Russian Division From Black Sea Towards Georgia
13 September, 2012

In the period of 17-23 September Russia is going to hold command military drills code named Kavkaz-12. This fact triggers a lot of political debates in Georgia because drills will take place near the northern border of Georgia. Let us recall that after Kavkaz-2008 the forces mobilized in the drills were then used by Moscow in the war against Georgia. Hence, there is a definite risk of history repeating itself and Kavkaz-2012 too may turn into Russian military aggression against Georgia.

Come to it, some Russian high ranking generals recently announced that Kavkaz-2012 would leave out 7th and 4th Russian occupation bases in Apkhazeti and Tskhinvali region respectively, as well as 102nd Giumri military base in Armenia to stave off renewed accusations by official Tbilisi. If true, this may certainly reduce a danger level. But questions still remain.

There is one ground for concern. Namely, there are reports that Russian Defense Ministry started the speeded transfer of 7th mountain assault division from Black Sea town Novorosiisk to Dagestan for its incorporation in the Kavkaz-2012. This division is unique in the Russian Army. In the Soviet times, it was stationed in the Latvian city of Kaunas and played an important role. The units of this division used to test experimental parachutes or military vehicles of assault squads.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union this division was moved to Novorosiisk. Its troops took part in both Chechen wars. It is noteworthy that it includes 247th Caucasian Cossack assault regiment formed in 1998 on the basis of 21st airborne brigade that was withdrawn from Georgia (city of Kutaisi ) in 1993. 247th regiment used to be actively engaged in the August 2008 war, in eastern Georgian and the Kodori gorge.

According to Russian mass media, transfer of the 7th mountain assault division from Novorosiisk to Dagestan involves almost entire division – nearly 6 thousand troops - and its military machinery.

The word “mountain” in the title of the division means its units are trained in the nuances of waging a war in a mountainous terrain in up to 2 thousand meters  elevation. Moreover, some of the division units can operate even at up to 3 thousand meter heights. As for higher places, only snooper climbers with special trainings can overcome them.

The height of Kadori pass that connects Dagestan and Georgia is 2363 meters. Although it would be hard for heavy machinery to get over the ridge via the pass, troops of 7th mountain assault division with special mountain training can do it without a problem throughout the next month. Thus, we will have to wait for snow to blanket the Kadori pass for us to feel safe.