This paper explores the concept of cognitive warfare, a multifaceted approach to achieving strategic objectives by manipulating the cognitive mechanisms of adversaries. Drawing on historical examples and contemporary developments, it delves into the increasing focus on the ”hearts and minds” aspect of modern conflict. The analysis encompasses two principal components of cognitive warfare as presented in Russian military literature: Reflexive Control and Mental Warfare. While Reflexive Control has been previously discussed in Western literature, Mental Warfare is a recent and lesser-known concept. The paper examines the theoretical and philosophical foundations underlying these components, highlighting their shared emphasis on the cognitive process. Mental Warfare, as an integral part of the strategy of Controlled Chaos, seeks to occupy the adversary’s consciousness and induce changes in collective mindsets, while Reflexive Control aims to influence opponents through tailored information. The implications of cognitive warfare for NATO and Western countries are also discussed, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures and enhanced cognitive defense in countering adversarial attempts to exploit systemic vulnerabilities. Ultimately, the paper underscores the critical need to protect the human mind, which has become the primary battleground in the pursuit of political objectives in contemporary warfare.
DISCLAIMER: This list might be correct, but it isn’t wholly trustworthy. Take it with a pinch of salt.
Apple Pay: complete block
Apple: complete exit from the market
Adidas – refusal to work with the national football team
Audi – out of the market
AMD – a ban on supplying microchips and a ban on supplying video cards soon.
British Petroleum – selling 20% shares out of Rosnefty
BBC – Broadcast License Review
BMW – closing plants, blocking supplies
Bolt – 5 million euros of aid to Ukraine
Boeing – no maintenance for Russian airlines
Chevrolet: out the market
Cannes Festival – RF delegation blocked
Cadillac – out of the market
Carlsberg – export restriction
Cex Io – crypto platform banning ru users
Cinema 4D – app not working
Coca Cola – off the Market
Danone: out of the market
Disney – cancelling all movies
Dell – exit the market
Dropbox – will stop operating in the country in a few days
DHL – out of the market
Eurovision – Disqualification
Ericsson – exit the market
Exxon Mobil – recall all specialists from oil companies of Russia
Etsy is a block of all balances on ru accounts
Facebook is a ban on rf social media accounts
FedEx is a complete ban on supplies
Formula 1 – cancelled tournament in Sochi
Ford to close all stores
FIFA – disqualification of the national team for the World Cup and a ban on holding any international matches in the Russian Federation
Google Pay – Partial Block
Google – $15 million for humanitarian aid to Ukraine
Google Maps – info block for Russians
General Motors – Stop Exports
HP – no longer loading laptops
Harley Davidson – Deliveries Cut
Instagram is blocking propaganda
Intel is a ban on microchips.
Jaguar – off the market
Jooble – the service was deleted
Lenovo – exit the market
LinkedIn – preparing to leave the country completely
MOK – cancellation of all competitions
Mastercard – suspending card production, turning off several banks
Maersk – a delivery stop in/from the Russian Federation
Mercedes – exit from the country
Megogo – Deleting All Russian Movies
Metro – 10k employees – closing
Mitsubishi – employees of 141 service center – closing
Microsoft Office – a wide range of measures being discussed
Mobile World Congress – the delegation is not accredited
Netflix – a block for Russian subscriptions, stopping the production of Russian TV series
Nike – closing all stores
Nintendo – a ban on purchases in rubles
Nestle – closes all 6 factories in Russia
OnlyFans – shut down in the country
Landscape – Blocking
PayPal – freeze withdrawal accounts
Paramount – movie rental block
Parimatch – Franchise revoked
PlayStation – no payment possible
Pornhub – content ban
Porsche – exit from the market
Renault – exit the market
Samsung pay – service locking
Snapchat – out of the app in the Russian Federation and Blyadorussia, 15 million $ help Ukraine
Scania – exit from the Russian Federation
SpaceX – Starlink delivery to Ukraine
Shell – termination of contract with Gazprom
Spotify – impossible to pay a subscription
Sony – Movie Rental Block
Twitter – Russian citizens cannot register accounts
Toyota – closing
UEFA – cancellation of the Champions League final in St. Petersburg, ban on all clubs to participate in the Champions League and LE, $ 1 million in aid to Ukraine, break the contract with the general sponsor of Gazprom
UPS is a complete ban on supplies
Universal pictures – movie rental block
Viber – $ 9 million aid to Ukraine from CEO Rakuten
Visa – suspension of card production at least
Volvo – coming out of the market
YouTube – blocking hundreds of channels and their monetization
Warner Bros – Cancellation of all movie rentals
Webmoney – ban on transactions
Volkswagen – leaving the country
Zoom – review of software development licenses
Russia did it. Tonight President Putin signed the decree recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk after a very interesting meeting of the Security Council. It’s appalling nobody foresaw it as a possibility. I’ve written already in January it was possible in an unpublished paper (email me, and I’ll be glad to send it). It started last week with the Duma approving an initiative from Putin’s party to recognize the territories’ independence. Today, Putin called an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss this issue plus the FSB reports on Ukrainian sabotage in Russian territory.
