Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’
Resurgence and Politicisation
Fridman contends that today’s ‘obsession’ with ‘Hybrid Warfare’ is more to do with politics than conceptual novelty, having been devised in the 1960s.
During the last decade, ‘Hybrid Warfare’ has become a novel yet controversial term in academic, political and professional military lexicons, intended to suggest some sort of mix between different military and non-military means and methods of confrontation. Enthusiastic discussion of the notion has been undermined by conceptual vagueness and political manipulation, particularly since the onset of the Ukrainian Crisis in early 2014, as ideas about Hybrid Warfare engulf Russia and the West, especially in the media.
Western defence and political specialists analysing Russian responses to the crisis have been quick to confirm that Hybrid Warfare is the Kremlin’s main strategy in the twenty-first century. But many respected Russian strategists and political observers contend that it is the West that has been waging Hybrid War, Gibridnaya Voyna, since the end of the Cold War.
In this highly topical book, Ofer Fridman offers a clear delineation of the conceptual debates about Hybrid Warfare. What leads Russian experts to say that the West is conducting a Gibridnaya Voyna against Russia, and what do they mean by it? Why do Western observers claim that the Kremlin engages in Hybrid Warfare? And, beyond terminology, is this something genuinely new?
Ofer Fridman is Director of Operations at the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications (KCSC) and a research fellow at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
‘Impressive . . . a well-documented, tightly-argued, and well-written discussion of the concepts behind what is thought of as “hybrid warfare”.’ — The Russian Review
‘The West and Russia both claim hybrid warfare is an approach used by the other side. Fridman explains how Russia and the West got into such an insane blame-game in this fascinating volume, which is about the idea of hybrid warfare rather than its practice.’ — Modern War Institute
‘Succinct, solidly researched, clearly written and jargon-free . . . [Fridman] brings nuance and understanding to a field of study too often characterised by black and white simplicities. . . everyone with an interest in international security should give this book a read.’ — Irrussianality Blog
‘A thorough examination of the origins of “hybrid warfare” and its political evolution in Europe. Readers can draw their own conclusions about Russia as a threat, but Fridman’s research is penetrating and his insight into how the Kremlin sees the changing character of war is profound.’ — Frank Hoffman, Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute
‘This fascinating and well-researched book helps bridge the gap between Western and Russian concepts of “hybrid warfare” — not to reconcile them, but to explore the differences. The work exposes the underlying conceptual divergences, and thus helps explain the current tension between Russia and the West. This is a fascinating and attractively-written study of a phenomenon that affects us all.’ — Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics, University of Kent, and author of Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands
‘This book brings much needed depth, clarity, and nuance to the discussion of Russian hybrid warfare — a topic of recent high concern, frequently invoked by soldiers and statesmen. There is no comparable work to this volume in terms of its fluency with the concept and associated literature and controversies in both English and Russian. Highly readable, perceptive, and consistently astute.’ — David Betz, Professor of War in the Modern World, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, author of Carnage and Connectivity: Landmarks in the Decline of Conventional Military Power
‘This timely work will prove to be a classic introduction to the historical and contemporary forms of Russian “hybrid war”. Fridman’s parsing of the distinctions between the western and Russian concepts is excellent.’ — Emile Simpson, Research Fellow, Harvard University, and author of War From the Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics