The analytical report “Russian Expansion Machine: Doctrinal, Information and Foreign Policy Aspects”

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On February 23, 2023, the First Lviv Media Library hosted a presentation of the analytical report “The Russian Expansion Machine: Doctrinal, Information and Foreign Policy Aspects” was presented at the First Lviv Media Library. The document covered and systematized the preconditions, preparations, and the immediate course of the Russian-Ukrainian war, from the first attempts at doctrinal justification in the 2000s to information campaigns during the full-scale war and scenarios for the near future.

The Infolight.UA research and analysis group has set itself the ambitious goal of providing a comprehensive vision of the preconditions, including historical ones, of the war and demonstrating the logic of its course. They also discussed the role of the “fifth column” and Russian information campaigns in Europe and the United States.

The report was structured into sections:

  • Basic reasons for Russia’s latest expansion
  • Doctrines of Russian expansion
  • Doctrinal tasks of information warfare. Strategic level
  • Tactical goals of the Russian Federation
  • Tactical planning of the invasion
  • The information dimension of the 2022-2023 Russian election campaign
  • Forecasts and conclusions

The report was presented by experts from the Infolight.UA Research and Analysis Group, PhD in Political Science Valerii Maidaniuk and Infolight.UA project manager Yurii Honcharenko, and moderated by Valentyn Balahura, a public figure and expert on socio-political issues of the Infolight.UA project.

Kostiantyn Kanishev, the project’s lead analyst, also contributed to the report.

screenshot from the report

The event was organized by the Democracy Promotion Foundation with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine.

After the presentation, invited experts joined the discussion:

  • Petro Chernyk, Colonel, military expert, PhD in Political Science, Associate Professor
  • Mykola Posivnych, PhD in History, head of the Lviv regional branch of the Ivan Franko Center for National Revival. С. Bandera.
  • Mykola Buchyn, political scientist, professor at Lviv Polytechnic National University.

Mykola Posivnych noted that “with the From a historical point of view, Ukraine is at the crossroads of two worlds, two cultures, and this cross-border situation has always been a problem for us. This war is the definition of natural allies and enemies. Russia has always been a natural enemy for Ukraine. Now the Russian empire is going through this half-century cycle, when it must either die or be reborn.

And Putin is already suffering from the syndrome of an elderly man, when he is interested in leaving behind something majestic. That is why, as a native of the KGB, he thinks in terms of the Cold War. He also uses textbooks from the time of the KGB-NKVD, and it is from there that the narratives about the Nazis that have been replicated for the last hundred years.
Numerology is very important to Putin, and that’s why he attacked both Georgia and Ukraine “to match the dates.” Why did the attack take place in 2022? Because this is the centenary of the creation of the USSR, and he dreamed of reaching its borders as much as possible, at least in Ukraine, by this date. And perhaps, if, according to his calculations, we had fallen in a week or two, there would have been interventions in other countries.”

Why is Russia attacking? It attacks where there is prepared soil. Having a Mongolian-Tatar narrative, she does not come to a territory she does not know, is not ready to accept, or where there will be resistance.

He noted.

When asked why Russia attacked today and not in 2014, Colonel Petro Chernyk noted that “If we take a purely military component, they were not ready. In the component we call weapons, they did not have enough of them.
However, the scenario of a military takeover of Ukraine has been in the works in Russia for a long time.

In my opinion, although I have no reliable confirmation of this information, Putin forced Yanukovych to refuse to sign the Association Agreement with the EU by showing him a detailed plan for an attack on Ukraine, a full-fledged military offensive.

The Maidan confused Russia’s plans, because in my estimation, they were preparing an invasion around 2018-2019. When the Revolution of Dignity interfered with their plans and they failed to return Ukraine to the “bosom of the Russian empire” by informational, economic and political methods, they resorted to the last argument that exists in geopolitics – the argument of military force.”

Russia has not abandoned its paradigmatic imperialism and has realized that the window of opportunity is closing. That the Ukrainian ship got up and turned towards the Euro-Atlantic community. They also saw the growing confrontation between the two global blocs, led by the United States and China, and took what I believe to be a logical step to remain a third player. And for this, Ukraine must be with them.

Petro Chernyk said.

“Speaking about the causes of the war, and agreeing with what my colleagues have said, I would like to emphasize that there is still one major, the most important one, to which all the others are subordinated. To understand its essence, let me remind you that Putin once called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest catastrophe of the twentieth century. And the second point, let me remind you of the words of the famous professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, that Russia as an empire is impossible without control over Ukraine.” – noted political analyst Mykola Buchyn.

And if we look at it from this point of view, we can draw two conclusions: first, this war was inevitable. Secondly, any of our actions short of complete surrender could not stop this war.

In my opinion, I think that Russia sought to lead the so-called undemocratic camp. And if we evaluate not economic power, but military power, there are two superpowers in the world: the United States and Russia. China cannot come close to matching these players in the nuclear component. That is why Russia sees itself as the second center of power, restoring the bipolar world.”

Each topic raised during the discussion sparked lively debate among the audience.

There were also many questions to each of the speakers and experts.

The discussion also outlined future scenarios and risks for Ukraine. Watch the full recording of the broadcast here:

They (Russia) are actually very well prepared and have calculated everything. Only one thing was not taken into account – the consciousness of Ukrainians, our national character. That Ukrainians will join the battle en masse! This is the foundation of the resistance of the newly revived Ukrainian nation. This is the foundation of God’s blessing of adding up all the factors that helped us survive.

Colonel Petro Chernyk emphasized.

The report “Russian Expansion Machine: Doctrinal, Information and Foreign Policy Aspects” will be published on our website.

The project is implemented by the Democracy Promotion Foundation (Ukraine) with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine (Germany).

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