Russia’s new military doctrine: preparation for large-scale war

Russia’s new military doctrine, presented by Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov on 2 March, stipulates that the country must strive to be superior “to any potential enemy”, according to an article by the Russian military analyst and columnist Pavel Felgenhauer for Novaya Gazeta.

“We must make every effort to ensure our technical, technological and organizational superiority over any potential enemy,” Gerasimov said during a speech at the Academy of Military Science in Moscow.

The Russian general explained that “the difficulty with modern weaponry is that to start producing it on short notice when the fighting begins is unlikely to succeed, and so everything that is needed must be produced in the required quantity and delivered to the troops already in peace time”.

The article’s author notes that Gerasimov also presented a report on “the wars of the future” at a session of the Academy of Military Science in January 2013.

“The report was sealed, and within a year or two, it became known in the West as ‘Gerasimov’s doctrine’ on so-called ‘hybrid war’ after the successful special army operation to annex Crimea, the war in the Donbas, and other dramatic developments of the ‘Russian spring’,” Felgenhauer writes.

The report spoke about ‘asymmetric actions’ and the use of both military and non-military information methods to destabilize the enemy.

The columnist observes that the new “Gerasimov’s doctrine” of 2019 has changed its tone, using terminology from the peak of the Cold War.

“Now the US and its allies are termed ‘aggressors’, prepared to attack treacherously at any moment, using the ‘technology of the color revolutions and mild force’, as well as ‘probable enemies’, just like fifty years ago,” the author writes.

Gerasimov’s doctrine also refers to the Pentagon having a new “Trojan horse” strategy: “using the protest potential of the fifth column, the US is destabilizing the situation, for example in Russia, and simultaneously using high-precision weaponry to attack the most important facilities”.

“It is clear that now civilian protests, and any dissatisfaction in general, can be categorized if desired as treason and collusion with the aggressor, just like it always was during the Soviet government,” the author notes.

Gerasimov claims that the basis of Russia’s “response” to threats is “a strategy of active defense… a system of proactive measures to neutralize threats to the state security”.

“It is clear that comparatively, the moderate previous ‘Gerasimov’s doctrine’, with its emphasis on hybrid activity, is no longer suitable. Of course, any ‘asymmetric, political, economic, information and other non-military measures’ remain in the arsenal, but preparation for warfare with the Armed Forces comprises the primary content of the military strategy,” Gerasimov argued.

The author of the article believes that it is a large-scale war that the Russian general has in mind. Felgenhauer interprets Gerasimov’s statement about Russia’s “supremacy over any potential enemy” to mean that Russia wants to surpass the united forces of the rest of humanity. This was the goal held by the General Staff of the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991.

“The new Gerasimov’s doctrine 2.0 has been amended significantly towards intensification compared to the 2013 model of Gerasimov’s doctrine, and the General Staff, as during the Cold War, is imagining external threats or exaggerating them tenfold in order to justify Russia’s rampant militarization. The end result of the new attempt to attain supremacy ‘over any potential enemy’ will probably be just as deplorable as it was in 1991,” the expert concludes.

  Russia, Gerasimov, Cold War, USA