The broadcast was supposed to be live, but there are many indicators it was recorded before. Shoigu’s wristwatch was marking 12:47, while the meeting was allegedly happening after 16:50. Valentina Matvienko’s (Chairwoman of the Federation Council) speech was clearly edited, and a frame showed Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov leaving the podium, although his speech wasn’t part of the transmission.
The Foreign Minister S. Lavrov spoke first, noting that “the West is not ready to accept Russia’s proposals for non-expansion of NATO. Nevertheless, Russia is prepared to discuss security issues with the United States, but only considering Moscow’s position on non-expansion of the alliance.” The head of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, said that after a battle on the border, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was allegedly captured. He also stressed that the FSB with the Ministry of Defense destroyed two Ukrainian “sabotage groups” that reached the border with the Russian Federation. The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu estimated the number of Ukrainian military near the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics at 59,300 troops. At the same time, on February 8, Putin said that 100-125 thousand Ukrainian troops were allegedly concentrated near Donbas. He added that “we were left no choice. Thus, I say unequivocally: yes, we must recognize.”
Medvedev added that “We face a difficult dilemma associated with the recognition of these two territories. I remember 2008 well; I can say from experience that I had to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia at that time. We know what happened next. I won’t talk about it. This has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”
Matvienko said that “it became evident that the Kyiv puppet regime not only does not want to but also cannot solve anything. Ukraine needs this conflict to justify the degrading economic situation. The West needs this conflict as an anti-Russian project. That is why the Minsk agreements are not being implemented. What did the residents of Luhansk and Donetsk want? Let’s remember! They wanted the right to speak Russian. Ordinary requirements, common European values. Instead, a humanitarian catastrophe is organized. Where is the OSCE? Heads of state meet, decisions are made. For Russia, these are citizens, people. Two Slavic fraternal peoples are trying to be united. Well, how much more can you try to persuade? How much more can be explained? We need to call a spade a spade. Residents of Lugansk and Donetsk rebelled against the bloody coup. What has Russia done wrong to Ukraine?
The secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, also called for support for the State Duma’s appeal to recognize the independence of Donbas and Luhansk. He said that “it’s not the people of Ukraine who organized; they are intimidated, forced to follow this path. Organized by the United States! It would be advisable to respond to Biden’s proposal to hold negotiations in which you (Putin) could say that you did everything against the people of the DPR and LPR, and we all to support them. If you do everything to stop the massacre there, we can have a dialogue.”
The director of the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) Sergei Naryshkin said that “the thesis about Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine was born within the walls of the U.S. State Department and promoted to such limits that it resembles war propaganda. This was done to provoke Kyiv to try to solve the problem of Donbas by military means. We have no right to allow this.”
When Putin’s requested him to speak clearly, he misspoke and replied that he supported “the proposal to join the DPR and LPR into the Russian Federation.” Putin himself noted that it is only about the recognition of independence.
Putin: – You propose to start the negotiation process
Naryshkin: – Oh, no, I… I… support…
Putin: – Or to recognize their sovereignty?
Naryshkin: – Oh, me, I… support…
Putin: – Speak, speak straight!
Naryshkin: – I will support the proposal for recognition…
Putin: – Will I support or support? Speak straight, Sergey Evgenyevich!
Naryshkin: – I support the proposal to…
Putin: – So say: yes or no.
Naryshkin: – That’s what I say, yes… I support the proposal to join the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into the Russian Federation.
Putin: – Yes, you… We’re not talking about it, we’re not discussing it. We’re talking about recognizing their independence or not.
Naryshkin: – Yes… I support the proposal to recognize independence.
