Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
Igor Nikolaychuk: "the Strategic information operation may be transient, and may last for years"
Material posted: Publication date: 30-10-2014

Interview with the expert on technologies of information warfare, employee of the Centre for defence studies, London. Our guest is a specialist in the field of information warfare and the creation of a special information-analytical system, allowing for real-time tracking of the number, themes and tone of publications in leading world media.

– Igor, what are the signs you will see the beginning of the information war? As the disease, to resist the informational attack is easier because at an early stage...

– As the person put on duty at the radar screen of media and control information space, I will explain with an example. The so – called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is the comment on the military-political event of the twentieth century. He became an extremely unpleasant surprise for the British and French, although from the point of view of diplomatic practice of those years a non-aggression Treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union nothing special is not represented. The rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow was preceded by the following events.

In the USSR noticed that in the German press stopped the attacks on the USSR and its leaders. This was interpreted as the desire of Berlin to improve relations with the USSR. After that, charge d'affaires of the USSR in Germany Georgy Astakhov, discussing with the German diplomat Carl schnurr the secondary question of the status of the Soviet trade mission in Prague after the annexation to Germany, the Czech Republic, said that the Kremlin appreciated the change in tone of the German press. As a result, in diplomatic circles of the two countries began the process that led to the visit of Ribbentrop to Moscow.

This example shows that monitoring the information flow has become a trigger for major changes in the political scene of the world. To catch these signals, you want to sit by the river and measure the "water level". This is called the tracking system information setting. Today, these business are professionals of the highest order. Believe it or not, mostly smart, funny and attractive girls. For me, the girls, the processing Interpress, every day at risk of a dislocation of the brain or to fall into a deep misanthropy. But until the God of mercy.

When we transferred the processing of information on a quantitative basis, have got that before and did not dream. It turned out that every major international event is accompanied by a change in the dynamics of information processes. Here are a couple of fresh and characteristic examples. A day after winning parliamentary elections "Georgian dream" Bidzina Ivanishvili in Georgian media stopped the anti-Russian hysteria that flourished during the regime of Mikhail Saakashvili. And in early June 2014 before the visit of the Russian President on the occasion of the anniversary of the allied landing in Normandy in the French press there came "the calm". The French were doing everything possible to Vladimir Putin's visit was not disrupted. Quantitative data analysis makes it easy to track the start of the strategic information operations. The main thing that was well organized tracking system for the information environment.

– What is the interest for the proponents of information warfare have opinion polls?

– A huge. The results of the surveys are taken into account when the government decides to change policy. Journalists love to scream about the information war, often taking her for purely PR stuff. If there are a number of critical pieces, it does not mean that began an information war. We often operate with the concept of "strategic information operation". It can grow into an information war. Then there is a complete restructuring of the state mechanism of information warfare.

If the number of negative publications per unit time exceeds five times the number of neutral, then we begin to consider the situation as an information war. Actually forget about the positive. Each positive publication in the foreign press eventually cost a lot of money. Why is it that one country will begin to praise another? If the number of negative publications less than five but more than two, state the information the situation of tension in relation to Russia. States in which one negative publication has one or more neutral, we refer to the neutral.

Today, when we say about the information war, they usually mean that started processing the Russian population in need of certain elites of a country. The main drama of any strategic information operations, however, deployed inside the country which it is held. Any policy change is accompanied by changes in the content of what they say the ruling strata of their populations. To do something outside the country, the elites first have to reach consensus and to prepare his people, to explain to him what is good and what is bad.

Before you start actions against another state, for example, to proceed with the organization of the Maidan, it is necessary to imagine how effective was the work on the formation of public opinion within his country. Need to be sure that the foreign policy of the action will receive the approval of its own population. To ascertain this are opinion polls. In the West of the sociological service carried out two surveys among the population and among the elite. The goal is to achieve coordination of positions and to receive a mandate to carry out a particular action.

– And how many publications on Russia possible to keep track of for the week?

– About one and a half thousand around the world. At least half of them negative. But this is a common situation, but not information war. To talk in such figures is about informational pressure, attempts to influence public opinion.

– What state leads in the number of negative publications in our address?

– Germany, where one neutral publication 70 negative. Berlin conducts strategic communications operation for the restructuring of Russian-German relations to a modernization partnership on the format of a sharp confrontation.

