Information struggle in the military doctrines of Russia and Belarus05.05.2020
The geopolitical choice of Belarus is clearly fixed inthe part of military doctrine adopted in June 2016:
“Point 22.15 of military doctrine states the formation of a SINGLE SECURITY SPACE WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE UNION STATE and strengthening of collective security systems of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), the Commonwealth of Independent States, coalition groups of troops (forces) as well as unified military structures and systems, increasing the potential of the CSTO as an effective tool in order to secure the international peace and provide security in region of Eurasia.”
Point 12.5 states the following objective reasons which led to the adoption of the abovementioned decision: “lacking of ability within the Armed Forces of Belarus to deter aggression on strategic level as well as lacking of problem solving skills during the time of peace or wartime reflecting the need in armed defense of the Republic of Belarus (RB) in a case of military action against it.”
Several other points of this document, which determine the development of further situation in bilateral relations between these countries and respond to the case of spring 2017 are worthwhile as well.
Major military threats:
11.10. the activities of states (coalitions of states) as well as non-state actors, including terrorist and extremist organizations, in the field of illegal armed groups preparation to destabilize situation in RB;
12.3. appearing of terrorist and extremist organizations on the territory of RB, organization of training of their members for actions in the composition of illegal armed groups;
22.13 necessity in counteraction to destructive ideology and propaganda “defined the unfriendly policy of Belarusian security forces to the post-revolutionary pool of Ukrainian journalists, experts, activists. But because of the weakness in operational field Ukraine as well as because of the weakness in activity of Ukrainians in RB, Belarusian security forces are forced to use Russian banks of “unwanted individuals”. This indirectly confirms the ability of Russians to manipulate information supplied to special services of Belarus.
Within the framework of Belarusian military doctrine, the existence of a tactical group “Belarus” on the territory of Ukraine and support of Belarusians fighting in the Armed Forces of Ukraine are viewed as a threat and an “unfriendly” policy of Ukraine and its Western partners against Belorussia.
Points of the new Belorussian military doctrine of Belarus stipulate “hybridization” or merging of Belorussian and Russian power structures, delegating the power structures of Russia strategic initiative to shape the security architecture of the Union State.
As a result, today we have the Belarusian KGB and the army, armed with FSS technologies tools to conduct information warfare.
Within the framework of the accepted doctrine and Belarusian security forces “hybridization”, today any citizen of Ukraine who participated in Maidan or served in the anti-terrorist operation zone, ones who got into the base of FSS (Federal Security Service) “unwanted individuals» is no longer under the legislation of RB on the territory of Belarus, but is under the legislation of interstate agreements between Belarus and Russia in the field of security.
Thus, detention interest of the FSS towards people from the above mentioned list reflects level of security, Ukrainians can expect on the territory of Belarus. In other words, as much interest the FSS has over you, the more you are likely to be detained on the territory of Belarus. According to the Minister of the Internal Affairs of RB, Shunevich, under the threat of detention in Belarus 350 000 Ukrainians listed in the FSS base provided to Belarusian security forces by Russian Federation (RF).
Power of RB is determined by autocratic political regime specification and the delegated powers in
the sphere of strategic security issues:
1. PB copes with threats determined as such in its military doctrine in the mode of active force counteraction, at all levels — from the presidential to the individual one. However, the regime of active “counteraction to threats” levels the declared positions of “good neighborliness”, “neutrality” and “friendship” completely.
Belarus considers any activity of foreigners, especially the request for economic liberalization or political regime democratization political in exchange for “soft power” manifestation in terms of intensification of cooperation on international platforms.
The established command administrative culture of public administration provides solely the forceful counteraction formats towards the initiatives of «soft power». Most clearly this was manifested in the actions of Belarusian security forces against Ukrainian journalists, blocking the creation of common media projects as well as selection of Ukrainian experts as participants, which allows the marginalized group of so-called Ukrainian experts carrying pro-Russian narrative to have place in media space.
2. The military doctrine of Belarus does not cover the issue of interaction with social environment, development of social engineering technologies on the level of institutions and defined instruments, which amplifies internal social tensions in Belarus, regardless of external influences.
