Russia Prepares to Fight Itself

By | June 4, 2017

On May 24, 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree stating that by the decision of the President, “military units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, other military formations and organs can be transferred to the operational subordination of the district commander of the National Guard [known also as Rosguards – V. B.] to carry out the tasks assigned to the troops of the National Guard.” As one of the official sites commented, “Russia needs to strengthen cooperation and improve manageability between the Rosguards, the FSB and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.” It appears that the unified structure of the Rosguards, regular Armed Forces, and FSB could potentially be used against the Russian population.

The Rosguards is a special interior army of 360,000-380,000 men that reports directly to President Putin. It was created on April 5, 2016 for internal purposes. A Rosguards district includes: former internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) of Russia; a special-purpose center for the rapid reaction and aviation forces, and aviation units (transferred from the MVD); special rapid reaction units (transferred from the MVD territorial branches); mobile detachments for special purposes (also transferred from the MVD territorial branches); management units of the MVD security guards of private property; a government service that exercise federal state control over the circulation of arms in the sphere of private security activities (transferred from the MVD).

On May 26th, in a long article in the newspaper Independent Military Review (Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie) Army General Yury Baluevsky, former head of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff and currently Adviser to the Rosguards Commander-in-Chief, Army General Viktor Zolotov, openly wrote: “The creation of National Guard troops is a response to the challenge to our society, to the threat of using the technology of so-called non-violent resistance, which nevertheless is more accurately called a color revolution.”

As expected, General Baluevsky considers the Russian opposition movement supposedly supported by the Americans as a threat to Russia. He writes:

[The opposition organization] “Open Russia” has more than once unsuccessfully tried to use the forms and methods of nonviolent actions tested in other countries, developed in 1973 by the Harvard University Professor Gene Sharp, the Albert Einstein Institution founder, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Ford Foundation and the International Republican Institute (Senator John McCain, director).

This Institution has close ties with the US strategic research center “Research and Development” (RAND). And although actions by Sharp’s method are called non-violent, in fact they often end up on the part of the opposition with violence, riots and a tough confrontation with the forces of law and order.

The Russian translation of Sharp’s book “From dictatorship to democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation”, turned out to be an inefficient textbook in Russia. All kinds of processions and rallies have not been brought to the level of mass violence in Russia. At the same time, it is alarming that, from attempts to influence politicians, as it was at the end of the last century or the beginning of this century, American political scientists switched their attention to the most ideologically unprotected part of the Russian population – [university] students, students of colleges and even schoolchildren, which was demonstrated in March-April 2017.

The General’s comments seem to admit that on March 26, 2017, Russian officials were extremely unpleasantly surprised that many young people participated in the anti-corruption demonstrations, organized by the opposition leaders, Alexei Navalny, and his supporters. These protests took place in 82 Russian cities and towns. By the way, with all his anti-American rhetoric, in 2005 General Baluevsky received the American Legion of Merit (Commander degree) military order.

One of the themes Baluevsky covered was the technological war:

The development of the country ultimately depends not on opposition, but on interaction, including power and society, power and opposition. It should be built on mutual respect and understanding that we live in one country. Unfortunately, this does not suit our opponents, who want only their word to sound loud, so that only their opinion prevails in the public consciousness. Instead of dialogue they use the most unscrupulous methods. For example, at the end of last year, the Rosguards site was subjected to a DDoS attack. Well, in war as in war. We live in the world of information technology. We are participants of this war – information, technological, communication. Our task is not to allow a negative impact on the mass consciousness, especially the young part of our society.

Baluevsky also mentioned the following: “When in 2014 the new version of the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation was being prepared, we with officers of the Interior Ministry troops participated in a joint commission. We updated the 11th article, which noted the trend of the displacement of military dangers and threats to the information space and the domestic sphere of the Russian Federation.”

