Doctrine of General Gerasimov and Hybrid War

Генерал Армии Валерий Герасимов
Panar­in Igor Nikolaevich - Pro­fess­or, Doc­tor of Polit­ic­al Sci­ences

This material is an attempt to systematize some approaches to the term “Hybrid War”, which is already quite popular today, taking into account the conceptual presentation by Army General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, at a general meeting of the Academy of Military Sciences on March 1, 2019

  1. What is a hybrid war?

The Brit­ish Empire is the main his­tor­ic­al enemy of Rus­sia, the founder of the cre­ation of a hybrid war meth­od­o­logy. She became an empire only with the help of intrigues and pro­voca­tions, and then she hoped to pre­serve her world power, using a com­plex of vari­ous, includ­ing secret meth­ods of war­fare. The most prom­in­ent expres­sion of the Brit­ish imper­i­al ideas in the 19th cen­tury were two people — this is Lord Palmer­ston and busi­ness­man Cecil Rhodes. In the 19th cen­tury, Rus­sia entered into a geo­pol­it­ic­al con­front­a­tion with Eng­land, which was very afraid of los­ing its colon­ies (India, etc.). Favor­able con­di­tions for the inter­ven­tion of Eng­land cre­ated the Caucasi­an War, fettered the forces of Rus­sia. The Brit­ish fin­anced the sub­vers­ive actions of the High­landers. In fact, it was then that the Brit­ish launched a com­pre­hens­ive hybrid war against Rus­sia. It was Eng­land that fin­anced the moun­tain­eers of Chechnya and Dagest­an, headed by the Avar Shamil.

The main organ­izer of the hybrid war against Rus­sia was Lord Palmer­ston. For 35 years, Lord Palmer­ston served as sec­ret­ary of for­eign affairs, then as prime min­is­ter. On the European con­tin­ent he was called Lord Pyro. His goal — to con­quer the world to the will of Lon­don. At one of the meet­ings of the Brit­ish Par­lia­ment, he said: “wherever the Brit­ish are in the world, he can do any­thing, because the sup­port of the roy­al navy is behind him”.

Rus­sia was an excep­tion — it led an inde­pend­ent for­eign policy, without regard to the imper­i­al habits of the Brit­ish author­it­ies. Palmer­ston decided to cor­rect this situ­ation and began pre­par­a­tions for the war with Rus­sia, which went down in his­tory as the Crimean War. Lord Palmer­ston skill­fully organ­ized the pro­duc­tion of drugs in India and Afgh­anistan, which killed tens of mil­lions of Chinese, then arranged “opi­um wars” with the Chinese empire. Only two nations remained unconquered and cap­able of oppos­i­tion — the United States and Rus­sia. Lord Palmer­ston becomes the ideo­logue of the split and the Amer­ic­an Civil War. At the same time, he is organ­iz­ing the incite­ment of an anti-Rus­si­an sen­ti­ment in Poland in order to send European bay­on­ets against Rus­sia. “How dif­fi­cult it is to live in the world when no one is fight­ing with Rus­sia” — these words of the Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Lord Palmer­ston are still rel­ev­ant. Dur­ing the Crimean War (1853–1856), Eng­land, rely­ing on a power­ful coali­tion (Eng­land, France, Tur­key, and in fact Aus­tria), tried to restore the Cau­cas­us as a buf­fer between Rus­sia and the Muslim powers. The Crimean War, organ­ized by the Rus­sophobe Palmer­ston, went on in many theat­ers of mil­it­ary oper­a­tions.

And more than 160 years have passed. Again, Bri­tain is the organ­izer of the integ­rated hybrid war of the West against Rus­sia. The vir­tu­al etch­ing of S.Skripal is an incid­ent that occurred on March 4 , 2018. in Salis­bury (United King­dom) with a trait­or and his 33-year-old daugh­ter, Yulia, a Rus­si­an cit­izen, who came from Moscow to vis­it her fath­er. But already March 14, 2018 . Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May offi­cially accused Rus­sia of attempt­ing to kill Skryp­al and his daugh­ter. May announced that, in response to the pois­on­ing, high-level bilat­er­al con­tacts with Rus­sia will be sus­pen­ded and that 23 Rus­si­an dip­lo­mats will be expelled from the UK.

