I mentioned the book “Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’ and the Annexation of Crimea” by Kent DeBenedictis in at least one recent post. I have since added the book to my list of indispensable, essential reading for understanding Russia, its actions over the years, the Soviet Union, and the history and meaning of Russian hybrid warfare. I have only just started digesting the book- it has so much information, leading to so many other sources and required reads (some of which I list below,) that it will take me some time to get through the entire thread.

In summary DeBenedictis explains hybrid warfare, (aka, new-generation warfare, non-linear warfare, or indirect warfare- used interchangeably but certainly with nuanced differences if the terms were deconstructed) as nothing new. Rather it is a rebranding, and adaptation for the 21st century of Soviet counter-revolution theory, used throughout Soviet history to confront its enemies. For analysis of Crimea, the author uses the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979 for comparison, offers an assessment of operational and tactical aspects of modern, hybrid warfare compared to “classical” soviet political warfare, that is Soviet counter-revolution theory as opposed to today’s Russian color revolution theory, and applies and contrasts both models.

For a deeper look at new-generation war/ hybrid warfare and the origins of color revolution theory, see the following sources, which include the writings of top Russian military leaders:

At the NATO Defense College publications page there are countless downloadable PDF’s; see specifically “Handbook of Russian Information Warfare” by Keir Giles, from November, 2016. It provides an introduction to Russia’s assault on information space, how they categorise information warfare, how their definitions and acceptability of targets differ from those of NATO and the west, and how the west is currently and has long-been under such an attack. A useful term from the monograph is “perception management,” an age old practice of course, but one that I tend to reiterate and force in every blog I write; it is nothing short the ongoing process of narrative creation, of Orwellian “mobile truth.” Again, beware any “information” coming out of Russia posing as news.

Also see General of the Army Gerasimov’s article from the Russian journal Military-Industrial Kurier, 27 February 2013- The Value of Science Is in the Foresight (translated and published by Robert Coalson of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), reprinted in the U.S. Army’s Military Review, January-February 2016.

For and analysis and interpretation of Gerasimov’s article, see “Getting Gerasimov Right”, by Charles K. Bartles, also from the U.S. Army’s Military Review, January-February 2016.

Finally, there is “The Nature and Content of a New-Generation War” by Chekinov and Bogdanov, cited by DeBenedictis and others as another source for Russia’s doctrine of new-generation war.

Update on Russian combat losses- another 1010 invaders killed yesterday, with a total fast approaching 150,000 dead. An Aljazeera report states the fully 30,000 of those deaths were Wagner “mercenaries,” with 90% of those casualties being released convicts.

Russian combat losses as of 18 February, 2023

Russian combat losses as of 18 February, 2023

And to end this post on a lighter note, comedic at this point, but also a disturbing in its clarity and applicability, I turn to the past. On the horizon: economic confusion, political instability, chaos, and no more Pizza Hut.

Update for today- mostly links to background and current reports, all of which I consider pertinent for developing a solid view of the war in Ukraine, of Russia’s capabilities, tactics, and probable courses of action, and an understanding of Russia’s overall threat against freedom and democracy worldwide.

There is hope in Belarus, where they are still not following Putin’s doctrine to the letter, and may well act to thwart his plans- from 29 January, 2023, from the RFERL website, “Amid Worries Over Russian Forces In Belarus, Former Security Officer Says Belarusian Conscripts Won’t Fight.”

From the RAND website, from March, 2017, see the testimony to the House Armed Services Committee: Understanding Russian “Hybrid Warfare” And What Can Be Done About It  by Christopher S. Chivvis. This testimony, though it is from 2017 and as such its predictions and warnings have become history, is worth the time to read.

The testimony notes Russia’s goals in their hybrid war as creating division in and weakening NATO, subversion of pro-western and democratic governments, the creation of pretexts for war, and to justify the annexation of territory as a few of those goals. It covers briefly the development of Russia’s hybrid, non-military toolbox, growing out of the “traditional” espionage and subversion used by the USSR. It stresses the importance of countering Russia’s threats in the information realm- specifically in the media and news, on social media, and the internet in general, along with strengthening of governments’ cyber security and enhancing collection and sharing of intelligence among European, EU, and allied nations as key in the fight against the Russian threat.

Continuing in that realm, from the Army University Press website, September-October 2020, see “Russian New Generation Warfare Deterring and Winning the Tactical  Fight” by James Derleth, PhD.

For a quick, two-page introduction to Russian Military Doctrine from August, 2020, see “Russian Armed Forces: Military Doctrine and Strategy” from the Congressional Research Service website. Key points of note include hybrid and new generation warfare, non-kinetic strategies such as the use of the information sphere (control of media, social media, information creation and delivery, etc.), Russia’s historical and continued emphasis on offensive doctrine and targeting of infrastructure, and lack of concern for mass casualties due to lack of training, morale, and poor command and control.

This RAND page, “Russia’s War in Ukraine: Insights from RAND” has pages of resources- background, testimony, and commentary. It covers strategies and positions of all the players, and has sections dedicated to capabilities, humanitarian concerns, diplomatic and political aspects of the war, and more.

More background, from the United Sates Army War College Press, June 2011, “The Russian Military and the Georgia War: Lessons and Implications”  assesses Russia’s performance in Georgia and how it forced doctrinal changes in the Russian military.

Updates directly from Ukraine are available at the Ukrinform website.

For an update on the current situation on the ground in Ukraine, see the latest assessment from the Institute for the Study of War.

Finally, as always an update of Russian combat losses to date, totaling 131,290- an increase of 700 from the previous day. I read that a New York Times report puts the total number of dead and wounded Russian soldiers at about 200,000 so far. The number will only increase, with daily numbers increasing, until Russia comes to its senses, abandons the Tsar’s mania for conquest, and leaves all Ukrainian territory.

Russian combat losses as of 05 February, 2023

Russian combat losses as of 05 February, 2023