We just published the English version of our research “The Possibility of Societal Destabilization in Latvia: Potential National Security Threats.” It’s the result of 18 months of work using the most advanced research techniques to understand the possibilities for Russian influence in Latvia. Specifically regarding Latgale, one of the main conclusions is that “(D)espite the fact that the highest support for Russia’s narratives can be seen in Latgale, this is not a basis for separatism. A powerful contrasting tendency was also observed in Latgale – speakers of the Latgalian dialect expressed patriotic views and attitudes, supporting Latvia’s Western geo-political orientation to the largest degree. It was also established that the effectiveness of Russia’s public diplomacy activities in Latgale is low.”
I believe many people in the West use to project their views on other people. This might explain the failure when dealing with Russia. I’ve been arguing that Russia, including Putin, are very clear about their world view, including Geopolitics. Please, read the man:
– We see how some of our partners continue stubborn attempts to retain their monopoly on geopolitical domination. They put to use centuries of experience in suppressing, weakening, and setting opponents against each other, and turn to their advantage enhanced political, economic, financial and now information levers as well. By this, I mean, for example, the practice of intervening in other countries’ internal affairs, provoking regional conflicts, exporting so-called ‘color revolutions’ and so on. In pursuing this policy, they sometimes take on as accomplices terrorists, fundamentalists, ultra-right nationalists, and even outright neo-fascists. We see direct evidence of the harm this policy causes right on our borders. Two years ago, the list of regional hotspots got the addition of Ukraine, much to our regret, where the flames of internal conflict were fanned at the cost of human lives, destruction of economic ties, and streams of refugees, including into Russia.
– We are not going to let ourselves get intoxicated by these military passions. It seems that others are trying to nudge us this way, provoke us into a costly and futile arms race so that we divert resources and effort from our great socioeconomic development tasks at home. We will not do this, but we will always ensure our reliable defense and will guarantee the security of our country and its citizens.
– Syria has found itself at the epicenter of the fight against terrorism. It is no exaggeration to say that Syria’s future will be decisive not only for the future of the Middle East. It is in Syria that the fight against terrorism is being decided, the fight against this same Islamic State that has gathered terrorists and extremists of all stripes under its banners and united them in a desire to expand throughout the entire Muslim world. We know that they have set the goal of gaining strongholds in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, the countries of Central Asia, the regions along our borders. This is why we responded last autumn to the Syrian government’s request for help in fighting this terrorist attack. I would .like to thank once again our military service personnel, who did all they could to push back the terrorists, prevent an illegitimate external armed intervention in Syria’s affairs, and preserve Syrian statehood.
– Brexit was a decision of the British and Russia is not going to interference into this process although it will watch the divorce of London and Brussels attentively.
– Russia will accept any choice of the American people and will work with any new president of the US. We want is to work in close cooperation with the United States on international affairs, but we will not accept the approach of that part of the U.S. establishment that thinks they can decide themselves in which areas we will cooperate and in which areas they will turn up the pressure, including through sanctions. We seek a partnership based on equality and consideration of each other’s interests.
– We must put up strong resistance to the Western media’s information monopoly, including by using all available methods to support Russian media outlets operating abroad. Of course, we must also act to counter lies about Russia and not allow falsifications of history.
Source: Izvestia, July 01, 2016.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta of May 16, 2016 published an interisting editorial by Tatiana Ivzhenko, asking if Ukraine is doomed for a new conflict.
The article’s main argument is that if Poroshenko fulfills the Minsk Agreements, the country might explode. In this case, the elections will legitimize the same people Kiev has been calling terrorists as political leaders. I think this might be extremely difficult, therefore, T. Ivzhenko has a good point. This also means that the Minsk Agreements might be flawed from the very beginning and there’s no real solution to the conflict without Russia the current leadership in the region.
The most important parts of the article are:
“From the standpoint of Western leaders, the election of new authorities with which Kiev will be obliged to sit down at a table of negotiations will put a full stop in the conflict. Therefore, the EU and the US, according to Ukrainian sources, agreed that elections in Donets Basin should take place by the end of August. It is necessary to organize them according to a special law that takes into account peculiarities of the region that the parliament of Ukraine has to adopt yet. Western leaders do not worry if Ukrainian parties will be represented at these elections if the process will be organized by the Ukrainian central election commission alone. They do not see any problem in amnestying of defenders of DNR and LNR and giving a right to run in the elections to them. The West is ready to solve the security problem by a “hybrid method”: without waiting for stopping of fighting and removal of troops, namely for the time of elections, it is necessary to relocate weapons, hardware and soldiers to security zones being in the field of vision of the OSCE mission. The main thing is to conduct the elections as soon as possible.
