The book, Inside the Soviet Army, is written under the name of “Viktor
Suvorov.” As a defector, under sentence of death in the USSR, the author
Does not use his own name and has chosen instead that of one of the most
Famous of Russian generals. This is a book that should command wide
Attention, not only in the armed forces of the free world, but among the
General public as well. It is an account of the structure, composition,
Operational method, and general outlook of the Soviet military in the
Context of the Communist regime in the USSR and the party’s total dominion,
Not only over the Soviet Union, but over the client states of the Warsaw
Pact as well.
The book starts with a survey of the higher military leadership and an
Analysis of the types of armed services, and of the organization of Soviet
Army formation. An examination of the Red Army’s mobilization system that
Follows is of particular interest. The chapters that follow on strategy and
Tactics and on equipment are also of high interest. The first, on
Operational method, emphasizes the supreme importance attached in Soviet
Military thinking to the offensive and the swift exploitation of success.
Defensive action is hardly studied at all except as an aspect of attack. The
Second, on equipment, examines Soviet insistence on simplicity in design and
Shows how equipment of high technical complexity (the T-72 tank, for
Instance) is also developed in another form, radically simplified in what
The author calls “the monkey model,” for swift wartime production. The last
Two chapters on “The Soldiers’ Lot” and “The Officer’s Role” will be found
By many to be the most valuable and revealing of the whole book. We have
Here not so much a description of what the Red Army looks like from the
Outside, but what it feels like inside.
This book is based on the author’s fifteen years of regular service in
The Soviet Army, in troop command and on the staff, which included command
Of a motor rifle company in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. About
This he has written another book, The Liberators, which is a spirited
Account of life in the Red Army, highly informative in a painless sort of
Way and often very funny. There is rather less to laugh at in this book than
In that one: Viktor Suvorov writes here in deadly earnest.
There is no doubt at all of the author’s right to claim unquestioned
Authority on matters which he, as a junior officer, could be expected to
Know about at firsthand and in great detail. Nevertheless, not everyone
Would agree with everything he has to say. Though I know him personally
Rather well, Viktor Suvorov is aware that I cannot myself go all the way
With him in some of his arguments and I am sometimes bound to wonder whether
He is always interpreting the evidence correctly.
Having said this, however, I hasten to add something that seems to be
Of overriding importance. The value of this book, which in my view is high,
Derives as much from its apparent weaknesses as from its clearly evident
Strengths – and perhaps even more. The author is a young, highly trained
Professional officer with very considerable troop service behind him as well
As staff training. He went through the Frunze Military Academy (to which
Almost all the Red Army’s elite officers are sent) and was thereafter
Employed as a staff officer.