chapter  7
9 Pages

‘Polite people’

Conventional military, unconventional uses
WithMark Galeotti

The ‘heavy metal diplomacy’ is one reflection of the way Russian thinking about information operations is a far broader concept than the West’s, going beyond the usual realms of coercive diplomacy. The primary purpose of Russian military exercises is to build and maintain operational effectiveness, it is clear that they are staged with an eye to Western opinion. Russia’s demonstrable willingness to use force, in violation of international laws and norms, means that it has particular authority when it speaks the language of military threat. An additional hybrid variety of Russian military capacity is that of mercenary soldiers. Russia’s armed forces are used to provide capabilities for the whole spread of options: from full-scale conflict, through the not-quite-war, preparatory stages of a hybrid war, all the way to pure political conflicts. The armed forces are also bit players in Moscow’s geopolitical theatre. One particular area of interest is the way that Special Forces can be used in information warfare.