HYBRID WAR STRIKE

RUSSIAN MILITARISM IN YOUR CITY OR FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT

  • A Russian tank in Ohio.
  • The hammer and sickle in front of the White House.
  • A car sticker in Moscow: “Made it to Berlin — will make it to Washington.”
  • The symbol of Russian imperial ambitions over the Statue of Liberty.
  • 8,000 marching in Russian military uniform and carrying Soviet flags in 20 American cities.
  • American daycare centers teaching history by the USSR textbook.
  • The US Senators approve it.
  • The Kremlin funds it.

Reporting on May 5–9, 2018 events in the US: The demonstration of military might in combination with the soft power campaigns raises concerns about the Russian expanding aggression against the West.

“Understanding just how extensive and coordinated Russia’s operations against the West are represents the first step in confronting — and defeating — Putin’s increased aggression, particularly as it becomes clear that the 2016 election interference was just a starting point. “If there has ever been a clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the very foundation of our democratic political system, this episode is it,” former director of national intelligence James Clapper said this spring. “I hope the American people recognize the severity of this threat and that we collectively counter it before it further erodes the fabric of our democracy.”

Below is an analysis of the latest hybrid war campaign:

  1. Photos and description of the campaign events;

2. Brief background and cultural commentary on the nature and origin of the events;

3. Organizers of the events: individuals, agents and groups funded by the Russian Federation and the Administration of the Russian President Vladimir Putin;

4. Facilitators of the events: The US legislators and Senators

5. Other aspects of the Kremlin’s effort to divide and demoralize the US;

6. A few suggestions on pushing back.

1. “IMMORTAL REGIMENT” EVENTS, MAY 5–9, 2018

THE US

In 2018, about 8,000 people took part in the “Immortal Regiment” in twenty US cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, Miami. New cities joined the action this year: Kansas City, Birmingham, Houston, Vancouver and Phoenix.

San Francisco, 2018. “Every year more and more ordinary Americans show interest in the Immortal Regiment despite the fact that we do not engage in mass advertising and loud propaganda,” said Igor Kochan, a head of the Russian Youth of America. “We just talk with colleagues at work and our children talk about the action to their classmates, explaining what the Immortal Regiment is and Americans are happy to join.”

Highlights include:

WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D.C.,

Over 700 people in Russian military uniform gather in front of the White House, with a Russian Ambassador to the United States in attendance.

Left: The Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov with Russian youth in military uniform in Washington D.C. Right: “Immortal Regiment” in front of the White House.

OHIO

A Russian tank T-34 takes part in the re-enactment of the Stalingrad battle in Ohio.

Screenshots from a Youtube video of Russian TV channels show.

Putin’s favorite broadcaster, the main anchor of the Russia Channel One, “the voice of Kremlin,” infamous for once threatening to reduce the US to the radioactive ashes, reports on the story.

SEATTLE

In 2018, the festival costs came up to 14,000 dollars of which 5,000 dollars was paid by the Russian consulate.

In 2017, the FBI agents visited the offices of the Russian-American Initiative for Cooperation in Seattle.

The Immortal Regimen in Seattle, 2016. The organizer of Seattle event, Sergey Gladysh, the head of the Russian-American Initiative for Cooperation, an organization that covered the expenses in connection with the city authorities, police and park department said that events held by the Russian-American Initiative are sponsored by “local businessmen.”

NEW YORK

A light-engine aircraft flies a 98 feet ribbon symbolizing Russian military power along the Hudson and around the Statue of Liberty.

About 6,000 participants — immigrants from the former USSR as well as English-speaking Americans — march along the Hudson.

Left: St. George’s Ribbon over the Statue of Liberty. Right: Statue of Liberty giving away free ribbons symbolizing Russian imperial ambitions.

2,000 eco-friendly white balloons are released into the sky.

1,900 signs are pre-fabricated.

This is the third year of celebrations.

