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Thread: Russian Unconventional Strategy

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaur View Post
    To continue Bill's thought. Following pic is from French general A. Beuafre's book "Strategy of Action" (1967), where he tried to explain Hitler's activity before II WW. Today we can draw similar scheme about Russia's activity in and around Ukraine with list of actors with different interests - USA, NATO, EU, different memberstates etc. Would be interesting reading
    kaur---you amaze me at times.

    Here is a thought that builds on Bill's comment.

    Has anyone here commented on the two Secret protocols signed by Stalin and Hitler that were part and parcel of the 1939 Soviet/German Friendship Pact.

    It is interesting that many of the countries in the former Soviet Union "were given to Stalin by Hitler" in return for territories Germany wanted. And one wonders why they are so "sensitive" to current Russian activities-even 69 years later I would certainly be nervous to say the lest as history has a way of repeating itself.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan
    I think you cherry pick these documents and distort them to justify an elevated perception of threat.
    One consistent pattern in 'analyzing' the 'threat' from Russia is to simultaneously elevate the threat posed to the United States and to diminish the abilities of Russia to resist U.S. capabilities and strategies. In one post, we hear about the great danger faced by the United States by Russia, and then in the next, how if the Obama administration would only lift the proverbial finger, the Russian campaign would immediately collapse.

    The truth is that the military strength of Russia does not come close to that of the United States - and even less so the combined strength of NATO. The difference is that Russia's national security establishment is more disciplined in identifying its political goals and executing plans to implement them. Compare the political outcomes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with Russia's Georgia and Ukraine interventions - which state came closer to accomplishing its political objectives? How many people believed Washington's IO about democracy in Iraq versus Moscow's IO about Crimean desire for unification with Russia? Moscow has been smarter than Washington in recent history in its use of force, and this success aggravates those in Washington to no end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    Russian aggression unchallenged in the Ukraine threatens our interests globally in subtle and not so subtle ways by changing international norms.
    By default, challengers to the status quo will seek to change international norms. Since power is relative, we have to ask if American power is declining or if Russian power is growing (or both). The Russians are clearly discontent with their lot in the international system, so it's not surprising that Moscow exploits opportunities to advance its position. The problem, then, is not the change in the status quo in itself, but Russia's discontent with the status quo. Why is Moscow discontent and what incentives can Washington offer to purchase its cooperation? If Moscow cannot be coerced into compliance, then negotiation is the only viable alternative. What do the Russians want and does Washington have the ability and/or willingness to give it to them?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  3. #43
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Using your logic the Nazis were only a threat to Poland, and the Japanese were only a threat to China.
    Apples and oranges, really, or more like apples and baseballs. Despite the round of Putin-worship we're seeing lately, Russia's success in the Ukraine is less about Putin's genius or some uniquely devious scheme for "New Generation Warfare" than about circumstances unique to the Ukraine. The Ukraine was beyond low-hanging fruit; it was fruit on the ground. The revolution had left the country effectively ungoverned; the armed forces were of varied loyalty and barely functional. Russia had a military base in the Ukraine and could tap into a large and disaffected ethnic Russian population with an active perception of threat. Crimea effectively dropped into Putin's lap, all he had to do was reach out and take it. I suspect that he really doesn't want Donetsk; if he did he'd have taken it already.

    Will these enabling circumstances be repeated elsewhere? Probably not, unless a pro-Western revolution breaks out in Belarus (not very likely any time soon). Russia's aggression in the Ukraine was as much an act of opportunism as anything else: Putin didn't create that opportunity, he just took advantage of it. It's not likely that he will be given or can create that opportunity elsewhere. That's very much unlike the aggressors of WW2, who created their own opportunities and were able to repeat them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Russian aggression unchallenged in the Ukraine threatens our interests globally in subtle and not so subtle ways by changing international norms. Others are watching to see how they can employ their military and paramilitary in creative ways outside accepted international norms.
    Those "international norms" have been ignored forever by anyone with the opportunity and the incentive. We generally don't notice, because it's so often us that's doing the ignoring.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  4. #44
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    Default Putin’s Gordian Knot: The Changing Face of Russian Intervention

    Putin’s Gordian Knot: The Changing Face of Russian Intervention

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    Default Grading Gerasimov: Evaluating Russian NonlinearWar Through Modern Chinese Doctrine

    Grading Gerasimov: Evaluating Russian NonlinearWar Through Modern Chinese Doctrine

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  6. #46
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    Default Despite Early Signs of Russian Buildup in Syria, U.S. Seemed to be Caught Flat-footed

    Despite Early Signs of Russian Buildup in Syria, U.S. Seemed to be Caught Flat-footed

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  7. #47
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    Default Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice

    Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice

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  8. #48
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Return of Wetwork: under Putin?

