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Russian soldiers in uniforms without identifying insignia

Using covert forces to wage hybrid warfare

Russia’s Global Game of Proxies

October 2021, Number 11.04

The world witnessed Russia’s diversionary, or hybrid, warfare in 2014 with the invasions of Crimea and Donbas. Such warfare relies heavily on an element that has been largely overlooked by great power competition-focused strategists: proxy forces, which are actors outsourced to supplement or help the patron achieve its goals.

Proxies of various kinds increasingly populate the contemporary battlespace, and by providing plausible deniability, they help realize the military, political and strategic interests of their patrons. Proxy forces fit very well within the “doctrine” named for Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The doctrine, which is Moscow’s en vogue approach to waging armed conflict, is characterized by  covert use of force and indirect, asymmetric warfare...”

Excerpt from Cyprian Aleksander Kozera, “Russia’s Global Game of Proxies,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 11, No. 4, 2021: 54-59.

Dr. Cyprian Aleksander Kozera is an assistant professor at the War Studies University in Warsaw, a researcher at the African Research Institute in Budapest, an Army Reserve officer, and a member of the Polish Africanist Society and of the Polish Association of the United Nations Peacekeeping Veterans.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.