Russia: New Military Doctrine and Information Security

In February, Russia published its updated military doctrine [RUS] for the next ten years (English translation is here). Although not mentioning cyber security or Internet directly, the document deals with informational aspects of security that, by definition, imply Internet, media, and cyber security.

The most significant unclassified document related to information security, the doctrine was published for the first time ten years ago. The current document provides an interesting opportunity to evaluate the role of information from security perspective. This perspective may apply to the issues of cyber security and Internet, as well as other information platforms (e.g. mass media).

This article provides translation of the Russia's military doctrine paragraphs related to information security. It also briefly analyzes the current doctrine in regards to the issues of cyber security and Internet.

4. Военная доктрина отражает приверженность Российской Федерации использованию политических, дипломатических, правовых, экономических, экологических, информационных, военных и других инструментов защиты национальных интересов Российской Федерации  и интересов ее союзников.

4. the military doctrine reflects the commitment of Russia the use of political, diplomatic, legal, economic, environmental, informational, military and other instruments to protect the national interests of Russia and the interests of its allies.

The fourth paragraph acknowledges Russia's intent to use information measures to defend the country's national interests and those of its allies.

The ninth paragraph of the document, “The major internal military threats” (Основные внутренние военные опасности), defines a threat as follows:

в) дезорганизация функционирования органов государственной власти, важных государственных, военных объектов и информационной инфраструктуры Российской Федерации.

b) disruption of the functioning of public authorities, important state, military facilities and information infrastructure of Russia.

The 12th paragraph names some characteristics of the modern military conflict (Характерные черты современных военных конфликтов):

а) комплексное применение военной силы и сил и средств невоенного характера

г) усиление  роли информационного противоборства

a) integrated use of military force and capabilities of non-military
g) strengthening the role of information confrontation

The 13th paragraph of the doctrine elaborates on the nature of information struggle. It defines characteristics of the modern warfare (Особенности современных военных конфликтов)

г) заблаговременное проведение мероприятий информационного противоборства для достижения политических целей без применения военной силы, а в последующем – в интересах формирования благоприятной реакции мирового сообщества на применение военной силы.

g) early interventions information confrontation to achieve political objectives without the use of military force, and subsequently – in the interest of creating a favorable reaction of the international community to use military force.

The 19th paragraph lists the main goals of the Russian Federation in the field of deterrence and prevention of military conflicts (Основные задачи Российской Федерации по сдерживанию и предотвращению военных конфликтов). According to the document, the first goal is:

а) оценка и прогнозирование развития военно-политической обстановки на глобальном и региональном уровне, а также состояния межгосударственных отношений в военно-политической сфере с использованием современных технических средств и информационных технологий;

a) evaluation and prediction of development of military-political situation at the global and regional level, as well as the state of interstate relations in the military-political sphere with the use of modern technology and information technology.

The 30th paragraph defines the main priorities of a military organization (Основные задачи развития военной организации):

к) совершенствование системы информационного обеспечения Вооруженных Сил и других войск;

k) improving information management system for the Armed Forces and other troops.

The 41st paragraph lists the main tasks equipping the Armed Forces and other troops of arms, military and special equipment (Задачи оснащения Вооруженных Сил и других войск вооружением, военной и специальной техникой):

в) развитие сил и средств информационного противоборства;

г) качественное совершенствование средств информационного обмена на основе использования современных технологий и международных стандартов, а также единого информационного поля Вооруженных Сил и других войск как части информационного пространства Российской Федерации;

b) the development of forces and means of information confrontation.
g) the qualitative improvement of information exchange through the use of modern technologies and international standards, as well as a single information field of the Armed Forces and other troops as part of the information space of Russia


  • The doctrine emphasizes the importance of information struggles as a part of modern warfare (it may refer to cybersecurity or any other kind of information)
  • The doctrine approaches the information warfare within its impact on public opinion and the role of public opinion in regards to an ability to conduct military operations.  Consequently, any impact on public opinion may be approached as a part of military aggression and the first stage of military operation.
  • The doctrine sets a goal to develop information warfare capabilities including offensive capabilities (recent McAfee report named Russia as one of the countries that has cyber offensive capabilities in addition to U.S., China, France and Israel)
  • The doctrine defines the goals of modernization of military forces as a part of informational space of Russia.

One of the main points of the doctrine in the information field is a lack of definition of the information struggles elements. Consequently, cyber security, Internet (including any kind of Internet-based activity), as well as traditional media, can be approached as a part of information security from military perspective.

The broad definition of information security is a traditional part of Russian approach toward this field. It has to be noted that the current strategy should be approached with difference between Russian and Western perspective in mind.  The U.S. and Western approach to cyber security tends to focus primarily on regulation of cyber crime and legislation that may provide exterritorial jurisdiction to follow cyber criminals.

The western countries look for strategies to restricts the threat caused by individual actors. In contrast, Russia is primarily concerned with information threats that caused by state actors and makes efforts to develop international agreements that will restrict the states – and not individuals – in the informational security field.


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