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Mark Galeotti, honorary professor at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, is one of the foremost Russia watchers today. Based in London, he also runs his consultancy and is affiliated with think tanks in the USA, UK and Europe. A prolific author on Russia and security affairs, he has vis mere been a professor at New York University and the Moscow State institute of International Relations and an adviser to the British Foreign Office. vis mindre

Includes the name: Mark Galeotti

Serier

Værker af Mark Galeotti

The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia (2018) 136 eksemplarer, 3 anmeldelser
We Need to Talk About Putin: How the West Gets Him Wrong (2019) 72 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
Putin's Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine (2022) 54 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
The Modern Russian Army 1992-2016 (Elite) (2017) 35 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces (Elite) (2015) 30 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Armies of Russia's War in Ukraine (Elite) (2019) 26 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Eurotour (Cyberpunk RPG) (1993) 25 eksemplarer
Kulikovo 1380: The battle that made Russia (Campaign) (2019) 21 eksemplarer, 2 anmeldelser
Mythic Russia (2006) 19 eksemplarer, 1 anmeldelse
Hero's Book (2003) 13 eksemplarer
Among the Dead (1992) 11 eksemplarer
In Wintertop's Shadow (2002) 11 eksemplarer
Champions of the Reaching Moon (2007) 7 eksemplarer
Gorbachev and His Revolution (1997) 5 eksemplarer
Furthest - Crown Jewel of Lunar Tarsh — Bidragyder — 3 eksemplarer
Ondergang (2024) 2 eksemplarer
Organised Crime in History (2009) 1 eksemplar
Putin's Russia: Scenarios for 2005 (2001) — Redaktør — 1 eksemplar

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This was very interesting book covering air warfare during the Afghanistan war 1979-1988.

It covers some main points on Soviet Air Force involvement, aircraft and helicopter types utilized, attack tactics used (from all aspects, fighter-bombers, assault, gunship helicopters, intelligence and logistics) and challenges faced (mostly form Pakistani Air Force but also from Iran side (which was revealing to me at least). Very interesting are comments on the effectiveness of MANPADs used by Aghani tribes and how propaganda is something that is always present in every conflict.

While actual use of combat flying machines was done by Soviets, Mujahideen troops also developed their own tactics (helped also by myriad of western backed military consultants and fighters) to deal with the assault craft, at least those flying at the very low level. Not so much is said here - air defense of dispersed clan forces is not something that would occupy many pages unlike ground war , because it comes to use of high speed automatic guns and shoulder launched missiles so beside listing of weapons used only option is to list every possible air ambush executed (which would be a phone book size set of data) - but what is covered describes the challenges and approaches used in a clear and understandable way.

As one of the reviewers said, lots of things are put into this book and due to the available book length (below hundred pages) not that many details are made available that could be of interest to aficionados of air warfare. But again Osprey was never in the field of providing full information (like Harpia or Helion publishers for example) but more of a short digest view of the battlefield with as much details as 60-100 pages allow for, weapons used and people involved.

With that in mind book is very good, 4 stars. Would it be great to have more details, of course but it is as it is.

Two things stand out here to me:
- Author's comment that Afghanistan war was never analyzed by Soviet/Russian army - this was a little bit awkward because books involving Lester Grau as an editor were actually compilations of writings from Soviet army on the war, lessons learned and applied. Author's statement is more weird considering these books are referenced in the bibliography section.
- It is obvious that author can write a very good military analysis, only problem is that he can do it with things from the past (as in lets-honor-our-enemies-now-they-are-dead approach). As soon as author enters the arena of contemporary Russian military, all objectivity goes out of the window, and pretty rude and insulting comments start to appear. Hopefully this will change at some point, especially since author is one of the very few English speaking sources on the subject, which just makes author's approach more strange and disappointing.

If you are looking for a detailed albeit brief overview of air war during Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, this book is highly recommended.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Zare | Apr 3, 2024 |
Very good overview of the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, with very good comments on qualities and errors that were found on both sides during this short conflict.

As is case with this author and contemporary Russian military, bias is so strong that I can envision the author with clenched teeth and shaking hand while trying to write down that this was actually provoked by Georgian side. That being said, I can commend that basics are given. Again, those pesky South Ossetian's are baddies because they feel more politically linked to Russia than to Georgia (how dare they!) and Abkhazians are also rebellious holdout for the same reason- but actual explanations of inter-ethnic relations is of course missing, except in form of all that inter ethnic tension is just product of Russian interference, its not like Georgian's were so aggressive in the early 1990s, no, never! Of course this makes author's comment in the very beginning that Adjarans were easily subdued by Georgians sound a little bit off, but I put this to author's very strange (but again, when talking about contemporary Russia, also very consistent) way of thinking where anyone who even looks at Russia for help is outcast. And maybe in author's home country subduing means inviting for tea and biscuits, not use of force. Who knows, you know, different cultures.

