Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

A Changing Security Paradigm. New Roles for New Actors - the Russian Approach

Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

A Changing Security Paradigm. New Roles for New Actors - the Russian Approach

Article excerpt


In 2014, the Russian Federation conducted two separate phases of operations in Ukraine. Despite substantial differences in the objectives of and methods used within the operations, it is worth noting that their natures have much in common. Both operations were planned and conducted in accordance with the doctrine followed by Gerasimov and on the basis of the concept hybrid warfare. The successes achieved indicate that hybrid war is an effective tool that enables the Russian Federation to realize its strategy and achieve its national goals. On the other hand, it should be recognized that, in breaching the territorial integrity of Ukraine during annexation of Crimea, international law was violated. Nonetheless, Russia was able to reach its goals by using hybrid tactics and without issuing an explicit declaration of war, and exerts pressure with regular army sub-units stationed along the border with Ukraine. This proves its determination to use armed force when non-military measures fail.1 Through its actions, Russia gives rise to concerns among neighboring countries who have issued official notice of the use of hybrid warfare against them.2 Moreover, Russia is attempting to give its geostrategic position and autocratic, centralized regime superpower status. Its approach to large-scale conflict involves coordinated diplomatic, informative, cybernetic, economic and military operations, and the core of its strategy aims at impacting on the center of gravity of an adversary in all possible dimensions, while maintaining self-protection.3 In western publications the model of planned aggregate impact in various spheres is often referred to as "unconventional or political war."4 Large-scale destabilization of neighborhoods, multiplicity of ambiguous, masked threats and tough, unambiguous aggression not only have a negative influence on regional security, but also cause internal divisions within international organizations.5

This article aims to assess the hybrid threats to European security. The article presents the results of research developed by exploring the following issues: 1) How is the concept of hybrid warfare expressed and what role does organized crime play in hybrid warfare? 2) What kind of challenges and threats does hybrid warfare pose for NATO and the EU and what is the reaction of these organizations to it?

Hybrid Warfare in Theory and Practice

Hybrid warfare as a particular combination of conventional and irregular operations has been known for centuries. Since ancient times, one of the main aspects of military warfare has been correctly recognizing the current situation and adapting one's conduct accordingly.6 It is unavoidable that, while the nature of war is unchangeable, the methods of warfare as well as the methods of winning have undergone some transformation to certain extent.7 Modern armed forces must face up to new challenges, risks and threats, including asymmetric ones. Hybrid operations can be a combination of select forms of symmetric 8 and asymmetric wars 9 in which the sides involved conduct classical military operations and make firm attempts to take control of the local people in the combat area, while simultaneously ensuring security and stability.10

Frank Hoffman claims that the characteristics of hybrid wars are frequent terrorist acts and various forms of criminal activity.11 He defines hybrid warfare as involving an adversary who simultaneously and adaptively uses an integrated combination of conventional weapon and irregular tactics, terrorism and criminal elements in the arena of war in order to reach political goals.12 The definition above indicates two types of actors: state and non-state ones, applying a broad range of models of war, although it should be understood that many of these models are applied simultaneously. Hoffman accords significant importance to the role of organized crime in the hybrid warfare. The existence of a large number of objects makes coordinating these operations challenging. …

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