From our point of view, the ideo­logy of the hybrid war began to be developed in the Brit­ish Empire, which, using its tools, became the largest empire of the world, and then through the organ­iz­a­tion of two world wars was able to des­troy all oth­er empires (Rus­si­an, Ger­man, etc.). In the West, espe­cially in Great Bri­tain and the United States, for cen­tur­ies there have been con­cepts and plans for using secret sab­ot­age and ter­ror­ist and inform­a­tion­al and ideo­lo­gic­al oper­a­tions to inflict glob­al geo­pol­it­ic­al defeat on the enemy and, if pos­sible, to over­throw the objec­tion­able “regime” or ruin the coun­try. Rus­sia twice in the 20th cen­tury became a vic­tim of these secret plans of the West — it was twice broken up into parts — in Feb­ru­ary 1917 and in 1991. Before the col­lapse of Rus­sia-USSR, it exper­i­enced the impact of a com­plex of secret oper­a­tions con­duc­ted both by West­ern intel­li­gence agen­cies and and affil­i­ated civil struc­tures ( NGOs ) and oth­er diverse events of the hybrid war, designed to exert com­plex pres­sure on our coun­try (fin­an­cial and eco­nom­ic, inform­a­tion­al, ideo­lo­gic­al, polit­ic­al and dip­lo­mat­ic pres­sure, sanc­tions, price col­lapses and oil, etc.).

The Feb­ru­ary 1917 coup d’état , which led to the over­throw of the auto­cracy and the col­lapse of the Rus­si­an Empire, can be con­sidered a suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion of the hybrid war against Rus­sia, car­ried out by the forces of West­ern Free­ma­sonry and Brit­ish intel­li­gence MI6. It is no secret that the main per­formers of the Feb­ru­ary coup d’état (masons, lib­er­als, and gen­er­als con­spir­at­ors) were sup­por­ted by the Brit­ish and ruled from Lon­don. The mod­ern West­ern strategy of the hybrid war began to devel­op in the frame­work of the so-called Cold War (1946–1991), launched against the USSR on the ini­ti­at­ive of Win­ston Churchill. The Cold War was in fact a hybrid war led by the West against the USSR . Dur­ing this war, large-scale sub­vers­ive ideo­lo­gic­al and eco­nom­ic actions were car­ried out, the form­a­tion of “agents of influ­ence” of the West in the Soviet elite was going on, the USSR was delib­er­ately embroiled in a gruel­ing arms race, in the war in Afgh­anistan, etc.

And now I would like to give my defin­i­tion, which was first for­mu­lated in Janu­ary 2016 , and then pub­lished on p.212 in the book “Hybrid War against Rus­sia (1816–2016)”.

Hybrid war is a com­bin­a­tion of meth­ods of mil­it­ary-force, polit­ic­al-dip­lo­mat­ic, fin­an­cial-eco­nom­ic, inform­a­tion-psy­cho­lo­gic­al and inform­a­tion-tech­nic­al pres­sure, as well as tech­no­lo­gies of col­or revolu­tions, ter­ror­ism and extrem­ism, spe­cial ser­vices, spe­cial forces, pub­lic forces dip­lomacy, car­ried out on a single plan by the gov­ern­ment bod­ies of the state, the mil­it­ary-polit­ic­al bloc or TNCs.

The goals of a hybrid war are the com­plete or par­tial dis­in­teg­ra­tion of the state, a qual­it­at­ive change in its domest­ic or for­eign policy, the replace­ment of state lead­er­ship with loy­al regimes, the estab­lish­ment of extern­al ideo­lo­gic­al, fin­an­cial and eco­nom­ic con­trol over the coun­try, its chaos and sub­or­din­a­tion to dic­tate by oth­er states or TNCs.

