In Episode 48 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, we discuss the historical motivations and modern methods behind Russia’s use of hybrid warfare on the international stage. Our guests begin today’s conversation discussing how significant historical events and Russian cultural memory shape the Russian worldview, with particular emphasis on the role that the collapse of the Soviet Union had on the psyche of Vladimir Putin himself. They explore Russian motivations and methods since the end of the twentieth century and then pivot to potential Western responses to an increasingly aggressive Russia. Our guests conclude with implications for both the public and the practitioner.
During this episode, our guests discuss George Kennan‘s then-anonymous article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” published in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, which expanded on Kennan’s confidential February 1946 “Long Telegram.” They also reference a 2020 book by Dr. Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare. Thomas Rid appeared on a January 2021 Irregular Warfare Podcast episode, “Competing for Influence: Operations in the Information Environment.”
Shashank Joshi is the defense editor at The Economist. Prior to joining The Economist in 2018, he served as senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and research associate at Oxford University’s Changing Character of War Programme. He has published books on Iran’s nuclear program and India’s armed forces, written for a wide range of newspapers and journals, and appeared regularly on radio and television. He holds degrees from Cambridge and Harvard, where he served as a Kennedy scholar from Britain to the United States.
Dr. Rob Person is an associate professor of international relations at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he teaches courses in Russian and post-Soviet politics, international relations, and comparative politics in the Department of Social Sciences. His research focuses on the foreign and domestic politics of Russia and the former Soviet states. Dr. Person holds a PhD in political science from Yale University and an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an affiliated faculty member at West Point’s Modern War Institute.
Image credit: kremlin.ru (via Wikimedia Commons)