On July 3rd, Russia updated its 2015 National Security Strategy, citing concerns over foreign and domestic subversion.
The new document is moving to shield Russian citizens from outside voices and improve its influence-warfare capabilities.
The 44-page document outlines Russia’s national interests and priorities.
It stated that “actions of some countries are aimed at instigating disintegration processes in the Commonwealth of Independent States in order to destroy Russia’s ties with its traditional allies,” and claimed that “a number of states call Russia a threat and even a military adversary.”
Russia remains committed to using political and diplomatic means to resolve international and national conflicts, the document read.
At the same time, Moscow “considers it legitimate to take symmetrical and asymmetric measures” to thwart and prevent “unfriendly actions” by foreign states that “threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”
The new document expresses concern over Western governments’ manipulation of Russian affairs. “The declaration of a ‘safe information space’ as a core national interest underscores the importance of information war to the Russian government,” said Ivana Stradner, a fellowat the American Enterprise Institute specializing in law, Eastern Europe and hybrid warfare.
“This is a continuation of the Russian government’s pathological self-victimhood. These claims, like Russia’s threats to ban Twitter this past spring, are aimed at bolstering Russian claims of ‘digital sovereignty’ through which President Vladimir Putin believes he can stave off the types of ‘color revolutions’ that have toppled other dictators in post-Soviet nations.”
That’s not necessarily new, even if it is new to this document, said Samuel Bendett, a CNA adviser who is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“Russia sees itself as a target of persistent and ongoing information operations by the West against Russian Federation targets like the military and security organizations, along with critical infrastructure. This new national security strategy officially elevates these information and cyber threats to the level of an existential challenge to Russia’s long-term survival,” Bendett said.
The new strategy pushes for Russia to engage other countries to partner with Russia on “cybersecurity” issues according to Russia’s definition of cyber security.
“This is significant because Russia has already been using UN subcommittees to frustrate U.S. efforts to develop a cybercrime treaty,” Stradner said.
“Russia even managed to beat out the U.S. for the UN’s approval to draft a global cybercrime treaty.” She called it “part of Russia’s broader revanchist strategy to use international organizations to regain its Soviet-era prestige and power.”
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