    A "broad brush" commentary by John Schindler, after the murder of Alexander Litvenenko in London ten years ago. Elsewhere on SWC we have a few posts on the apparently "new" Russian use of unconventional warfare (UW), information operations and of course those "little green men". So "wetwork" fits SWC's TOR, even if rather uncomfortable.

    The full title and sub-title being:
    The Return of Wetwork: KGB Goons Radiated a Former Associate in London; Putin's Kremlin employs assassination abroad as state policy in a manner not seen in Moscow since Stalin


    Schindler concludes:
    We should hope that the deaths of Mikhail Lesin and other Russian exiles who got on the wrong side of Vladimir Putin won’t linger in mystery for decades like Walter Krivitsky’s. That the Kremlin murdered Alexander Litvinenko seems certain, while a Russian role in assassinations of several others in the West looks increasingly likely. All that can be said with full confidence at this point is that if Western governments don’t take a hard line with Mr. Putin about his regime’s wetwork, demanding that it cease, Russian secret agents will continue their killing spree in our countries.
    Link:http://observer.com/2016/01/the-retu...ate-in-london/

    From London a rather wide comment on modern Russia, the headline being:
    Litvinenko’s murder shows why Putin’s Russia will never prosper
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-putin-russia?

    The following two passages appeared yesterday on the Russian intelligence activities.

    An interesting account of this Russian FSB defector's death; the sub-title says:
    This week, the inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko will deliver its findings. The former Russian spy was poisoned with a cup of tea in a London hotel. Working with Scotland Yard detectives, as he lay dying, he traced the lethal substance to a former comrade in the Russian secret service
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...P=share_btn_tw

    The murder was in October 2006 and only this week did an official inquiry come to an end. This BBC link has more:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35378626
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-03-2016 at 10:34 AM. Reason: Was in a stand alone thread now merged. 7k v
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  9. #49
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    Default Now Dupont Circle D.C.

    This mysterious death has popped up before, but just spotted John Schindler's column. He starts with:
    The story has all the makings of a sleek Hollywood spy thriller. A defector from the Kremlin, a man close to the top echelons of power in Russia. A man who knew too much. And who lived the global jet-set lifestyle. Fear, international intrigue and rumors of stolen fortunes end in a fashionable hotel—with a brutal death.
    Link:http://observer.com/2016/03/another-...in-washington/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-03-2016 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Was in a stand alone thread now merged.
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  10. #50
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    "Return" implies it left at one point. But assassination and murder has always been a tool of Russian statecraft. Linked is an interesting book I read last year about some of that history:

    http://www.amazon.com/KGBs-Poison-Fa.../dp/0760337535

    Quote Originally Posted by KGB's Poison Factory
    In late November 2006 the whole world was shaken by a ruthless assassination in London of former lieutenant colonel of the FSB (the Russian security service and a successor to the KGB) and British citizen Alexander Litvinenko. This has been the most notorious crime in the past 30 years committed by Russian intelligence on foreign soil. Former Russian military intelligence officer and international expert in special operations Boris Volodarsky shows how the Russian poisoning operations started with Lenin and his Cheka, the predecessor of the KGB with intelligence operatives creating poisons and delivery methods as well as planning and carrying out poisoning operations all over the world in order to eliminate the enemies of the Kremlin.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-03-2016 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Was in a stand alone thread now merged.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  11. #51
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    Default Myatezh Voina: The Russian Grandfather of Western Hybrid Warfare

    Myatezh Voina: The Russian Grandfather of Western Hybrid Warfare

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  12. #52
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    Thread re-opened after a post elsewhere (which should follow this) and five SWJ Blog entries merged here too. Thread title changed to reflect unconventional theme.

    There are a number of threads which feature the 'Little Green Men', notably their use in the Crimea takeover. Plus the following 2016 threads which feature unconventional warfare:

    1) Op Liza failed info op in Germany:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=23567

    2) Russia and the European Far Right:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=20641

    3) "Little Green Football Fans" in France:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=24084
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-03-2016 at 10:51 AM.
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  13. #53
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    Default Primer on Russian Unconventional Warfare

    Hat tip to Outlaw09 on the Ukraine War thread for linking an unclassified edition of the 'U.S. Army Special Operations Command Primer on Russian Unconventional Warfare in Ukraine 2013-2014', I don't think has appeared on SWJ before:https://info.publicintelligence.net/...leGreenMen.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-03-2016 at 10:54 AM. Reason: 17,837v
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  14. #54
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    Default Times change, methods do not

    Thanks to a lurker an update on a longstanding Soviet and successor states practices towards those living elsewhere.

