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Hybrid Cold War

Author : Serhiy Nemyrych

The Kremlin has returned to the traditional paradigm of Russian policy - ensuring public consolidation on the basis of imperial-chauvinistic hysteria
20:00, 24 October 2016

Read the original text at gazeta.zn.ua.

 

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Russian-Georgian war "08.08.08" was the first open Russian aggression against an independent state since 1991. Analyzing its consequences, the famous English journalist E. Lukas published in 2009 the book " The New Cold War: Putin's Threat to Russia and the West." So the general public received a spectacular explanatory metaphor, referring to the experience of recent history, a false feeling of the situation.

Bright formula sunk into the minds and souls of many politicians and experts, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, and, together with the mobilization effect revived the threat from the East, led to many errors in diagnosis and description of fleeting events of recent years. Let us begin with a few remarks on the similarities and differences in the situations of the present and 30 years old.

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First of all, the Cold War was the result of the confrontation of two social systems, which, at least in theory, had different sets of values and ideals, as well as their own vision of the future development of mankind. "The free world" stood up "real communism" (socialism), it was a question of the survival of one of the two. While Russia today poses no one false alternative, and most importantly - the Kremlin does not really hide the fact that its purpose is not "bright future of mankind," and the perpetuation of the Putin regime.

After the exhaustion of reserves of the socio-economic model based on exports of hydrocarbons, the Kremlin has returned to the traditional paradigm of Russian policy: ensuring public consolidation on the basis of inflation imperial-chauvinistic hysteria. Surrounded by a castle and from all sides enemies encroaching on "native Russian land" in Syria - that may be more familiar to the Russian ear? The efficiency of modern propaganda techniques is significantly higher, and the immune system of the Russian society to information manipulation is significantly lower than it was in the time of Brezhnev's USSR. Compare RTR and Channel 1 with the DH.

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Russia declares a desire to restore the zone of influence within the Soviet Union / Russian Empire, not really even closer to their bygone power. Moreover, long-term forecasts, including Russia, demonstrate that the socio-economic decline of the former superpower continues and "Putin's Olympic village," unable to hide this disappointing fact for the Russians.

Recognizing this, the Kremlin is trying to compensate for the economic weakness, the increasing scarcity of resources and enormous economic and ideological dependence on the West's aggressive foreign policy. Greatness, including military, is living out the last years. And they should take full advantage. The stakes in this poker high. Russian policy is much more unpredictable in its details than the policy of the Soviet Union in 1970-1980-ies.

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Russian rulers did not take part in the terrible Second World War, so they do not have those fuses that have held back the tip of the USSR. Kremlin rulers are willing to take risks and are not always adequately aware of the consequences of their steps. Again, as in 1960, the Kremlin threatened atomic bomb and screaming about it from TV screens. What if the West will believe? Important decisions are taken in the Kremlin very narrow circle of people, if not by one person. These decisions can affect quite unpredictable factors, and therefore, the observer gets the impression that the foreign policy and security policy of the Russian Federation are irrational. This is definitely not the case. This rationality is very specific.

Thus, the level of uncertainty, and therefore - the danger of errors and the price considerably higher than they were 30 years ago. The Kremlin does not think about the ideals and for the interests. Thus, the current crisis of international security has a fundamentally different nature than the Cold War. The current situation is far less structured and definite. The global agenda today is not confined to the West-Russian relations, in contrast to the second half of the twentieth century, when the US-Soviet Union, NATO and the Warsaw Pact were the axis of the global system of international relations.

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In the late 2010s China policy, the situation in South Asia (and especially - the Middle East crisis), only escalates, and it is no less, and in many cases - increasingly important for global politics than events on the periphery of Europe. Islamist terrorism, ISIS, migration crisis affect the interests of Europe and the US are much larger than that of the Russian post-Soviet space.

