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Sunday, September 20th 2015
“Information Operations represent a fundamental and distinctive element of the Russian hybrid warfare concept,” wrote Giorgio Bertolin, a Ph.D. candidate in Defense Studies at King’s College, London. His article, “Conceptualizing Russian Information Operations: InfoWar and Infiltration in the Context of Hybrid Warfare,” appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of IOSphere, the journal of the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center.
Speaking at the Moscow conference on International Security in 2014, [Collective Security Treaty Organization] Secretary General [Nikolay] Bordjuzha quoted science fiction writer Robert Sheckley, stating that “the most annoying thing is that in an info-war he who tells truth always loses” While this assertion was meant to discredit the West, it describes quite accurately the Russian approach to info-war. The most distinctive element, and a point of continuity with the conduct of IOs under the Soviet regime, is the artful combination of truth and lies, resulting in a narrative which is considerably more dangerous than one built solely on naïve propaganda. The danger lies in the wide potential appeal of this narrative. The target audience is in general terms that addressed by Soviet propaganda, i.e. individuals in the West who are dissatisfied with the status quo of a liberal democratic society. During the past decade, the Russian media industry has acted as an enthusiastic herald of the Kremlin’s crusade to restore a bi-polar – or, at least, a multi-polar – world order.