The Gerasimov Doctrine

In sum, the perpetual conflict between Russia and the West is believed to now be guided on the Russian side by a strategy known as the “Gerasimov Doctrine.” It is named after a Russian military general named Valery Gerasimov, who is currently Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces and is also a deputy defense minister. In theory, the “Gerasimov Doctrine” is a response to the evolving nature of war in a postmodern period and a departure from the rigidity of the modern period. Thus, the “Gerasimov Doctrine” is tailored towards “Hybrid War” in a postmodern age where the nature of war has evolved from relying solely on conventional means towards a fusion of hard power and soft power.

Gerasimov himself wrote about the “blurring of the lines between the states of war and peace” and he also wrote that “the role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.” Nevertheless, nuclear weapons serve as the deterrent for any backlash against Russia’s hybrid war, and military force always serves as the backbone for Russia’s diplomatic and political strategy. But overall, Russia’s ‘hybrid war’ with the West and thus the “Gerasimov Doctrine” consists of economic, cultural, informational, cyber, and diplomatic elements in conjunction with its nuclear and conventional elements.

What is also curious is the timing of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. Why a heavy-handed Russian offensive against Ukraine had to take place in 2022 rather than 2014 when the war in Donbass actually started is a question for many analysts and observers. One thing to note is that the Russian offensive in Ukraine coincided with NATO’s renewed assertion in Europe under the Biden Administration. Before NATO’s renewed assertion in Europe under Joe Biden, Washington was bogged down in Afghanistan and the broader Middle East. Thus, Joe Biden essentially prodded Russia into the situation that we see now in Ukraine, which could extend into Europe given that the aim and focus of Russia is perpetual and “inevitable” conflict with the West as a whole. Ukraine does not make up the entirety of Russia’s strategic focus.  

Also, the “Gerasimov Doctrine” plays into political, racial, and social divides in the Western world and in the United States, as well as the absence of a “moral purpose” in the Western world. Russian news outlets like RT touch on these issues, which is why RT is now subject to censorship in Britain and the United States. This lack of “moral purpose” in the Western world and the ‘anomie’ and ‘disenchantment’ which is characteristic of Western societies prompted one writer to argue that “the Western womb is now pregnant with Islam.”

After all, birth rates in the West are in decline, in contrast to many other regions of the world. And there are many Western scholars and thinkers who attribute perpetual and inevitable conflict with Russia to the West and blame the West, not Russia. Paul Pillar, a former CIA agent, argued that the West is to blame for perpetual and inevitable conflict with Russia. Thus, in order for the West to manage and sort out its conflict with Russia, it will require that Washington sort out the deficiencies and weaknesses in its own society before anything else.

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