Hybrid Wars between Myth and Reality

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-12-56-66

V. Konyshev (konyshev06@mail.ru),
St Petersburg University, 7–9, Universitetskaya Emb., St Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation;
R. Parfenov (parfyonovr@gmail.com),
Baltic Leasing, 22, lit. , 10-th Krasnoarmeyskaya Str. St Petersburg, 190103, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article explores the concept of a hybrid war, which became especially popular in the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Hybrid warfare implies combining of traditional and irregular methods of confrontation. Since the doctrine first appeared in the United States, the authors analyze the place of the concept of hybrid war in American doctrinal documents regulating the use of armed forces. From a military point of view, the hybrid war is not yet a substantive type of operations. A close understanding of hybrid warfare is demonstrated by the Russian military. At the same time, in the West, the poorly defined term “hybrid war” is actively used to define Russia’s operation in the Crimea in 2014. The authors show that the activity of the Russian military in the Crimea was not so “hybrid” to ensure by this attribute itself the success of the campaign. The deployment of large forces, large-scale maintenance of information operations and electronic warfare, organization and support of insurgent troops – all this turned out to be myths. From the Western point of view, the political use of the hybrid warfare concept is the most important one. It performs at least three functions. First, the West’s attention to the hybrid warfare concept can be explained by its aspiration to obscure the true reasons why Ukraine was unable to keep its grip over Crimea and finally lost it very quickly. In reality, Ukraine has lost Crimea not because of the Russian military and covert operation, but because the new Kiev nationalistic regime resulted from the February 2014 coup d’etat simply alienated the Russian population of Crimea by its Russophobic policies. Moreover, the Ukrainian armed forces and police units deployed to Crimea did not support the illegitimate regime in Kiev. Some of them preferred to join the Russian army, navy, special service and police. Secondly, the West often uses the hybrid warfare concept in a broader way trying to represent entire Russia’s foreign policy – not only the Crimean operation – as a perpetual hybrid warfare. Some Western countries believe that this will help to demonize Vladimir Putin’s regime and its international course. Third, by ascribing Moscow the hybrid warfare instincts the West, in fact, tries to masks its own inclination towards this kind of strategy. The U.S. and their NATO allies systematically demonstrate their willingness to organize “color revolutions” throughout the world, which are mostly based on the hybrid warfare technologies.

Keywords: warfare, hybrid war, military doctrine, irregular war, unconventional war, security threats


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For citation:
Konyshev V., Parfenov R. Hybrid Wars between Myth and Reality. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 12, pp. 56-66. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-12-56-66

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