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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Makarov: War Sped Up Reforms

The war with Georgia highlighted problems plaguing Russia's armed forces and was the catalyst for the most sweeping military reforms in nearly half a century, Russia's top military officer said Wednesday.

General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, said the government had drafted plans to streamline and modernize the military before the war in August but sped up the changes after it.

"The conflict with Georgia worked as a catalyst," Makarov said at a meeting with foreign military attaches. "In a way, it confirmed the reforms were necessary."

Georgia attacked the separatist region of South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control. Moscow quickly routed the Georgian military and drove deep into Georgia. Despite the quick victory, the military acknowledged that the war revealed poor coordination between branches of Russia's military and a shortage of modern communications equipment. Makarov said he talked to platoon and company commanders to better understand the problems they faced in the war.

The sweeping reforms announced by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in October envisaged cutting 200,000 of 355,000 military officers and disbanding nine of every 10 army units by 2012. Makarov voiced confidence Wednesday the military will be able to conduct the reforms despite the financial crisis.