As William Faulkner intoned in Requiem for a Nun, “The Past is never dead. It’s not even past.” With Russia annexing the Crimea and the war in Dombas and Lukhansk, Ukraine has been hurrying to join NATO. Since it does not yet fulfill all membership requirements, a possible membership seems still a matter of many years to come. Notwithstanding that, Russia has been amalgamating approximately 130,000 troops near Ukrainian borders in the last months. Although until recently most of it has been about prepositioning hardware, recent movements indicate more troops and equipment are being deployed and being connected to the system of military logistics. Although it could mean an attack is coming soon, escalation aims to force Ukraine and the West to negotiate a settlement favorable to Russia. More precisely, to stop NATO’s expansion to the East. It is not clear how a conventional attack at this moment would achieve it.
A conventional invasion is only one option and military capabilities may be used in several manners, including to achieve non-military objectives. To understand Russian warfare, thinking outside the box is not enough. It is necessary to think without the box. Russian actions appear to be following a textbook example of the concept of escalating to de-escalate. Although it was developed within the scope of nuclear warfare, its principles are applicable to non-nuclear situations. They are simple. An impasse is created to force the opponent to negotiate a solution acceptable to, in this case, Russia. In other words, to de-escalate on Russia’s terms. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, the de-escalation process takes place or further escalation happens. The process is not linear. One of the problems is that for the United States and NATO military escalation is a linear process. This can result in faster escalation.
Following Russian doctrine and examples from the operations in Ukraine and Syria, some possible actions in Ukraine might include launching high precision non-nuclear missiles targeting important Ukrainian infrastructure objects such as power plants, water sewage and cleaning facilities, transport hubs, and other with the objective of disturbing the normality of people’s quotidian lives, resulting in political leverage for reaching a settlement and even government change to de-escalate the situation; recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Lukhansk; increasing the intensity of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, including by creating and supporting new separatist movements in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odessa with the support of the troops already deployed near the Ukrainian border; using moles and other agents of influence to incite mass protests against the current government, just to cite few.
To put pressure on NATO countries, some possible actions include deploying missiles in the Far East that could target Alaska; escalating in the Arctic region, for example, by blocking transit in Russian exclusive areas or posturing near other countries’ areas of interest; conducting exercises in the Baltic Sea which include electronic warfare to disrupt telecommunications in the region’s countries and posturing to create panic within local populations; covert operations to make provocations and other possibilities; instigating protests against the Ukrainian or any other country government; cyber warfare in many forms, including to disrupt energy, water, finance, transit, and other basic services; submarines appearing very close NATO countries’ territorial waters; naval and air exercises, including missile range practice near other countries’ territorial waters and/or air space. These are only some possibilities. Some of them might be more effective and less risky than the conventional attack some believe might happen in the near future.
Russia will not stop to pursue its strategic interests. As a result, further escalation including demonstrative military activities and other actions that might include posturing near NATO and EU countries are to be expected.
This is of special importance, since the United States has been announcing an imminent conventional attack by Russia since December. More recently, the White House divulged that the attack to be on February 16, 2022. The risk is high and this possibility is real. However, taking into consideration the many options available for Russia discussed above, there is also a chance that the troops along the Ukrainian border are a diversion for something else. To know the concrete date of the possible attack American intelligence agencies must have a mole inside the Kremlin, one very near Putin. If this intelligence is real, the Russians are aware and this agent will soon be neutralized. There is another possibility, though. It is possible that the Russians are feeding the US with fake intelligence in what could be a textbook case of reflexive control. As a result, Moscow may and probably will act in an unpredictable way. A very probable scenario is the one creating “color revolutions” in Eastern Ukraine to break the country in two. One part stays with the West, another with Russia. It might include hybrid operations in the Baltic States, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Western Europe, the Arctic, and other regions to take NATO and the United States’ attention out of Ukraine.
The West has been trying to understand Russia in its own strategic terms. This is a mistake. The Russian strategic tradition is still based on dialectics, as Clausewitz. It considers all possible variables and outcomes. The West have a postmodern approach which is often looking inwards ignoring the specificities of each theater. It must be ready, united, and resolved, at the same time pragmatically evaluating the threat. It may be where we are not looking.
Last week the British Parliament published a report about Russian malign influence in the UK. A considerable debate followed, ignoring Russia’s motivations and strategic objectives in the United Kingdom and in the West. Russia’s ambitions were described as “Russia’s substantive aims, however, are relatively limited: it wishes to be seen as a resurgent ‘great power’ – in particular, dominating the countries of the former USSR – and to ensure that the privileged position of its leadership clique is not damaged.” It’s much more than that. This view is too simplistic and obscures the understanding of their objectives. The discussions have been concentrating on “Putin and his cronies”, “the mafia state”, etc. This obfuscates the debate about our own problems, which they use against us. Besides, it doesn’t help much to understand their way of thinking and gives the false feeling to know what they’re after.