  • In 2017 and 2018, a childcare center in Brooklyn distributed St. George’s ribbons to children and, reportedly, teachers read history from the USSR textbooks.
  • In 2017, after the march, a party with shooting, vodka, bombs and machine guns, prayer and fireworks took place at the Church of All Saints, in Pine Bush, NY, at the estate purchased with the money donated by the Moscow Patriarchate in the early 1960s and owned by the Russian Orthodox Church. The priests are sent to serve from Moscow and report back to headquarters there. The Russian Orthodox Church is known to have close ties to Putin and, in the past, working with the KGB.
The combination of the Soviet flags, Russian Orthodox icons and garb and NKVD uniform in the state of New York is borderline surreal.
Religious organizations do not pay taxes in the US and are unlikely to be audited since Congress imposed special restrictions on the possibility of conducting church audits. This means that donations to religious organizations are largely unregulated.
There is a long tradition of running pro-Russian and Russian Orthodox paramilitary “boot camps” in California, Washington and Oregon. In California, a “sports-patriotic camp dedicated to the Paratrooper’s Day, a Russian military holiday” had been organized from 2012 to 2015.
Left: 10th annual Russian paramilitary bootcamp held on the day of Russian airborne troops. Oregon. Right: A Russian Cossack paramilitary youth group at the Community Outreach Academy in Sacramento, CA

2. FACTS ABOUT THE “IMMORTAL REGIMENT”

The “Immortal Regiment” is a grassroots initiative of Russian people hijacked by The Kremlin to carry out a hybrid war operation in 50 countries:

  • In 2011, three journalists conceived the idea of honoring the family members who fought and died in the World War II by marching with their portraits.
  • By 2013, politicians and government officials recognizing the genuine and spontaneous outburst as an opportunity to exploit nationalistic feelings and the Kremlin appropriated the cause.
  • The Kremlin pumped oil and gas money stolen from the Russian people into the campaign.
  • In 2015, the Moscow city authorities spent $135,714 (7,600,000 roubles) on “Immortal Regiment.”
  • By the end of May 2015, the original founders published an open letter to Putin, asking him to stop replacing grassroots activists with the government-appointed officials. There was no response from the presidential administration.
  • In 2015, a deputy of the State Duma supported by Putin registered a new organization and organized the march in the Red Square with Putin in attendance.
Left, Center: Nicolay Zemtsov with Putin. 2016, 2015. Right: Zemtsov and Dmitry Kiselyov with St, George’s Ribbons.
  • As of 2018, the “Immortal Regiment” is supported by the federal agencies and co-organized by an organization funded by the Russian government.
  • On the orders of the Russian Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, immigrants from the former USSR and Russians living abroad carry out the “Immortal Regiment” to promote Russian militarism and nationalism and the idea of an authoritarian leader amongst Russian diaspora.
  • Dmitry Kiselev, the official state channel anchor, made a statement shared at the “Immortal Regiment of Russia” website, talking about the descendants of the soldiers living in Russia and abroad forming “their own symbolic divisions, regiments, battalions and companies.”
  • The employees of the Russian embassies help to organize these events.
  • Specially-trained propagandists use mass events, theatrical effects and symbolism as well as the US tradition of war re-enactment to manipulate and exploit the personal tragedies suffered by the USSR population in World War II, the loss of 26,000,000 lives and anti-Nazi sentiment to provoke sympathy in the West.

“The brilliance of this new type of authoritarianism is that instead of simply oppressing opposition, as had been the case with 20th-century strains, it climbs inside all ideologies and movements, exploiting and rendering them absurd,” writes Peter Pomerantsev, the author of brilliant analysis Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible.

FACTS ABOUT “ST. GEORGE’S RIBBON”

Left: A family wearing St. George’s ribbons, 2018. Right: Distribution of St. George’s ribbons by a priest in Yaroslavl. 2015.
  • In 2005, a state-owned agency news channel RIA launched a campaign, promoting a “St. George’s Ribbon,” the symbol of the Russian Victory over Nazi Germany and imbuing it with a new meaning of Russian military might.
  • St. George, depicted on the Russian coat of arms, is one of the most prominent military saints in the Christian tradition and also the symbol of Moscow as The Third Rome — or, in other words, the imperial ambitions of the Kremlin.
Left: A gun with the sticker of Donestk Republic and St. George’s Ribbon signifying Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine. Right: “Fire and Ice are a strong union, Again the Russia of olden days is a-rising.” A car sticker.
  • By 2011, about 50,000,000 free ribbons were distributed throughout the world.
The map of free distribution of St. George’s Ribbon around the world in 2015 and 2017. Orange is the color of places where you can get the ribbons.
  • In May 2018, Russian state-run agencies funded production, shipment and distribution of the ribbons around the world:
New York — 12,000 (Pravda.ru)
USA — 25,000 (source)
Worldwide, over 50 countries — 70,000 (source)

AGENCIES AND PEOPLE BEHIND THE EVENTS

SEPULVEDA — KONEV — ZATSEPINA — KOCHAN

On May 5, the Senate of the State of New York adopted a resolution on the action “Immortal Regiment” organized by the Russian Youth of America and Coordinational Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots of the USA (KSORS.)

