The following piece takes reference to the article “Europe is trying to keep Russia from influencing its elections” in The Economist.
Pleased as I was to see that you took up the issue of Russian influence in Europe, I have to tell you that you got one fundamental thing wrong Neither does Russia have a “Gerasimov doctrine”, nor is the good general’s 2013 article as influential as western audiences are being led to believe. It is the printed version of a speech he gave as the newly minted Chief of General staff, chiefly meant to rally a displeasured officer corps and military scientists behind the reforms ahead. (What was new at the time is that he was the first Russian general to label colour revolutions a threat to Russian national security. The notion of them being a Western technique for overthrowing unbeloved governments however is an older one in Russian military-academic circles.)
Only after little green men washed up on the shores of Crimea and peninsula in March 2014 did Gerasimov’s piece attract widespread attention in the west. And only after Messrs Coalson and Galeotti published an English translation that June was the speech exalted to the status of a “doctrine”.
What we now call the “Gerasimov doctrine” is but a snapshot, the Russian assessment of the global situation in 2013. Calling it a “doctrine” assigns it a rather static character, and wrongly so. The motherland meanwhile is not following a grand strategy, but excels at exploiting windows of opportunity.
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