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  • Author: Iryna Klymenko
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: Russia’s non-standard intervention in Ukraine was accomplished in four major areas—the economic system as a whole, the energy and security sectors, and information policy. The deliberate policy of the Kremlin has transformed Ukraine into economically fragile and institutionally weak nation. Due to efforts of former regime and Russian intelligence agencies, main Ukrainian government institutions were involved in semi-legal, semi-criminal transnational business scheme. Macro-financial vulnerability of Ukraine, in conjunction with a strained economic structure, proved to be the necessary and sufficient conditions for preparing and implementing hybrid aggression. The Ukrainian precedent might be replicated as a special operation to destroy statehood, whereby disruption is achieved through the escalation of internal political and economic challenges. One universal means of undermining statehood in an era of hybrid wars is to encourage corruption among holders of the highest office.
  • Topic: Security, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Miroslaw Banasik
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The success of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea attest to the fact that the hybrid warfare constitutes an effective tool for achieving political objectives. This article evaluates the nature of hybrid warfare based on theoretical publications on the art of war and doctrinal documents of the Russian Federation, and characterizes the practical dimensions of hybrid warfare. It can be concluded on that basis that hybrid warfare and organized crime constitute real threats to European safety and security. International organizations such as NATO and the European Union so far have not drawn up neither the strategy nor effective tools for countering these phenomena.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Military Strategy, European Union, Hybrid Warfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Ivan Babin, Elizaveta Egorova
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The Ukrainian crisis of 2013, followed by the annexation of Crimea, has redistributed the balance of power among the political players of the world arena. Moreover, since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, the concept of a shared neighborhood between the Russian Federation and the European Union (EU) becomes a strategic challenge not only for both but foremost for those post-Soviet republics struggling between two strategic decisions: to accept Russian protection or to choose Western development. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the forthcoming 2015 Eurasian Economic Union’s (EEU) economic and political perspectives, on South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s economic attractiveness, the sentiment inside those breakaway regions of Georgia and the Russian Federation standpoint in resolving or maintaining the situation in the disputed territories.
  • Topic: Security, Imperialism, European Union, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: David Matsaberidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the construction and transformation of the post-Soviet security perspectives of Georgia and Ukraine in the context of the post-Soviet Russian foreign policy in the “near abroad,” quite often termed the “legitimate sphere” of Russian influence by high-ranking Russian officials. This inquiry covers the panorama of the foreign policy in post-Soviet Russia across the FSU, from the early 1990s through to the present, where Georgia and Ukraine’s independent and pro-Western orientation are the main issues securitized for the Russian Federation. Accordingly, the maintenance of territorial integrity has become a security priority for Georgia since the early 1990s and will most likely be Ukraine’s top concern after the Crimean occupation by the Russian Federation in March 2014 and the subsequent developments in Eastern Ukraine. Therefore, it could be claimed that post-Soviet Russian and Georgian/Ukrainian security strategy (following peaceful revolutions) represent a zero-sum game.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Imperialism, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Joshua Sinai
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: As of mid-2015, the primarily Islamist-based terrorist threats against Russia and its counterterrorism response measures continued to be in the spotlight. These Islamist terrorist threats, it must be pointed out, were unrelated to Russia’s other national security problems emanating from its intervention in Ukraine, which will not be discussed in this article. As with other Western countries, the latest phase of the terrorist threats against Russia has become even more complicated than before, with large-scale involvement by a reported 1,700 “homegrown violent extremists” (HVE),[1] primarily North Caucasus-based, many of whom have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State’s insurgents and to fight the Moscow-supported Bashar al-Assad government as well as the Shi’ite government in Baghdad (which is also backed by Tehran – Russia’s close ally), with their violent extremism also directed against the Russian state. As part of this phase, although unrelated to the involvement of the aforementioned Russian Islamists in Syria, Russian airpower was deployed in Syria in September 2015 to support the besieged al-Assad regime against the Islamic State. The earlier phase of the terrorist threats against Russia was highlighted by the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which were perpetrated by two brothers of ethnic Chechen origin (one of whom was reportedly monitored by Russia’s security services during his stay in Dagestan), as well several significant terrorist attacks in late 2013 during the lead-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, which were held in February 2014 without a terrorist incident. Overall, the primary terrorist threats against the Russian Federation are presented by the Islamist insurgents in the North Caucasus, who are organized into several groups that are loosely allied with al-Qaeda’s global Jihad. Fortunately for Russia, in their most significant threat over the past several years, these Islamist militants were thwarted in their intent to exploit the worldwide media attention associated with the February 2014 Olympic sporting events, which were located close to the North Caucasus, several hundred miles from the Republic of Dagestan, where they were mounting an insurgency to establish an Islamic state in that region. In response, Russia greatly boosted its counterterrorism measures in the North Caucasus republics as well as in other parts of the country, thereby preventing these insurgents from succeeding in their terrorist plots. Nevertheless, the attraction of jihadi groups such as the Iraq- and Syria-based Islamic State in radicalizing hundreds of Russian Islamists into joining their insurgency expanded the geographical scope of the terrorist threats against Russia, particularly upon the return of some of them to Russia to carry out attacks in light of Moscow’s support of the Syrian and Iraqi regimes and their call to establish an Islamist caliphate in the North Caucasus.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Nikolai Silaev, Andrei Sushentsov
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of political developments in Georgia since the 2012 parliamentary elections on Russo-Georgian relations. First, the authors examine the effect of changes in Georgia’s politics towards the Caucasus, Russia and the Euro-Atlantic region. Second, the authors analyze the opportunities for improving Russo-Georgian relations through studying the three following aspects of this bilateral relationship: creation of common economic space between Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia; transformation of the Georgian North Caucasus Policy and its shift to-wards cooperation with Moscow; and implications of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration for the regional security. The article suggests that Russo-Georgian relations are not doomed to be strained and have the potential for improvement.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Imperialism, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Emil Souleimanov, Maya Ehrmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: In the Lopota Valley, a picturesque spot situated near Georgia's mountainous northeast border with Russia's Dagestani autonomous region, a series of skirmishes took place on the 28thand 29thof August 2012 that cost the lives of two troops from elite units of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior, a military doctor, and eleven gunmen identified as North Caucasus Islamist insurgents, leaving a few Georgian military personnel injured and one insurgent, a Russian citizen, captured by Georgian special forces. While the circumstances of what happened in the vicinity of the north Kakhetian village of Lapankuri have not yet been sufficiently revealed, the event might have considerable implications for the security situation in the entire region of the North and South Caucasus. The purpose of this article is to analyze various perspectives and issues related to this incident and to prove that the hostage crisis in the Lopota Valley indicates the existence of and the foreshadowing of much greater regional instability. The article shall outline the general course of events and those responsible for the incident. It will then introduce various perspectives on the incident from Georgian, Russian, and Dagestani authorities and sources, and analyze the short-term and long-term implications of the incident.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Richard Giragosian, Sergey Minasyan
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: After twenty years of independence, the three counties of the South Caucasus-Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia-continue to struggle with a daunting set of challenges. In light of several unresolved conflicts and profound deficiencies in efforts directed at democratic and economic reform, the South Caucasus continues to be a "region at risk." As if this rather bleak landscape was not enough, three more recent trends have emerged to further threaten the region's security and stability. The first trend, and one that is likely to have the most profound effects over the long term, is evident in a subtle shift in the already delicate balance of power in the region, driven largely by a steady surge in Azerbaijani defense spending and exacerbated by a lack of progress in the mediation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Since the 1994 ceasefire that resulted in the suspension of hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh (but that did not definitively end them), this unresolved or "frozen" conflict has been subject to an international mediation effort conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) so-called Minsk Group. This tripartite body co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States seeks to engage and prod the parties to the conflict toward a negotiated resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Caucasus, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Graeme P. Herd, Daniel A. Flesch
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: On 7 August 2008, Georgia attacked Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia, with heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and ground troops in an attempt to take control of the breakaway republic, which contained bases of both Russian and OSCE peacekeepers. Russia, claiming to be acting under the mandate of peace enforcement, pushed Georgia out of both South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian republic, Abkhazia, and deep into Georgian territory. This created the potential for regime change, as the Russian Army appeared to be moving on Tbilisi with the intent of overthrowing Georgia's democratically elected government. On 8 August 2008, Russian military forces crossed the Georgian border into South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a successful effort to repulse Georgian troops. The immediate casus belli for Russia was genocide, with claims that “over two thousand” South Ossetians had been killed by Georgian troops, along with the shooting of ten Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, which necessitated a humanitarian and peace enforcement operation. The Russian advance included ground troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers, and air and sea operations, combined with coordinated kinetic and cyber attacks. Russian forces also crossed into Abkhazia in defense of their compatriots – 70 percent of the Abkhaz population of 220,000 are Russian passport holders, and 90 percent of the South Ossetian population of 70,000 are also Russian citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Affairs, Population
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia, South Ossetia
  • Author: Zurab Khamashuridze
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This paper is meant to address issues related to energy security in the twenty-first century, and to identify areas where NATO could add value to the world's overall energy security environment, and in particular how it can improve the security of critical energy infrastructures. Increased demand on energy resources, driven mainly by economic growth and demographic developments in Asian countries, particularly China and India, has removed spare capacity from the energy market, which has translated into price hikes for energy resources, thus causing immense economic damage to nations that are heavily dependent on energy imports.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, North Atlantic, India, Istanbul