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  • Author: Steve Abrams
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the role of Soviet-style “active measures” as an element of modern Russian “political warfare.” These techniques were commonly used during the Soviet-era, encompassing a broad range of influence activities, including: covert media placement, forgery, agents of influence, “friendship” societies, front organizations, and more. Today, in Putin’s Russia, these active measures are once again in use, updated for digitally interconnected “global information space.” The paper begins with an introduction to active measures, then discusses their role in Soviet foreign policy and the attempts by the American “Active Measures Working Group” to counter them. The paper then describes how the Soviet active measures playbook has been updated for the modern era, using three case studies as examples. The paper concludes with a discussion on strategy, reproducing a number of recommendations from key publications.
  • Topic: Media, Information Age, Propaganda, political warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Oleksil Izhak
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: As the post-cold-war unipolar system transforms into a polycentric one, it becomes more complex and less predictable. The new system may be crushed with less effort than needed to keep it on track. The polycentric international system, as it emerges, suffers from hybrid threats. They are difficult to identify and predict. Russia pioneered exploiting the new vulnerabilities to gain unilateral advantages. Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine was just a starting episode of her wider attempt to crush the whole world order. Responsible world powers have either to fix the vulnerabilities of the polycentric world, or to block malicious attempts to exploit it.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Military Strategy, Post Cold War, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Iryna Klymenko
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Russia’s non-standard intervention in Ukraine was accomplished in four major areas—the economic system as a whole, the energy and security sectors, and information policy. The deliberate policy of the Kremlin has transformed Ukraine into economically fragile and institutionally weak nation. Due to efforts of former regime and Russian intelligence agencies, main Ukrainian government institutions were involved in semi-legal, semi-criminal transnational business scheme. Macro-financial vulnerability of Ukraine, in conjunction with a strained economic structure, proved to be the necessary and sufficient conditions for preparing and implementing hybrid aggression. The Ukrainian precedent might be replicated as a special operation to destroy statehood, whereby disruption is achieved through the escalation of internal political and economic challenges. One universal means of undermining statehood in an era of hybrid wars is to encourage corruption among holders of the highest office.
  • Topic: Security, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Michael Komin, Alexander Vileykis
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The military conflict in Southeastern Ukraine provides vast research opportunities in most diverse areas and in a zone of ongoing combat with all its attendant social ramifications. This article provides a review of some key questions of this war: why volunteer battalions conduct some harmful and inhumane acts and what may be done next to prevent violence after the war. Because war creates big areas without any control, there are huge non-transferable investments, incidents like torturing civil people, etc. The authors try to explain what conditions may impact the behavior of battalions and what should the governments do after the war ends.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Joshua P. Mulford
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The current war in Ukraine has highlighted the fact that in this new age of warfare non-state actors play a larger role than ever before. The influence of the media, think tanks and academia, religious groups, organized crime, war militias, NGOs and GONGOs, and the Ukrainian diaspora is pervasive. Kremlin-controlled media coverage of the war in Eastern Ukraine, including the downing of the MH-17 jet, is offset by the newer grassroots pro-Ukrainian media outlets such as Ukraine Today. Think tanks and academia focused on Ukraine and Russia are also battling for visibility in the government and among the populous. The impact of religious groups on the Ukrainian conflict is best featured in the Russian Orthodox Church’s rationalizing the invasion of Crimea as Russia’s divine right. The Ukrainian church, a subset of the ROC, has broken off and played a proactive role in assisting the war effort by pro-Ukrainian militias. The almost concurrent rise of militias and organized crime in Ukraine pose as a precarious issue for the future of the country. As the government is incapable of regaining sovereignty of its territory, stand-alone militias have risen to fight the Russian invasion in Eastern Ukraine. Organized crime has capitalized on the instability of the region, and with the annexation of Crimea, a new system of black market activities has been opened. The outside world is taking an interest in the Ukrainian plight, as well as in the form of NGO support, and in the case of Russia, GONGOs to promote policies in line with their agendas. The Ukrainian diaspora has also fought to influence policy making towards Ukraine, forming committees and sending supplies to the front line. It is unclear how much influence these non-state actors will have in the future of Ukraine, but it is quite certain that they each play a significant role in the way the conflict is perceived.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Non State Actors, Media
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Alekejs Loskutovs
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This article provides recent evidence from Latvia on activities of organized crime groups, covering illegal border crossing, drug trafficking, economic crime, money laundering, theft of vehicles, human trafficking, and the corruption related to all these types of crime. The concluding section presents regional and European initiatives to counter organized crime, in which Latvian law enforcement agencies participate, as well as the national project to build a fence on the border with the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: Corruption, Crime, Law Enforcement, Organized Crime
