TABLE OF CONTENTS
From the Editor
Origins of the Intellectual Rehabilitation of A.A. Svechin .................. 1
A.A. Kokoshin and V.V. Larionov
The Significance of Svechin's Military-Theoretical Legacy Today ..................15
General-Major A.A. Svechin and Modern Warfare:
Military History and Military Theory ..................23
Jacob W. Kipp
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
1. Strategy in a Number of Military Disciplines ..................67
Strategy and Politics
1. Politics and Economics ..................81
2. The Political Goal of Warfare ..................91
3. Plans for Safeguarding Domestic Security ..................103
4. The Economic Plan of the War ..................109
5. The Diplomatic Plan ..................131
6. Political Policy During Wartime ..................145
Preparing the Armed Front
1. Initial Principles ..................165
2. Building the Armed Forces ..................175
3. Military Mobilization ..................197
4 Preparing Border Theaters ..................211
5. The Operational Plan ..................217
Combining Operations for Achieving the Ultimate Goal
of the War
1. The Forms of Conducting Military Operations .................. 239
2. Communications ..................257
3. An Operation with a Limited Goal ..................269
4. The Strategic Line of Conduct ..................285
1. Strategic Leadership ..................309
2. Methods of Command ..................327
1. Critique and Bibliography ..................337
2. Critique and Bibliography ..................345
3. What Is Mobilization and Is It Really Permanent? ..................357
The intellectual rehabilitation of Aleksandr A. Svechin comes long overdue, correcting a historical injustice that has continued for nearly six decades. The publication of the premier work of his lifetime - the second edition of Strategy - in the English language now moves this rehabilitation effort into the international sphere, where historians and political scientists in many different lands will finally have an opportunity to judge him for his contributions. We think that this judgment will be quite favorable.
Svechin himself was tremendously influenced by the writings and analyses of the contemporary and classic European figures of his day. Struggling against the growing intellectual xenophobia and dogmatism that gradually dominated the Soviet military science establishment in the 1920s and 1930s, Svechin remained a cosmopolitan in the best sense of the word. To study war between states - an activity utterly antithetical to xenophobia - requires a deep understanding of other states' experiences and histories. Svechin's rich and integrated approach to this question put him head and shoulders above the rest of his colleagues. For this he paid dearly; first with his career, and ultimately with his life. It is a sad fate that he shares with far too many of Russia's best and brightest.
The publication of Strategy today, in the early 1990s, would be incomplete without some explanation of how it came about. Svechin's book, above all, represents his concept of the best approach to national security for the Soviet state. It is therefore quite logical that its rebirth should be linked to changes in current Soviet concepts of national security. Indeed it is.
Perhaps the most basic issue facing Mikhail Gorbachev upon his emergence as Soviet leader in early 1985 was the crushing Soviet defense burden, a gargantuan ball-and-chain on Soviet domestic and foreign policy development. New approaches to security were desperately required, approaches that would allow for resources to be shifted toward more productive ends. Foremost was required a change in the essence of Soviet military doctrine, which despite its claims to defensiveness was nonetheless based on an unambiguously offensive military strategy, which created and/or maintained enemies abroad (thus keeping the Soviets firmly in the grasp of the "security dilemma," which required ever increasing defense expenditures) and well as bled the Soviet economy white as the technological imperatives of modem warfare in and of themselves demanded more resources.
Accordingly, the conceptual foundations had to be laid first. Such was the background to "new thinking" and "reasonable sufficiency," buzzwords that almost seem quaint now, in the aftermath of the monumental events of 1989 and 1990. Many commentators in the USSR weighed in with their contributions to these concepts, but a select few approached the issue in a unique way. Defensive thinking in the USSR, they argued, has important historical roots that cannot be ignored. Such thinking was legitimate back then (if wrongly and ultimately suppressed), and the very same geopolitical and economic factors make it legitimate today. Their line of argument was perhaps Byzantine, but the USSR is nothing if not a 20th century Byzantium. As Western observers we cannot forget that much of the Soviet national security elite even in the late 1980s still spoke a language of Lenin, justifying current actions and policy prescriptions in terms of chosen Lenin quotes. Svechin, Lenin's historical contemporary, not only provided the "new-thinkers" a source of useful quotes and arguments by themselves, but also proved to be a source of genuine intellectual stimulation as his fascinating legacy began to be uncovered and appreciated.
In the struggle with "old-thinkers" adamantly opposed to direct challenges (such as those made by Alexei Arbatov) in national security policymaking, the Svechin experience offered a way to deliver the same arguments through the back door. The use of Svechin - especially in 1988 and 1989 - was one of the few ways for challengers to establish a dialogue in place of the two monologues. By citing Svechin, challengers to the status quo paid homage to Soviet military history, which helped them penetrate the rigid nature of Soviet military science, the noman's land (for "incompetent civilians," at least) in which the requirements for national defense are set and budgetary issues established.
It would be wrong, however, to create the impression that Aleksandr Svechin was simply a convenient Trojan horse for those who would radically change Soviet national security policy. In fact, as his long-suppressed writings began to be rediscovered, a growing number of Soviet analysts and officers began to find inherent worth in much of their content. Most important was Svechin's intellectual approach, or method. As the introductory essays below state, and as the text of Strategy itself shows, Svechin's method was underlined by a spirit of critical inquiry, pluralism and civility of dialogue, elements often lacking in Soviet society and culture. So even if his particular insights are not remembered (which, the reader may conclude, are intriguing and ought well be), his method should. This method alone compels us to read Svechin, and keep him on our shelf next to Clausewitz and the other classics for many years to come.
