Russian Military Theorists Intend to Develop the Concept Of “Soft Power”


Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

1st March, 2016


Russian military theorists intend to resist “hybrid war” and similar methods, and are ready to develop the concept of “soft power”, the newspaper “Kommersant” wrote on Tuesday with reference to the report of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov.

It is reported that last weekend a meeting of the Academy of Military Sciences took place, where they discussed the countering of “color revolutions”. According to the newspaper, a report on this subject was made by Valery Gerasimov. The head of the Russian General Staff spoke about the peculiarities of contemporary warfare, which are of a hybrid nature, noting that the integral parts are color revolutions, cyber attacks, and preparations in the form of “soft power”.

“Because the Ministry of Defense believes “color revolutions”, in fact, a coup d’état, are a form of hybrid war, it is impossible to oppose them with conventional forces: it is necessary to counter them using the same hybrid methods”, — quotes the newspaper.

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As an example of a complex counteraction against terrorist groups, including diplomatic and other nonmilitary methods of interaction with other states, Gerasimov gave the Airforce operation of the Russian Federation in Syria.

According to the publication, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the members of the Academy and experts also took part in the meeting. The head of the Academy of Military Sciences, Makhmut Gareev, delivered his annual report on the work of the Academy. The participants also discussed the reform of the military-industrial complex, re-equipping the Army, delivery of arms, the possibility of creating private military companies.

According to the newspaper, military experts who attended the meeting suggested to take the development of the concept of “soft power” seriously, noting that “its individual elements are already there in the concept of foreign policy of the Russian Federation, but they are just outlined and mostly copy foreign developments in this domain.”

“Hybrid war” is a military strategy that combines conventional war, minor warfare and cyberwar. One of the main forms of conducting a “hybrid war” is information and psychological activities, and cyber attacks, aimed both at the structural and technical components of the state and its citizens.

“Color revolution” is the collective name for processes of change, such as the “Rose revolution” in Georgia, “Tulip” in Kyrgyzstan, “Orange” in Ukraine, “Jasmine” in Tunisia and the “Lotus” in Egypt. Beginning as peaceful rallies, the “Color revolutions” as a rule, result in a rigid opposition, leaving the legal framework.

Soft power involves voluntary involvement into their affairs, primarily through the creation of an attractive image — in contrast to “hard power”, which is based on coercion and money. It is believed that soft power is actively used by Western countries, spreading the values of democracy and human rights, and spreading their culture and consumer preferences to the wider world.

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