A real hybrid war is what the world has come across in the past few years. And we must admit that Western countries have proved to be unprepared for this. In spite of being backward, Russia is really trying out a policy for which it has been preparing for years and which includes the latest techniques of influence. Unfortunately, our country became the main battlefield of Russian aggression. Ukraine is the first to have seen “at full scale” what a hybrid war is, with all of its components: direct military aggression, the use of private military campaigns, informational propaganda, diplomatic offensive, fueling a hostile attitude on the part of the neighbors along the whole perimeter of borders, privatization of history and heroes, etc.
“A year before committing an open aggression against Ukraine, Russia began to speak of a hybrid war,” Yevhen MARCHUK, representative of Ukraine in the security subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group, writes on his FB page. “Look, first of all, at the ratio of non-military and military actions in a hybrid war – 4 to 1 in favor of non-military actions [a definition of what the ‘Gerasimov doctrine,’ which calls for a hybrid war on the part of Russia, is can be found in open sources, for example, in wikipedia.org. – Author]. Arousing fear and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty is one of the basic components of hybrid war. And let us recall now the latest press conference of Putin a few days ago, where he said that ‘nationalist battalions will carry out a massacre in the Donbas when they come back there.’ This illustrates a well-synchronized macro and micro levels of the special operation to kindle fear among the populace about the likely comeback of the Kyiv ‘junta.’”
Valentyn BADRAK, director, Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies:
“Speaking of a new institution to study the hybrid war, I in fact think we have enough of these institutions. The question is in the quality of their performance, especially in such fields as information campaigns, countering subversion, and informational and psychological influences. But we should take into account that Russia has inherited its ambitions from the Soviet Union’s traditions which had always been of a large scale. Such entities as, for example, Russia Today, were established long ago. In 2005-10, about 30 entities entered Ukraine alone, often in the guise of editorial offices. For instance, the office of the notorious Zatulin existed in Kyiv even at the beginning of the war. There are a lot of examples like this. In particular, RIA-Novosti used to organize quite a few TV bridges to make Russian politicians influence the Ukrainian milieu. Let us recall the pacifistic approach of Ukrainians to Russians at the time when Russia was ‘spinning the wheel of hatred’ toward the so-called ‘Banderaites.’ The Russian population was thus being prepared for war. Surveys showed in mid-2008 that two thirds of the Russians considered Ukraine a hostile state. Yet the Ukrainians were told stories about ‘fraternal’ Russian people. This was an attempt to disarm us even at this level and to dull our vigilance. This situation cannot be changed in a short time. The main problem is that there really are quite a large number of people in Ukrainian society, who are convinced in the advantage of Ukraine’s pro-Russian and pro-Eastern development. This is a fertile ground for the Kremlin to recruit Ukrainian citizens inside our country.
“The West has really awakened, but it is prepared to defend itself on the NATO borders. The West views Ukraine as a buffer gray zone only. Moreover, European countries are not exactly rushing to arm Ukraine because they are afraid of Russia’s clout here. It is the stand of our overseas partners, the US and Canada, that can undo this knot. If this occurs and we turn from a partner into an ally, we will be able to receive as much aid as Israel does, and, accordingly, cooperation in other sectors will reach an entirely different level.”