Russia actively uses against Ukraine and, to some extent, against the other European countries, forms and means of struggle on which Stalin loved to rely. Case of MGB, Sudoplatov and Eitingon are "very much alive." After the 1953, Soviet secret services have not abandoned the political assassinations and sabotage campaigns, but creatively rethink them.

So, in the time of Brezhnev / Andropov Kremlin used an approach, which is now called hybrid war, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. However, it should be emphasized that the current conflict is specific and cannot be fully explained in terms of historical analogies. It is possible that this tension will be continuous, and has already formed a "new norm" in international politics. At least in the planning it should proceed from this assumption. At the same time the limitations of Russian resources increases the likelihood that the active phase of confrontation will be much shorter than the 40 years of the Cold War.

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A characteristic feature of the new situation is blurring differences between external and internal threats. Hybrid warfare practiced by Russia in the modern inter-state conflicts, aimed at the destruction of societies, in respect of which it is carried out, the oppression in their will to resist. Its main object is the public and the institutions, rather than the military. This war has a complex and multidimensional nature. Military means can play a leading and subordinate role. Deceptive perception of the world is one of the tools of hybrid war.

Russia actively uses the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of societies and states, against which the hybrid aggression is conducted. Not without reason in the Ukrainian media is so popular terminology of the Civil War in Spain, like the "fifth column." No wonder the antithesis of victory in Ukraine now is a betrayal, not a defeat like this, according to formal logic, it should be. security environment around Ukraine for many years was unpredictable and threatening. Formula former times no longer operate or act in an unpredictable manner.

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Europe entered the period of crisis, which is not necessarily explode open war, but, in any scenario will be characterized by shocks and conflicts. The persistent desire to adhere to the old, "proven" strategy only increases the danger. For Ukraine, with its extremely inefficient social model, this means that the struggle is for survival, and survival can only be ensured by the development. If we want to exist as an independent state, it must be changed, and in many areas - dramatically. Rapid modernization is a condition of survival. Stagnation, the continuation of current trends will inevitably turn into a fiasco.

Under these conditions, Ukraine should proceed, it appears from the following highlights. First of all, we should rely mainly on their own resources, because, unlike the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation is not perceived by many in the West as an existential threat, and therefore - the confrontation with Russia is not an automatic reason for the American and European aid. At the same time Ukraine should actively try to attract foreign, especially Western, support and fight for it. This is the only way we can at least partially compensate for the fundamental asymmetry with Russia. It is necessary to define realistic goals, not in the clouds. Membership in NATO today is not at the time, rather, it is a question about a certain version of the Swedish model, but a strategic partnership with the US and the UK is possible.

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Along the way, we emphasize that the reform should be carried out to ensure the development, and not for the satisfaction of creditors, cooperation with which, though important, but should not contradict the objectives of modernization. The main content of the modernization strategy at this stage is to eliminate the artificial administrative barriers doing business, especially small and medium. Limiting the role of government in accordance with its actual capabilities and should provide a real fight against corruption. It is understood that corruption - it is an integral feature of the current model of public relations, and it cannot be overcome solely by repressive measures, which are also a priori will be selective.

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Absolute priority should be to strengthen the defense and security of Ukraine. The principal limitation of Ukrainian resources (GDP at about $ 90 billion of its large share allocated to defense and security, it means very little compared with the Russian absolute amounts of financing - 2.5 billion against 66 billion dollars) determines the need for highly efficient use of defense budgets and security. At the same time, efforts should be focused primarily on the development of management systems, logistics, communications and intelligence. We must do what is possible to do and will give the greatest effect in the shortest possible time, and not moan about the impossible.

And finally. A great time is beneficial for Ukraine. Russia is gradually waning. But the old proverb about the river and the corpses of the enemies is not working. The medium-term measurement of the RF remains a deadly threat. Moreover, in the medium measurement time is against us. It is likely that we have not yet passed the lowest point of the crisis, including the military one. To win this race we need to work hard. It is extremely difficult, but possible to carry it out.

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