– What is the reason?

– The country is ripe understanding that she must become a great European power, and to reassess in their favour the outcome of the Second world war. The establishment of Germany over Ukraine political control (economic – a matter of technique) would mean a breakthrough in the German national being. For the period since 1918 Germany is making its third attempt to occupy the Ukraine. The Germans have always been interested in exclusive use of Ukrainian resources. German geopolitician of international renown Karl Haushofer convinced Hitler that the Ukraine need to get not only bread, and manganese, but also the topsoil.

– In addition to "index of aggressiveness" other indexes calculated?

– Yes. Media indicators are used for quite some time, but locally. Measure the display area is difficult and expensive. There is a press the index. It can be used to count the number of times the media quoted the statement of a politician. I like to monitor the index of the rate of increase in the information array of the number of acute headers. The intensity of the information sector is reflected in the essence of the material – its header. Look at random Germany for 11 September. You can write: "the Government in Schwerin, despite criticism, will hold the Day of Russia". But you can scream: "the Kingdom of evil exists; In Lithuania revives fear of Russia".

– What role in information warfare plays a blogosphere? Links often go to bloggers.

Valery Solovey in an interview with "LH" rightly said that the main cannon of information is the television. The blogosphere and all the others at best play the role of shell carriers. During the information war the role of the blogosphere is reduced. In the first place is something that can in droves to shape public opinion – television and large-circulation press. In the period of the Kiev Maidan, the blogosphere was used poorly. It mostly had a communication, not a public relations function.

– Watching the West-oriented liberals are information campaigns, one is struck by how together they are jumping from one subject to another. Yesterday they Andrei Makarevich defended, today other problems are solved. The impression that the teams they come from a single center. Is this true? What is the technology of information warfare?

– Those people who carry out against Russia's strategic information operation, assign a topic and bring it to rest. Including to Pro-Western Russian liberals. And those together will start screaming how bad Putin.

On foreign policy, on his own initiative, our liberals basically have nothing to begin. Of internal political issues that happens. Center for management of information operations is the U.S. state Department. There is very ably played by such category, as "the rigidity of newspaper rhetoric". Operations begin after the major political decisions at the highest level and pursue certain goals. Then in the U.S. press, you receive a preemptive signal. Then connect your main media mouthpieces. This conglomerate and represents the subject for a Russian liberal media.

Strategic information operation may be transient, and can last for years. The biggest strategic operation carried out by the West against Russia since December 5, 2011 (the day of summing up of elections in the state Duma) and to this day, is the campaign "Russia without Putin". Those who came to Bolotnaya square, chanting slogans, which a little earlier appeared in the U.S. media in the handling of Americans.

Why some information doesn work and others don't?

– Do not fire those throws that do not address the real sentiments of our society. Work and those that take into account these sentiments. But lately I have these doesn't see. Remember the campaign surrounding the law of Dima Yakovlev... the Evil Russians are not allowed to adopt an orphan, living in inhuman conditions without heat and caress! But this topic has been focused primarily on sentimental Western audience before Christmas, but not on us. Like "case of Magnitsky", which is absolutely uninteresting to the population of Russia.

In Russia most of the stuffing from the West does not work. But the West do not. It is important for them to work in the States of the West. But this goal usually is achieved. The girls of Pussy Riot do not have support and sympathy in Russia, and in Europe they are in the spotlight. In Western media they appear as victims of human rights violations and clip creative freedom by the Russian authorities. The hype surrounding the violation of the rights of the LGBT community in Russia causes an extremely negative reaction. Policies, the past lies ahead of the gay parade, can put an end to his career. That is our society. And Western societies are different. Him and are screaming about the violation of gay rights. In the West they are met with understanding. The main theme of criticism of Putin during his visit to Amsterdam last year was the prosecution in the clamp of the rights of the LGBT community. But this is absurd! However, in the Netherlands, this charge received mass support from the population. The mayors, many of them gay, during the visit of Putin lowered the mayors of rainbow flags. Russia and the West differed greatly in the understanding of good and evil.

– There is an opinion that Russia is difficult to conduct information warfare beyond its borders primarily because of the lack of attractive image of the country abroad. This is really the main reason?