Counter-Hybrid Warfare: Winning in the Gray Zone
The United States is actively involved in two hybrid conflicts (ISIS in Syria and Iraq) and is supporting the Ukraine against hybrid threats from Russia. That said, America lacks a formal doctrine for dealing with such conflicts or even an agreed-on doctrinal definition of what they are. This article is an attempt to begin a serious discussion of a doctrinal approach to counter attempts by other state actors to use kinetic hybrid techniques to further state interests in ways harmful to us. The Hybrid Center of Excellence in Finland is a good start to begin examining cooperative approaches to countering hybrid threats, but the United State will likely play a key role when a NATO ally or a partner with which we have a bilateral security agreement comes under a hybrid attack.
So, this is the part of Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly which frightened some people, with the videos. He has some valid points as the USA withdrawing from the ABM and announcing the deployment of new nuclear weapons, besides the perception of an increasing willingness of American officials in the Trump administration to use them. Overall, his main audience was the Russian public. Since living conditions are deteriorating in Russia and elections are in March 18, he played the great power card. Overall, people shouldn’t be worried about it. The main issue with nuclear war isn’t the destruction and the causualities. The main problem is the nuclear winter and the spread of radiation by winds, which is believed to extinct human life in the planet. Look:
The fact is that these weapons are still being tested or are projects. He didn’t mention other missile systems like Onyx, Kalibr, Tsirkon and Brahmos which aren’t as incridible as the Sarmat II, but if real can cause great headaches for the Western defense planners. I’ll write more about them soon. Now to the speech:
The operation in Syria has proved the increased capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces. In recent years, a great deal has been done to improve the Army and the Navy. The Armed Forces now have 37 times more modern weapons. Over 300 new units of equipment were put into service. The strategic missile troops received 80 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, 102 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and three Borei nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. Twelve missile regiments have received the new Yarsintercontinental ballistic missile. The number of long-range high-precision weapons carriers has increased by 12 times, while the number of guided cruise missiles increased by over 30 times. The Army, the Aerospace Forces and the Navy have grown significant stronger as well.
Both Russia and the entire world know the names of our newest planes, submarines, anti-aircraft weapons, as well as land-based, airborne and sea-based guided missile systems. All of them are cutting-edge, high-tech weapons. A solid radar field to warn of a missile attack was created along Russia’s perimeter (it is very important). Huge holes appeared after the USSR disintegrated. All of them were repaired.
A leap forward was made in the development of unmanned aircraft; the National Defence Control Centre was established; and the operational command of the far maritime zone was formed. The number of professional service members has increased by 2.4 times, and the availability of equipment in the Armed Forces grew from 70 percent to 95–100 percent. The years-long queue for permanent housing was eliminated, and the waiting period was cut by 83 percent.
Now, on to the most important defence issue.
I will speak about the newest systems of Russian strategic weapons that we are creating in response to the unilateral withdrawal of the United States of America from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the practical deployment of their missile defence systems both in the US and beyond their national borders.
I would like to make a short journey into the recent past.
Back in 2000, the US announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Russia was categorically against this. We saw the Soviet-US ABM Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone of the international security system. Under this treaty, the parties had the right to deploy ballistic missile defence systems only in one of its regions. Russia deployed these systems around Moscow, and the US around its Grand Forks land-based ICBM base.
Together with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the ABM Treaty not only created an atmosphere of trust but also prevented either party from recklessly using nuclear weapons, which would have endangered humankind, because the limited number of ballistic missile defence systems made the potential aggressor vulnerable to a response strike.
We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty. All in vain. The US pulled out of the treaty in 2002. Even after that we tried to develop constructive dialogue with the Americans. We proposed working together in this area to ease concerns and maintain the atmosphere of trust. At one point, I thought that a compromise was possible, but this was not to be. All our proposals, absolutely all of them, were rejected. And then we said that we would have to improve our modern strike systems to protect our security. In reply, the US said that it is not creating a global BMD system against Russia, which is free to do as it pleases, and that the US will presume that our actions are not spearheaded against the US.
The reasons behind this position are obvious. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia, which was known as the Soviet Union or Soviet Russia abroad, lost 23.8 percent of its national territory, 48.5 percent of its population, 41 of the GDP, 39.4 percent of its industrial potential (nearly half of our potential, I would underscore), as well as 44.6 percent of its military capability due to the division of the Soviet Armed Forces among the former Soviet republics. The military equipment of the Russian army was becoming obsolete, and the Armed Forces were in a sorry state. A civil war was raging in the Caucasus, and US inspectors oversaw the operation of our leading uranium enrichment plants.