In fact, in the spring of 2014, the Defense Forces of Information Operations appeared within the Ministry of Defense for “cybernetic confrontation with a probable adversary” for, as the Ministry explained, “disrupting the work of information networks of a probable enemy.” These military units were created in the format of “scientific companies” throughout the country. Graduates of technical universities – mathematicians, programmers, cryptographers, engineers began to be recruited in the “scientific companies.” For instance, Novosibirsk State Technical University declared recruitment among students for a scientific company of the Central Research Institute of the Russian Defense Ministry located in the Sergiev Posad not far from Moscow for participation in the “application of supercomputer technologies.” In 2014, first military students at the Military Academy of Communication entered the scientific company of the “special forces of information security.”

The recruitment for work in the Army and FSB is also going on among college students (in Russia, these are 16-17-year old school students of the 9th and 10th grades). For example, the project “Young Programmers of the FSB of Russia” is enrolling in Moscow Cadet Music School (School No. 1770) since 2015. In a detailed report about this project, the investigative journalist Daniil Turovsky explained that the project was developed by computer science teacher Sergey Yepifantsev, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan War. Yepifantsev pointed out that it was created in order to “resist all sorts of” traitors, all those who support the American way of life, to confront the “fifth column” and “the enemies of modern Russia”, and his students will “stand at the roots of the new Russian IT-industry, free, in the expression of our president [Putin], from foreign software.” Yepifantsev also stated that he was “training future specialists in the field of information technology for law enforcement agencies.”

Turovsky wrote:

At the end of January 2016, FSB officer Oleg Krzhizhanovsky gave lectures to the “young programmers” on modern wars. “The war is already on!” – he declared. “At least on two fronts, because our servicemen are fighting in Ukraine and Syria.” After that, he told the students that “if you isolate 30 of the most powerful Jews, the wars will stop,” while most of the processes in the world are run by corporations like General Motors, Shell, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s.

“What is war in general? We have a stereotype: tanks, infantry, bayonet attacks, trenches. But there will be no more wars on fronts. Now the term “hybrid war” is used. What is this? This is a cybernetic war via the Internet.”

One of the young programmers said: “You can hack websites of another country, look at information from there, use it against them.” “That’s right!” – said the teacher.

“Another thing is when they substitute ideas with the help of the mass media,” another schoolboy suggested. “Or when with the help of rallies organized by spies, people are being led to overthrow their government.” “That’s right, we’ll add terrorist acts here as a means of loosening society,” Krzhizhanovsky answered. “There is also a whole methodology for non-violent resistance.”

Krzhizhanovsky, who works at the FSB Museum and defended his candidate thesis entitled “Forming motivation for military service in young men of pre-conscription age in the process of social and cultural activities of the military historical museum,” told the school students about the “orange revolutions” and how “the tragedy in Libya, when they killed the rightful leader Muammar Gaddafi” happened. one of the students asked: “Then why do not we all unite and attack America?”

Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Investigation Committee, also give speeches to these “young programmers.” The brain washing continues through competitions with activists of the “Young Guard” organization of the official “United Russia” party, who are photographed with a portrait of Vladimir Putin. For their achievements, “young programmers” received a score of various awards. In August 2015, one of the students was awarded even a professional FSB medal “95 years of the Cheka-KGB-FSB”.

Since the “young programmers” attend the music cadet school, they periodically record video clips. In the spring of 2017, they made afilm entitled “National Anthem of the Russian Football Team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup”, which represented the team of the Russian Army. Another video about “extremism”, as opposition is called in the Russian official propaganda, ends with a scene in which the “young programmers” and Yepifantsev jokingly throw up their hands in a Nazi salute.

Author: Vadim Birstein

Dr. Vadim J. Birstein is a historian and geneticist. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and books and has written two scholarly historical works, "The Perversion of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science" and "SMERSH, Stalin's Secret Weapon: Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII". He received the inaugural "St. Ermin's Intelligence Book Award" in 2012 for SMERSH.

2 thoughts on “Russia Prepares to Fight Itself

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