Russian Information Warfare as Domestic Counterinsurgency
Although information warfare (IW) and information operations (IO) have become ubiquitous global phenomena, not everyone views them in the same way. Whereas the United States and many other advanced powers see these new strategic capabilities as useful mainly to disrupt enemies’ physical infrastructure and military command and control, Russia, because of its historical experience and the legacy of Soviet thinking, sees IW and IO in an additional light. While not denigrating their usefulness for the aforementioned purposes, Russian thinkers see IW and IO as a new means to conduct large-scale political warfare to reshape the thinking of an entire political community. Indeed, Moscow has followed this approach in its information strategy—in the war in Chechnya after 1999 and more recently at home to suppress movements for reform. This article argues that, for Russia, information weapons and operations are a means to wage an information war whose defining feature is that they are used to wage a domestic counterinsurgency.