For a certain time, the question was not whether we would be able to develop a strategic weapon system – some wondered if our country would even be able to safely store and maintain the nuclear weapons that we inherited after the collapse of the USSR. Russia had outstanding debts, its economy could not function without loans from the IMF and the World Bank; the social sphere was impossible to sustain.
Apparently, our partners got the impression that it was impossible in the foreseeable historical perspective for our country to revive its economy, industry, defence industry and Armed Forces to levels supporting the necessary strategic potential. And if that is the case, there is no point in reckoning with Russia’s opinion, it is necessary to further pursue ultimate unilateral military advantage in order to dictate the terms in every sphere in the future.
Basically, this position, this logic, judging from the realities of that period, is understandable, and we ourselves are to blame. All these years, the entire 15 years since the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, we have consistently tried to reengage the American side in serious discussions, in reaching agreements in the sphere of strategic stability.
We managed to accomplish some of these goals. In 2010, Russia and the US signed the New START treaty, containing measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. However, in light of the plans to build a global anti-ballistic missile system, which are still being carried out today, all agreements signed within the framework of New START are now gradually being devaluated, because while the number of carriers and weapons is being reduced, one of the parties, namely, the US, is permitting constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles, improving their quality, and creating new missile launching areas. If we do not do something, eventually this will result in the complete devaluation of Russia’s nuclear potential. Meaning that all of our missiles could simply be intercepted.
Despite our numerous protests and pleas, the American machine has been set into motion, the conveyer belt is moving forward. There are new missile defence systems installed in Alaska and California; as a result of NATO’s expansion to the east, two new missile defence areas were created in Western Europe: one has already been created in Romania, while the deployment of the system in Poland is now almost complete. Their range will keep increasing; new launching areas are to be created in Japan and South Korea. The US global missile defence system also includes five cruisers and 30 destroyers, which, as far as we know, have been deployed to regions in close proximity to Russia’s borders. I am not exaggerating in the least; and this work proceeds apace.
So, what have we done, apart from protesting and warning? How will Russia respond to this challenge? This is how.
During all these years since the unilateral US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.
Let me recall that the United States is creating a global missile defence system primarily for countering strategic arms that follow ballistic trajectories. These weapons form the backbone of our nuclear deterrence forces, just as of other members of the nuclear club.
As such, Russia has developed, and works continuously to perfect, highly effective but modestly priced systems to overcome missile defence. They are installed on all of our intercontinental ballistic missile complexes.
In addition, we have embarked on the development of the next generation of missiles. For example, the Defence Ministry and enterprises of the missile and aerospace industry are in the active phase of testing a new missile system with a heavy intercontinental missile. We called it Sarmat.
Sarmat will replace the Voevoda system made in the USSR. Its immense power was universally recognized. Our foreign colleagues even gave it a fairly threatening name.
That said, the capabilities of the Sarmat missile are much higher. Weighing over 200 tonnes, it has a short boost phase, which makes it more difficult to intercept for missile defence systems. The range of the new heavy missile, the number and power of its combat blocs is bigger than Voevoda’s. Sarmat will be equipped with a broad range of powerful nuclear warheads, including hypersonic, and the most modern means of evading missile defence. The high degree of protection of missile launchers and significant energy capabilities the system offers will make it possible to use it in any conditions.
Could you please show the video.
Voevoda’s range is 11,000 km while Sarmat has practically no range restrictions.
As the video clips show, it can attack targets both via the North and South poles.
Sarmat is a formidable missile and, owing to its characteristics, is untroubled by even the most advanced missile defence systems.
But we did not stop at that. We started to develop new types of strategic arms that do not use ballistic trajectories at all when moving toward a target and, therefore, missile defence systems are useless against them, absolutely pointless.
Allow me to elaborate on these weapons.
Russia’s advanced arms are based on the cutting-edge, unique achievements of our scientists, designers and engineers. One of them is a small-scale heavy-duty nuclear energy unit that can be installed in a missile like our latest X-101 air-launched missile or the American Tomahawk missile – a similar type but with a range dozens of times longer, dozens, basically an unlimited range. It is a low-flying stealth missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with almost an unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception boundaries. It is invincible against all existing and prospective missile defence and counter-air defence systems. I will repeat this several times today.
