russia's emergence as an excellent energy below Peter the good and culminating within the defeat of Napoleon. After that triumph, the ebook argues, Russia's social and monetary stagnation undermined its huge, immense army strength and taken catastrophic defeat within the Crimean struggle. The booklet then covers imperial Russia's lengthy fight to reform its army computing device, with combined ends up in the Russo-Japanese battle and international struggle I. The Russian Revolution created a brand new Soviet Russia, yet this booklet exhibits the continuity throughout that divide. The Soviet Union's interwar options and its harrowing adventure in global struggle II owed a lot to imperial Russian precedents. A superpower after the struggle, the Soviet Union's army may perhaps used to be bought on the cost of continuous fiscal backwardness. ironically, the very militarization meant to supply safety in its place destroyed the Soviet Union, leaving a brand new Russia at the back of the West economically. simply as there has been loads of continuity after 1917, this publication demonstrates how the hot Russian army has inherited a lot of its present difficulties from its Soviet predecessor. the associated fee that Russia has paid for its persevered life as a very good energy, consequently, is the overpowering militarization of its society and economic climate, a scenario it maintains to fight with.

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Additional info for A Military History of Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to the War in Chechnya (Praeger Security International)

Sample text

As the Livonian War’s frustrations mounted, Ivan’s paranoia and frustration exploded into horrific violence against his own people. This oprichnina, a period of political chaos and mass terror, still provokes intense debate: was Ivan insane, or was he reacting against real dangers to his authority? If the dangers were real, were Ivan’s actions a rational response or a paranoid overreaction? There is still no consensus. What is clear is that Ivan believed that his failures in the Livonian War were due to traitors among his own servitors.

They organized and trained new-style regiments as an alternative to the noble levies and strel’tsy. Many Muscovites were unhappy with these developments. In addition to a deep-seated mistrust of foreigners and foreign ways in Muscovite culture, the increasing importance of infantry threatened the distinctive position of noble cavalry. Given gentry reluctance to serve in new-style infantry units, they were recruited instead from other free people (that is, not serfs): volunteers first, then conscripts.

From 1630 to 1634, 17,000 soldiers, making up ten regiments, were recruited to the new units. They were trained in new linear tactics, particularly along Dutch lines. The infantry regiments initially included pikemen for protection from cavalry, compensating for the slow rate of fire of their muskets, given the lack of bayonets. In April 1632, King Sigismund of Poland died just before the Deulino truce expired. Filaret took advantage of the chaos surrounding the election of a new Polish king by launching his war to regain Smolensk before preparations were complete.

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