Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun Venäjä-seminaari 2021

Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun Venäjä-seminaari 2021 järjestetään 26.1.2021 ja 2.2.2021. Seminaarissa keskustellaan Venäjän sotilaspolitiikasta ja alan tutkimuksen kehityksestä.

Vallitsevasta koronavirustilanteesta johtuen seminaari järjestetään edellisistä seminaareista poiketen täysin virtuaalisena. Seminaaria on mahdollista seurata Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun Youtube-kanavalta reaaliaikaisesti tai myöhemmin sinne tallennettuna.

Tarkemmat tiedot ja linkit: https://maanpuolustuskorkeakoulu.fi/venaja-seminaari

Panschin, Vladimir (2020): teoreettinen tarkastelu Suomen maanpuolustukseen kohdistuvasta Venäjän toteuttamasta henkilötiedustelusta

Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun Venäjä-ryhmän erikoistutkijan, sotatieteiden tohtori Vladimir Panschinin tutkimus  Menneestä nykyisyyteen : teoreettinen tarkastelu Suomen maanpuolustukseen kohdistuvasta Venäjän toteuttamasta henkilötiedustelusta on julkaistu Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun työpapereita sarjassa.

Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-25-3158-5

Abstrakti:

Valtiot ovat kautta aikain harjoittaneet tiedustelua muita maita kohtaan saadakseen oman päätöksenteon perustaksi tietoja esimerkiksi tiedustelukohteidensa aikeista, liittolaissuhteista, taloudellisista ynnä muista resursseista sekä sotavoiman suorituskyvystä. Jotta tiedustelukohteesta muodostettava kuva olisi mahdollisimman luotettava, on siitä pyrittävä keräämään tietoja kaikilla siihen soveltuvilla keinoilla. Vaikka ajan saatossa tiedustelussa on hyödynnetty kulloinkin saatavissa ollutta teknistä välineistöä, on ihminen säilynyt kautta aikain yhtenä tiedusteluvälineenä. Tänä päivänä, kun puhutaan siviili- tai sotilastiedustelupalvelujen ihmisten käyttöön perustuvasta tiedustelusta, käytetään termiä henkilötiedustelu. Se on yksi tiedonhankintamenetelmä ja eroaa muista tiedustelulajeista siinä, että sen keskiössä on ihminen sekä subjektina että objektina.

Vieraiden valtioiden tiedustelutoiminnan tavoitteena Suomessa on politiikan eri osa-alueiden ennakoiminen sekä poliittiseen päätöksentekoon vaikuttaminen. Ulkomaisen tiedustelun keskeisiä kiinnostuksen kohteita Suomessa ovat viime vuosina olleet muun muassa Nato-keskustelu, ulko- ja turvallisuuspoliittiset linjaukset, Itämeren alueen turvallisuustilanne sekä kansainvälinen sotilasyhteistyö. Näistä aihealueista haluttujen tietojen saamiseksi yhtenä keinona on pyrkiä löytämään ja hankkimaan salaisia henkilötietolähteitä toimittamaan tietoja, jotka eivät muutoin olisi saatavilla. Lisäksi ulkovaltojen tiedustelupalvelut pyrkivät hankkimaan avustajikseen henkilöitä, joiden avulla on mahdollista pyrkiä vaikuttamaan joko suoraan tai epäsuorasti poliittiseen päätöksentekoon sekä yleiseen mielipiteeseen.

Tässä artikkelissa käsitellään Suomen maanpuolustukseen kohdistuvaa Venäjän toteuttamaa valtiojohtoista henkilötiedustelua. Tässä yhteydessä sillä tarkoitetaan Venäjän tiedustelupalvelujen, ulkomaan tiedustelupalvelu SVR:n, Venäjän asevoimien yleisesikunnan päähallinto GU:n sekä turvallisuuspalvelu FSB:n henkilötiedustelua. Artikkelin tavoitteena on esittää teoreettinen arvio siitä, mitkä ovat Venäjän Suomeen suuntaamaan sotilaallisia tarkoitusperiä palvelevan henkilötiedustelun järjestelyt ja kohteet. Artikkelin tarkoituksena on tukea Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulussa annettavaa Venäjän asevoimaopetusta.

Julkisiin lähteisiin perustuvan artikkelin lähestymiskulma on teoreettinen. Lisäksi puheena olevaa aihetta tarkastellaan sen olettaman kautta, että vaikka historia ei toista itseään, menneisyyden instituutiot säilyttävät identiteettinsä ja siirtävät traditionsa seuraajilleen. Täten esimerkiksi oletetaan, että toisen maailmansodan ja sitä edeltäneen ajan Neuvostoliiton tiedusteluorganisaatioiden perilliset toteuttavat henkilötiedustelua pääpiirtein samoin tehtävin ja menetelmin kuin menneisyydessä on tapahtunut, sillä tiedustelu- ja turvallisuuspalvelujen tehtävänä on tiedustelu. Teknologian tiedustelulle tarjoamat mahdollisuudet on rajattu tämän artikkelin ulkopuolelle.

New publication: Pynnöniemi and Jokela (2020) Perceptions of hybrid war in Russia

In this article, we analyse what hybrid war entails in the context of Russian military periodicals. Two dominant interpretations emerge from the debate. Hybrid war involves a conflict between civilizations and a geopolitical struggle for power. In both cases, the West is represented as an active participant in the conflict, intent upon undermining Russia’s geopolitical status, cultural code and political system. The debate emulates Russian official rhetoric about national security threats and thus consolidates official interpretations, rather than offers alternatives to them. Russian analysts have also engaged in more abstract theoretical analysis in which hybrid terminology is rarely used or is approached critically.

For example, the exclusion of the reflexive control theory from the debate is logical only if the purpose is to emphasize foreign roots of hybrid war, rather than Russian excellence in conducting information-psychological operations. In other words, the debate about hybrid war can be seen as a part of Russia’s strategic communication to the extent that the debate amplifies officially accepted vision of threats towards Russia.

Further research is required to assess the ways in which this debate has been used in shaping public perceptions of threats towards Russia.

Article available at:

Pynnöniemi, Katri & Minna Jokela (2020), Perceptions of hybrid war in Russia: Means, targets and objectives identified in the Russian debate, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2020.1787949

New working paper published on Russia and the Covid-19 pandemic

Assessment of change in authoritarian political systems is notoriously problematic. A serious political crisis has been looming in Russia for a long while, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict precisely the final shape or timing of the crisis. Lilia Shevtsova, a well-known political researcher, summarises the current situation in her recent article at the American Interest as follows:

We can only be sure that a new Russian landscape is emerging that demands patient observation. The Russian system could still propose imitation solutions that would allow it to drift further in an unknown direction. At the same time, it is pregnant with conflicts that could blow it apart. The lull is deceptive. Russians will have to start thinking about existential questions before the new apocalypse comes.

In fact, researchers are quite unanimous that the prolongation of the COVID-19 epidemic poses a serious challenge to Russia’s current political system. The significant weakening of economic growth together with the fact that the political decision-making system based on President Putin’s authority has proven vacuous, or at least rickety, constitute a “perfect storm” that may undermine the very foundations of the system. The probability of rapid change is reduced – at least in the short term – by the lack of a clear contender for the current system. On the other hand, the idea cannot be completely excluded that the political elite will lose control of the situation and, as a result, the country will end up in chaos.

However, so far, the COVID-19 crisis has not changed the operating logic of Russia’s political system. On this basis, it can be assumed that the Kremlin will primarily seek to ensure the loyalty of the actors essential to its own position. The legitimacy of the current system can also be strengthened by means of a threat discourse, where different groups are set against each other, eliminating the possible fomentation of any coherent resistance movement that would call the Kremlin’s actions into question or set itself as an alternative to the Kremlin’s power. The fight against the coronavirus may temporarily unite the Russians, but will it be possible to return to the “besieged fortress” if the strength of the citadel has proved to be a pipe dream?

