Two Schools of Military Thought in the Russian Army



Candidate of Philosophical Sciences

Today in Russia there have appeared a great number of articles focusing on the study of schools of military thought in the Russian army. In fact, all the authors agree that there were two such schools of thought. As a rule, they are referred to as the Suvorov and Gatchina [Gatchina – an out-of-town imperial palace in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, which was a favorite residence of Emperor Paul I. – Translator's Note] schools of military thought. It is believed that these two schools of thought are absolute opposites of each other. Whereas formerly everyone was on the side of the Suvorov school of thought, now there are appearing followers of the Gatchina school of thought "denouncing myths" about Alexander Suvorov's victories and military talent and extolling the achievements of Emperor Paul I.

In this article, we will not be "denouncing the denouncers," since what most of them challenge is not the victories themselves but the ways of achieving them. That is, they speak up against the swiftness of marches led by Suvorov and the resoluteness of his actions in a battle, saying that all of this led to unreasonably great losses. We will only say that, firstly, the losses were not that great (in most battles against Alexander Suvorov, the enemy losses were much greater) and, secondly, the entire world experience of waging wars shows that protraction of combat actions leads to much greater losses than a victory in a single decisive battle.

It is interesting to note that, in the opinion of an absolute majority of the adherents of the Gatchina school of thought, nearly all the principles of their school of military thought were established in the Russian army by Emperor Paul I.

In actual fact, things are far from this, for otherwise the second school of military thought would be known as ...

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