In other words, all the “counteraction to extremism and radicalism” in the Republic of Belarus is formalized and limited to the activity of security agencies analyzing the indicators (cases, detentions, operations, etc.), because they are responsible solely for situation in the sphere of security issues. The stability of the social system (society) itself to external influences is not taken into account.
As a result, without realizing the nature of Belarusian society radicalization, security forces automatically produce phantom external threats, which only cause the more complicated situation on the foreign policy track for the RB, but anyhow does not reduce dynamics of protest moods growing (spring protests happen to be the bright manifesto of the above mentioned situation).
It is almost impossible to change the current tendency for integration of RB and RF power structures. After all, as the analysis shows, within the accepted doctrine, Belarusian power structures are forced to confront not their threats, but ones of the Russian Federation on own territory.
3. Transferring issues of strategic security onto the institutions of the Union State, Belarusian security forces become operational managers on the territory of the own country, as they are forced to obscure national interests, prioritizing interests of the Union State “single security space”.
It’s difficult for RB to balance pro-Kremlin interests together with Western ones on the territory of the own country. With all of Lukashenko’s warmest feelings for Ukraine and his desire to be friends with West, in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it is no longer possible to maintain bilateral relations at the level of “partnership” on the external tracks of regional and global politics.
Ukraine and RB will have to restrain each other, fiercely competing on platforms of such international organizations as the UNO, where Belarus will vote against Ukrainian resolutions at every voting session of the Third UN Committee in principle.
4. Lukashenko enshrined the geopolitical choice of RB in a doctrinal document. Thus, today competencies and ambitions of RB in foreign policy are limited to the development of the own territory and its economy, and cannot contradict the position of Kremlin on the global level.
Single security space will not allow Minsk to build anti-Kremlin policies or resist Russian interests on the territory of RB. That is the reason for Makey to sound comically, stating about the readiness of RB to participate in peacekeeping mission in Donetsk, made just after meeting with Lavrov on the eve of the coup in Lugansk.
Ukraine did pay a serious attention to this case, because Russia as alternative anti-Western “pole of the world” could bring the CSTO “peacekeeping contingent” there with a “police mission” and with the participation of the military force of RB, playing own combination, in terms of humanitarian catastrophe in Lugansk.
5. If to scale the whole spectrum of events on the key tracks, it will be possible to notice step-by-step deconstruction of the sovereign course of RB in its external policy:
The coordinated effort of the Union State special services on the territory of RB makes counteraction of the Russian influence impossible on both internal and external tracks of Belarusian politics.
Introduction of border controls on the border with Russia and the broadcasted “tension” between Lukashenko and Putin is nothing more than information game, essence of which is to preserve the negotiating field and keep the interest of West in Lukashenko, as a possible situational ally and the least toxic communicator in the game of Kremlin on the split between the EU and the US.
The arrest of Pavel Sharoik and the unfriendly attitude of Belarusian security forces – to such socially active Ukrainian groups as journalists, experts and public activists), in the time of regular public confrontations with Ukrainian border guards and military forces, which experience the unprecedented support within the Ukrainian society today, – can move the confrontation to the social field.
In this case, the reputational risks for RB will have quite material expression. For example, if information campaigns concerning the boycott of Belarusian goods are launched. And the unfriendly behavior of the Belarusian security forces against Ukrainians will be adopted by the Ukrainian patriotic forces, with the requirement to impose economic sanctions against the “allies of the aggressor”, which pursues an unfriendly policy towards the Ukrainian citizens.
Belarus VS Russia: integration or soft occupation
Soft occupation is strategic control over the basic functions of such key spheres as security, foreign policy and macroeconomics, at the same time, maintaining the basic attributes of statehood (symbols, territory, administrative and political regime, microeconomics).
The essence of the “soft occupation” regime is most clearly demonstrated by the formation of the collaborative regimes of the pseudo-republics of on the territory of Donbas. The last “transit of power” in the occupied territory of Lugansk, demonstrated quite clearly how it can happen in the conditions of “soft occupation”, which has developed in the Belarusian autocracy.