    From the website:
    A new Foreign Policy Centre publication 'No shelter: the harassment of activists abroad by intelligence services from the former Soviet Union' examines the experiences of activists and other people who have had to leave their former Soviet country of origin due to the risk of persecution at home, but who are unable to escape the pressures of their country's security services. It looks at both the legal and illegal means used by the security services to put pressure on exiles from Interpol Red Notices and formal extradition procedures, to surveillance, harassment, physical attacks, kidnapping and assassination. Though the publication looks at the issue across the post-Soviet region there will be a particular focus on the activities of the security services from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and on both Turkey and Russia as places where exiles are most at risk. No Shelter examines regional security service cooperation and collusion in putting pressure on activists, alongside the influence of Western activities that have helped exacerbate the situation.
    Link:http://fpc.org.uk/publications/noshelter
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-22-2016 at 10:58 PM. Reason: 26,281v 8.4k views since August
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  15. #55
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    Default Hybrid War or Gibridnaya Voina? Getting Russia’s non-linear military challenge right

    A new report that I spotted today will be of interest to those on this thread:

    "Hybrid War or Gibridnaya Voina? Getting Russia’s non-linear military challenge right"

    The executive summary states:

    The West is at war. It is not a war of the old sort, fought with the thunder of guns, but a new sort, fought with the rustle of money, the shrill mantras of propagandists, and the stealthy whispers of spies.

    This is often described as ‘hybrid war,’ a blend of the military and the political, but in fact there are two separate issues, two separate kinds of non-linear war, which have become unhelpfully intertwined. The first is the way—as the Russians have been quick to spot—that modern technologies and modern societies mean that a shooting war will likely be preceded by and maybe even almost, but not quite, replaced by a phase of political destabilization. The second, though, is the political war that Moscow is waging against the West, in the hope not of preparing the ground for an invasion, but rather of dividing, demoralizing and distracting it enough that it cannot resist as the Kremlin asserts its claims to being a ‘great power’ and in the process a sphere of influence over most of the post-Soviet states of Eurasia.

    The two overlap heavily, and maybe they could usefully be regarded as the two sides of a wider form of ‘non-linear war.’ The instruments which make up ‘political war’ are also crucial to the earlier phases of ‘hybrid war.’ Nonetheless, while a comprehensive analysis of the full arsenal and objectives of Moscow’s ‘political war’ against the West are beyond the scope of this report, a study of ‘hybrid war’ as the Kremlin sees it is essential to explore the nature of the potential threat not just to the West but other countries. In addition, it is central to understanding the way war is changing in the modern age, and what we can do in order to deter, defend and, if need be, defeat any ‘hybrid’ challenge.

    To this end, his report initially considers the way Russian operations in Crimea and south-eastern Ukraine led to the rise of concerns about ‘hybrid war’ and the belief that it represents something substantively new before questioning many of these assumptions by considering Russian thinking on the matter. To Moscow, it is the West which led the way in pioneering political-military operations focusing on destabilizing hostile regimes, and it has taken its cues from its sometimes-acute, sometimes-deeply-mistaken perceptions about our thinking.

    What has emerged, if not wholly new, is certainly a distinctive war of war, one that is rooted, as discussed in the second part of the report, in response to five particular challenges or conditions with which Moscow must contend, from the mismatch between assets and ambitions, to the deinstitutionalization of Putin’s state. Part three then looks at the particular assets the Russians can deploy in their pursuit of ‘hybrid’ operations short of all-out warfare, from the special forces and thuggish gangster auxiliaries who seized Crimea in 2014 to spies, propagandists and spinmasters.

    The point of trying to understand this threat is to respond to it, and the final part presents a series of observations and re-commendations for Western policy. The aim must be deterrence if possible, but such is the nature of this diffuse and undeclared form of war that this will often be by denial—developing ‘hybrid defenses’—and the right mix of forces ready for a conflict that could as easily be fought in cyberspace or the courts as on the battlefield.

    Nor is this simply a threat that will subside as and when Putin’s regime implodes or subsides, however inevitable this undoubtedly is. There are other revisionist powers in the world and likely to emerge. ‘Hybrid war’ is a convenient and catchy term, even if of questionable scholarly rigor, but if anything it simply reflects the way conflict is evolving, and the sooner the West adapts to the Russian challenge, the better it will also be positioned to face the one coming next after that.
    The full report can be found at the excellent blog: In Moscow's Shadows
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-03-2016 at 10:27 AM.
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