With this background in mind, the reader may have a bit clearer notion of the assemblage of this book. Dr. Andrei Kokoshin, who writes jointly the first preface with Professor General-Major (ret.) Valentin Larionov, was the first and most important participant in the Soviet security debate to use Svechin, first gradually by means of citation,1 and then later by several biographical and analytical articles. General Larionov, who comes to us already distinguished as perhaps the most outstanding Soviet military intellectual of the postwar period,2 was one of the first Soviet military men to recognize Svechin's legacy favorably in the postwar period. General of the Army Vladimir N. Lobov, who wrote his essay just prior to being elevated to the supreme position of Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, has been the most influential active-duty Soviet military leader responsible for Svechin's renaissance within the Soviet military. His articles on the relevance of the debates and actors of the 1920s for the current Soviet debate, as well as his biographical essays on Svechin written with Kokoshin, have cast a bright spotlight on Svechin, his method and his ideas. In doing so, he has provided Svechin with the kind of vindication that only a Soviet state figure can offer, since it was the Soviet military and state establishment of the 1920s and 1930s that destroyed Svechin intellectually and physically.
Dr. Jacob Kipp of the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, a highly respected historian of Soviet military and security affairs, rounds out the prefaces with an incisive assessment of Svechin's intellectual development and legacy. In addition to catholic interests and expertise that Svechin himself would have admired, Dr. Kipp brings to the book the necessary perspective of a Western scholar intimately familiar with Russian and Soviet history as well as with the classics of Western military-historical thought.
In addition to the introductory essays by these appropriate commentators, the book also offers the reader a notion of how Svechin's work was accepted by his own contemporaries. Accordingly, we have included three book reviews in the appendix. All of them appeared in the journal Voina i revoliutsiia [War and Revolution], the Red Army's premier military-theoretical journal of the time (succeeded today by the respected Voennaia mysl' [Military Thought]). In reading them one must keep in mind the atmosphere of the time. Svechin and his ideas were clearly under attack by the military establishment—most importantly Mikhail Tukhachevskii—which was solidly behind the Stalinist rush to quickly industrialize the USSR, and in addition was enthralled with the notion of the militant expansion of communism, perhaps even with the help of the Red Army. So compelling was Svechin's book that the foremost Soviet military journal chose to review it not once, but twice, the only book ever given such treatment in the military press of the USSR. This, moreover, came within just months of a massive, four-author review of the first edition of Strategy. The attention alone Svechin garnished is worthy of note, and helps give those unfamiliar with him some idea of his import in the eyes of his colleagues. He was not an obscure professor writing books that no one cared about.
Our book also includes a bibliography of Svechin's published works, which we have tried to make as comprehensive as possible. Any omissions are solely the fault of the editor.
Throughout the book we have adhered to the transliteration style of the U.S. Library of Congress; in a few cases (Trotsky rather thatTrotskii, Yudenich rather than Iudenich) we have deviated to reflect more traditonal spellings. The editor has endeavored to represent the correct spelling and diacritical marks of foreign (especially French and German) proper names. We beg forgiveness if and where we have failed.
Finally, enormous thanks are due to a number of key individuals. We begin with acknowledging our deep debt to the responsible U.S. government officials who initiated in the late 1980s a major effort to translate a number of Soviet military-theoretical classics from the 1920s in a rare, historically-based attempt to understand current Soviet policy. Such foresight in our government is all too rare, and we applaud it. The first draft of this book came from that series; we hope other manuscripts will be published soon.
Mary Albon, now of the Charter 77 Foundation, brought coherence to the entire manuscript and most of the prefaces and essays. It was a great pleasure to work with her, and she raised numerous critical and substantive points that would have otherwise eluded the editor. To the extent that the editor has not managed to obfuscate passages originally made clear by Mary, the reader will also thank her greatly.
A number of translators deserve acknowledgement for their role in bringing two of the prefaces and all of the book reviews into the English language. They are: Harry Orenstein, Jack Anderson, Sergei Mikheev and V. Blokhin.
Much of the work regarding the prefaces, bibliography and the greater effort of East View Publications to assemble the complete collected works of Svechin was conducted in Moscow. Accordingly, enormous credit goes to Vladimir Frangulov and Yuri Usachev of East View's Moscow office. Similar credit goes to Major-General (ret.) Yuri Kirshin and Aleksandr Kavtaradze.
Typesetting, proofing, printing and advertising services were provided by the highly qualified staff at Kocina Communications, including especially Don and Damon Kocina. With their help we hope to put Minneapolis on the map as a center for high-quality publishing in the area of international affairs.
The editor also wishes to thank Dr. Ted Warner of the RAND Corporation, who in his capacity as adjunct professor of political science at Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provided an opportunity for the editor to examine in a seminar paper the importance of the role of historical interpretation in the formulation of current Soviet military policy, and thus make an acquaintance with Svechin.
A final thank-you also needs to be given to Professor Marshall Shulman, former director of the W. Averell Harriman Institute for the Advanced Study of the USSR, for his role in encouraging his students to pay attention to and follow up on events that make one's nose twitch. For the editor, such a "nose-twitching" event was the footnoted and somewhat cryptic references to Svechin in the aforementioned article by Kokoshin and Larionov some four years ago. This book is a consequence of that effort to follow up, and we hope that the reader will not be disappointed that we did.
Kent D. Lee
November 1, 1991