INSIDE THE SOVIET ARMY by Viktor Suvorov

INSIDE THE SOVIET ARMY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If one were to believe Suvorov, a pseudonymous former Red Army general now living in Britain, the reason that the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 rather than Romania was that the Soviets' big problem is keeping their own people at home, and no one would want to escape to Romania. That's how Suvorov filters the fact that Romanian heresy in foreign policy is more than counterbalanced, in Moscow's view, by its rigid Stalinism at home, while Czech experiments with domestic reform were a threat to the Soviet leaders' own system of power. Venom replaces analysis in Suvorov's exposition. And simplification prevails. Thus, Suvorov denies the existence of the Warsaw Pact because the Eastern European armies are really just extensions of the Soviet army', the Warsaw Pact is therefore a fiction. The secrecy of the Soviet Defense Council is a similar fiction; it consists of the General Secretary of the party ""and the four other members of the Politburo standing closest to him' on top of Lenin's tomb at the annual celebration of the Russian Revolution. ""These are the members of the Defense Council,"" Suvorov says, ""they run the country. It is to them that hundreds of millions are enslaved."" Suvorov isn't much of an economist, either. Since the state owns everything, ne reasons, the Red Army doesn't actually spend anything when it engages in expensive transportation maneuvers: the money just goes around in a circle. This kind of thing, plus the absence of any analysis of Soviet tactics in Afghanistan, makes the factual parts of Suvorov's account--the description of Soviet equipment and military organization--difficult to take too seriously. The Afghan experience seems to render Suvorov's account of tactics suspect too, since he says that Soviet doctrine calls for quick defeat of the enemy, involving nuclear weapons if necessary. Unreliable, at least.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Macmillan