Russia using “organized chaos” to subvert Ukrainian government – analyst

Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, is thought to be the creator of Russia's foreign relations military doctrine. Photo: RIA Novosti

Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, is thought to be the creator of Russia's foreign relations military doctrine. Photo: RIA Novosti 

2016/12/30 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis

Article by: Viacheslav Husarov

Russia’s hybrid aggression unleashed against Ukraine has transitioned to a phase where Moscow seeks non-military means of ‘resolving’ the conflict on its own terms. This is in line with the Russian General Staff concept of hybrid warfare.

In early 2013, Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, presented a report called “New Challenges Demand Rethinking the Forms and Methods of Carrying out Combat Operations” at the Russian Academy of Military Science conference. Exactly a year later, the world saw Russia’s annexation of Crimea followed by the war in the Donbas.

Graphic from Gerasimov’s article in the February-March 2013 issue of the Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kurier (Military-Industrial Courier), translated by Charles Bartles (click to enlarge)

Graphic from Gerasimov’s article in the February-March 2013 issue of the Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kurier (Military-Industrial Courier), translated by Charles Bartles (click to enlarge)

After Russia’s occupation of Crimea and some of the Donbas areas, few people could still view Gerasimov’s chart as a sheer scientific coincidence. Having seen reduced military activity in the Donbas, Russian military and academic circles are discussing scenarios to move the aggression in eastern Ukraine into the ‘resolving the conflict’ phase.

In short, the Russian media are shaping discourse on ways to ‘ease tensions’ with Ukraine. To that end, the media have significantly reduced its aggressive content, virtually eliminating the 2014 labels it used to apply to the Ukrainian government, such as “Ukrainian fascists,” “punishers,” and “banderovtsi” [Ukrainian nationalists].

In recent months, the so-called ‘post-conflict resolution’ has become the leitmotif in the Kremlin’s discourse.

Throughout the year, at closed-door conferences held at Russian military academies and round tables, military and political experts discussed Moscow’s ways out of the war foisted upon Kyiv and searched for acceptable scenarios for Ukraine. It’s not surprising that their outcomes are not made public, although open discussions also take place alongside the closed ones. Among them are such forums as “Current Issues of Security in Southern Russia,” “Measuring a Social and Political World: Russia-Ukraine-Novorossiya,” “War or Peace?” etc.

Their common and distinctive feature is finding ways to preserve informational influence in a new non-military format.

It’s become customary to invite former Ukrainian officials (e.g. Vitaliy Zakharchenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, and Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine) to these forums as consultants, who know well about the subtleties of Ukrainian politics, diplomacy, and economy. High-ranking Ukrainian oligarchs who fled the country are also used by Moscow as a serious information-political resource. In this way, the Russian government is trying to develop a new arsenal of non-military influence on Ukraine’s political situation – new “keys” for Ukraine, in other words.

Some Russian experts believe that these actions are aimed to violate the subjectivity of Ukraine’s development, consolidate domestic tensions, replace the ruling elites, and support the opposition leaders who are ready to be managed from the outside.

In its essence, the doctrine of “managed chaos,” adopted by Russian intelligence services as a critical component of contemporary war theory, coupled with Russia’s new geopolitical principles, turned into a guide to subvert the Ukrainian government.

Among scholars who work on the application of managed chaos technologies are V.E. Lepskiy, V.V. Karyakin, A.A. Bartosh, S.A. Batchikov, and I.A. Vasilenko. In nearly all Russian theoretical writings on soft-power, Russian experts emphasize the development of external management forces in Ukraine.

Public opinion leaders among the ruling elite, the opposition, and religious organizations are seen as the key channels of influence.

When it became clear that Russia failed to defeat Ukraine in the hybrid war, it was decided to create a “manual” political resource among pro-Russian Ukrainians. In summer and fall 2014, Moscow began to emphasize a humanitarian aspect to resolving the conflict, and Russian services started organizing a Ukrainian humanitarian arsenal.

Among the formed organizations dealing with humanitarian issues in eastern Ukraine were the Committee of Public Support of Residents of south-eastern Ukraine initiated by the Russian Federation Council and the Refugee Union of Ukraine supported by the State Duma. There was also an attempt to create a pro-Russian political platform out of Ukrainian officials, mainly former members of the Party of Regions, through V. Oliynyk’s parliamentary group For Peace and Stability.

In the early stages of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, experts observed a surge in political activity among Ukrainian diaspora leaders in Russia. Bogdan Bezpalko, a leader of the Russian NGO the Federal Natural Cultural Autonomy “Ukrainians in Russia,” has become perhaps the most popular “Ukrainian” in the Russian media. He condemned the Ukrainian government, thus attuning the opinion of the Ukrainian diaspora to the opinion of the Russian government.

There is a growing number of skeptics among military experts who are inclined to view Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation only as a military threat. There is no denying that military activity with heavy weapons has recently escalated along the contact line. Therefore, it seems logical for military experts to talk about the beginning of a new phase of military operations in the Donbas. The increasing military and civilian casualties obviously compel experts to reach such a conclusion. However, one should look beyond that.

