The Russian army is preparing to fight in a new way. It is possible to see this in the plan of the exercises conducted in the Central Asian region between September 1 and 27. Colonel Igor Konashenkov, aide to the Ground Forces Commander for information support and director of the information and PR service of the Ground Forces, told WPS that the organization of mobilization of reservists had an important place among the issues worked out during the exercises.
Why are reservists necessary if our army is preparing to become professional? The answer to this question was demonstrated by Georgia when it failed to draft reservists to the troops. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that professional armed forces of Georgia operated actively in the first two days of fighting in South Ossetia but lost their combat capability later and drafting and training of reservists by the Georgian armed forces for their replacement failed. Americans had a similar situation when they invaded Iraq. Due to the transition of troops to one-year conscript service only the military units and formations where contract servicemen serve and military units manned with reservists in a special period will be fully combat ready in the Russian army.
That is why it is so important that reservists have good military training. This training is organized now by the Russian Armed Forces during military exercises. It turned out that about 8,000 reservists were mobilized for Center-2008 exercises. At first, the reservists operated in the Perm Territory. According to the Defense Ministry, almost 2,300 reservists from Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Udmurtia and Perm Territory arrived there. About 1,500 reservists were drafted in the Sverdlovsk Region during similar refresher courses. More than 3,000 reservists were drafted from the Samara Region alone at the end of August and at the beginning of September. From this mobilization reserve it is possible to form several regiments of permanent combat readiness.
Igor Konashenkov tells WPS that instruction and methodical classes are organized for the drafted reservists. According to Konashenkov, “afterwards the reservists will take part in tactical exercises with firing practice.” It is quite likely that in case of a worsening situation in the South Caucasus and the beginning of a full-scale war against Georgia and its allies, reservists mobilized to the army by a special presidential decree will take part in combat operations against the aggressor together with forces of permanent readiness (Airborne Forces, divisions and brigades of permanent readiness brought from other regions of Russia). Such a mobilization reserve was already evidently created in the North Caucasus, which was demonstrated by recent military exercises Caucasus-2008.
As we see, the training of reservists is in full swing in the Central Asian and other regions of Russia. For example, the Siberian Military District is conducting a large military exercise with working out of mobilization elements in the Transbaikalian Territory now.