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K-State Today

July 17, 2012

Historian publishes on Soviet military theorist

Submitted by David Stone

David Stone, Pickett professor of military hstory, recently published an article in the Journal of Military History on Aleksandr Svechin, a noted Soviet military theorist of the 1920s.

"Much of modern military thinking has its origins with Soviet military strategists of the 1920s and the 1930s," Stone said. "Aleksandr Svechin is one of the most important of those theorists, in part because his experience as a writer and theorist covers both the tsarist Russian Empire, and the communist Soviet Union that emerged after the 1917 Russian Revolution."

Indeed, his works are often studied, along with those of other Russian and Soviet military thinkers, in the U.S. military's schools and research centers.

Svechin has often been perceived, for a number of reasons that Stone traces in the article, as a one-sided advocate of stolid, defensive tactics and attrition, in order to employ Russian advantages in space and manpower.

"That conventional wisdom is a fundamental misreading of what Svechin actually says," Stone said. "He has a much more flexible mind than that, and I hope that what I have to say clears the record and opens up his ideas to a new community of readers."