Georgia turned to the West very early and received a lots of training from Western armies (UK, US and if one looks at some of the information, Israelis) and armament (US, UK, Greece, Turkey and again Israel). This brought back old hatred for the north of the country and decision was made to finally return the territories of these two breakaway republics. I have to say author manages to walk a straight line and explains how Georgian government's decision was foolish but he cannot resist the temptation to say how, you know, it was not even decision of Georgia to attack, they were pushed because Russians provoked them (I mean, of course!). It is not that in 15 years after last great conflict there were no border skirmishes, attacks on civilian settlements from all sides and exchange of artillery fire. No, according to the author this entire area was as peaceful as Biblical Paradise until tensions got heated up in 2007/2008 and Georgian authorities decided to finally end this sudden (and I guess unexpected) violence outbreak!

Now, author constantly makes clear how Georgia in 2008 was a country that aimed for Western block acceptance by doing things that are on acceptance list of Western block apparently - restructuring military in a way that western only weapons are procured (can you be an ally of West without HK MP5 and M4 carbines or Barrett rifles - if you ask the author no, you cannot, without these you are not even a modern army!) and joining US led military campaigns in far away countries like Iraq and Afghanistan (after being trained by NATO instructors to be able to fight in these countries under Western command structures). This is what makes progressive country it seems.

So, as said above, as a side effect rapid militarization, Georgia's government decided to take the country on the path to militarily retake northern republics. Taking into account that army commander in chief was trained in US, army was trained by various US/NATO programs (and Israelis) it is very likely that same structures were involved in planning and execution of the attack, especially considering that everyone though Georgian army would run over the rebels in a matter of days.

What happened is that Russians intervened and in a series of short but intensive battles (and long range strikes into the Georgian territory) Georgian army was pushed back, losing infrastructure, combat equipment and giving Russians excuse to deploy their troops to stay in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions for years to come.

Day by day descriptions of battles, very good analysis and identifications of errors on both sides (especially Russian since in this war they were the heavy hitters) are truly good (comments from the Russian military side that author quotes truly showed the functional gaps in the Russian military at the time). For this book would be 4 stars.

What takes one star is Russians-did-it (although they were taken by complete surprise at the beginning - again author's reasoning is very interesting) and constant, unnecessary and really disappointing jabs at rebel republics (I mean imagine situation where Ossetian professional Alania battalion, part of peace keeping forces in South Ossetia, decided to take arms when Georgian troops came to the South Ossetia capital! I mean can you imagine that type of behavior - they threw off their pose of neutrality as author says :) I mean, you gotta laugh).

For military analysis and profiling of the parties involved this is excellent read. For political information, as is case with any author's book about contemporary Russia, this is not a source to learn anything from.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Zare | Apr 3, 2024 |
I think that author's bias towards modern Russia and especially Putin is slowly starting to affect his work to a degree that his works start to feel a little bit forced and rant-like.

If tomorrow Russia would deliver I do not know, cure for all diseases, author would still treat it as a underworld cesspit. In other words, no matter the situation if author is writing about Russia you can expect that he thinks so lowly about it that he would end up on other side of the world.

So, Crimea takeover. Of course, author states that it was all done using gangsters, underground lowlifes and mercenaries that paved the way for Russian special forces and later armor coming in and taking over the Crimea. Somewhere, somewhere in there you might hear something named Right Sector mentioned - but since these are Ukrainians, it is just myth. Yes, majority of Crimea decided to stay in Russia - this is something author shyly mentions at the very last pages - but it was under the threat of violence (which does not make sense if as author says Crimea would make the same decision, but this is think-tank thinking I guess). No free will, no free decision..... But hey, Ukraine government abolished Russian language as an official language, what about that? Well, that was unfortunate decision (never reverted mind you, but OK) that Russians just used as a pretext.

So, it was actions of goons and gangsters then backed up by elite special operations forces and armor units. Police went over to Russians almost immediately (bought up, must be! all of them!), parts of the army went over (bloody traitors, all bought up!) and [for the author] weirdly enough civil population went over (remember the comment that Crimea would decide to join Russia in any event? Why then such a surprise that population went over? Right?).

Use of IL76 transport planes is "hangover from soviet times"? I am still trying to figure this one out. I guess C130, Spartan or any of the Airbus military transports were supposed to be used (although C130 is as old as IL76, but never mind, author's logic).