In late 2017, Russia successfully launched its latest nuclear-powered missile at the Central training ground. During its flight, the nuclear-powered engine reached its design capacity and provided the necessary propulsion.
Now that the missile launch and ground tests were successful, we can begin developing a completely new type of weapon, a strategic nuclear weapons system with a nuclear-powered missile.
Roll the video, please.
You can see how the missile bypasses interceptors. As the range is unlimited, the missile can manoeuvre for as long as necessary.
As you no doubt understand, no other country has developed anything like this. There will be something similar one day but by that time our guys will have come up with something even better.
Now, we all know that the design and development of unmanned weapon systems is another common trend in the world. As concerns Russia, we have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths (I would say extreme depths) intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest. It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly manoeuvrable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.
Unmanned underwater vehicles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables them to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications and infrastructure.
In December 2017, an innovative nuclear power unit for this unmanned underwater vehicle completed a test cycle that lasted many years. The nuclear power unit is unique for its small size while offering an amazing power-weight ratio. It is a hundred times smaller than the units that power modern submarines, but is still more powerful and can switch into combat mode, that is to say, reach maximum capacity, 200 times faster.
The tests that were conducted enabled us to begin developing a new type of strategic weapon that would carry massive nuclear ordnance.
Please play the video.
By the way, we have yet to choose names for these two new strategic weapons, the global-range cruise missile and the unmanned underwater vehicle. We are waiting for suggestions from the Defence Ministry.
Countries with high research potential and advanced technology are known to be actively developing so-called hypersonic weapons. The speed of sound is usually measured in Mach numbers in honour of Austrian scientist Ernst Mach who is known for his research in this field. One Mach is equal to 1,062 kilometres per hour at an altitude of 11 kilometres. The speed of sound is Mach 1, speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 5 is called supersonic, and hypersonic is above Mach 5. Of course, this kind of weapon provides substantial advantages in an armed conflict. Military experts believe that it would be extremely powerful, and that its speed makes it invulnerable to current missile and air defence systems, since interceptor missiles are, simply put, not fast enough. In this regard, it is quite understandable why the leading armies of the world seek to possess such an ideal weapon.
Friends, Russia already has such a weapon.
The most important stage in the development of modern weapons systems was the creation of a high-precision hypersonic aircraft missile system; as you already know for sure, it is the only one of its kind in the world. Its tests have been successfully completed, and, moreover, on December 1 of last year, these systems began their trial service at the airfields of the Southern Military District.
The unique flight characteristics of the high-speed carrier aircraft allow the missile to be delivered to the point of discharge within minutes. The missile flying at a hypersonic speed, 10 times faster than the speed of sound, can also manoeuvre at all phases of its flight trajectory, which also allows it to overcome all existing and, I think, prospective anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence systems, delivering nuclear and conventional warheads in a range of over 2,000 kilometres. We called this system Kinzhal (Dagger).
But this is not all I have to say.
A real technological breakthrough is the development of a strategic missile system with fundamentally new combat equipment – a gliding wing unit, which has also been successfully tested.
I will say once again what we have repeatedly told our American and European partners who are NATO members: we will make the necessary efforts to neutralise the threats posed by the deployment of the US global missile defence system. We mentioned this during talks, and even said it publicly. Back in 2004, after the exercises of the strategic nuclear forces when the system was tested for the first time, I said the following at a meeting with the press (It is embarrassing to quote myself, but it is the right thing to say here):
So, I said: “As other countries increase the number and quality of their arms and military potential, Russia will also need to ensure it has new generation weapons and technology.
In this respect, I am pleased to inform you that successfully completed experiments during these exercises enable us to confirm that in the near future, the Russian Armed Forces, the Strategic Missile Forces, will receive new hypersonic-speed, high-precision new weapons systems that can hit targets at inter-continental distance and can adjust their altitude and course as they travel. This is a very significant statement because no country in the world as of now has such arms in their military arsenal.” End of quote.
Of course, every word has a meaning because we are talking about the possibility of bypassing interception boundaries. Why did we do all this? Why did we talk about it? As you can see, we made no secret of our plans and spoke openly about them, primarily to encourage our partners to hold talks. Let me repeat, this was in 2004. It is actually surprising that despite all the problems with the economy, finances and the defence industry, Russia has remained a major nuclear power. No, nobody really wanted to talk to us about the core of the problem, and nobody wanted to listen to us. So listen now.
Unlike existing types of combat equipment, this system is capable of intercontinental flight at supersonic speeds in excess of Mach 20.
As I said in 2004, in moving to its target, the missile’s gliding cruise bloc engages in intensive manoeuvring – both lateral (by several thousand km) and vertical. This is what makes it absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defence system. The use of new composite materials has made it possible to enable the gliding cruise bloc to make a long-distance guided flight practically in conditions of plasma formation. It flies to its target like a meteorite, like a ball of fire. The temperature on its surface reaches 1,600–2,000 degrees Celsius but the cruise bloc is reliably guided.
Play the video, please.
For obvious reasons we cannot show the outer appearance of this system here. This is still very important. I hope everyone understands this. But let me assure you that we have all this and it is working well. Moreover, Russian industrial enterprises have embarked on the development of another new type of strategic weapon. We called it the Avangard.
We are well aware that a number of other countries are developing advanced weapons with new physical properties. We have every reason to believe that we are one step ahead there as well – at any rate, in the most essential areas.
We have achieved significant progress in laser weapons. It is not just a concept or a plan any more. It is not even in the early production stages. Since last year, our troops have been armed with laser weapons.
I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defence capacity has multiplied.
Here is another short video.
Those interested in military equipment are welcome to suggest a name for this new weaponry, this cutting-edge system.
Of course, we will be refining this state-of-the-art technology. Obviously, there is far more in development than I have mentioned today. But this is enough for now.
I want to specifically emphasise that the newly developed strategic arms – in fact, new types of strategic weapons – are not the result of something left over from the Soviet Union. Of course, we relied on some ideas from our ingenious predecessors. But everything I have described today is the result of the last several years, the product of dozens of research organisations, design bureaus and institutes.
Thousands, literally thousands of our experts, outstanding scientists, designers, engineers, passionate and talented workers have been working for years, quietly, humbly, selflessly, with total dedication. There are many young professionals among them. They are our true heroes, along with our military personnel who demonstrated the best qualities of the Russian army in combat. I want to address each of them right now and say that there will absolutely be awards, prizes and honorary titles but, because I have met many of you in person many times, I know you are not after awards. The most important thing is to reliably ensure the security of our country and our people. As President and on behalf of the Russian people, I want to say thank you very much for your hard work and its results. Our country needs them so much.
As I have already said, all future military products are based on remarkable advances that can, should and will be used in high-technology civilian sectors. I would like to stress that only a country with the highest level of fundamental research and education, developed research, technology, industrial infrastructure and human resources can successfully develop unique and complex weapons of this kind. You can see that Russia has all these resources.
We will expand this potential and focus on delivering on the ambitious goals our country has set itself in terms of economic, social and infrastructure development. Effective defence will serve as a guarantee of Russia’s long-term development.
Let me reiterate that each of the armament systems I referred to is uniquely important. Even more importantly, taken together all these advances enable the Defence Ministry and General Staff to develop a comprehensive defence system, in which every piece of new military equipment will be assigned a proper role. On top of strategic weapons that are currently on combat alert and benefit from regular updates, Russia will have a defence capability that would guarantee its security in the long term.
Of course, there are many things that we have to do in terms of military construction, but one thing is already clear: Russia possesses a modern, high-technology army that is quite compact given the size of the territory, centred on the officer corps, who are dedicated to their country and are ready to sacrifice anything for its people. Sooner or later, other armies will also have the technology, the weapons, even the most advanced ones. But this does not worry us, since we already have it and will have even better armaments in the future. What matters is that they will never have people or officers like the Russian pilot Major Roman Filipov.
I hope that everything that was said today would make any potential aggressor think twice, since unfriendly steps against Russia such as deploying missile defences and bringing NATO infrastructure closer to the Russian border become ineffective in military terms and entail unjustified costs, making them useless for those promoting these initiatives.
It was our duty to inform our partners of what I said here today under the international commitments Russia had subscribed to. When the time comes, foreign and defence ministry experts will have many opportunities to discuss all these matters with them, if of course our partners so desire.
For my part, I should note that we have conducted the work to reinforce Russia’s defence capability within the current arms control agreements; we are not violating anything. I should specifically say that Russia’s growing military strength is not a threat to anyone; we have never had any plans to use this potential for offensive, let alone aggressive goals.
We are not threatening anyone, not going to attack anyone or take away anything from anyone with the threat of weapons. We do not need anything. Just the opposite. I deem it necessary to emphasise (and it is very important) that Russia’s growing military power is a solid guarantee of global peace as this power preserves and will preserve strategic parity and the balance of forces in the world, which, as is known, have been and remain a key factor of international security after WWII and up to the present day.