Sources in Ukraine say that pressure is exerted on Kiev from three sides: Western, Russian and Donetsk ones. Mikhail Pashkov, co-director of the programs of foreign policy and international security of the Razumkov Center, forecasts, “This pressure aimed at conduction of “express elections” in Donets Basin will grow stronger.” He presumes that elections in the current conditions will turn it into legalization and implementation into Ukraine of “the militarized formation controlled by the Kremlin with all its quasi-state metastases like “ministries,” “people’s councils,” “prosecutor’s offices,” “central banks,” “supreme courts” etc.” Pashkov presumes that scenario of “Russian autumn in New Russia” is not ruled out. He explains, “A full-scale hot conflict and disintegration of the country with unforeseen consequences may become a reality.” Instead of “success story” Europe will receive a new huge problem in Ukraine.
Grounds for such forecast are objective. Sociological polls organized in the last half a year by several authoritative centers demonstrate that elative majority of Ukrainians evaluate the content of the Minsk agreements negatively and do not believe that they will help establishment of peace. But in general the problem of Donets Basin can split the Ukrainian society.
According to the Razumkov Center, 56.4% of respondents are against a special status of Donets Basin (23.8% are for it); the idea of conduction of elections before full demilitarization of the region and its return under control of Ukraine is not supported by 52.5% of citizens and it is supported by 31.2% of citizens. Amnesty for defenders of DNR and LNR is not supported by 42.3% of respondents and it is not supported by 31.2% of respondents.
Konstantin Bondarenko, head of the institute of Ukrainian policy, (…) (S)peaking about the consequences to which elections in Donets Basin organized in the current conditions may lead inside Ukraine, Bondarenko states, “Ukraine is evidently simply doomed for its “night of long knives.” There are many weapons in the country, many people who have participated in fighting, many organizations that try to dictate their policy to the authorities. It will be necessary to put all this under control sooner or later, otherwise the country will turn into a European version of Somalia.”
The Russian MoD has been very kind to make available the panelists’ speeches of the firsts day. Unfortunately, they didn’t make available the Q&A sessions. Below you can find the videos of the 3rd (Global security and military cooperation) and 4th (Problems of War and Peace in Europe: a new security system in Europe) panels in English and with Q&A. At this time, these videos are not available anywhere else.
Nikolay N. Bordyuzha’s speech and answers were very interesting (3rd panel). In the 4th panel, it was interesting to hear to the Belarussian minister of defense, but General Sergey Makarov was able to make a great resume of the Russian strategic view.
Program of the V Moscow Conference on International Security
Moscow, April 27-28, 2016
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
10.00-19.00 / Arrival of participants, hotel check-in
13.00-15.00 / Lunch at the Lobby Restaurant
19.00-20.30 / Welcome cocktail hosted by the Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Amb. Anatoly Antonov
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
08.00-09.15 / Conference Registration
09.30-10.30 / Opening of the Conference
>> Welcome address by the leadership of the Russian Federation
>> Statement by the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Army General Sergey Shoygu
>> Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov
>> Welcome address by the leadership of the United Nations
10.30-12.00 / PLENARY SESSION
Terrorism as a major threat to global security
>> Distinctive features of contemporary terrorism
>> Practicing defence cooperation in counter-terrorism
>> Exploiting terrorist organizations to achieve foreign policy goals
>> Role of international organizations in counter-terrorism
12.00-12.20 / Coffee break
12.20-14.00 / PLENARY SESSION
Security challenges and opportunities for international military-to-military cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
>> Building an architecture of security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
>> Politico-military environment in North-East Asia. Situation on the Korean Peninsula
>> Addressing regional security threats
>> Bilateral and multilateral military-to-military cooperation among regional states
>> Role of ASEAN mechanisms of strengthening security in the Asia-Pacific
14.00-15.00 / Lunch
DISCUSSION. Middle East, the tangle of contradictions
>> Modern security threats in the region
>> Stabilization efforts in the Middle East
>> Coordinating international assistance in resolving ongoing disputes in the region
>> Preventing military incidents among states fighting against terrorism
>> Legal framework for the use of military force against terrorism
>> Effectiveness of the cease-fire regime in resolving the situation in SyriaДискуссия.
DISCUSSION. Traditional and emerging international security challenges
>> Evolving nature and features of security challenges and threats
>> Ability to address modern challenges and threats through the existing international security mechanisms
>> Role of the international cooperation in countering traditional and emerging security challenges
>> Use of modern technologies in identifying and addressing security threats
>> Finding solutions to international security threats
16.30-16.50 / Coffee break
DISCUSSION. «Color» revolutions and regional security. Role of the armed forces in ensuring national stability
>> Expanding phenomenon of «colour» revolutions
>> Factor of the military force in «colour» revolutions
>> Implications of «colour» revolutions for global security and regional stability
>> «Colour» revolutions as a key factor in the outburst of global terrorist activity
DISCUSSION. Security in Central Asia
>> Assessing current situation and predicting politico-military changes in the region
>> Factors affecting security in the region
>> Defence cooperation on maintaining security in Afghanistan and Central Asia
>> Situation in Afghanistan. Implications for neighboring states security
>> Role of international organizations in promoting regional security
19.00-20.30 / Formal reception hosted by the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Army General Sergey Shoygu
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
09.30-11.00 / PLENARY SESSION.
