The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) said that American and European experts underestimated Russia’s military power. According to The Diplomat, the US and Europe “misunderstood” Russia’s military reforms, having missed most important aspects of them. Russia started reforming its armed forces after the military conflict with Georgia in 2008. After the war, Russia launched the largest reform of the army since the 1930s. The reform consisted of three stages: improving professionalism of the military through the transformation of the system of military education and reducing the number of conscripts, the strengthening of combat readiness by putting into order organizational structure and holding additional exercises, as well as by providing new military equipment to the troops.
The United States and Europe ignored Russia’s progress in the field. As a result, Russia has improved the structure of its troops, having transformed 23 divisions into 40 brigades. The nominal size of the army was cut by 43 percent. The reforms have created a much more mobile army, the repot from the ECFR said.