The Russian forces seek to achieve information objectives. The main task of the Russian leadership is to impose a protracted war on Ukraine, which over time would:

  • exhaust Ukraine’s treasury;
  • prevent the restoration of the economy;
  • encourage the Ukrainians to accept admissibility of federalism;
  • divide the Ukrainian society;
  • create the myth of the invincibility of the Russian army;
  • fuel public distrust in Ukraine’s military-political leadership;
  • reduce people’s patriotism.

Each of these points doesn’t apply to military victories. Instead, the Russian government is pushing Ukraine to non-military (information, political, and economic) defeats. The Kremlin ultimately seeks Kyiv to accept peace on Russia’s terms.

By implementing technologies of managed chaos,  Russia is searching for the right keys to establish control over Ukraine.

The replacement of the key elite players with ‘managed’ candidates is viewed as the principal pillar of its strategy. The NGOs of Ukrainians and political centers in Russia supported by Russian intelligence services are already preparing candidates.

Their task is to create a wave of managed chaos, which would lead to the collapse of the system with no need for further military escalation. Moreover, as a catalyst for managed chaos, Russian subversion efforts are focused on domestic socio-economic and ethnic tensions in Ukraine, pervasive corruption ties, income inequality, and a lack of social guarantees. Unfortunately, Ukraine has long ignored this series of tensions, reinforcing public distrust in the government.

husarov

Viacheslav Husarov is an information security expert at the Kyiv Center for Military-Political Research of the Information Resistance group. He is a Reserve Colonel who served as a deputy head of a structural unit at the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, leading a psychological operations division within a Ukrainian contingent in Iraq.

Translated by: Vera Zimmerman
Source: Translated and summarized from sprotyv.info

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  • freedom fighter

    aaa let’s talk about moscow and putin while poroshenko totally destroys our country….
    good going guys, good going!

    • Brent

      “our” country?!?!?!?

      FIFI, Ukraine was never yours and never will be. That cesspool called “Rossiya” is where you Russo Nazzi primates belong….

    • Dirk Smith

      LOL. Our illiterate quisling is back. Of course, this coward doesn’t use his name. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb61983b5e845bacbcb63e2d7d0e606de3c4b873d5564fd2e7d2300877bbd0a0.png

      • BCHistorian

        God, they’re both as ugly as….

        • Quartermaster

          Freedom fighter?

      • kievjoy

        Strange that with Poro distroying the country, we have more exports than since we got independence. Also Ukrainians can criticise Poro and other ministers without getting arrested. If he’s said that about Putin he’d be in prison now (or dead).

      • Turtler

        “LOL. Our illiterate quisling is back.”

        Objection! Vidkun Quisling actually had an honest job in his life and was deeply affected by the cruelty and totalitarianism of the Soviet Union during his diplomatic career in the 1920’s (though it tragically drove him to be another type of totalitarian monster).

        Is there any indication he has been gainfully employed or has a even a Fraction of as good a reason as Quisling did?

    • Turtler

      If you think Poroshenko has “totally destroyed” the country you’ve forgotten how the Holodomor, WWII, and centuries of Mongol raids failed to.

    • Quartermaster

      Ukraine isn’t yours. If you are Ukrainian (very, very unlikely), then you are a traitor. It’s far more likely that you are just some random Russian filth sent to troll.

  • zorbatheturk

    This scumbag needs to have an Interpol warrant put out for his arrest.

    • Turtler

      Not Good enough. The Sudanese dictatorship has dozens of Interpol warrants out for them and they have barely been inconvenienced.

      Best to skip the middleman and simply blow his head off.

      • zorbatheturk

        My guess is he lives surrounded by bodyguards 24/7. He is one of the most paranoid men on earth.

        • Turtler

          To be fair, most heads of state in major countries do. Especially since it’s not like people only want to kill evil, corrupt tyrants.

          But yeah, Putin is paranoid as heck. And we shouldn’t be surprised, a liar has trouble believing anybody but himself.

          • zorbatheturk

            A crook always fears someone else stealing his stuff.

  • Tony

    I think Poroshenko new year’s message is relevant to you counter Russians on this move:
    “Everything will be fine, dear Ukrainians, if we do not allow certain state-mongers to repeal the result hard won by the Ukrainian society,”

    “We proceed from belt tightening to gradual increase of revenues of Ukrainians. There are grounds to believe that the worst in the social and economic spheres is already behind,”

    http://www.unian.info/society/1707226-poroshenko-in-donbas-we-will-be-united-for-sure.html

    Indeed it has to be pointed out that Ukraine’s economy is growing while russias stagnates, that putins novorossiya failed and thousands of Russian soldiers died with it in Donbass, that Ukraine performed more reforms over the last few years than over the combined 20 years before that, that paternalism is one of the weaknesses of the soviet mindset(rather take responsibility for your destiny and organize locally), that Russian army looses an airplane every month on average (far from invincible), etc.