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Latvia
  • Author: David Matsaberidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the construction and transformation of the post-Soviet security perspectives of Georgia and Ukraine in the context of the post-Soviet Russian foreign policy in the “near abroad,” quite often termed the “legitimate sphere” of Russian influence by high-ranking Russian officials. This inquiry covers the panorama of the foreign policy in post-Soviet Russia across the FSU, from the early 1990s through to the present, where Georgia and Ukraine’s independent and pro-Western orientation are the main issues securitized for the Russian Federation. Accordingly, the maintenance of territorial integrity has become a security priority for Georgia since the early 1990s and will most likely be Ukraine’s top concern after the Crimean occupation by the Russian Federation in March 2014 and the subsequent developments in Eastern Ukraine. Therefore, it could be claimed that post-Soviet Russian and Georgian/Ukrainian security strategy (following peaceful revolutions) represent a zero-sum game.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Emilbek Dzhuraev
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: For over a year now, the crisis in and over Ukraine has been a stable fixture among the top issues of concern and deliberation internationally. The subject has become a point of polarized debate, with most contributions favoring one side or the other between the collective “West” and Russia. Similar to most trending debates, especially those as divided as this, the discussion has tended to simplify the issue by lumping everything into singular categories, be they “Russian imperialism,” “American conspiracy,” “Ukrainian fascism,” or “the new Cold War.” However, the matter is far more complex. This essay offers a mostly non-aligned analytical overview of the positions of five Central Asian countries on the subject. What these countries’ stances elicit is the complexity of the problem and the many-sided effects and challenges the involved and surrounding parties need to face, where it is far from obvious why a country takes this or that stance, or—even more tellingly—why it appears to vacillate. From such an overview, a number of more general conceptual rewards can be derived.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Farkod Tolipov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The ongoing war in Ukraine is shaking the foundation of the already fragile Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). After the separation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia and the splitting of Pridnestrovye from Moldova, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and keeping Ukraine in a lasting crisis by tactics that “take on attrition,” Russia not only has fallen under international economic sanctions but also aroused suspicions about its neo-imperial syndrome among post-Soviet friends on Russia’s perimeter. Not only has the international community condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but the intra-Commonwealth community has also been painfully strained by these actions. Paradoxically and ironically, such dramatic events are unfolding simultaneously with seemingly integrationist undertakings regarding the assemblage of the Euro-Asian Economic Union (EAEU). Both the war in Ukraine and creation of the EAEU have revealed the invalidity of the CIS and displayed the start of a new stage of restructuring and reformatting of what has been known as the post-Soviet space. How this space will be re-configured will have global geopolitical implications, as these processes are taking place on one sixth of the Earth – the vast geographical area that Tsarist Russia and the Soviets once proudly ascribed to themselves. Actually, the crisis of the CIS began right after its inception in 1991 when, in parallel, the then newly independent five Central Asian states decided to establish their own Commonwealth – CAC. Since then, different smaller commonwealths have coexisted alongside the CIS in the post-Soviet space, steadily undermining the construction of the CIS itself. The longer the war in Ukraine protracts, the more will Russia alienate Ukrainians and the more any integration around and with Russia will replicate the feigned CIS. Lately, Central Asia has been taking an unclear lesson from this geopolitical situation and is making an ambiguous strategic choice. This paper is devoted to the analysis of these aforementioned three focal points: the implications of the war in Ukraine for the CIS, Russia’s fault and the Central Asian countries’ reaction.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Military Strategy, Armed Conflict , EAEU
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Zofia Studzinska
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Russia has been an empire for centuries. After the fall of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, many countries saw a chance to build a new world order and a new international and European security system. But for Moscow, the last 15 years were simply an aberration to be rectified rather than the new reality. Currently, we are witnessing the Russian Federation attempt to rebuild its sphere of influence and restore its borders to what they were during the time of the Cold War. The first sign of Russia testing this plan was the Russo-Georgian war in August 2008. After a poor reaction from the West, Moscow decided to pursue another confrontation, this time going much further, challenging the limits of the possible – the annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, ongoing from April 2014. With the lack of a strong response from the Western countries, one can assume that Russia is on its way to rebuilding its imperial position and will continue to grasp for control of other territories.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Military Strategy, Empire, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe