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PWSZ University in Suwalki, Poland

Polish perspective on psycho-informational war conducted by Russian Federation

Lt Col (r) Piotr PACEK PhD

 

Abstract

The primary objective of this paper is to show a Polish view of psych-informational warfare conducted recently by Russian Federation in Europe. It highlights that the information warfare, which includes psychological operations, has lately become the core element of warfare theory and practice. By presenting the effectiveness of Russian actions in Ukraine or Poland, it shows the complexity of modern forms of influencing the enemy and the transformation of international security environment in general. It provides the characteristic and the significance of psychological and informational actions in the modern world, going beyond typical military, diplomatic or propaganda actions.

Author points out that Russian actions are directed not only at Crimea, Donbas or Ukraine but also at US, NATO and EU. Aiming at the position in the world, to remain a powerful international leader and hegemony in the world. Author forms hypothesis that there is a vital need to adjust the security system to new challenges. Moreover it is necessary to make amendments in doctrinal documents and to prepare armed forces to be able to counter new threats.

 

Key words: information war, hybrid warfare, conflict in Ukraine, Russian Federation, Europe.

 

Recently we have been witnessing complex, well-funded and multidimensional hybrid and information war conducted by Russia against different countries and recipients. Those actions have differentiated according to not only areas but also Russian objectives. The main targets have been US, NATO, EU, Eastern Europe and primarily Ukraine.1)

 As far as the Ukrainian conflict is concerned it involves parallel conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts including indiscriminate violence, coercion and criminal disorder. And what is more it includes informational and psychological tasks. Hybrid character of actions taken place in Crimea and Donbas is conductive to psycho-informational actions which are aimed not only at the local society but also at international environment and different world organizations. As a part of process of influencing West and its public, Russians and separatists supported by Russians try to give credibility to their individual rights and try to discredit the opposite Party.2) The most visible example concerns Crimea annexation. Russian Federation has been using simultaneously diplomatic, informational, propaganda and psychological tools and in many cases has been successfully using it.3) Russians have managed to convince world to the very dubious arguments. It concerns the following statements:

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Russian activity in Ukraine and the rest of the world has been extensive. In response to Russian actions not only Poland and Ukraine, but also NATO and EU should have made efforts to combat deceitful propaganda and should have conducted widespread information actions, especially since the West did a little to stop Russian information warfare. It should be stressed that Ukrainians, for a long time, did not handle its enemy’s informational actions. But after some time they started their own campaigns targeted mainly at raising awareness among Western societies and authorities about the risks coming from aggressive Russia. Ukrainians tried also to get the support for their actions. As a part of campaign showing the real Russian engagement (equipment, forces, money) in anti-Ukrainian operations Ukrainians prepared whistleblowing content by publishing pictures of so called „little green men”, soldiers, equipment. All these measures were taken in order not only to show Russian engagement in Ukraine, but also to psychologically affect Russian soldiers’ and their families’ morale. Exposing their names and addresses was the clear message: you are fighting against us and we know who you are and where you live, we will find you. Ukraine has been improving its techniques of combating Russian psych-informational activities. However on its own it might be difficult. Poland and Ukraine should carry out joint actions but with permanent EU and NATO engagement. Russian militarism should be treated as a real danger to rest of Europe. Hybrid tools have become the fantastic means to conduct aggressive policy and it should be envisaged that in the next years Russian will intensify its efforts in the area of psycho-informational war against West. We shouldn’t ignore it because it cannot be excluded that the situation would be more intense. It is necessary to adjust the security system to new challenges and it is needed to amend the current military strategies capable to counter new threats. We are witnesses of slow transformation in strategic concepts. Realizing the power of the new tools in conducting conflicts is the basis to start adapting all system solutions to new era of threats.

 

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Publications:

1.      Analysis of Russia’s information Campaign Against Ukraine. Examining non-military aspects of the crisis in Ukraine from a strategic communications perspectives, Riga 2014.