  • James Fenton III

    Managed chaos is used Worldwide, in the USA an example would be the elections this last year.
    This campaign was begun when JFK was shot just 7 days after exposing the intent of the “Military Industrial Complex”.
    The Military Industrial Complex makes money when there are wars being fought, that’s why so many conflicts have been cultivated in Afghanistan, and the Middle East.
    Realize the American people are trying to regain control of our Government, but it’s easier said than done.
    When there is a profit to be made, individuals are expendable.

    • Turtler

      “Managed chaos is used Worldwide,”

      True.

      “in the USA an example would be the elections this last year.”

      M?

      “This campaign was begun when JFK was shot just 7 days after exposing the intent of the “Military Industrial Complex”.”

      …. by a fanatical Communist ex-vet and drifter.

      “The Military Industrial Complex makes money when there are wars being
      fought,”

      Hardly, especially when the “Military Industrial Complex” (as if an industry in the era of anti-trust and pricefixing laws cooperates all that much) has to provide technical help and field repair for increasingly more expensive and complicated stuff.

      It generally benefits more from times when tension (and thus demand) are VERY High but not actually at conflict.

      “that’s why so many conflicts have been cultivated in Afghanistan, and the Middle East.”

      Yes, that’s why Bin Laden committed his terrorist army to civilizational Jihad against the “House of War” and ultimately got himself killed, why Iran routinely kidnaps foreign sailors in the Persian Gulf, why Assad and Gaddafi decided to respond to peaceful protests by shooting people to death, and so on. Because they were all stockholders!!!!

      Seriously…… the South China Sea Cold War is much, much more lucrative for makers of military ships and their equipment than a dozen Afghan wars would be. The exception might be for the providers of cheap munitions (like Russia0 but even then there’s a limit.

      “Realize the American people are trying to regain control of our Government, but it’s easier said than done.”

      Indeed.

      “When there is a profit to be made, individuals are expendable.”

      And so is logic, apparently.

      • James Fenton III

        You didn’t like what I said, but that is not my problem, it’s yours.
        Hermann Goreing said it best at his trial, tell the citizens they have a new enemy, blame the pacifist’s for lack of patriotism, and exposing the Country to danger.
        This works in any Country, and it’s the same tactic being used today.

        • Turtler

          “You didn’t like what I said, but that is not my problem, ”

          Indeed, on that very limited note you are correct.

          The factual and logical holes in your claims though? Those ARE your problems.

          “Hermann Goreing said it best at his trial, tell the citizens they have a new
          enemy, blame the pacifist’s for lack of patriotism, and exposing the
          Country to danger.”

          Hermann Goering was a diagnosed psychopath and proven dillante who was kept outside the inner circles of NSDAP policy as far bak as Hitler’s parliamentary campaign for a reason.

          And again, just because some unsavory character today says it does not mean there is not a new enemy or the pacifists are not stupid. In this case the enemy announced themselves several times through their attacks on Khobar Towers, the Cole, 9/11, and several videos and manifestos.

          But hey, actually having an enemy and the concept that the military-industrial complex might serve a valid role (as even Eisenhower stated) would crimp the style of the OOOOO CONSPIRACY crowd!

          “This works in any Country, and it’s the same tactic being used today.”

          See above.

          • James Fenton III

            You protest too much, and this makes me think you are trying to defend the indefensible.
            There is a conspiracy to make war, and make money.
            The facts are, a sitting President warns about the Military Industrial Complex and their plans to enslave everyone, and is shot just days later.
            This is so simple, even you can wrap your mind around it.
            Apparently folks like you can be fooled all of the time.

          • Turtler

            ‘You protest too much, and this makes me think you are trying to defend the indefensible.”

            The indefensible is the claim that Al Qaeda and ISIS does not exist, or that some perverse Military-Industrial Complex made Lee Harvey Oswald- a man who hated Capitalism on a whole nad would be more likely to murder military contractors than take a contract hit from them- assassinated JFK on behalf.

            “There is a conspiracy to make war, and make money.”

            And of course, actual pressure to prove this does not apply, merely asserting it as a fact is enough.

            And merely asserting it allows one to ignore all other evidence, including declarations of war and statements of hostility from other powers, like-say- Jihadi terror groups. Or the PRC douching around the South China Sea.

            It’s an old, stupid claim and as someone who has had to look at it in depth from their studies in WWI and the Vietnam War it has rarely had any substance to it. (Not *always*, but rarely).

            “The facts are, a sitting President warns about the Military Industrial
            Complex and their plans to enslave everyone, and is shot just days
            later.”

            And do you even have the transcript from a former speech?

            Also, I will note that Eisenhower ALSO warned of the Military Industrial Complex (though not to the hysterical degree you claim) much earlier. And nothing happened to Him.

            “This is so simple, even you can wrap your mind around it.”

            Lee Harvey Oswald’s ideological proclivities and affiliations are also so simple you can too. But you ignore them.

            Conspiracy theories are history for those who are both simple and biased.

            “Apparently folks like you can be fooled all of the time.”

            Says the person who thinks JFK was murdered by the Military Industrial Complex.

  • Czech Mate

    I look at Gerasimov and I see the typical features of a ruSSki- mix of cold cruelty and demented caveman like skull shape the mongolian bluntness all over. And yet the worst hides inside…