And to those who in the past 15 years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia.
Now we have to be aware of this reality and be sure that everything I have said today is not a bluff ‒ and it is not a bluff, believe me ‒ and to give it a thought and dismiss those who live in the past and are unable to look into the future, to stop rocking the boat we are all in and which is called the Earth.
In this connection, I would like to note the following. We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review, which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber-threat.
I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific.
As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences.
There should be no doubt about this whatsoever. There is no need to create more threats to the world. Instead, let us sit down at the negotiating table and devise together a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for human civilisation. We have been saying this all along. All these proposals are still valid. Russia is ready for this.
Our policies will never be based on claims to exceptionalism. We protect our interests and respect the interests of other countries. We observe international law and believe in the inviolable central role of the UN. These are the principles and approaches that allow us to build strong, friendly and equal relations with the absolute majority of countries.
Our comprehensive strategic partnership with the People’s Republic of China is one example. Russia and India also enjoy a special privileged strategic relationship. Our relations with many other countries in the world are entering a new dynamic stage.
Russia is widely involved in international organisations. With our partners, we are advancing such associations and groups as the CSTO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS. We are promoting a positive agenda at the UN, G20 and APEC. We are interested in normal and constructive cooperation with the United States and the European Union. We hope that common sense will prevail and our partners will opt for honest and equal work together.
Even if our views clash on some issues, we still remain partners because we must work together to respond to the most complex challenges, ensure global security, and build the future world, which is becoming increasingly interconnected, with more and more dynamic integration processes.
Russia and its partners in the Eurasian Economic Union seek to make it a globally competitive integration group. The EAEU’s agenda includes building a common market for electricity, oil, petroleum products and gas, harmonising financial markets, and linking our customs authorities. We will also continue to work on a greater Eurasian partnership.
The Russian MoD has been very kind to make available the panelists’ speeches of the firsts day. Unfortunately, they didn’t make available the Q&A sessions. Below you can find the videos of the 3rd (Global security and military cooperation) and 4th (Problems of War and Peace in Europe: a new security system in Europe) panels in English and with Q&A. At this time, these videos are not available anywhere else.
Nikolay N. Bordyuzha’s speech and answers were very interesting (3rd panel). In the 4th panel, it was interesting to hear to the Belarussian minister of defense, but General Sergey Makarov was able to make a great resume of the Russian strategic view.
I’m writing this post to react to many articles I’ve read trying to discuss what became known as Russian Hybrid Warfare. Although I’m glad people finally woke up, there’s still too much misunderstandings about what it is and what it is not. The latest article I’ve read is Michael Kofman’s “Russian Hybrid Warfare and Other Dark Arts.” It’s a good one. Although he lost the target by some centimeters, the article is good to stimulate discussion.
Overall (Kofmann excluded), the first mistake is to believe that the Russians used Hoffman’s framework to shape their own strategy. They didn’t. Instead, they’ve been learning from previous experiences of warfare, mostly from the WWII, the ones based on the concepts of Low Intensity Conflict, Network Centric Warfare, and General Slipchenko’s 6th Generation Warfare. Therefore, it might be characterized as hybrid, only if it means “mix of tools.” It’s completely wrong to believe that the Russian strategy is limited to non-linear, hybrid, call as you wish, methods. They part of it, but don’t define it. The main goal is to achieve the objectives with the minimum application of kinetic force. It should be self-evident, that force will be employed when necessary, including linear and conventional capabilities. See my paper discussing Russian New Generation Warfare. The phases I discuss are not mutually exclusive and can be operationalized simultaneously or independently. Continue reading
General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, published a very interesting article on the “VPK – Voenno-promyshlennyi kur’er” (Military-Industrial Courier) entitled “On the Syrian Experience.” Although it is usually an obscure publication, in reality it is an important one. It is Gerasimov’s preferred publication, followed by the “Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie” (Independent Military Review). General Vladimirov, the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, also publishes there. Thus, it’s good to take a look.
I’m publishing below a bad spaghetti western English translation of the article made by a software. I changed only what was impossible to understand. The piece presents Gerasimov’s views on modern warfare and how Russia should defend itself. It also slaps the Russian Military Science.
My comments are in green.
On the Experience in Syria
Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov: “Hybrid war requires high-tech weaponry and a scientific substantiation.”
The rapid development of science and technology changes the nature of warfare. Since the end of the last century, a concept that has been widely use is “high-tech war.” Continue reading