Russia and hybrid warfare: identifying critical elements in successful applications of hybrid tactics
Neville, Seth B.
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With the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, hybrid war became a buzzword within political and academic circles. This thesis examines hybrid warfare applications using contemporary and historical examples. The analysis seeks to determine why a country was or was not successful in its execution of hybrid war, and it assesses the geo-political context of cost, benefit, and risk for an aggressor state contributing to its decision to engage in hybrid warfare. The case studies selected include the 1923 German Communist Revolution, Germany’s 1938 annexation of Austria, the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. In each case study, a state went on the offensive, deliberately choosing hybrid tactics to obtain an objective. Ultimately, the thesis objective strives to deepen our understanding of hybrid war, and to extrapolate how one seemingly minor hybrid event can be tied into a broader goal of an aggressor state in its interactions with a defender state. The analysis of the case studies suggests that the length of the conflict, local support, consolidated leadership, and the power balance between the two states involved have contributed to the success of state-sponsored hybrid war.
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