Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Strategy against Western Liberal Democracies

By Kiran Sridhar, TELOS

In 2013, Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces and a close confidant of longtime defense minister Sergey Shoygu, published an article in a narrowly circulated military journal, Military-Industrial Courier. The article had an anodyne title: “The Value of Science in Prediction.” But this article was not abstruse. It begins with a bold proclamation: that the “rules of war” have fundamentally changed.[1] No longer was there a sharp discontinuity between warfare and peace. Instead, there were gradations, and nations could further their own aims by undertaking measures—propaganda campaigns spreading mendacious information; hacks and leaks designed to undermine the legitimacy of governments and populations; providing material support to opposition elements—that undermine opposing countries and systems. In this new paradigm, nations could use “internal opposition to create a permanently operating front through the entire territory of the enemy state.”[2] He predicted that in the future, conflicts would be waged with a four-to-one ratio of nonmilitary to military means.[3] Such dramatic pronouncements were not coming from inside the ivory tower or from a peripheral figure in the Russian military; this article was written by a key driver of Russian national security and military policy.

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