A fea­ture of the mod­ern stage of devel­op­ment of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions is the power­ful polit­ic­al, inform­a­tion­al and eco­nom­ic pres­sure from the West against Rus­sia, which is an integ­ral part of the West­ern strategy of a hybrid war aimed at the dis­in­teg­ra­tion of the Euras­i­an space, the cre­ation of chaos and instabil­ity in Euras­ia.

The hybrid war strategy has been developed by the US and NATO for many years. An increase in the influ­ence on the pre­par­a­tion, course and out­come of a glob­al war of com­bin­ing ele­ments of the mil­it­ary and irreg­u­lar com­pon­ents is con­sidered as a new ele­ment of war. The term “hybrid war” appeared in Amer­ic­an mil­it­ary lit­er­at­ure more than 10 years ago. In the United States in 2005, US Gen­er­al James Mat­tis, the former head of the Pentagon, and Col­on­el Frank Hoff­man pub­lished a land­mark art­icle, “The Future of War­fare: The Rise of Hybrid Wars.” In 2010, in the concept of NATO, called NATO ‘s Bi-Stra­tegic Com­mand Cap­stone Concept, “hybrid” threats are offi­cially defined as the threats posed by the adversary, which can sim­ul­tan­eously adapt tra­di­tion­al and non-tra­di­tion­al means to achieve their own goals. In 2012, the book “Hybrid hos­til­it­ies: fight­ing a com­plex oppon­ent from ancient times to the present day”, pub­lished by his­tor­i­an Wil­li­am­son Mur­ray and Col­on­el Peter Mansur, became known in nar­row circles. Amer­ic­an approaches gradu­ally pen­et­rated into NATO. In the final declar­a­tion of the NATO sum­mit held in Scot­land in Septem­ber 2014, for the first time at the offi­cial level it was stated that it was neces­sary to pre­pare the alli­ance to par­ti­cip­ate in wars of a new type — hybrid wars. And in Decem­ber 2015, a new strategy for waging hybrid war­fare was adop­ted at the sum­mit of NATO for­eign min­is­ters.

NATO’s hybrid war­fare strategy involves the dom­in­ance of total­it­ari­an pro­pa­ganda and is aimed at dis­in­teg­rat­ing the Euras­i­an space, cre­at­ing chaos and instabil­ity in the states neigh­bor­ing Rus­sia using the “col­or revolu­tions” tech­no­logy, inform­a­tion war, ter­ror­ism and extrem­ism, fin­an­cial and eco­nom­ic pres­sure, and mil­it­ary coer­cion. An example of a hybrid war of NATO against Rus­sia is the fact that on July 12, 2017, NATO rep­res­ent­at­ives pos­ted an eight-minute video on the Web, where the “forest broth­ers” are her­oes engaged exclus­ively in the struggle for the inde­pend­ence of their coun­tries from the USSR. The video authors also note that the spir­it of the “forest broth­ers” lives in the mod­ern spe­cial forces of the armed forces of the three Balt­ic coun­tries.