If we compare the degree of freedom and opportunities for maneuvers on foreign policy, macroeconomic, information-propaganda and other tracks of state stability, collaborative regimes of Donbas and Belarus, we will see a small difference, the essence of which is only that the Russian Federation is trying to give subjectivity insisting on negotiating directly with them, and Belarus already has it under international law, being a full-fledged state with all its attributes.
In this regard, the latest change of power in Lugansk and the scenario of the West 2017 exercise essentially demonstrate to the world what the scenario of “transit of power” would look like in “occupied” Belarus, if the results of “democratic” procedures will not be liked by the Kremlin or challenged by the Belarussians themselves with support of western democracies. The events in Lugansk give us an idea of how it will be organized technically.
As part of the military exercise “West 2017”, in the case of the publication of information on the transfer of Russian troops, the Belarusian generals enabled the Russians to obtain the initial measurement (speed of the signal, response time, nature of the reaction, will to resist, the ability of military leadership to make independent decisions) in case unauthorized Russian interference with the situation in Belarus. Judging by the reaction of the Belarusian side, the high degree of trust and interaction with the Russians leaves no chance for the Belarusian military to resist the aggressive actions of the Russians.
Comparison of military doctrines of the Russian Federation and Belarus: dangers and threats
Internal military dangers:
a) activities aimed at forcibly altering the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, destabilizing the internal political and social situation in the country, disorganizing the functioning of public authorities, important state, military objects and information infrastructure of the Russian Federation;
b) activities of terrorist organizations and individuals aimed at undermining the sovereignty, violation of the unity and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation;
c) information influence on the population, especially on the young citizens of the country, which aims to undermine historical, spiritual and patriotic traditions in the sphere of protection of the Motherland;
d) provoking ethnic and social tension, extremism, inciting ethnic and religious hatred or enmity.
External military threats:
a) Increasing the capabilities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its global functions;
b) destabilizing the situation in individual countries and regions and undermining global and regional stability;
c) the deployment (escalation) of military contingents of foreign states (groups of states) in the territories of states adjacent to the Russian Federation and its allies;
d) creation and deployment of strategic missile defense systems;
e) territorial claims on the Russian Federation and its allies, interference with their internal affairs;
m) the use of information and communication technologies for military and political purposes to carry out actions… against sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity of States and threaten global and regional stability;
n) establishment in the states adjacent to the Russian Federation of regimes, including, as a result of the overthrow of the legitimate bodies of state power whose policy threatens the interests of the Russian Federation;
o) subversion of special services and organizations of foreign states and their coalitions against the Russian Federation.
Common military threats
a) sharp aggravation of the military-political situation (interstate relations) and creation of conditions for the use of military force;
b) obstruction of the operation of the systems of state and military management of the Russian Federation, disruption of the functioning of its strategic nuclear forces, systems of warning of missile attack, control of outer space, objects of storage of nuclear ammunition, nuclear energy, nuclear, chemical, pharmaceutical and medical industry and other potentially dangerous objects;
c) the creation and preparation of illegal armed groups, their activities in the territory of the Russian Federation or the territories of its allies;
d) demonstration of military force in the course of conducting exercises in the territories of the states adjacent to the Russian Federation and its allies;
e) intensification of the activity of the armed forces of individual states (groups of states) with the implementation of partial or joint mobilization, transfer of bodies of state and military administration of these states to work in wartime.
Characteristic features and features of modern military conflicts:
a) complex use of military force, political, economic, informational and other non-military measures implemented with a wide use of the protest potential of the population and special operations forces;
c) the impact on the enemy at all depths of its territory simultaneously in the global information space, in the aerospace, on land and sea;
g) the creation in the territories of the opposing parties of a permanent military zone;
h) participation in military operations of irregular armed forces and private military companies;
i) the use of indirect and asymmetric modes of action;
j) use and financing of externally managed political forces and public movements.
