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Russia Goes After ‘Color Revolutions’ War Strategy in Moscow Security Conference

June 5, 2014 (EIRNS)—Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) was so struck by the laser-like focus of the Russian and Belarusian military speakers at the May 23 Moscow Security Conference, that he posted 52 pages of his raw notes, with power-points, to the CSIS website under the title, "Russia and the Color Revolution: A Russian Military View of a World Destabilized by the U.S. and the West (Key Briefs)."

He wrote, "Key Russian officers and officials presented a view of the U.S. and the West as deliberately destabilizing nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the world for their own ends. They describe such actions as having failed, and been a key source of terrorism. They see the West as rejecting partnership with the West as a threatening Russia along all of its borders with Europe.

"Senior Russian officials are also using the term ‘Color Revolution’ in ways that are far more critical than in the past. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the United States and the European Union of an attempt to stage yet another color revolution in Ukraine, and said during the Conference that, ‘Attempts to impose homemade recipes for internal changes on other nations, without taking into account their own traditions and national characteristics, to engage in the export of democracy, have a destructive impact on international relations and result in an increase of the number of hot spots on the world map.’

"What is critical is that the U.S. and Europe listen to what Russian military leaders and strategists are saying. These are not Russian views the U.S. and Europe can afford to ignore." (emphasis in original)

Those addressing this theme in detail included Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, Belarusian Defense Minister Yury Zhadobin and others. According to another account, that of Dmitry Gorenburg in http://russiamil.wordpress.com, Zhadobin "mentioned Gene Sharp as the originator of the strategy used in these revolutions," as had Rachel Douglas in EIR of February 3, 2012. www.larouchepub.com/other/2012/3905destab_russia_mcfaul.html

Zhadobin also pointed to the Baltic States as a "gray zone" in Europe, since there are no CFE conventional force limits or reporting requirements for military forces there; they are an area where large forces can be assembled in secret.

The speaker who delved into the most detail on the colored revolution strategy appears to have been Vladimir Zarudnitsky, head of Operations for the Russian General Staff. This is Gorenburg’s summary of Zarudnitsky’s talk.

"Like the plenary speakers, Zarudnitsky focused on the military aspects of colored revolutions. He argued that while the West considers colored revolutions to be a peaceful way of overthrowing undemocratic regimes, events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that military force is an integral part of all aspects of colored revolutions. This includes external pressure on the regime in question to prevent the use of force to restore order, the provision of military and economic assistance to rebel forces, and if these measures are not sufficient, the conduct of a military operation to defeat government forces and allow the rebels to take power. Colored revolutions are thus a new technique of aggression pioneered by the United States and geared toward destroying a state from within by dividing its population. The advantage of this technique is that it requires a relatively low expenditure of resources to achieve its goals.

"Zarudnitsky argues that since this type of warfare is based on the network principle, it has no front line. It is used primarily in urban areas, frequently using civilians as shields. Commonly accepted rules of warfare are ignored, since official state-run armed forces are not used. Instead, criminal and terrorist forces and private military companies are allowed to act with impunity. Counter-guerrilla warfare tactics are required to defeat this type of warfare.

"The key question for military planners is which state will be targeted next. Weak states with poor economies are generally the most vulnerable to these tactics, but the main factor in determining targets is the geopolitical interest of the provoking state. For this reason, such revolutions are organized primarily in countries with significant natural resources or ones that have an important strategic position and conduct an independent foreign policy. The destabilization of such countries allows for a major shift in the balance of power in a particular region (in the case of the Arab Spring—the Middle East and North Africa)."