To carry out a more detailed analysis, a combination of different types of data and information is required. Further studies should also define more precisely the relative analytical importance between the key uncertainties (the possibility of mass repressions, Putin’s and the political elite’s public image management, the resilience of the administrative system). In addition, the developments at the interface between new technologies (AI and big-data) and the political discourse should be scrutinized. Will technology experiments carried out during the epidemic become part of the everyday life? It can be assumed that the political leadership’s need to control social media discourse will increase further. How will this be implemented and what kind of resistance will it provoke? The possible escalation of regional disparities should also be closely monitored. The research analysis that has now been carried out lays the foundation for research into these broad themes.

The original study by Katri Pynnöniemi and Outi Helin has been published in Finnish at the working papers series of the National Defence University of Finland.

Here’s a link to the original report: https://www.doria.fi/handle/10024/177546

New publication: The Russian National Security Strategy: shaping perceptions and coordinating actions

Dr. Katri Pynnöniemi’s review of Russian strategy documents in The Russian National Security Strategy: shaping perceptions and coordinating actions is revealing. Russian national strategy is consistent across multiple organs of the Russian government and focused on several main themes. Dr. Pynnöniemi rarely mentions Putin, but his hand is evident in the presence of the same themes that he has stressed publically for years. The strategy documents show Russia competing globally for “power and prestige” and locally for national sovereignty. Russia is painted as on the defensive against the West, which continues its Cold War policy of containment and is the instigator of all instability areas of Russian influence. These documents largely apply both internationally and domestically, as maintaining stability is a key theme. This justifies Russian actions as self-defense against Western instigated aggression. The documents stress the multi-domain aspects of competition with the West, reaffirming the US Army’s emphasis on Multi-Domain Operations. Overall, the insights into Russian strategic thinking in relation to the West provides a view to how Russia will pursue its interests and therefore what the Army may face within the Russian sphere of influence and why.

The full article is available at the Red Diamond (OCT-DEC 19): https://community.apan.org/wg/tradoc-g2/operational-environment-and-threat-analysis-directorate/m/documents/312749

pages 52-54.

The report includes also e.g. analyses of Russia’s Arctic Army, Russia in Africa, Russian approach to deception and information warfare and Russian and Belorussian relations. Recommended reading!

Interdisciplinary cooperation produces results

Collaboration between the National Defence University and University of Helsinki has proved successful, reaching both a high academic level and a significant role in policymaking and non-academic discourse.

In 2017, close cooperation was established between the Russia-group dedicated to Russia expertise at the National Defence University and the research group built around the Mannerheim professorship, a joint venture of the Defence College and University of Helsinki. The professorship was founded to boost the research and teaching of Russian security policy in Finland. This cooperation has found its most visible form in a research group entitled Russian Military and Security Studies.

The cooperation between the two educational bodies aims to ensure that Finnish officials and decision makers on various levels and sectors of society have access to critical information on questions of foreign, military, and security policy. Another important goal is to provide a new generation of scholars and experts with a set of skills to face and make sense of the ever-changing field of Russian and international politics.

The RUSMILSEC group has enjoyed a promising start. It has published several reports to meet the needs of Finnish policy makers, as well as a number of academic articles in high-profile international publications such as Journal of Strategic Studies. Members of the group took part in a joint project led by the Ministry of Defence entitled Russia of Power. The result of this project was a comprehensive report that was presented to the foreign policy board of the Finnish parliament, ambassadors, civil servants of several NATO member countries, and a large audience of state officials and scholars in Washington DC.

Over the past year, the group has been actively distributing its research results and expertise in both academic conferences and in special events aimed at more diverse audiences. Between them, the six members of the RUSMILSEC group held 37 presentations in national and international contexts in 2019.

Members of the group also take part in teaching and supervising students at all levels, both at the University on Helsinki and at the National Defence University. Individual guest lectures have been held for the Finnish Defence Forces and NGOs.

The main annual event of RUSMILSEC is the international Russia seminar, which takes place at Santahamina. In 2019, the main themes of the seminar were the Russian threat perceptions and cyber security. This year’s theme is the concept of deterrence and the classics of the Russian military thought. The seminar will be held on the 2nd of April 2020, and online registration will be opened on the 9th of March.

This text was originally published in Finnish at the RUSMILSEC website on January 27, 2020.