Activities of the Russian Federation to contain and prevent military conflicts
19. The Russian Federation ensures the constant readiness of the Armed Forces, other troops and bodies to contain and prevent military conflicts, to the armed defense of the Russian Federation and its allies under the rules of international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation.
20. The main tasks of the Russian Federation to contain and prevent military conflicts:
a) assessment and forecasting of the development of military-political situation at the global and regional level, as well as the state of inter-state relations in the military-political sphere using modern technical means and information technologies;
u) creating conditions that reduce the risk of the use of information and communication technologies for military and political purposes for actions contrary to international law against sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity of states and threaten international peace, security, global and regional stability.
The use of the Armed Forces, other troops and bodies, their main tasks in peacetime, in the period of the immediate threat of aggression and wartime.
Internal military dangers:
12.1. weakening in the society the feeling of patriotism, readiness of the citizens of the Republic of Belarus for the armed defense of the Republic of Belarus;
12.2. a significant increase in the crime rate in the territory of the Republic of Belarus;
12.3. creation of terrorist and extremist organizations in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, organization of their preparation of members for actions in the composition of illegal armed groups for carrying out acts of terrorism and other unlawful actions for the destabilization of the situation in the Republic of Belarus, including to resolve internal armed conflict;
12.4. provoking ethnic and social tensions, extremism, inciting ethnic and religious hatred or hatred;
12.5. reducing the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter referred to as the Armed Forces) to strategically deter aggression and solve other peacetime tasks, as well as to protect the Republic of Belarus in the event of military action being launched against it.
External military hazards:
11.5. reduction of the potential and capabilities of military-political alliances with the participation of the Republic of Belarus in ensuring collective security;
11.6. the emergence of foci of armed conflict and their escalation with the involvement of special operations forces, private military companies, and illegal armed forces in the territories of states adjacent to the Republic of Belarus, due to the working out of mechanisms of an unconstitutional way of changing the existing state power;
11.9. creation and functioning in the states (coalitions of states) of special paramilitary formations for conducting actions in the information space for providing destructive information influence on the population, state and military administration bodies, infrastructure of the Republic of Belarus;
11.10. the activities of states (coalitions of states) as well as non-state actors, including terrorist and extremist organizations, in the preparation of illegal armed groups to destabilize the situation in the Republic of Belarus;
Potential military threats to Belarus:
13.1. the concentration of the armed forces of another state (a coalition of states) along the state border of the Republic of Belarus, which indicates a real intention to use military force against independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and constitutional order of the Republic of Belarus;
13.2. the emergence of fires of armed conflicts against independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and constitutional order of the Republic of Belarus;
13.3. holding in another state (coalitions of states) mobilization for attack (an act of armed aggression) against the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter – attack);
13.4. declaration of war on the Republic of Belarus by another state (s);
13.5. other activities, including statements and demonstrations of the power of another state (a coalition of states), as well as non-state actors, including terrorist and extremist organizations located in the territory of another state (s), in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and which indicates preparation for an attack or resolution of internal armed conflict.
Measures to ensure military security in peacetime:
22.7. pursuing a state policy to strengthen the sense of patriotism in society;
22.13. the organization of counteraction to destructive ideology and propaganda, as well as the use of information-communication and information-psychological methods and technologies aimed at undermining the independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty and constitutional order of the Republic of Belarus, destabilizing the situation in the Republic of Belarus, and its allies;
22.14. counteracting the intelligence activities of other states (coalitions of states), as well as non-state actors, including terrorist and extremist organizations, to protect information that constitutes state secrets of the Republic of Belarus;
22.15. formation of a common defense space within the Union State and strengthening of the CSTO collective security systems, Commonwealth of Independent States, creation and development of coalition groups of troops (forces), unified military structures and systems, capacity building of the CSTO as an effective instrument for ensuring international peace and security in Eurasia;
22.18. ensuring effective work of forces and means of state and military administration bodies in maintaining internal political stability, counteracting terrorist and extremist organizations in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, preventing the preparation of members of illegal armed groups, organizing mass riots, committing acts of terrorism.