– Talk about an attractive image of Russia abroad have to finish. No one there is that image waiting. And don't give it to change. Presently, the actual image of the head of state. The image of the state today is replaced by the image of power. Soon after the war the chief editor of "Literaturnaya Gazeta" Konstantin Simonov before a performance in one of the canadian cities learned that his speech is getting ready to Boo the people who think that "better dead than red". At the moment, when the situation was ready to explode, Simonov said: "Russia. Stalin. Stalingrad". The clapper silent. So when I had created the image of the Soviet Union just three words. That's when someone from modern poets and writers will formulate such a trendy slogan against Russia, then we can say that Russia has recovered.

One of the most fierce battles last summer information revolved around the downed Malaysian "Boeing". Who's winning?

– All solved their tasks, and successfully. And "Boeing", and the fact that every day is happening in Ukraine, the Americans, roughly speaking, to the bulb. But this information about ideal rests on the mentality of Western people. Terrorism and safety concern everyone. The brutal murder of Muammar Gaddafi has justified the fact that he staged the attacks on planes. For aggregate West that Gaddafi, Putin – one heck. Objectionable need a leader to clean up and to bring to power the West need a policy or create chaos. Therefore, as soon as the "Boeing" was wrecked, before any investigation of the causes of the tragedy, the West is at once called the culprit Putin. Downed "Boeing" were used in the campaign "Russia without Putin".

Effect of Slavic fatalism deep trace in our society disaster in the sky don't leave. But we managed to make it appear as what it is, they say, they "Boeing" was shot down, and we knocked. The task is to use it in external propaganda, in my opinion, was not even raised. In the end, everyone won. This is not a fighting draw, and the achievement by each party of their goals. We can't bring all Americans to their faith.

– What are in this case, the goals and capabilities of Russia in the information war? Russia is waging a purely defensive battle, protecting their information space?

– The understanding of the information war, which I have hitherto been described, it should be clear that our main task is to Spud foreign society. However nobody is picking up the task of ilovemoney. Russia needs to convey to a Western audience their point of view. Everyone, including our Western opponents acknowledge the success of the Russia Today TV channel. It works by Western standards, but it promotes our understanding of the events and their interpretation. In a normal environment the activity of the channel on the Anglo-Saxon direction is difficult to overestimate. It represents the point of view of Russia and alternative information of the part of a Western society that does not trust its government. The main task – to expand the audience and attract important people. Russophiles are everywhere, but they need to organize.

Why before the bloodshed in Syria and Ukraine, the U.S. government in General have tolerated the work of Russia Today for their territory? The task of generating the right Washington public opinion in the U.S. our channel makes the minimum. In such conditions, "stranded Emelya your week". However, when starting a major conflict like Syria or Ukraine, the activity of foreign television channels in the U.S. is perceived by the elite as an enemy that must be countered.

Try to expand a massive information attack on the US, even if we create ten TV channels Russia Today, is meaningless. The Americans have been working in other States through non-governmental organizations, with the aim to change society from within. And what Russophile organizations operate in the United States? If I may say so, very surprised and will thank you.

– What is the state of the Russian information machine? If it is streamlined with the organizational and personnel point of view?

– The system of political influence on the media, the formation of editorial policy, financial and organizational aspects of journalistic groups in any country are one of the most closed.

– How can we apply the results to assess the work state information of the machine?

In 2008 she was recognized as bad. After the events in South Ossetia, talked about the fact that Russia lost the information war. Russia has been accused that she is the aggressor. Our media has not made sufficient effort to convince the public otherwise. Unpatriotic and the media actually shooting in the backs of our soldiers. Before attaching the Crimea was held a huge, hard, painful and almost invisible work by exclusion from the media of Russia the mass media, which could shoot you in the back. Information warfare requires overwhelming advantages of those media that work on the implementation of the state project. Advocacy the horror of the first Chechen war, when beat on his own, not forgotten and must not be repeated.

The return of the Crimea was also notable for one event. For the first time in post-Soviet history of Russia has created a positive myth of "polite people". Although previously many people had already been awarded the title of Hero of Russia, not a myth arose. And now he is. Recently in the Czech Republic have released a wonderful plastic figurines "polite people". Previously, there were produced the figures of the Chechen fighters who held severed heads of our soldiers. And now "friendly people"...

Interviewed Oleg Nazarov


RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security