Global security and military cooperation
>> Assessing security challenges and threats
>> Role of the military force in modern conflicts
>> Prospects for defence interaction in strengthening global security
>> Modern trends of international military cooperation: goals and tasks
11.00-11.20 / Coffee break
11.20-13.00 / PLENARY SESSION
Problems of War and Peace in Europe: a new security system in Europe
>> Effectiveness of the existing security mechanisms in Europe and the need for their modernization
>> Military interaction to maintain stability in the region
>> Role of international organizations in ensuring European security
>> Situation in the Middle East. Implications for European security
13.00-13.15 / Conference closing remarks
14.00-16.30 / Lunch
Departure of conference participants
Russia’s plans of military modernization are quite ambitious. They result from the operational needs determined by New Generation Warfare. In Putin’s own words “our responses are to be based on intellectual superiority. They will be asymmetrical, and less costly.” In other words, it’s about adapting hardware (the Armed Forces) to a new software (New Generation Warfare). One question, however, is if the sanctions are affecting the modernization plans. Accordingly to the numbers presented by the Russian MoD during session of the Board in March 11, the answer is a clear no. In 2015, 97% of the modernization was fulfilled. By now, 47% of the armament and hardware of the Russian Armed Forces are modernized.
Overall, the troops received around 4,000 major advanced weapons and military equipment, including 96 aircraft, 81 helicopter, 2 multi-purpose submarines, 152 anti-aircraft missile systems, 291 radars, more than 400 pieces of artillery and armored vehicles. These equipment are already in operation and were used in Syria. In details: Continue reading
Aleksandr Dugin is one of the most radical Russian thinkers, one of the main ideologues of National Bolshevism and the Eurasian Movement. I was surprised to find he has a Youtube show in English. It’s interesting to listen to his conspiracy theories and distorted world views. He doesn’t have the degree of influence in the Kremlin as some Western analysts seem to believe. However, milder versions of his ideas are quite popular among Russian officials.
The Armstice in Syria
The European Military-Political Alliance (click on CC, then in auto-translate – English)
I’m writing this post to react to many articles I’ve read trying to discuss what became known as Russian Hybrid Warfare. Although I’m glad people finally woke up, there’s still too much misunderstandings about what it is and what it is not. The latest article I’ve read is Michael Kofman’s “Russian Hybrid Warfare and Other Dark Arts.” It’s a good one. Although he lost the target by some centimeters, the article is good to stimulate discussion.
Overall (Kofmann excluded), the first mistake is to believe that the Russians used Hoffman’s framework to shape their own strategy. They didn’t. Instead, they’ve been learning from previous experiences of warfare, mostly from the WWII, the ones based on the concepts of Low Intensity Conflict, Network Centric Warfare, and General Slipchenko’s 6th Generation Warfare. Therefore, it might be characterized as hybrid, only if it means “mix of tools.” It’s completely wrong to believe that the Russian strategy is limited to non-linear, hybrid, call as you wish, methods. They part of it, but don’t define it. The main goal is to achieve the objectives with the minimum application of kinetic force. It should be self-evident, that force will be employed when necessary, including linear and conventional capabilities. See my paper discussing Russian New Generation Warfare. The phases I discuss are not mutually exclusive and can be operationalized simultaneously or independently. Continue reading
General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, published a very interesting article on the “VPK – Voenno-promyshlennyi kur’er” (Military-Industrial Courier) entitled “On the Syrian Experience.” Although it is usually an obscure publication, in reality it is an important one. It is Gerasimov’s preferred publication, followed by the “Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie” (Independent Military Review). General Vladimirov, the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, also publishes there. Thus, it’s good to take a look.
I’m publishing below a bad spaghetti western English translation of the article made by a software. I changed only what was impossible to understand. The piece presents Gerasimov’s views on modern warfare and how Russia should defend itself. It also slaps the Russian Military Science.
My comments are in green.
On the Experience in Syria
Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov: “Hybrid war requires high-tech weaponry and a scientific substantiation.”
The rapid development of science and technology changes the nature of warfare. Since the end of the last century, a concept that has been widely use is “high-tech war.” Continue reading
Interesting paper discussing how the so called Western pragmatists don’t understand Russia.
By the end of 2014 the pragmatists recognized that their narratives needed revising, but they still couldn’t recognize the sources of Russia’s deep domestic decay.