When the Soviet Union ended so perhaps did Army unit continuity. The Soviet war in Afghanistan occurred in the 1980s and its veterans are long gone. When the new Russia emerged in the aftermath of the dissolution of the evil empire it may have needed to reform its armed forces from scratch.
Of course New Russia or Russia v. 2.0 may have enlisted some veterans from the evil empire. There was quite a large gap between 1991 and 2013 though. It is likely that the percentage of non-commissioned officers and officers with combat experience dropped quite low since Russia was not involved in nearly the scale of combat operations as the United States during that time. Russia did have the Chechen conflict and some other internal or proximal skirmishes yet not of a scale that would create a vastly combat experienced military. Russian special forces gained much experience yet perhaps not more than private military contractors like the Wagner Group.
I mention the above because of a reflection upon the trouble the Russian Army has had in its Ukraine operation. A military historian named Van Creeveld wrote a book of some title I don’t recall that examined several aspects of military composition and performance. He pointed out that armies without solid unit histories; like irregular and guerrilla units tend to have far more war crimes than regular armies with lengthy unit history. I suppose it is the lack of experience and lack of discipline and order that leads to disorder in job performance. The Russian Army may have had about as much combat experience among its NCOs and Officers as a U.S. National Guard unit had during the Vietnam War; none. They may have performed about as well as its officers and NCOs simply lacked the field experience useful for competent and effective military maneuvers, troop allocations etc. During the Vietnam War the Pentagon formed a new Army Division named the Americal Division that had the lack of unit history of a new unit. It also had more than its share of war crimes, including massacre at Mi Lai. It was made up of draftees, NCOs and officers transferred from other units.
On the other hand, the Ukraine military has been provided with a vast amount of donated military experience of American advisers that have been involved in more than two decades of nearly continuous military conflicts. They have fine tuned their use of military technology and HUMINT and can design offensives for the Ukraine Army to go along with all of the fine weapons paid for by adding public debt to Americans and Europeans.
The Russian Army is gaining very hard won combat experience in Ukraine that will likely inform future combat operations should they arise. Its cadre will develop the knowledge of U.S. veterans. Probably its military discipline will increase even if the political wisdom of politicians in many nations does not.
Russia changed from the old Soviet military models to something of a volunteer Army of smaller numbers with higher quality like that of the U.S. military in the first part of the millennium. It’s special forces and the Wagner Group gained experience in Syria yet the Army was not broadly involved. In my opinion the U.S. military control from the civilian sector and general leadership has learned to minimize casualties in a number of ways while yet conducting military operations while Russian leadership has not. Wars of course are best not started in the first place, yet U.S. leadership of the Democrat Party has learned to let others fight there battles for them where possible and to use the most high-tech and expensive weapons they can obtain to fight them with. Russia has used very costly hypersonic gliders and found they can be shot down with Patriot missiles, and the U.S. is developing hyper-sonic cruise missiles I believe it, so nuclear weapons can be delivered within minutes instead of an hour for targets less than a thousand miles away.
I am not sure what experience will be helpful for constructive use of the very destructive weapons when they are effectively used. Neither am I sure of how to get intelligent leadership inn the White House that could restore full normal relations with Russia and the U.S.A. In my opinion the latter would be a better investment of effort than the former.
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