This is a gist of Ofer Fridman's paper in NATO *Defence Strategic Communications*
Fridman, O. (2017). The Russian perspective on information warfare: conceptual roots and politicisation in Russian academic, political, and public discourse. _Defence Strategic Communications_, _2_, 61-86. [link](https://www.stratcomcoe.org/ofer-fridman-russian-perspectiveon-information-warfare-conceptual-roots-and-politicisation-russian)
Concerns [[Information Age]], [[Conceptualising Information Warfare]] and [[The big questions in technopolitik]]
## Two schools of thought
- first, a neutral definition: a set of age-old methods that have gained prominence due to technological advancement and globalisation
- second, an ideological and political definition: a technique used by Western adversaries specifically against Russia; three variants
- Evgeny Messner's subversion war
- Aleksandr Dugin's net-centric war
- Igor Panarin's information warfare
- both agree that "‘during the whole of human history, Information Warfare has been the main tool of global politics to achieve spiritual, political, financial and economic power in the world’ (Panarin). "
- Fridman is concerned with the second type in this paper
>"the process of undermining a legitimate government by manipulating the information domain in order to influence political elites and instil political dissent, separatism, and social strife within a given system."
- Messner's subversion war (Myatezh - Imya Tret'yey Vseminoy);
>"Wars have merged with subversions, subversions with wars, creating a new form of armed conflict, which we will call subversion-war, and in which the fighters are not so much the troops themselves, but rather public movements."
- influenced by Cold War context; fighting continues even when there is no armed combat
- Foresaw information war in 1960! Another [[twainism]].
>"In previous wars, a military was breaking an enemy military. In the last war, a military was breaking an enemy military and its people. In the future war, a military and its people are going to break an enemy military and its people: people will be active participants of war, and, maybe, even more active than the military. In previous wars the most important part was considered the conquest of the territory. From now, it will be the conquest of the souls in the enemy state." (Myatezh - Imya Tret'yey Vseminoy)
- pyschological is most important; subversion war is psy-war; "the soul of the enemy's society has become the most important strategic objective"
- crushing enemy's psychological power is the surest way to victory
>1) the dissolution of the spirit of the enemy public; 2) the defeat of the enemy’s active part (the military, partisan organisations, and violent popular movements); 3) the seizure or destruction of objects of a psychological value; 4) the seizure or destruction of objects of material value; 5) the creation of an impression of order to acquire new allies and crush the spirit of the enemy’s allies.’30
- sees Information as a Dimension - fourth dimension
- propaganda: by word & by deed; offensive and defensive
- addresses the [[The Fundamental Conundrum of Information Warfare]] by offering one face which is "half true for one's own masses" and other for the enemy
- Messner was an emigre, anti-Soviet, allied with Nazi Germany held pro-Western views. Claimed that the West was too weak to resist Communist subversion-war/psy-war.
- Aleksandr Dugin's net-centric war (in Geopolitika Postmoderna)
- sees the West and Russia locked in a historic, civilisational clash; he is influential in Russian circles
- sees the US as employing net-centric war which ‘occurs in four interconnected areas of human activity: physical, informational, cognitive, and social’.
- also sees Information as a dimension
- goal (of the US) is to persuade the adversary the fighting the US is pointless and should be avoided
>to establish and control such a network in an attempt to obtain ‘full and absolute control over all participants of actual and possible military activities, and their total manipulation in all situations—while war is waged, when it matures, or when there is peace’
- And Russia should respond likewise
- #mythoughts This sounds like projecting your own desires on the adversary and then arguing that one needs to do the same to respond; but also consistent with what Western soft-power theorists argue.
- Igor Panarin's information warfare
- informational confrontation is age old; has political, diplomatic, financial-economic and military dimensions;
- fall of the USSR was a defeat in the informational war which lasted 48 years; US destabilised the Soviet Union by targeting the transfer of power process, the weakest link.
- the war continues; and is existential; Russia must create its own global narrative
- three stages of information warfare
- first, strategic political analysis
- second, informational influence
- third, informational defence
- Policy Discourse in Russia
- these politicised narratives are popular among Russian elite
- Gregory Tulchinsky goes meta: the idea that there is information warfare directed against Russia is itself information warfare (by Russia)
- Putin and Lavrov are quoted as saying Russia is facing information warfare
- "the manipulation of public consciousness and the falsification of history" Russian National Security Strategy 2015
>The informational influence on the Russian population, primarily young people, is increasing. (This influence) is aimed at blurring cultural and spiritual values, undermining the moral foundations, historical foundations, and patriotic traditions of (Russia’s) multinational people. (Russia's Information Security doctrine)
- Public opinion in Russia sees their country being targeted by the West; academics, Kremlin and the public are all influencing each other on this front.
- Fridman suggests that these schools of thought preceded Putin and have been adopted by the establishment
- Alternately, these are common strands of public opinion that the Kremlin has given form to