2. Rus­si­an response

Russia’s mil­it­ary-polit­ic­al poten­tial must fit into a com­bin­a­tion of “soft power” and “hard power”: you must be able to inter­act with pub­lic dip­lomacy struc­tures, non-gov­ern­ment­al organ­iz­a­tions, and inter­na­tion­al insti­tu­tions that use the levers of polit­ic­al, eco­nom­ic and inform­a­tion­al influ­ence, includ­ing spe­cial oper­a­tions forces. Part of the mil­it­ary-polit­ic­al elite of Rus­sia under­stands the degree of danger of threats of a hybrid war against Rus­sia. This is evid­enced by the speech at the annu­al meet­ing of the Academy of Mil­it­ary Sci­ences on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2016, Chief of the Gen­er­al Staff of the Rus­si­an Armed Forces Army Gen­er­al Valery Ger­asimov about the fea­tures of mod­ern wars that are hybrid in nature, their integ­ral part are col­or revolu­tions and soft power events. He drew atten­tion to the fact that “indir­ect and asym­met­ric actions and meth­ods of con­duct­ing hybrid wars make it pos­sible to deprive the oppos­ing side of actu­al sov­er­eignty without seiz­ing the ter­rit­ory of the state.” Hybrid wars began to affect all aspects of life, includ­ing the cul­tur­al and inform­a­tion sphere, and in the near future we should not expect any weak­en­ing of this pro­cess, Sergey Nary­shkin, dir­ect­or of for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vices, said at the VI Moscow Inter­na­tion­al Secur­ity Con­fer­ence on April 27, 2017. At the same time, atten­tion should be paid to the fact that sys­tem­ic con­clu­sions from the tra­gic les­sons of the col­lapse of the Rus­si­an Empire in Feb­ru­ary 1917 and the USSR in 1991 have not yet been made.

March 4, 2019, Red Star published the full text of the strategic statement by General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, at a general meeting of the Academy of Military Sciences on March 1, 2019. Here are the key theses of the speech:

1. In mod­ern con­di­tions, the prin­ciple of war­fare has evolved based on the coordin­ated use of mil­it­ary and non-mil­it­ary meas­ures with the decis­ive role of the Armed Forces.

2. Cur­rently, wars are expand­ing and their con­tents are sig­ni­fic­antly chan­ging. The num­ber of sub­jects involved in the armed struggle is increas­ing. Along with the armed forces of sov­er­eign states, vari­ous gangs, private mil­it­ary com­pan­ies and self-pro­claimed “quasi-states” are fight­ing. The means of eco­nom­ic, polit­ic­al, dip­lo­mat­ic, inform­a­tion­al pres­sure, as well as the demon­stra­tion of mil­it­ary power in the interests of enhan­cing the effect­ive­ness of non-mil­it­ary meas­ures are being act­ively used.

  1. The Armed Forces must be pre­pared to con­duct new types of wars and armed con­flicts using clas­sic­al and asym­met­ric­al meth­ods of action.
  2. The United States and its allies have defined the aggress­ive vec­tor of their for­eign policy. They are devel­op­ing offens­ive mil­it­ary actions, such as “glob­al strike”, “multi-sphere battle”, using the tech­no­logy of “col­or revolu­tions” and “soft power”. Their goal is the elim­in­a­tion of the state­hood of unwanted coun­tries, the under­min­ing of sov­er­eignty, the change of law­fully elec­ted bod­ies of state power. So it was in Iraq, in Libya and in Ukraine. Cur­rently, sim­il­ar actions are observed in Venezuela.
  3. The Pentagon has begun to devel­op a fun­da­ment­ally new strategy of war­fare, which has already been dubbed the “Tro­jan Horse”. Its essence lies in the act­ive use of the “protest poten­tial of the fifth column” in the interests of destabil­iz­ing the situ­ation while sim­ul­tan­eously attack­ing the WTO on the most import­ant objects. I would like to note that the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion is ready to oppose any of these strategies. In recent years, mil­it­ary sci­ent­ists, togeth­er with the Gen­er­al Staff, have developed con­cep­tu­al approaches to neut­ral­ize the aggress­ive actions of poten­tial adversar­ies. The basis of “our response” is the “act­ive defense strategy”, which, giv­en the defens­ive nature of the Rus­si­an Mil­it­ary Doc­trine, provides for a set of meas­ures to pro­act­ively neut­ral­ize threats to the secur­ity of the state.

It is the jus­ti­fic­a­tion of the meas­ures being developed that should con­sti­tute the sci­entif­ic activ­it­ies of mil­it­ary sci­ent­ists.This is one of the pri­or­ity areas of state secur­ity. We must be ahead of the enemy in the devel­op­ment of mil­it­ary strategy, go “one step ahead”.

