How to downgrade Russia: Ukraine’s advice

Demonstration accumulation in the Russian Federation Army at the Ukrainian border For the second time in 2021, it raised serious concerns about Russia’s possible full-scale aggression against Ukraine and forced the West to seek dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.The most ideal participants in the Kremlin dialogue are representatives of the new US government and President Joe Biden himself, Putin has already met with them this summer Who does he want to be with in Geneva Video conference held in early December.

As we all know, the expected results of these negotiations for Russia are US concessions, reduced sanctions, military exercises on the east wing of NATO, military technical assistance to Ukraine, and recognition of Moscow’s exclusive sphere of influence, which should include at least an important part of post-Soviet space. , Russia will have the right to interfere in the domestic politics of independent countries, including through the use of military power.

Before Biden met Putin, the White House downplayed the possibility of a military conflict with Russia

The only thing Russia can offer in exchange for such concessions is to solve its own problems. Since restoring international order and ending the occupation of Crimea and Donbass is not part of the Kremlin plan, Moscow can only create new problems, hoping that the West will eventually fail, and have to negotiate on Russian terms.

Since the problems Russia has created for the West are much more serious than those created by the West for Russia, we do not have to accuse Moscow of lacking logic and excessive risk-taking behavior. The risk of negative consequences for Russia is extremely low and is carefully calculated by its leadership. An obvious example of this approach is the beginning of the United States and Russia’s cooperation in combating cyber threats, although it is clear that Russia’s cyber attacks on the United States are not only known in advance by Russian intelligence agencies, but also carried out by its direct affiliated hacker organizations. .

Similar models apply to possible military upgrades. The logic of this behavior is in full compliance with the methodology of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Valery Gerasimov He used military threats to achieve non-military goals, and the previous practice of Russia and the Soviet Union to exert strategic influence on the enemy is also based on military, especially nuclear threats. This general method of creating threats to further eliminate the threats in exchange for concessions from the affected objects is called “escalation for surrender”. The resumption of its active use after the Cold War is personally related to Vladimir Putin.

In 1999, immediately after appointment Vladimir Putin As secretary of the RF Security Committee, he began to draft New military doctrinePromulgated in 2000. This doctrine allows Russia for the first time to use nuclear weapons in a non-nuclear conflict when it is “critical to Russia’s national security”. The main purpose of the new military doctrine of the Russian Federation is to prevent the West from supporting Chechnya, which was de facto independent at that time, and Russia is preparing to carry out military operations against it. The new doctrine is the use of nuclear deterrence in local conflicts. This is information about the importance of Chechnya to the extent to which Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons.

In order to analyze the current behavior of the Russian Federation, it is important to understand the military doctrine of 2000 and subsequent doctrines, which also include the elements of “escalation and surrender”, which should be considered in the context of strategic deterrence, not military operations guide. At the same time, it should be noted that Russia’s understanding of deterrence is very different from that of the West. Its purpose is not to avoid conflict itself, but to deter the West, especially the United States, from participating. In other words, the task of such deterrence is to maintain Russia’s ability to exert pressure on third countries, including through the use of its own military power against these countries, without exposing victims of such pressure to a high risk of US intervention.

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From a Russian perspective, deterrence is not only related to military plans and the availability of weapons, but also has nothing to do with it. The deterrence of the Russians is about the psychology and application of reflex control and its hidden influence on the decision-making process. This influence of the Russian Federation is mainly exerted through the issuance of strategic military documents, military exercises, and public and non-public statements by diplomats. For example, in 1993, Russian military doctrine included provisions for preparing nuclear strikes on the territories of allied countries of nuclear powers. The sole purpose of these innovations is to affect the population, and thus the politicians of the former Warsaw Pact countries, in order to reduce the popularity of the idea of ​​joining NATO countries.

The actual military plan of the Russian Federation applied in the event of a failure of “deterrence” is very different from the public plan. These plans are managed by secret documents and are completely unaffected by public dissemination. During the invasion of Georgia in 2008 and 2014 and the aggression of Ukraine in 2014, the Russians did not show their military accumulation, not only concealing their preparations, but also concealing their participation in military operations. At that time, there was no observation of seeking dialogue with the West. Military operations are for military purposes, not a means to strengthen the Kremlin’s negotiating position.

Regrettably, neither in 2008 nor after 2014, Russia has not been punished enough to stop the practice of military pressure. Therefore, the Kremlin’s arsenal includes not only military bluffs, but also the possibility of direct military aggression. Obviously, among all the countries bordering Russia except China, Ukraine is almost the only country that can make a real and possibly unacceptable military response to Moscow in the event of such a large-scale conflict. In Russia’s more than 8 years of aggression, Ukrainian armed forces Fully prepared to withstand the test of constant hostilities, this is a highly active military machine capable of participating in battles of more than 500,000 people (mainly veterans of the Uzbek-Russian War) in a short period of time.

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At the same time, the gap in technical support of the Ukrainian armed forces, especially in the field of air defense and missile defense, and Russia’s dominant position in the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, created certain opportunities for Russia to avoid direct land collisions with Ukraine. Russia will not have enough advantages. Preserving these weaknesses in Ukraine’s defense is critical to Russia’s ability to maintain military pressure and blackmail on Ukraine and its Western counterparts. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s current economic situation is unlikely to solve the technical and equipment problems of the country’s air force and navy in a short period of time. But with the support of Western partners, especially with the help of the United States, this is entirely possible. This is very clear in the Kremlin. The current “upgrade and downgrade” of the Ukrainian border is aimed at this kind of assistance.

Unfortunately, it is possible for the Russians to achieve the desired results at least to a certain extent. I want to warn about this. Even the smallest concession made to Putin under the current situation will only reserve opportunities for Russia to continue the war of aggression and blackmail through its actions in order to achieve the desired political results. The only appropriate response to the Kremlin’s criminal actions should be to use its own “escalation and subversion”. This should include increasing sanctions on Russia and its leaders, strengthening defense and security cooperation with NATO member states and partners, and Significantly increase military and security. Provide technical assistance to Ukraine. In the eight-year war with Russia, Ukraine proved that Ukrainian soldiers will not run away with minimal assistance from the West and will not leave weapons to the enemy as happened in Afghanistan.

Oleksandr Danylyuk, chairman of the Ukrainian National Defense Reform Center, senior researcher of the Potomac Foundation, former chief adviser of the Ukrainian Ministry of National Defense, member of the Ukrainian government’s inter-agency platform for dealing with mixed threats, and the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.

Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed, therefore, the views expressed are those of the author. If you want to respond, or want to submit your own editorial, please contact Howard Altman, editor-in-chief of “Military Times”, haltman@militarytimes.com.

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