Author Archives: Jānis

Ukraine Doomed for a New Conflict?

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.”

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V Moscow Conference on International Security 2nd and 3rd Panels (Video)

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.

3rd Panel

4th Panel

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Program of the V Moscow Conference on International Security

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

15.00-16.30 /

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

16.50-18.30 /

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

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Russia’s Military Modernization 2015

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.

kl2015_final-en

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

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Dugin’s TV Show

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.

General Breedlove

The Armstice in Syria

The European Military-Political Alliance (click on CC, then in auto-translate – English)

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There is no Russian Withdraw from Syria

There is no Russian Withdraw from Syria

Dmitry Gorenburg and Michael Kofman

With characteristic deadpan delivery, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the sudden withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria earlier this week, declaring their campaign a success.  Before the day was through, Russian aircraft and crews were already departing from Hmeymim air base in Latakia.  Since this announcement, the media has been alight with speculation on the meaning of Russia’s sudden departure, its political and military implications, and the reasons for this seemingly unexpected move.  Much of the discussion has thus far missed the mark.  There is no Russian withdrawal from Syria, but rather a drawdown of the air contingent present in Latakia. Putin simply moved pieces on the board, without altering the equation.

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Why Does Putin Surprise Us Again and Again?

Another article from Stephen Blank. I very much agree with him.

Why Does Putin Surprise Us Again and Again?

Stephen Blank

From Great Britain to the Black Sea, Russia is waging a constant, unceasing information war against virtually every European government. This war takes many forms, but information war in essence entails what Peter Pomerantsev called the weaponization of information in the form of lies, misinformation, propaganda, exploitation of agents of influence, and reflexive actions inducing opponents to behave in ways they think benefit them but actually work to the enemy’s advantage. Among other things, numerous reports show that an army of so-called trolls exist in Russia who do nothing but defame honest reporters and reporting on Russia, and saturate the internet, television, newspapers, and other media with their misinformation.

Read more: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/why-does-putin-surprise-us-again-and-again

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“Weaponization” and Its Flaws

“Weaponization” and Its Flaws

By Edward Lucas

March 14, 2016

Military jargon makes language vivid and punchy. It is particularly tempting when the aim is to sound the alarm about Russia’s approach to its neighbors. But specialist terms in the wrong context can be misleading.

One much-used term is “hybrid warfare” — mixing conventional force of arms with other non-military means. Another favourite word is “weaponized.” Russia “weaponizes” everything from information to energy exports, via the targeted use of corruption, and even—according to General Philip Breedlove, the outgoing NATO military commander—migration.

Read more here: http://www.cepa.org/content/weaponization-and-its-flaws

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Art of Fortification

How the Kremlin uses military bases on the western flank to take the Russian population hostage

Author: Pavel Luzin
Deployment and modernization of large military bases near the Ukraine-Russia border, in the Kaliningrad Oblast (which continues to function as a huge Central and Eastern European fort) and the militarization of occupied Crimea are all part of Moscow’s logic of confrontation with the West. The aggressive war against a neighboring country is perceived by the Kremlin as a bloody, but not final, episode. However, it is abundantly clear that the Russian political regime is doomed to failure in the case of a conventional armed conflict with NATO countries. This is precisely why these military constructions, coupled with the nurtured threat of unpredictability, are intended to put pressure on the West without prompting all-out war. But these steps serve an additional goal: to take Russian citizens, whose loyalty to the political authorities will be guaranteed by something akin to Stockholm Syndrome, hostage.

– See more at: http://intersectionproject.eu/article/security/art-fortification#sthash.VtVE0lgL.dpuf

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Russian Warfare is not Hybrid

1394730896_1I’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

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