Does the author discuss the internal national conflicts in Ukraine? Well, he mentions Tatars, because they were severely punished by Soviet government for collaboration with Germans and their allies in WW2 (as author says only small part of the population was involved - interestingly it is always the case of small number of silly naughty people when allies-of-the-moment are in play), Cossacks are mentioned (as Russian thugs of course - also heavily dispersed by Soviet government for same actions as Tatars, but since they remained with Russians these guys are The Thugs)..... and that's it. Is there any mention of enmity between Western and Eastern Ukraine? No. Is there any mention of clashes and atrocities in Odessa and other cities in Ukraine when pro-Russian and pro-Western columns clashed? No, you see this is all a myth and perception used by Russians. If you read all the text you will see how Ukraine army was training with western/NATO forces at the time (picture even says 2014) but is there anything more on this? No, except the mention how installing coastal artillery systems after takeover was done to prevent western intervention - very interesting statement dont you think, but alas no further information is provided.

Was there mention of Ukrainian oligarchs and local chiefs and their personal armies roaming the land on both sides? No. Why? I guess because it is complicated and would mess up with the context here.
Role of Strelkov and his troops - for the author they are war criminals for actions in Crimea, but for what exactly is not disclosed. Strelkov is a weird character, I agree but even his actions in Slavyansk were time limited (80 something days if I am not wrong) so question remains what atrocities were done in Crimea since everyone agrees that level of aggression used was minimal.

So in short when you look at what is expected to get from the book - description of the operation, when all the usual author's comments on Russian gangsters, thugs, traitorous Ukrainian troops, etc - is taken out, is pretty well given. Russian troops are even shown as competent (author's slip I am sure, he was just being generous to the Russians).

Everything else - context of the operation (you know, strategic location, very close to home unlike, I do not know, Falklands, more like case of Panama), political situation in the country, complete confusion when it comes to various militias and paramilitaries and so on and so forth - is as expected from the author, very single-sided. Which is a shame. I still think that author will one day publish a really good and objective work on the subject of Russian military. Question remains when..... sometime in a far far future. In the meantime his books will definitely not age well.

From the operation perspective highly recommended. From the point of everything else, there are better books out there that give lots of political and social context, dont use this one as starting point.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Zare | Apr 3, 2024 |
This book, like majority of books from the author where he mentions Russia, is a mixed bag.

Author belongs to the ranks of existing academia and think-tanks that see everything in we (West) equals good, they (almost everybody else that does not work hand in hand with West) bad/there-be-dragons, relations.

For these people world created in 1990's, and then heavy-handedly managed and controlled from the 2001 war on terror to basically instigating wars and mayhem throughout the world, culminating with the epidemic and current war, is so called world of international rules, Nirvana of the new planet wide community. Now if you check those rules you will find that underneath all of the so called internationalism promoted by the West, what is pushed forward are national interests of states belonging to the block (which is understandable, although for some reason this is always received as a shock). This means that if one goes slightly off the course and does not have means to fight back..... oh boy. I will just say that something nefarious will definitely pop up.

Book itself is not an overview of anything new - as author mentions throughout the book chapters all these ways of warfare existed since time immemorial. Blockades, burning of food stockpiles, instigating diseases and sowing confusion, corruption and bribery. One might just say that the scope has changed, but even here I beg to differ because world-level warfare and actions have been alive at least from the Renaissance period (privateers, colonies, big mercantile empires that are analog to today's (and generally dystopian) armed private corporations, spreading from North America to Asia).

Technology has changed, but effect of the press machine was equal to the today's effect of world wide web.

So, it is nothing new. Proper title would be guide to modern conflicts.

Second thing is that this is not overview of new means to conflict in neutral stance. This is guide on how they (mostly non-Western parties) threaten us (West). Considering this, book is very biased and reads like more literate and informative (there is information here, will get to that) book on danger from the Red Menace from the mid 1900's.

Third thing is that author manages to circumvent all the [very known at the time of the book] elements that show true danger of using various cyber attacks (Stuxnet, Pegasus to mention a few), law (none of the wars instigated after 2001 were approved by UN - even if we take Afghanistan as a reflex smash made by the US after catastrophic 9/11), information level rebellions (all the so called colored revolutions that brought more misery than progress - from Lybia, Syria, Iraq to Ukraine - and for majority of countries either brought extremists that are more in-line with the West block (so they are good, I mean Philippines are ruled by Netherland model, right? Or for example ultra democratic Singapore or Indonesia?) or outright destruction (mentioned wars that are started either as a cover for scandals (Clinton in 1990's) or for reasons that proved to be false from the start (oopsie Iraq)) from the Western side).

Neither he mentions extortion that West block based financial communities enforce on these newly-enlighten countries, each of which has its own fire-sale to support new political model (preferably ending up with no industry, only services because then they are dependent on everything from the outside).

So compare the above with actions of Russia (author's boogeyman of boogeymen, although he is pretty condescending towards it to the point of ridicule (as I said book reads like Red Threat book)) and China. When they offer financial means to others it is to enslave not to help. Never. Everything they do is nefarious if you ask the author.