DEMOCRATIC BRONX ASSEMBLYMAN LUIS SEPULVEDA

Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, a key sponsor to the Russian American History Month and Immortal Regiment resolutionS, was recently elected to the Senate of NY State.

Luis Sepulveda’s chief of staff is Anton Konev.

ANTON KONEV, CHIEF OF STAFF

Anton Konev is an active participant of the Russian government-sponsored forums, conferences and events.

Anton Konev at a panel of Youth Forum at the Russian Consulate.

OLGA ZATSEPINA, VP OF KSORS

Olga Zatsepina is a Vice President of KSORS (the Coordinational Council of Compatriots in the USA, the organization running the “Immortal Regiment” in the US).

Zatsepina is also the head of the cultural center “Heritage” that works in the USA with the support of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rossotrudnichestvo, the Consulate General and the Embassy of the Russian Federation, the Russkiy Mir Foundation and is sponsored by the Administration of the President of Russian Federation, among other state-run agencies and entities.

On September 7, 2016, Olga Zatsepina, presenting in the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation along with the other heads of the organizations of Russian “compatriots,” confirmed receiving grants from Rossotrudnichestvo and identified as the part of the Russian strategy of “soft power.”

Zatsepina reported on promoting the Russian language, history and culture “in the conditions of the sanctions war:” more than 3,000 participants of the “Immortal Regiment” in the US in 20017; “Americans put on Soviet military uniforms”; and distributed in the streets 14,000 St. George’s ribbons, pamphlets about the “Immortal Regiment” and the role of the USSR in the World War II, received from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Zatsepina mentioned that the state authorities of New York had excused “Heritage” — a receiver of grants from the Russian government — from paying taxes.

The Head of the Commission for the Development of Public Diplomacy and Support of Compatriots thanked the “compatriots” for the work well done and added, “You work with the American society, with senators — it’s very important; they should be used.”

NY LEGISLATORS — PUBLIC CHAMBER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

In September 2017, twenty six members of the Legislative Assembly of the State of New York. Legislators visited Moscow, St. Petersburg and Tatarstan. Anton Konev and Olga Zatsepina arranged the trip.

During their visit, the New York legislators met with the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. Assemblywoman from Brooklyn Pamela Williams-Harris said: “I am convinced that in the state of New York you need to establish something like this.”

LUXURY HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS

In his FB photo album “New York Legislators visit Moscow,” Anton Konev shared photos of his Moscow stay at the National Hotel, right next to the Kremlin, in a suite 107 famous for having hosted Lenin (Junior Suite rates start at $400 per night, with the Kremlin and the Presidential suite rates going up to $700 and $900 per night.)

The legislators enjoyed a dinner at the White Rabbit, known for its exuberant prices.

Left: National Hotel, Lenin’s Suite #107. Right: The White Rabbit, a luxury restaurant in Moscow.

Senators also enjoyed fine dining and sightseeing in Kazan.

NY LEGISLATORS — RT AND SPUTNIK

Legislators spoke to RT (Russia Today), registered as a foreign agent in the US and considered a propaganda outlet for the Kremlin by the US government.

Diane Savino, a Democratic lawmaker representing parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, was quoted by Sputnik, the Russian-state funded mass media channel also registered as a foreign agent in the US, “…we are hoping that we can learn some stuff and bring it back to NYC and maybe implement some of really smart stuff that they have done here in the past few years.”

RUSSIAN AGENCIES

“…Putin’s Russia cares very much about ideas — funding and engaging with intellectual influencers, think tanks, political parties, and religious and social movements across the world. However, its aim is less to further cultural understanding across borders, one of the pillars of liberal democracy, and more to use culture and ideas as tools to divide and rule, incite, corrupt and co-opt,” write Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss in their report The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money,” a project of the Institute of Modern Russia.