2.      Bousquet A.: The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity, NewYork 2009.

3.      Darczewska J.: Anatomia rosyjskiej wojny informacyjnej, Warszawa 2014.

4.      Lewchenko O.: Specific features of hybrid warfare conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. In: Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine, Ed. B. Pacek, 2018.

5.      Kupiecki R., Menkiszek M., Stosunki NATO – Federacja Rosyjska w świetle dokumentów, Warszawa 2018.

6.      Pacek B.: Wojna hybrydowa na Ukrainie, Warszawa 2018.

7.      Pacek P.: Wojna informacyjna jako istotny element zbrojnego konfliktu na Ukrainie. In: Konflikt hybrydowy na Ukrainie - Aspekty teoretyczne i praktyczne, Eds. B. Pacek, J. A. Grochocka,  Piotrków Trybunalski 2017.

8.      Words and Wars – Ukraine facing Kremlin propaganda, Kyiv 2017.

9.      Vasyuta S.: Elements of the information campaign in the Russian – Ukrainian conflict. In: Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine, Ed. B. Pacek, 2017.

10.   Żyła M.: Ukraine’s Russian problem. Russian and Russian – language minorities in Ukraine. In: Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine, Ed. B. Pacek, 2017.

 

 

Internet sources:

1.      https://dorzeczy.pl/kraj/64640/Wiadomosci-TVP-ABW-zatrzymala-Rosjanke-ktora-brala-udzial-w-dzialaniach-hybrydowych-przeciwko-Polsce.html (18 may 2018).

2.      https://publicrelations.pl/jak-dziala-rosyjska-propaganda-o-ukrainie-cz-3/ (12 April 2018).

3.      https://pulaski.pl/rosyjska-wojna-informacyjna-front-ukrainski/ (12 April 2018).

4.      https://www.defence24.pl/zamach-w-lucku-dlaczego-rosja-skutecznie-psuje-relacje-polsko-ukrainskie-3-czynniki (15 April 2018).

5.      https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/to-see-what-ukraines-future-may-be-just-look-at-lvivs-shameful-past-9178968.html (23 April 2018).

6.      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/putin-kremlin-inside-russian-troll-house (18 May 2018).

 

Pacek Piotr, Lt Col (r), PhD

Chief specialist in the Security and Crisis Management Office of City Hall in Warsaw, lecturer and researcher at The State University of Applied Sciences in Suwalki.

Graduate of University of Gdansk, Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia and National Defence University in Warsaw. Former officer of Polish Army posted in Military Gendarmerie, military diplomacy and reconnaissance unit.

Specializes in national and international security and protection issues, including Eastern matters, the CSDP and information security.

  

1) Vasyuta S.: Elements of the information campaign in the Russian - Ukrainian conflict. In: Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine, Ed. B. Pacek, 2018, p.164.

2) Lewchenko O.: Specific features of hybrid warfare conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukraine. In: ibid., p.24-26.

3) Bousquet A.: The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity, New York 2009, p.163–215163-215.

4) Pacek B.: Wojna hybrydowa na Ukrainie, Warszawa 2018, p.72-73; Żyła M.: Ukraine’s Russian problem. Russian and Russian - language minorities in Ukraine. In: Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine, p.90-93.

5) Pacek P.: Wojna informacyjna jako istotny element zbrojnego konfliktu na Ukrainie. In: Konflikt hybrydowy na Ukrainie - Aspekty teoretyczne i praktyczne, Eds. B. Pacek, J. A. Grochocka,  Piotrków Trybunalski 2017, p.206-207.

6) Darczewska J.: Anatomia rosyjskiej wojny informacyjnej, Warszawa 2014, p.27-29.

8) Analysis of Russia’s information Campaign Against Ukraine. Examining non-military aspects of the crisis in Ukraine from a strategic communications perspectives, Riga 2014, p.7-9.

9) Lelonek A.: Rosyjska wojna informacyjna - front ukraiński, https://pulaski.pl/rosyjska-wojna-informacyjna-front-ukrainski/ (12 April 2018).

13) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/putin-kremlin-inside-russian-troll-house (18 May 2018).

 

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