This book cuts through the misunderstandings about Russia’s geopolitical challenge to the West, presenting this not as ‘hybrid war’ but ‘political war.’
Russia seeks to antagonise: its diplomats castigate Western ‘Russophobia’ and cultivate populist sentiment abroad, while its media sells Russia as a peaceable neighbour and a bastion of traditional social values. Its spies snoop, and even kill, and its hackers and trolls mount a 24/7 onslaught on Western systems and discourses. This is generally characterised as ‘hybrid war,’ but this is a misunderstanding of Russian strategy. Drawing extensively not just on their writings but also decades of interactions with Russian military, security and government officials, this study demonstrates that the Kremlin has updated traditional forms of non-military ‘political war’ for the modern world. Aware that the West, if united, is vastly richer and stronger, Putin is seeking to divide, and distract, in the hope it will either accept his claim to Russia’s great-power status – or at least be unable to prevent him. In the process, Russia may be foreshadowing how the very nature of war is changing: political war may be the future.
This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, war studies, Russian politics and security studies.
[Russia Political Waar] "offers an expert overview of Russia’s ongoing non-kinetic assault on Western institutions…In Russian Political War, Galeotti provides a clear and cogent analysis of the "political war" Russia has been waging against the West…Galeotti’s description of the Russian arsenal for political war is both accurate and comprehensive."
Mitchell A Orenstein, The Russians Are Coming
Part I: Birth of a Notion
1. The Creation of a Threat
2. The Roots of Russian Conduct
3. The View From the Kremlin
Part II: Wars Hybrid and Political
4. The Russian Way of (Real) War
5. Political War in Theory
6. Political War in Action
Part III: Weapons of the New Wars
7. ‘Polite People’: Conventional Military, Unconventional Uses
8. Impolite People: Militias and Gangsters
9. Invisible People: Russia’s ‘warriors of the hidden battlefield’
10. Everyone Else: The Mobilisation State
Part IV: Facing the Challenge
11. Welcome to the New World of War
12. Fighting (Defensive) Political War