RUSSIAN YOUTH OF AMERICA

Left: Russian Youth of America FB group cover page. Right: Translation. *Personal note: Gogol was a much better writer than this and also a Ukrainian.

Russian Youth of America (aka Russian Youth in America,” the “Youth Russian Society”and the “Young Russian Society”) is often referred to as the sponsor of the “Immortal Regiment.”

Its mission as stated on the group’s website is: “Creation of a major network of Russian youth in the USA.”

In 2016, Russian Youth of America distributed free T-shirts “I am Putin’s Friend” and some participants wore the uniform of the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police, responsible for millions of death and the predecessor of the KGB.

VIOLENT SUPPRESSION OF THE YOUTH IN RUSSIA
On May 5, 2018, thousands of Russians, predominantly young people, protested against Putin’s inauguration in Russia in 90 cities. Russian police detained and brutally assaulted 1600 participants, including many children and teens. Cossack-clad militia paid by the government beat up protesters with whips.

IGOR KOCHAN

Igor Kochan is the President of the “Russian Youth of America” and a representative of KSORS.

  • On the group FB page, Kochan officially thanked Anton Konev for “squeezing in” the resolution in such a short term.
Right: Anton Konev and Igor Kochan, 2018.
Left: Igor Kochan with a Soviet banner at an event. Right: Kochan’s business card.
  • Kochan is known to support Putin in several actions in New York.
Left: Kochan is on the left. Right: With La Rouche group.

In 2014, he organized “The Day of Russia in New York:” people with Russian flags marched over the Brooklyn Bridge singing the anthem of the USSR.

In June 2016, Kochan coordinated campaign “I Love Russia” for KSORS.

In 2017, Kochan organized national and patriotic events like The Day of National Unity at the Times Square in New York on the eve of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution, November 7; Fathers Frosts’ parades, with over 200 Russian version of Santa Claus marching in several U.S. cities, including New York.

KSORS — THE WORLD COORDINATIONAL COUNCIL OF ORGANIZATIONS OF RUSSIAN COMPATRIOTS OF THE USA

In 2006, the Russian government established KSORS, responsible for coordinating the activities of Russian organizations abroad and their communications with the Kremlin, following a series of ‘‘color revolutions’’ in former Soviet Union republics like Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, according to the “Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security,” a minority staff report prepared for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate on January, 2018.

KSORS website lists the following “information partners:”

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, headed by Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s closest ally.
  • Rossotrudnichestvo (see below)
  • Russkiy Mir (see below)
  • Embassy of Russia and Consulates General of the RF in the US
  • Foundation for Support and Protection of the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad
  • Fund for the Support of Public Diplomacy named after A.M. Gorchakov
  • Moscow House of the Compatriot

ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO

Rossotrudnichestvo is a Russian federal government agency under the jurisdiction of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened in 2008 by Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister at the time.

Rossotrudnichestvo and its representations abroad actively support the “Immortal Regiment.” Its employees abroad function as coordinators of the actions.

ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO — KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV — MICHAEL COHEN

Rossotrudnichestvo is known to play other functions other than people diplomacy.

  • Reportedly, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team has evidence of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen trip to Prague’s office of Rossotrudnichestvo in the late summer of 2016.
  • There, Cohen allegedly met with Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Rossotrudnichestvo from 2012–2015 and currently the head of the foreign relations committee in the upper house of parliament at Russian Centre for Science and Culture.
  • Cohen has over 30 years of close family and business ties to the USSR-born organized crime and politicians.

FUNDING

  • Based on conservative estimates from publicly available data, the Kremlin spends about $130 million a year through foundations like Rossotrudnichestvo and the Gorchakov fund.
  • In 2015, it channeled another $103 million in presidential grants to NGOs; after including support from state enterprises and private companies, however, actual funding levels may be much higher.
  • Putin has pledged to increase the budget of Rossotrudnichestvo to $300 million by 2020.

“Under the Trump regime’s protective ignorance, the Russian government’s political influence operations have moved from the shade directly into the public square,” comments Grant Stern, a Miami based columnist, radio broadcaster, an investigative journalist, expert on the Russian soft power and an author of an excellent detailed expose on Ed Lozansky, whom Stern believes to lead the said operations.

