Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Russia’s War Games Make Georgia Nervous

In June and July Russia held several military exercises with its regional partners. There are more to come in August and September. Of course, none of the planned events are quite as extensive as the one that an Iranian news agency falsely reported on June 19th, in a bit of wishful thinking.

There won’t be joint war games involving 90,000 troops held in Syria by Russia, China and Iran.

Even then, the exercises are numerous and heavily concentrated in Central Asia. In June there was Peaceful Mission-2012 [ru], held by five Shanghai Group countries (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) in Tajikistan. There were 2000 troops involved in the antiterrorist themed war game, of which Russia contributed 350.

In July, Russia held Aldaspan-2012 [ru], this time bilaterally with Kazakhstan. Then, in early August there was the Frontier-2012 [ru] exercise involving members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). [Uzbekistan withdrew from the CSTO on June 28th after it refused to allow Kazakh troops transit to Tajikistan for the Peaceful Mission-2012 war games.]

So far the only non-Central Asian exercise was Slavic Fellowship-2012 [ru], involving Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. It went by relatively unnoticed in July. In general, none of these exercises have generated much buzz on RuNet, and some of the ones still to come - Selenga-2012 [ru] with Mongolia or Cooperation-2012 [ru] with CSTO, both scheduled for September – are also unlikely to become major news items. Read More