Russia’s New Generation Warfare In Ukraine: Implications For Latvian Defense Policy

David Maxwell:
Informal Institute For National Security Thinkers And Practitioners

Dave Maxwell:

One of our students from Finland passed this on.

A very timely and informative (and I think potentially very important) report from the Latvia – the National Defence Academy of Latvia and the Center for Security and Strategic Research.

The PDF of the report can be downloaded at this link: media/NAA/AZPC/Publikacijas/ PP%2002-2014.ashx

Note the excerpted figure one below for the assessment of Russia’s view of the changing character of armed conflict. Also of note below that are the eight phases of the new generation of war.

I think this is a good analysis of the Russian version of unconventional and political warfare and we should study this so that we can develop the strategy to counter these forms of unconventional warfare and political warfare.

Russia’s New Generation Warfare in Ukraine: Implications for

Latvian Defense Policy

Janis Berzins


Russia considers Ukraine (and Belarus) as part of itself, something that was lost with

the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Henry Kissinger put it, in an open editorial in the Washington Post, “to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country.”1 Moreover, it is considered,together with Belarus, to be a guarantee of Russia’s territorial integrity. This is a very

sensitive issue. Historically, one of Russia’s most important defense strategies is “depth”.2 This

explains why it expanded its borders to the West as far as possible. For Russia, it was already

difficult to accept the Baltic States becoming NATO members in 2004. Moscow claims the

West guaranteed that former Soviet republics and satellites would be left as a neutral buffer

zone. True or not, the fact is that nowadays NATO’s border is approximately 160 km from St.

Petersburg, instead of 1,600 km during the period of the Soviet Union. In the hypothetical case

of Ukraine joining NATO, the city of Belgorod that was deep inside the USSR would be on the


Since for Russia, Ukraine is supposed to be a close ally or, at best, neutral, it considers

the involvement of the United States and the European Union in Ukrainian internal affairs to

be a direct confrontation to its regional interests. Moscow is rightly convinced that the United

States and the European Union were working to attract the Ukraine to their sphere of influence,

ignoring Russia’s natural right to the region. Russia’s goal has always been to make

Ukraine a friendly and subordinate partner. For Russia, after the West’s interference, this

seems to be further out of reach than ever.

Still, notwithstanding the fact that the Russian government is convinced that the West

has been financing the Ukrainian opposition and many organizations like NGO’s with the objective of destabilizing the Yanukovitch government, it signed an agreement led by the European Union and mediated by the foreign ministers of Poland, France and Germany, to end the protests on 21st February. The deal included restoring the Ukrainian Constitution as it was between 2004 and 2010 until September, when constitutional reform was expected to be com-

pleted; early presidential elections no later than December 2014; an investigation of the government’s violence to be conducted jointly by the opposition government, and the Council of

Europe; a veto on declaring a state of emergency; amnesty for protesters arrested since 17th

February; surrendering of public buildings occupied by protesters; the confiscation of illegal

weapons; new electoral laws to be passed and the establishment of a new Central Election


Inline image 1

The phases of new-generation war can be schematized as (Tchekinov & Bogdanov,

2013, pp. 15-22):

First Phase: non-military asymmetric warfare (encompassing information, moral, psychological,

ideological, diplomatic, and economic measures as part of a plan to establish a favorable

political, economic, and military setup).

Second Phase: special operations to mislead political and military leaders by coordinated

measures carried out by diplomatic channels, media, and top government and military agencies

by leaking false data, orders, directives, and instructions.

Third Phase: intimidation, deceiving, and bribing government and military officers, with the

objective of making them abandon their service duties.

Fourth Phase: destabilizing propaganda to increase discontent among the population,

boosted by the arrival of Russian bands of militants, escalating subversion.

Fifth Phase: establishment of no-fly zones over the country to be attacked, imposition of

blockades, and extensive use of private military companies in close cooperation with armed

opposition units.

Sixth Phase: commencement of military action, immediately preceded by large-scale reconnaissance

and subversive missions. All types, forms, methods, and forces, including special

operations forces, space, radio, radio engineering, electronic, diplomatic, and secret service

intelligence, and industrial espionage.

Seventh Phase: combination of targeted information operation, electronic warfare operation,

aerospace operation, continuous airforce harassment, combined with the use of highprecision

weapons launched from various platforms (long-range artillery, and weapons based

on new physical principles, including microwaves, radiation, non-lethal biological weapons).

Eighth Phase: roll over the remaining points of resistance and destroy surviving enemy

units by special operations conducted by reconnaissance units to spot which enemy units

have survived and transmit their coordinates to the attacker’s missile and artillery units; fire

barrages to annihilate the defender’s resisting army units by effective advanced weapons; airdrop operations to surround points of resistance; and territory mopping-up operations by

ground troops.

David S. Maxwell
Associate Director
Center for Security Studies &
Security Studies Program
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University
Office: 202-687-3834
Cell: 703-300-8263
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