The future of Russia’s Special Operations Forces
Russia’s special forces have gained prominence and valuable combat experience in recent years playing crucial roles in Crimea and Syria. Now they are training to engage their NATO counterparts. As a result, Western militaries have been forced to change the way they approach this threat. Though Russian special forces are still playing a game of technological catch-up, they are a tool the Kremlin is increasingly likely to use.
Strategic defense: NATO’s conventional deterrent
The undeclared neo-Cold War between Russia and the West mixes 21st-century techniques – below-the-threshold operations, cyberattacks, information warfare through social media – with more traditional forms of military confrontation. As arms races, proxy wars and nuclear blackmail stage a comeback, NATO must rethink conventional deterrence. Yet even a beefed-up force will prove ineffective if the alliance chooses the wrong defensive strategy.
GIS Dossier: Europe as a global player – looking east
Europe is politically diffuse and poorly armed for a great power at a geopolitical crossroads. Yet it has proved deceptively capable of leveraging the NATO alliance and its enormous economic “soft power” to expand eastward. Now its mettle is being tested as Russia – and, to a lesser extent, Turkey – push back.
What Lukashenko learned from Crimea
Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko is still coming to terms with what Russia’s intervention in Ukraine means for his own autocratic rule. Recent events in Armenia show that his overthrow might not occur on the back of Russian tanks, but via a hybridized “color” revolution capitalizing on social discontent. Lukashenko has responded by cozying up to the EU and easing pressure on the opposition at home, but it may not be enough to save him.
GIS Dossier: NATO’s strategic dilemmas
NATO’s expansion into Central and Eastern Europe following its Cold War victory touched a raw nerve in Moscow, as, historically, the vast Russian empire protected itself by maintaining a buffer zone of dependent or client states along its perimeter. Russia appeared to have swallowed the “loss” of the Baltic states in the 1990s, but it drew the line in Ukraine two decades later. The prospect of an independent Ukraine joining Western structures has triggered a Russia-West conflict that NATO finds among the toughest challenges it is facing anywhere today.
Opinion: The Skripal case and common sense
There has been no shortage of analysis of the Skripal case and possible Russian motivations for poisoning the former spy. They all fall flat: the Kremlin had no motive to commit such a crime. A little common sense is all one needs to conclude that whoever did wanted to escalate the conflict between Russia and the West even further.
Opinion: Russia’s possible motivations in the Skripal case
It is widely accepted that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal. But the question remains why it should commit such an act, with so little to gain. Several explanations are plausible – that it was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to show he is in control, or a gambit by his enemies to undermine him. Perhaps most worrisome, however, is the possibility that it was an escalation of Russia’s hybrid war with the West.