3. HYBRID WAR STRATEGIES

“Russia’s active-measures playbook, according to public and private-sector investigators, dates back to Czarist Russia and the beginning of the Soviet Union. It has been honed and deployed over decades to advance Russian interests both at home and abroad — and has long been driven by a consistent geopolitical worldview, executed in distinct ways, and guided by a unique tradecraft philosophy at odds with the approach of Western intelligence services,” writes Garrett M. Graff, a national security writer for WIRED.

“In the 21st century…wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template,” Russia’s first deputy defense minister and chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, explained in a February 2013 article in the Russian journal, Military-Industrial Courier. Later, he outlined a coordinated and multi-pronged approach to warfare that relies on asymmetric tools to open up “a permanently operating front through the entire territory of the enemy state.”

In other words, writes Wired, times have changed. “The focus of applied methods of conflict has altered in the direction of the broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures — applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population.” Only in the final stage of a conflict would the uniformed military be deployed, usually “under the guise of peacekeeping and crisis regulation.”

HIJACKING A MOVEMENT

Hijacking grassroots movements is one of the Kremlin’s strategies in the hybrid war.

  • The message and platform of such movements become obsolete and meaningless.
  • In 2016, the Kremlin infiltrated and used the March Against Monsanto, a movement against American chemical/biotech industrial complex usage of GMO organized in 2013 by a mother from Utah, reports George Inashvili, a former member of the movement.
  • Many leaders shared posts about Putin’s Russia banning all GMOs, followed by an instant praise for Putin and comparisons to “the evil American government.”
  • RT (formerly Russia Today) produced a number of high-quality detailed and truthful coverage reports about the movement.
  • According to our source, in the US, LaRouche movement gets paid by the Russian government funds. Sergey Glazyev, advisor to Putin on regional economic integration, allegedly brought cash to LaRouche.

“VODKA DIPLOMACY”

It is an old KGB strategy. During the USSR times, the Russian mission to the UN showed films about the World War II at a Soviet Film Club in New York to manipulate emotions and start recruit and handle agents.

POLITICIZING HISTORY

The “Immortal Regiment” version of the World War II misrepresents history by neglecting and silencing shameful periods and events in the USSR history, like the collaboration between Stalin and Hitler in 1939 (Molotov — Ribbentrop pact), Katyn, rape of German women by the Red Army, deaths of the prisoners of war returning to Russia and their consequent entrapment in labor camps under the similar conditions as the Nazi concentration camps, is a part of politicizing history in the interest of the Kremlin.

“In USSR, prisoners were never liberated. Prisoners were let out, made their way home, told not to bring it up again. Then it all collapsed and everyone moved on. There was never the moral clarity of victor over the oppressor. It has allowed Putin to rewrite history,” said Molly McCew, the narrative architect at New Media Frontier, a social media intelligence company.

Worldwide, people carry portraits of Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, Beria and other communist leaders guilty for tens of millions of death during the Bolshevik reign, Great Purges and atrocities performed against the people of the USSR.

Left: A woman in Toronto carrying a portrait of Stalin. Right: The New York Times from August 1939.

Normalizing Stalin’s mass murders and glorifying 70 years of communist terror in the USSR endanger the values of the Western liberal democracy.

“The regime claims to be the direct successor of all Russia’s glorious victories, chief among them the defeat of Nazism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945, and thereby makes itself immune to criticism,” wrote Moscow Carnegie Center expert Andrei Kolesnikov.

FUNDING AND SUPPORTING ULTRA-RIGHT AND NEO-NAZI PARTIES

“The Kremlin has adopted a different approach, creating alliances and funding groups both on the left and on the right: European right-nationalists are seduced by the anti-EU message; members of the far-left are brought in by tales of fighting US hegemony; US religious conservatives are convinced by the Kremlin’s stance against homosexuality. It doesn’t matter that the Kremlin oppresses leftists and limits some religious freedoms inside Russia — the point is that its fluid approach to ideology allows it to promote an array of voices, all helping the Kremlin feed divisions within the West,” write Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss in their report The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money.”

With unprecedented cynicism, the Russian government funds the Victory Day marches around the world as it also provides financial and ideological support for neo-Nazi, separatist and nationalist groups.

“Russia is not constrained by a rule of law or a sense of ethics…” says Chris Donnelly, director of the UK-based Institute for Statecraft.

The epicenter of the global white nationalist movement is in Moscow.

