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The "Russian Rope a Dope"- An Elastic Defense

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

The "Russian Rope a Dope" defense is an elastic defense of which variations have been successfully executed hundreds of times (over 250 times since June 4, 2023) by Russian forces. It is conducted within the first layer (security zone) of the three layers of Russian defensive works that make up what is now commonly being referred to as the Surovokin Line.

The Rope a Dope will be executed in the area in front of main defense, commonly referred to as the security zone or "zone of destruction," that has a depth that varies from 7 to 24 miles. It is relatively lightly populated in terms of created defensive structures as compared to the actual defensive lines of Surovikin LIne. But it will still have defensible positions such as trenches, forest trees, structures etc and will often incorporate minefields. The defense of this security zone is not conducted to the last man, but instead Russian troops man defensive positions in fields, towns, forests, hills etc that will typically be supported by artillery and or air power. When attacked by Ukrainian forces, they use their defensive advantages to inflict as many casualties as possible on attacking Ukrainians until they are in danger of being overrun or cut-off from retreat. Then the Russian forces will abandon their positions and rapidly gain separation from the Ukrainian forces . The goal is not to take casualties. And when sufficient separation is achieved, Russian artillery forces and or air power attack the positions now occupied by Ukrainian forces.

Then in a few hours, or the next day, or however long it takes to substantially degrade the Ukrainian positions via air and artillery power, fresh Russian troops will take the position back from the battered, sleep deprived and depleted Ukrainian forces.

The key to its success is that Ukrainian commanders are under pressures to show progress as represented by taking territory to satisfy Ukraine's Western backers. So, even though they know what the Russians are doing , they still have to play into Russian hands with costly, casualty heavy assaults on positions Russian are using for the express purpose of producing casualties and have no real commitment to holding.

The Rope A Dope The phrase "Rope a Dope" is commonly associated with the great fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place October 1, 1975 in Quezon City in the Philippines in Metro Manila. It is known as the "Thrilla in Manila" and it featured Muhammad Ali using the very clever strategy of allowing George Foreman to exhaust himself by ineffectually punching Ali as Ali rested against the ropes of the boxing ring. In the end, George Foreman was so tired he could barely stand and Muhammad Ali was able to easily knock him out.

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