6.Vot what he said on the issue of inform­a­tion con­front­a­tion. “An ana­lys­is of the nature of mod­ern wars has shown a sig­ni­fic­ant increase in the import­ance of such an area of con­front­a­tion as inform­a­tion. A new real­ity of future wars will con­sist in the trans­fer of mil­it­ary actions in this par­tic­u­lar sphere. At the same time, inform­a­tion tech­no­lo­gies are becom­ing, in fact, one of the most prom­ising types of weapons. The inform­a­tion sphere, without hav­ing clearly defined nation­al bor­ders, provides oppor­tun­it­ies for remote, cov­ert influ­ence not only on crit­ic­al inform­a­tion infra­struc­tures, but also on the pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try, dir­ectly affect­ing the state’s nation­al secur­ity. That is why the study of issues of pre­par­a­tion and con­duct of inform­a­tion­al actions is the most import­ant task of mil­it­ary sci­ence. ”

  1. The main tasks of mil­it­ary sci­ence and their solu­tions
    The main thing today for mil­it­ary sci­ence is that it is ahead of time in prac­tice, con­tinu­ous, pur­pose­ful research to determ­ine the pos­sible nature of mil­it­ary con­flicts, to devel­op a sys­tem of forms and meth­ods of actions, both mil­it­ary and non-mil­it­ary, to determ­ine the dir­ec­tions of devel­op­ment of weapons sys­tems and mil­it­ary equip­ment.

Thus, with­in the frame­work of the imple­ment­a­tion of the nation­al secur­ity strategy of Rus­sia of Decem­ber 31, 2015, it is import­ant to take into account the tend­ency to erase the dif­fer­ences between the state of war and peace. Non-mil­it­ary inform­a­tion­al and ideo­lo­gic­al meth­ods of influ­ence using the protest poten­tial of the pop­u­la­tion are increas­ingly used.These means of struggle are com­ple­men­ted by cov­ert mil­it­ary meas­ures, includ­ing inform­a­tion­al con­front­a­tion and the actions of spe­cial oper­a­tions forces.

The spe­cificity of the cur­rent situ­ation is the rate of the West on social media, in which the total dom­in­ance of the West by the num­ber of sub­scribers is obvi­ous:

FB 1. State Depart­ment of the USA — the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion / the USA — 1 to 6

TWITTER 1. State Dept. of the USA — the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion / USA — 1 to 5

TWITTER of the glob­al media of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion / USA- 1 to 21

1. CNN (hot news) — 54.1 mil­lion

2.VVS — (hot news) — 38.1 mil­lion

3. RT -     2 , 66 mil­lion (in Eng­lish )

The Min­istry of Defense of the Rus­si­an Fed­er­a­tion / USA — Twit­ter 1 to 32 (174 thou­sand and 5.7 mil­lion), FB — 1 to 7.6

The data of the com­pany “Media­lo­gia” about the rat­ing of the most quoted media in social media for 2018 are also alarm­ing.

Top 8 most cited radio sta­tions in social media
No Radio sta­tion
one Radio Liberty ( USA
2 Echo of Moscow (
3 Voice of Amer­ica # Rus­si­an Ser­vice ( USA
four Moscow says (
five Busi­ness FM (
6 Kom­mersant-FM (
7 Love Radio ( ( Vesti FM in 2017 )
eight Radio 1 (
Top 5 most cited Inter­net resources in social media
No Inter­net resource
2 (Riga, Latvia)
five (UK)

It should be borne in mind that Meduza . io was estab­lished on Octo­ber 20 , 2014 in Riga, a month and a half after the estab­lish­ment of the NATO Stra­tegic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Cen­ter in Riga. 7 NATO coun­tries par­ti­cip­ate in the work of the Cen­ter — Esto­nia, Latvia, Ger­many, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and the United King­dom. On this basis, it is pos­sible to hypo­thes­ize that Medusa is an ana­logue of the spe­cial unit of Brit­ish intel­li­gence MI-6 “White Hel­mets”, oper­at­ing in Syr­ia and hav­ing pre­pared sev­er­al inform­a­tion­al pro­voca­tions con­nec­ted with the alleged use of chem­ic­al weapons.

