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Tag: Russia

The many dimensions of hybrid warfare

Georgia is in the midst of a hybrid war with Russia. Among the various tools used by the Kremlin, economic pressure has been arguably the most effective strategy that has been directed at Georgia since the 1990s.

Georgia-Russia relations give great insight into the currently fashionable subject of hybrid warfare. Similar to the idea of “fourth generation warfare”, which focuses on blurring the fronts between opposing sides and waging war by means other than head-on military confrontation, hybrid warfare is a more sophisticated way of using all of a country’s available resources to achieve a specific set of geopolitical aims.

July 7, 2020 - Emil Avdaliani

How Russian propaganda works in Georgia

Russian disinformation activities in Georgia, a front-runner in the Eastern Partnership, illustrates how Russian propaganda works on a variety of levels. Understanding the Georgian case may provide an insight into how to counter such hybrid activities in the country and elsewhere in the West.

Today, no one argues with the fact that Russian propaganda is a global challenge. Over the past few years we have witnessed how well-structured disinformation campaigns can be used as a tool for achieving certain strategic goals: to shape public opinion, increase political polarisation, influence elections, demonise opponents, undermine state security, boost nihilism and cripple democracy. As the Soviet-born British journalist, author and TV producer Peter Pomerantsev wrote: “The Kremlin weaponises information!”

July 7, 2020 - Grigol Julukhidze

Borderisation. The Kremlin’s unending war

Twelve years since the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War – when Russia’s aggressive policies divided neighbouring Georgia into different parts – the Kremlin still permanently reminds Georgians of this reality with barbed wire, border-signs, kidnappings and creeping annexation.

In order to describe the occupation lines which separate Georgia from the territories occupied by the Kremlin (Tskhinvali /Abkhazia), we first have to define the very concept of “borderisation”. This is because, just like the “little green men” in Crimea, the process of “borderisation” in Georgia has been managed by the secretive FSB (formerly the KGB), in recent years. Borderisation is the process of installing equipment (fences and barbed wires) on the line of occupation between territory controlled by Tbilisi and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia (known to Georgia as the Tskhinvali Region), which are de facto controlled by Russian security forces.

July 7, 2020 - Egor Kuroptev

Religion as a powerful foreign policy tool

Russia’s principal aim towards Georgia is to reverse its Euro-Atlantic integration strategy and return Tbilisi to the Kremlin’s political orbit. One of the main tools to achieve this aim is the use of the Orthodox Church, with the main narrative being that Russia is the last bastion of Christianity and conservative values in the world.

The conflict between Russia and Georgia dates back to 1801 when the Russian Empire annexed the eastern part of Georgia. The country was under the direct rule of the Tsarist regime until May 26th 1918 when Georgia regained its long-awaited independence as a consequence of Russia’s ongoing civil war. Yet Georgia’s democratic republic was short-lived. When the civil war ended in Russia, the Bolsheviks once again subdued the South Caucasus region, including Georgia.

July 7, 2020 - Giorgi Jokhadze

The Kremlin’s fake news machine swirl COVID-19 conspiracies

To quell the impact of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns ahead of the milestone October parliamentary elections, the government, Facebook and civil society organisations will need to take more proactive measures.

Georgia has been particularly affected by Russian information operations, especially in light of its troubled political relations with Moscow and the country’s generally unabated pro-western course. Over the last few years, large numbers of Kremlin-funded and domestic news websites and social media pages have carried out a massive information offensive against the country, undermining societal trust towards the West, public institutions and civil society organisations. They have been particularly active in the electoral periods, campaigning extensively against liberal values and liberal-minded politicians.

July 7, 2020 - Tornike Zurabashvili

Understanding the silent war

It is important to understand the philosophy behind Russia’s cyber capabilities since eastern and western actors have a different outlook. Cyber operations conducted from the West are government and military affiliated, while in the East they are mostly non-state players. The point is to have no proven link to a governmental entity allowing for plausible deniability.

I have been researching Russian cyber warfare and intelligence capabilities for more than a decade, and for all that time its significance and soft power was underestimated in Georgia. In order to assess the nature of ongoing Russian cyber operations against Georgia, we should start with the basics to better understand the role of cyber-security in today's global security environment. For decades, the world’s most harmful threats were radical groups, terrorists and criminal organisations, intelligence agencies and military regimes.

July 7, 2020 - Lasha Pataraia

Post-COVID Eastern Europe: Equation with many unknowns

From the very early days of the global COVID-19 pandemic, discussions about how it will change the world began. The overwhelming majority of commentators of international affairs believe that Europe (and the rest of the world) will be a completely different place than before the coronavirus. Although the social and economic consequences of the pandemic are already obvious, it is definitely too early to tell that the crisis will fundamentally change the international political order and the way the economic system will be organised.

July 7, 2020 - Wojciech Konończuk

Gone with the virus. How the pandemic makes Russian strategy evanescent

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in three major blows to the Kremlin’s international strategy, thus making it adjust to much less favourable circumstances than when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and disrupted relations with the West.

July 7, 2020 - Andrey Makarychev

The Eastern Partnership and Russia in the post-COVID world

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe negative impact on the economies of countries under lockdown. The OECD predicts a decline in annual GDP growth of up to two percentage points for each month that containment measures are in place.

July 7, 2020 - Karina Shyrokykh

A reality check for the realists

Putin’s behaviour is not just an inevitable consequence of the fact that Russia is a great power – it is a combination of post-Cold War historical grievances and a zero-sum conception of the world that positions Russia in permanent opposition to the West.

During the third US presidential debate in 2012, then President Barack Obama mocked his opponent, Governor Mitt Romney, for a remark he had made several months earlier: “When you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al-Qaeda – you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” This joke got a lot of traction among Democrats who cited Romney’s comment about Russia as evidence that he was clueless about the modern challenges the United States faces around the world.

July 7, 2020 - Matt Johnson

Great power competition returns to Central Asia

The Russian-Chinese duopoly retains strong clout in Central Asia. Western overtures to Central Asian nations, however, are still worrisome to Beijing and Moscow, which treat the region as their own backyard. Even though the United States is unlikely to replace Russian or Chinese influence in Central Asia, Washington can offer a geopolitical counterweight and expand its ties with the region, where a western presence is limited.

In early February this year US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, paid a rare visit to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The visit was yet another signal that Washington, under Donald Trump’s presidency, wants to strengthen ties with Central Asian nations and challenge Sino-Russian domination in the region. Pompeo's visit was part of Donald Trump's administration broad effort to reinvigorate ties with Central Asian nations which has come ahead of the unveiling of the United States Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025 in February this year.

July 7, 2020 - Natalia Konarzewska

Sexual harassment and conservative traditionalism in universities

Cases of sexual harassment in higher education in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh shed light on the scale of the problem and how state institutions tend to react.

July 6, 2020 - Ararat L. Osipian

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