Hybrid War Theory: The Unfolding and Limits of Gerasimov Doctrine

Hybrid War Theory The Unfolding and Limits of Gerasimov Doctrine General Valery Gerasimov Wars are no longer declared Arab Spring color revolutions Europe Muscovite forces little green men hybrid war Ukraine Naftogaz Gazprom Ukrainian and European authorities MH17 SBU Donbass Donetsk People’s Republic Colonel Igor Girkin GRU Novorossiya Strelkov Crimea Russia’s invasion Donetsk Russia military intervention Russian troops Chechnya Syria Russian defensive war against NATO illegal elections and referendums sanctions

The first premise of the Gerasimov Doctrine from the report of his speech in the “Military-Industrial Kurier” of 27 Feb 2013 is that “Wars are no longer declared…”.

General Valery Gerasimov notes the events of the ‘Arab Spring’, which no doubt reminded Moscow a lot of the ‘color revolutions’ in Europe, where the whole basis of power in nations changed without ‘war’ as such and goes on emphasise the importance of ‘asymmetrical forms and means’.
Later versions of the Gerasimov Doctine argued that ‘conventional forces’ (is clearly identifiable Muscovite forces as opposed to ‘little green men’) should only be used at the end of the ‘conflict’; so Muscovite troops as ‘international peace keepers’ for instance once the ground is won, Transdniestria style.
Gerasimov does not mention any of the other features of what today we call the ‘hybrid war’ from the gas blackmail, where following Yanukovych’s agreement with Putin in December 2013 when a ‘ten year agreement’ was signed at $268 per 1,000 cubic meters the situation radically altered to the gas being cut off in June 2014 and claims were made that Naftogaz owed Gazprom $4.5bn!
In October 2014 a price of $378 per 1,000 cubic meters was agreed for the next two months, payment in advance.
This year deal marks a remarkable achievement of the Ukrainian and European authorities: $227 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Of course having the ability to get supplies from other European partners during that time may have played a role in the later discussions. Also, there was the extraordinary disinformation and propaganda war; overnight all Ukrainians ceased to ‘fraternal partners’ and became fascist, homosexual, Jewish CIA tools or agents…
Of course, this applied to all Ukrainians – Muslim Tartars became Jews presumably and Lemkos overnight got signed up by the CIA.
The same insanity applied to other cases: MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian BUK and a Ukrainian Su25, while the CIA filled it with dead bodies and a Spanish air traffic controller ‘Carlos’, admitted it all…
Naturally the corruptive techniques went on and multiplied; open funding of anti European political parties (such as the French Front National) is only a slither of the criminal funding in Spain alone according to the Spanish authorities.
These things though are not Gerasimovs particular field but Putin’s, who clearly the Tambovskaya-Malyshevkaya in St Petersburg, so though they fall within the ‘hybrid war’ as we know it today I shall concentrate on Gerasimovs original military thinking and it’s unfolding.
It is clear that from the start Moscow feared all these forms of ‘popular revolutions’, whether they be ‘color revolutions’ or ‘Arab Spring’ versions of the same.
In the 2013 Gerasimov speech it is not said openly that they are the work of some outside power such as the CIA but clearly the ‘popular revolution’ is a threat to the ruling semi dictatorial and deeply corrupt ‘elite’ in Moscow.
In Ukraine they openly blamed the CIA fascist homosexual Jews for being behind the revolution.
In a real ‘popular revolution’ of course volunteers are plentiful and local but for the Muscovite style pseudo popular ‘counter revolution’ in Crimea Muscovite troops without isignia had to pose as ‘local volunteers’ until the local Parliament was forced (literally) to call an illegal ‘referendum’; the old Babushka’s digging up stones in Maidan didn’t happen in Crimea but once the ground was won by the ‘pseudo volunteers’ and the ‘referendum’ done it was safe to admit, as Putin did, that they were Muscovite troops all along.
It was in effect a Gerasimov ‘maskirovka’; it mimicked the ‘popular revolutions’ quite successfully.
Of course, any casualties they suffered in Crimea (3 ‘little green men’ died) strictly could NOT be admitted as it would blow the whole scam; there is no ‘war’ being the essential dictate.
Very few people had taken note of the “Military-Industrial Kurier” article of 2013 and of those who had read it before Crimea none had foreseen it’s practical application and it only became of interest AFTER Crimea – the Robert Coalson translation on Facebook linked above dates to June 2014.
In Crimea they had a ‘clear run’ to reveal the full implications of the Gerasimov Doctrine that many today recognise as ‘hybrid war’ and the level of ‘disinformation propaganda’ also caught most people by surprise and served as an effective cover to their operations in Crimea.
If Crimea served to illustrate the potential of Gerasimov Doctrine then Donbas marked it’s limits and the wheels began to come off.
Donbas operation went ahead on much the same basis as Crimea had done; seize the local Council buildings, police stations and SBU HQs, again it posed as ‘popular uprising’ against the ‘fascist junta’ in Kyiv.
It was an attempt to use the same trick again but it wore thin; the identification of ‘Strelkov’, then posing as the ‘defense minister’ of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ as Colonel Igor Girkin of the GRU was part of it, but perhaps partly because the Crimean Operation had been so easy they underestimated the numbers of ‘little green men’ or ‘pseudo local volunteers’ they might need as their ambitions rose.