More on the US neo-Nazis and white supremacists ties to the Kremlin in detail in Know Your Nazis and Their Backers and Neo-Nazi Near You, September 2017.

WAGING WARS

Russia invades sovereign countries while promoting peace. In 2014, Putin launched the war in eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea. From September 2015, Russia started to use armed force in Syria.

Left: Victory Day Parade in Moscow, 2018. Right: Women in Syria, with St. George’s Ribbons. 2018.

On May 9, 2018, Victory Day Parade, a demonstration of Russian military might, took place in Moscow, featuring 13,000 troops, 159 types of hardware including 75 aircraft, drones, de-mining robot used by the military in Syria’s Palmyra and Aleppo, an unmanned tank, a snowmobile to be used by Arctic units, a Terminator tank designed to be used in war zones involving nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, a MiG-31 supersonic interceptor jet carrying a high-precision Kinzhal (Dagger) missile, apair of SU-57 stealth fighter planes, a fifth generation jet reportedly tested in Syria.

Some of this weaponry may soon end up in the hands of Assad’s regime in Syria, noted WSJ. Moscow is also contemplating providing Assad with its S-300 air defense system.

INCITING HOSTILITY AND HATRED TOWARDS THE US IN RUSSIA

While promoting cooperation and understanding between Russia and the US, the Kremlin propaganda machine depicts the US as the enemy #1.

“We Can Repeat.” A car sticker.

“Official [Russian] propaganda identifies the 1945 triumph with Russia’s current struggles — and the West as a modern-day incarnation of Nazis, with no mention of Nazi-Soviet cooperation to divide Poland and other parts of eastern Europe in 1939–1940,” — Washington Post.

INCITING PSEUDO-PATRIOTIC HYSTERIA IN RUSSIA AND AMONGST THE RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD

The Kremlin uses the vulnerability of people reliving tragedy to introduce the ideas of the Russian supremacy and loyalty to the Russian state and government as well as pseudo-patriotic and militaristic moods to create new patterns in the collective mind and shift the political narrative.

Immortal Regiment in Moscow: 1,000,000 people. May 9, 2018.

This is psychological war: the ideas, language and the whole reality are weaponized.

CONCLUSION

  • Disguised by a noble cause, the Kremlin propagandists get into the collective mind of the adversary unnoticed and then slowly release the engineered verbal and non-verbal messages.
  • Words and images evoke real and create fake memories in individuals.
  • The memories turn into emotions.
  • The emotions turn into actions.
  • This process gradually annihilates the original views of the victims, replacing them with the new set of ideas and paralyzing the ability to think critically.
  • The ideas vary depending on the target. Russians are indoctrinated with the concepts “Sacrifice for the Motherland,” “Superiority of Russia,” “America is Our Enemy” etc. The Westerns are targeted with the messages like “Putin is My Friend,”“Russia is Our Friend,” “Liberal Democracy Is Dead” etc. There are ideas for radical liberals, conservatives, neo-Nazis, Socialists, Communists and most political groups.
  • The victims become willing hosts for the invader.

“Hybrid warfare is aiming at eroding our will to fight, our psychological defenses. It alters perception of ourselves,” said Molly McCew.

The individual and collective behavioral patterns and the political narrative change.

As a result, the Russian government acquires brainwashed active troops, fighting in the hybrid war against the West from inside and spreading its power.

Thus, in the case of the “Immortal Regiment,” the Army of Dead turns into an international military force loyal to Putin’s Russia and the celebration of the end of war turns into the celebration of war.

WHAT TO DO?

Big problems require big ideas in order to be solved. While there is no current plan or simple turn-key solutions, I have some suggestions. This is what needed:

  1. Full public awareness of the hybrid war. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation and defining it in clear terms.
  2. Education on the nature of the hybrid war and the mechanisms behind psychological operations and soft power campaigns.
  3. History education, including the modern history and the criminal nature of the current Russian government.
  4. Training in understanding political manipulation, for example, separating the real tragedy, the immensity of collective trauma, from the political manipulation.
  5. Reassessment of the freedom of speech under the conditions of the hybrid war.
  6. Maintaining healthy morale and supporting the values of the liberal democracy.

This is a part of CLUSTERCLICK, a photo novella documentary by Zarina Zabrisky. For the full adventure click here.

*All facts and photos are in public domain and available through Google. Links to the original sources are included.

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