Original published by warfiles.ru; translation by J.Hawk
The Russian military is discussing ways of preventing and countering “color revolutions.” This topic was central during the annual Academy of Military Sciences meeting with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin, RF General Staff Chief Valeriy Gerasimov, as well as a number of experts and academy associates.
According to the participants, such actions as cyber-attacks and recruitment of new members that is performed by networked structures should be considered subversive. In order to combat them, one has to develop a “soft power” concept. An example of that concept is the approach used by Russia during its early stages of involvement in Syria, namely diplomacy and non-military methods.
Gerasimov said that the Russian MOD believes “color revolutions” to be part of a hybrid war, and to be equivalent to a coup d’etat. Which means that they should be combated as such. Gerasimov was supported by Academy member Andrey Manoilo: he views the “color revolution” as a serious threat, and the recruiters of its supporters ought to be punished as subversives.
“These networked structures are identical to those used by terrorists. Russian MOD’s experience, accumulated in the Northern Caucasus and other recent conflicts, could be effectively utilized in the struggle against such revolutions.” Manoilo also said that Russia has been using the “soft power” concept in the international arena, but so far it has been doing so in a rigid fashion, largely copying other countries’ approaches.
Dmitriy Gavra, a political scientists and a sociologist, believes that the “soft power” concept has been developed a long time ago both for domestic and international use, and the means of applying it are embedded in political systems.
“Both government and opposition use it. In the Russian situation, it’s clear that the risk of destabilization, including through the so-called ‘color revolutions’, is real. And we are seeing the State Duma closing the legal loopholes that could lead to an uncontrollable destabilization.”
According to Gavra, the state of stability is due to the implementation of a social contract between the authorities and the population, and it is based on trust.
“As soon as the thin fabric of trust begins to tear, there appear zones which can be filled by destabilizing influences,” Gavra believes. “So what does ‘soft power’ represent in such a case? It boils down to the effectiveness of mechanisms of upward mobility. The elite should not be closed. One must develop procedures for upward recruitment of the most talented representatives of low-status groups, including ethnic minorities.”
Gavra also believes that a closed information space only facilitates extremist sentiments.
“One ought to reject harsh censorship of the media space. It is not extremist for the opposition to express its views in the media. Rather the opposite, it is a way to express opposition viewpoints in the public arena, instead of through subversive activity. One can add special internet communications rules, and also reach out to the young audience. But from my point of view, it’s not enough to focus on “soft power” as a solely informational phenomenon, as some of our strategists do.”