What basically happened is that economic destruction wrought by the triumphant West in 1990's to the rest of the world (especially eastern parts of Central and whole of Eastern Europe) brought the unexpected fruit - survivor countries. After managing to survive the onslaught these survivors took additional classes from China (into which everyone and their grandma moved their industries because of slave.... hmm cheaper (?) workforce) on how things actually work. Because you see if you are financial merciless mogul who keeps thousands of people on very low wages to work 24/7 but you have contracts with Western shoe, clothes, medicinal and other technology companies - you are not a thug, you are a businessman.

And then these countries started using these rules for their own benefits, which is something Western block think tanks (and author is definitely part of one of them) do not want because ..... how dare they! Right?

While author's comments on the corruption and never-enough-life-style being the most important element that gets abused in the West are correct, when he starts on how law and economic power of US are the things keeping everything in order, one has to ask - how that economy can prosper (in terms of international trust) when whenever international relations get cold, all the deposits of whoever is called baddie at the time, can just be seized, banks knocked out from the world exchange system and due to this economies ravished? I mean whose trust is in this system? Western countries? Of course, but trust me nobody else's. Author in a single page lists how US controls every iota of finances and banking networks - but hey, they wont abuse this, like ever, pinky promise. But if China does the same, it is to punish, destroy and subdue.

Also when it comes to control of media and news - there is not a mention of perversion which was media control during the epidemic (majority of rules emerged in China and were mimicked by the West), and all the witch-hunts against those - in the medical profession mind you - who spoke against the established "truth". I agree this is not something related to inter-state relations but it was one mighty internal policing approach (including collusion with what are supposed to be private independent media companies to openly suppress anyone asking a question) that even Chinese could not do it better (not to mention all of these progressive "technological" ideas of late - from digitization of everything for better control to restrictions of movement to mention the few).

In other words you do not need an enemy when you are under such state control.

Plus side is that author calls spade a spade when it comes to 2016 elections and in general propaganda. Also his comments how people need to come to their senses and use their head are also true and he does critique today's mass social media tools. He also shows how national interests (if you can believe he actually mentions France, Turkey, Germany and Italy here for a change - no Russia at all) can be also undermining the stability - from spying on each others to supporting opposing forces on battlefields.

Most interesting here is his presentation of theoretical scenario where joined Franco-German task forces pressure Italy to not leave EU. It bears very interesting likeness to unfortunate event in Autumn 2022 in Northern Europe. Very interesting likeness indeed.

And finally in book edition from 2023 there is addendum that author treats as an "i told you" letter to president of Russia. Which is ridiculous in several ways: (a) escalation was brought by people screaming boogeyman whatever Russia does; now world needs to handle the fruits of these loudmouths; (b) recent political revelations (from heads of state such as Holland and Merkel and B. Johnson) are disastrous and show that war was on everyone's mind but they made a mistake by pushing for it; (c) to constantly escalate and expect no reaction - this shows ignorance of all involved; (d) constant calling for weaponisation of energy by Russia always makes me laugh - because you see, when certain country freezes your assets, puts you under sanctions, arms, trains, feeds, maintains and even provides medical services to opposing army (even doing some or all of it on its own turf) I mean of course you are going to keep providing them with cheap energy. I especially liked authors "cynical" comment how US with his attempts to stop the pipelines being built between Germany and Russia int he first place was so that they can sell their LNG at higher prices (which was absolutely not the case, wink, wink hahahahaha).

I mean good part of the book did not age well nine months after the books was published in 2022.

And greatest fantasy of all is that battlefields are the things of the past - they are not. Only thing is they come into focus when forces in conflict both have all the weapons available - from infantry, tanks, rockets to satellites. And when one is pushed around enough ..... well, hopefully people are writing notes now.

Book has very good bibliography after each chapter, if for nothing else I recommend it for that feature alone.

There is a lot of information here, but note that majority is so biased and written from the standpoint of the West vs rest of the world, that if you read anything besides 2 minute news reads you will be disappointed.
If I have read this book say before 2020 I would definitely look at it differently. But today, after all that world was put through in last 4 years? It just makes parts of the book read as a pamphlet.

Interesting read, but as always uneven when it comes to describing today's world power players. In general I agree with the author - world is entering dangerous waters, lets hope that it learns to swim in it.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |

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Michael O'Brien Contributor
Nick Brooke Contributor
Chris Gidlow Contributor
Johnny Shumate Illustrator
Mario Molegraaf Translator
Thierry Piélat Translator
Darren Tan Illustrator

Statistikker

Værker
56
Medlemmer
994
Popularitet
#25,916
Vurdering
3.8
Anmeldelser
25
ISBN
132
Sprog
9

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