May 29, 2015
By Boris Rozhin (colonel_cassad)
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
President Putin classified information concerning MOD personnel casualties while carrying out special operations in peacetime as a state secret. The corresponding presidential decree was published on the official legal information site.
The decree also classifies information concerning people who are being investigated by special services and law enforcement with the purpose of recruiting them as intelligence, counter-intelligence, or operational assets. Before only information about individuals who were actually recruited was classified.
These changes were entered into Boris Yeltsin’s Decree No. 1203 from November 30, 1995 “On the list of information considered a state secret.” Earlier only information about losses during wartime were considered a state secret.
PS. The only thing that surprises me is how late this is taking place–the need for it was obvious already in August-September 2014, when after the well known story about the “lost” paratroopers, both within and outside Russia there ensued a massive campaign aimed at demonstrating Russian military presence on the territory of the Donbass.
The amendments block access to, and dissemination of, information related to secret operations by special services and losses suffered by them, and they represent another information security barrier for Russia’s hybrid war in Ukraine. The threat of criminal prosecution for disclosing state secrets ought to motivate “talky” folks to keep their opinions to themselves.
It’s also clear that the “GRU spetsnaz” hysteria, and the unfavorable indicators of Ukraine-related information work, also motivated the decree. The local “fifth column” is trying to earn points in this area, and its information activity is being countered unimaginatively and even belatedly.
Within the rules of hybrid war adopted by both sides, the participation of various special advisors and instructors, intelligence activity, private military companies, technical support, are officially denied and will be officially denied. Both sides will continue to accuse one another of transforming indirect participation into direct, and both sides will continue to deny these allegations, calling the occasional revelations of participation of its “specialists” a provocation by the other side, instead describing their advisors and instructors as observers and “monitoring group members.”
In fact, everyone who more or less understands the real situation on the Donbass, understands that the junta’s war with Novorossia is only the first, visible layer of conflict which is covered by the fog of war, behind which there hides the less visible battle between special services, information war groups, “private contractors”, and “representatives” of armed forces. Neither Russia nor the US will officially admit to this simply because there’s a hybrid war going on. And of course the US has adopted similar secrecy measures concerning its operations outside the US. We know what these measures look like from the well known case of Bradley Manning.
As far as naive intellectuals are concerned, who are screaming that they are hiding TRUTH from us, I can only relate two quotations.
Otto von Bismarck: Nobody lies as much as during a war, after a hunt, or before an election.
Sun Tzu: War is a path of deception.
I wrote many times already last year that in an information war the open media show at most 10-20% of the war, therefore it would be naive to expect that you’ll see the whole picture except maybe after the war comes to an end (hopefully in our favor), and even then with a certain varnish. That’s the case for any war, including the Soviet hybrid wars in Angola or Vietnam, or US ones in Afghanistan and Nicaragua.
Someone will say that Russia is not officially fighting. It’s peacetime. Well, yes, officially that’s true. And it will remain that way until a certain point.