This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This monograph examines the imperial Russian campaign to quell rebellion in the North Caucasus from 1801 to 1864 and the Bolshevik suppression of the Basmachi rebellion in Central Asia from 1919 to 1933. The Caucasian War and the Basmachi rebellion featured Muslim insurgent movements that exploited inaccessible mountain terrain and relied upon the local population for recruitment and support. The imperial Russians and Bolsheviks both struggled to adapt their civil and military operations to defeat an elusive enemy and establish control over a diverse and fractured society. The analysis tests the effectiveness of key principles found in population-centric counterinsurgency theory and doctrine in the imperial Russian and Bolshevik counterinsurgent operations. The evidence suggests that the synchronization of military and nonmilitary operations through unity of effort contributed to Russian and Bolshevik victory by isolating the insurgent forces from the local population. The analysis also identifies significant risks and costs associated with employing a population-centric approach to counterinsurgency.
The September 11th terrorist attacks against the United States precipitated lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following brief periods of conventional warfare, both conflicts transitioned into extended stages of unconventional warfare. The rise of insurgents with close ties to the local population in Afghanistan and Iraq challenged the conventionally oriented US military, and forced a reconsideration of US Army doctrine. Officers examined past counterinsurgency campaigns to determine the proper way to adapt to the new threat. Under the leadership of the Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center, Lieutenant General David Petraeus, the US Army created a population-centric counterinsurgency doctrine in 2006 that emphasized the integration of military and nonmilitary operations. The US Army's new doctrine drew upon the counterinsurgency theories of French officers in the Algerian Civil War, and diverse historical examples from the British in Malay to the Soviets in Afghanistan to inform the US Army's approach to the Afghan and Iraqi insurgencies. Despite the breadth of historical analysis of past "small wars," officers and students of military affairs largely ignored two examples of counterinsurgencies with striking similarities to the United States' post-September 11th conflicts.
The imperial Russian Caucasian campaigns from 1801 to 1864 and the Soviet suppression of the Basmachi rebellion from 1918 to 1933 provide excellent case studies to test the counterinsurgency principles codified in the 2006 publication of Field Manual (FM) 3-24, Counterinsurgency. Both conflicts pitted predominately-ethnic Russian forces against Muslim insurgent movements that relied upon the support of their local populations in largely inaccessible mountainous regions. The organization and doctrine of the imperial Russian and Soviet militaries centered on conventional warfare, and both armies struggled to adapt to the unconventional tactics of their adversaries. The Russians and the Bolsheviks each enjoyed significant military and economic advantages over their enemies, but often failed to translate their superior might into tactical success.