World in Crosshairs of Kremlin’s Hybrid War
Political subversion, psychological manipulation, disinformation campaigns, military maneuvers, puppet statelets, paid local collaborators and phantom civil society activity make up a small list of Russia’s subversive operations happening today, not just in Ukraine, but partly in the West as well
The authors Alya Shandra and Bob Seely went through three tranches of emails and documents – apparently belonging to senior Kremlin officials – most importantly – Vladimir Surkov – known as the ‘Grey Cardinal’ and even Putin’s “Rasputin.”
You might know – the political operative has been Putin’s personal advisor on relations with Ukraine since 2013 – so since before Russia’s invasion of Crimea. The authors argue the correspondence and records hacked by a Ukrainian group called CyberHunta in 2016 is in the public interest. Why? Well – because they highlight the lengths the Kremlin will go to, to control and undermine democratic countries, based on the experiences of Ukraine and Georgia.
It’s also an important reminder that Russia commands and controls the war in the Donbas.
The report is over 90 pages long – so perhaps too long to go through everything in this video. But there were a few striking elements. One part concerns ‘active measures’ – a Soviet form of political-military conflict used in warfare.
The authors write that Russia uses demoralization, destabilization, crisis points, and renormalization in its warfare strategies. That’s just the foundations.
Alya Shandra and Bob Seely highlight, not just concepts we’ve heard about before – including in the realms of energy, as with the Nord Stream 2 and information warfare, as with the RT media outlet – but also Russia’s careful study of messaging lines for specific target audiences in Ukraine, who could be encouraged to do Moscow’s bidding. That’s where ‘reflexive control’ comes in. And it involves manipulating an opponent into making decisions leading to their own defeat.
“For this, the Kremlin conducted painstaking research into the intricacies of Ukrainian daily life to understand the Ukrainian world view and identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Then, using media, front groups, provocateurs and paid rallies, it created a virtual reality designed to compel Ukraine into making decisions serving Russian objectives,” the report reads.
The report also delves deeper into the Kremlin’s Novorossiya project.
The authors say the leaked emails highlight the Kremlin’s efforts to establish regional ‘special statuses’ well beyond Donetsk and Luhansk. We’re talking special economic zones, for example, in Kharkiv, Odesa and even Dnipro. The aim? Changing the Ukrainian constitution – and the eventual soft federalization of one part of the country. This could have certainly have slowed down or even halted Ukraine’s EU integration.
The report outlines key players involved in this project and how Russia, to this day, is still trying to win in Ukraine. Alya Shandra and Bob Seely point out that to achieve the death of a state, “the Kremlin relies on Western media freedoms to do its bidding and enable its agents of influence to work in Ukraine.”