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Medvedev: Russia's Army is Battle-Worthy

By Ernest Petrosyan
Monday, October 17
“The operation which forced Georgia to submit in August 2008 revealed that Russia has an efficient army,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with his supporters on October 15, adding that the Russian army is capable of resisting any force. “Despite the existing conditions in our armed forces, our army is nonetheless combat-capable”, said Medvedev.

Medvedev said that the 2008 August conflict was a “very tough test” for him. “I am hopeful that we will not have to face such similar tests in the upcoming years. I have analyzed many times what I did and how I did it - contrary to perceptions and propaganda in some countries. The burden of taking such a decision always lies with a single person. Whatever happens this single person will then be either blamed or thanked," Medvedev said.

He made the remarks at a town-hall-style meeting with supporters in Moscow in response to one participant who fought in the August war and thanked Medvedev for standing firm and not reversing his decision to send troops to Georgia.

As the Russian president stated that the Russian army emerged from the conflict with Georgia with dignity, giving a lesson to other countries. "It was a very serious lesson for everyone, who has been thinking up various kinds of plans in respect of our country and in respect of our neighbors. I think that everyone has learnt a lesson and Russia emerged from that conflict with dignity”, he said.

“I do not wish any leader of any country - either of Russia or of Georgia - to take such a decision. But there are moments sometimes when such decisions have to be taken and one has to be ready for that”, concluded Medvedev.

Georgian political analyst Nika Chitadze, however, disagreed with President Medvedev saying that the Russian army is not efficient at all. “An army which has hazing and Soviet-educated officers cannot be combat-capable. As for the August war, the Russian army defeated us only due to its quantity, implementing air, sea, and land attacks”, said Chitadze.

Such proud statements from the Russian president regarding the Russian army's combat-capabilities will have raised a wry smile in many circles in Georgia as Georgia modernizes and re-equips its army. Some, including many Russian soldiers who emerged onto Georgian soil in 2008 and stole from Georgian military facilities, consider the Georgian army to be in a better state than the Russian one. Some suggest that Russian soldiers have been treated as cannon fodder by their generals, as they are often poorly trained and worse equipped than their opponents, though they have prevailed historically due to sheer quantity.