3. Meas­ures to imple­ment the Doc­trine of Gen­er­al Ger­asimov

Under these con­di­tions, with­in the frame­work of the imple­ment­a­tion of the Doc­trine of Gen­er­al Ger­asimov, it is pro­posed to dir­ect the efforts of the state struc­tures of Rus­sia in the fol­low­ing areas:

1. Cre­at­ing a new organ­iz­a­tion­al struc­ture (Counter-hybrid War Bur­eau), which has advanced points for car­ry­ing out meas­ures to counter (Smolensk, Pskov, Rostov-on-Don, Vladikavkaz, Sevastopol, Yeka­ter­in­burg, Vla­divos­tok).

The main tasks of the Bur­eau:

BUT). Coun­ter­ing the use of inform­a­tion tech­no­logy to destabil­ize the domest­ic polit­ic­al situ­ation in Rus­sia.

B) Neut­ral­iz­a­tion of inform­a­tion and psy­cho­lo­gic­al impact, aimed at erod­ing tra­di­tion­al spir­itu­al and mor­al val­ues.

The activ­it­ies of the glob­al media in the Rus­si­an inform­a­tion space should be based on five basic prin­ciples:

  • Dia­logue of civil­iz­a­tions.
  • Friend­ship of Peoples.
  • Good deeds.
  • Spir­itu­al sov­er­eignty.
  • Dig­nity of the indi­vidu­al and the people.

WITH). Improv­ing the effi­ciency of pre­ven­tion of offenses com­mit­ted using inform­a­tion tech­no­lo­gies, and coun­ter­ing such offenses, primar­ily the manip­u­la­tion of inform­a­tion flows, dis­in­form­a­tion in order to dis­tort the psy­cho­lo­gic­al and spir­itu­al envir­on­ment of soci­ety, the erosion of tra­di­tion­al cul­tur­al, spir­itu­al, mor­al, eth­ic­al and aes­thet­ic val­ues.

D). Effect­ively coun­ter­act­ing the use of inform­a­tion tech­no­lo­gies for mil­it­ary-polit­ic­al pur­poses con­trary to inter­na­tion­al law.Block­ing the trans­bound­ary dis­sem­in­a­tion of mis­in­form­a­tion and the so-called “fake” inform­a­tion, con­trary to the prin­ciples and norms of inter­na­tion­al law, as well as the nation­al legis­la­tion of states

  1. Devel­op­ing a strategy of counter-hybrid war of Rus­sia.
  2. Form­ing the found­a­tions of the state sys­tem for coun­ter­ing the oper­a­tions of a hybrid war against the lead­er­ship and pop­u­la­tion of Rus­sia. Cre­ation of spe­cial oper­a­tions units in the struc­ture of forces for inform­a­tion­al and psy­cho­lo­gic­al oper­a­tions.
  3. The cre­ation of nation­al legis­la­tion aimed at coun­ter­ing the tech­no­lo­gies of hybrid war, espe­cially col­or revolu­tions.
  4. Identi­fy­ing, dia­gnos­ing and block­ing the activ­it­ies of neg­at­ive com­mu­nic­at­ors seek­ing to under­mine inform­a­tion sov­er­eignty. Con­duct­ing con­tinu­ous mon­it­or­ing of the blo­go­sphere and social net­works in order to block the spread in the Rus­si­an inform­a­tion space of neg­at­ive inform­a­tion aimed at pro­mot­ing extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism, intereth­nic and inter­faith dis­cord.
  5. Pre­vent­ive block­ing of all chan­nels ( fin­an­cial, inform­a­tion­al, organ­iz­a­tion­al) and struc­tures of for­eign and olig­arch­ic assist­ance of the rad­ic­al and extrem­ist oppos­i­tion.
  6. Sys­tem­ic and tar­geted neut­ral­iz­a­tion of hybrid war oper­a­tions con­duc­ted against Rus­sia.