Basically, they actually believed they could start a ‘popular counter revolution’ among the majority Russian speaking parts of Ukraine giving birth to ‘Novorossiya’.
This was a wildly unrealistic dream and they should know it: after all Donbas had not ‘risen up’ for Yanukovych and he came from the area.
By May 2014 ‘Strelkov’ was complaining about the lack of ‘local volunteers’: ‘When I was in Crimea [during Russia’s invasion in February and March] I was told that the Donetsk miners would rise up, they’d tear people apart with their bare hands,’ Girkin says; ‘But now hundreds of thousands are calmly sitting in the comfort of their homes watching events unfold on television while drinking beer, waiting for an army from Russia to come and do your fighting’.
By August the ‘pseudo popular revolution’ in Donbas would require direct Muscovite military intervention to stop it being defeated and since then it has relied on pretty overt control and support from Moscow.
Russian troops take ‘wrong turns’ for 20km and are captured or traced back from Debaltseve to Buryatia by journalists, the order of battle is revealed etc. and the facade that you not ‘at war’ fades.
It also illustrates the core internal contradiction of Gerasimov Doctrine, which is that Gerasimov Doctrine seeks to explain how ‘popular revolutions’ work and seeks to imitate them, but never addresses ‘why’ they occur.
What brings out hundreds of thousands of ordinary people onto the streets and provides the ‘volunteer base’ that enables these revolutions from Ukraine to Egypt and Algeria and of course earlier in Romania, Czechoslovakia and Poland?
In most cases the answer is the same: corruption of a perceived dictatorial elitist regime.
In Ukraine after the January 16th ‘Dictatorship Laws’ all of western and central Ukraine ‘rose up’ en mass; it wasn’t hundreds of thousands but millions, often performing ‘individual actions’ that sometimes actually obstructed other groups’ efforts.
There was no lack of local volunteers, but rather too many of them doing their own thing.
So while the Gerasimov Doctrine seeks to imitate a ‘popular revolution’ by accusing the ‘Jews/CIA/Oligarchs/fascists etc.’ of being behind a ‘coup’ in a real ‘popular revolution’ mostly against corruption it cannot generate the ‘local volunteer base’ upon which a real ‘popular revolution’ relies to succeed.
A great deal of photoshopped pictures, and many borrowed from Chechnya or Syria or even films were used to provide ‘proof’ of ‘fascist Ukrainian crimes’; actresses appeared in numerous roles and GRU Officers, such as Girkin suddenly became Donbas patriots.
Yet the quickly created illusion failed to persuade most of the population…
Girkin couldn’t trick enough of them into fighting so the use of actual forces slowly but surely becomes necessary and of course then the game is up and you end up under sanctions and sitting at tables by yourself at G20 summits and having to veto an international tribunal on MH17 etc…
The maskirovka game fails and though you may still deny any involvement you are increasingly seen to be lying and look ridiculous.
The second problem that it illustrates with the basic Gerasimov Doctrine is that is it fundamentally suited to defensive war where the enemy has superior forces; where ‘asymmetrical’ methods of war are likely to yield the best results. In a genuine ‘popular revolution’ where local volunteers are plentiful and often act in an uncoordinated manner no matter how much those attempting to direct them might try to impose some form of ‘order’ the resulting chaos constrains the authorities who have superior forces more than the ‘revolutionaries’.
Again, it is one thing to explain how ‘popular revolutions’ work but using them for offensive purposes where there is no real grievance and no promise of ‘reform’ in some manner could only be a surprise once.
If the doctrine were used in a ‘Russian’ defensive war against NATO say, or China of course, no doubt it provides a solid ‘partisan base’ and it may be that this is how it was originally conceived to be used.
However Gerasimov himself rues the lack of ‘new ideas’ in his speech, which is perhaps not helped by the power vertical nature of the Muscovite mafiosi kleptocracy, and it seems that his original ideas came to dominate their thinking to such an extent that even when they had superior forces, as in Ukraine, they still chose to conduct an ‘asymmetrical’ campaign and as a result came close to losing their ‘pseudo counter revolution’ to a conventional Ukrainian offensive.
The move into Syria amounts to almost total abandonment of the Gerasimov Doctrine: It is tantamount admitted that Moscow is ‘at war’ against ‘terrorists’, whereas before they were posing as ‘local counter revolutionaries’ in Ukraine, supporting illegal ‘elections’ and ‘referendums’ etc and all but performing as ‘terrorists’ themselves.
Yet they still cling to the central dictate of Gerasimov; we are not ‘at war’ as such and thus casualties even in Syria must be ‘suicides’ or ‘accidents’ or some such.
What we have seen since February 2014 and the Crimean Operation is the unravelling of the Gerasimov Doctrine to it’s virtual abandonment today.
This does NOT mean that it is ‘dead’; more ‘little green men’ may appear in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova or the Baltics, but it is doubtful the illusion and denials would succeed again; as the Americans say “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”.
More sanctions would follow etc. and more robust defence be ready to go from Day 1.
In the end it’s fine to say you are not ‘at war’ but you cannot hope to fool all the people all the time.

Richard Drozdowski for EMPR

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