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Russia and ‘hybrid warfare’

Renz, Bettina


Professor of International Security


© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. In the aftermath of the Crimea annexation in March 2014, the idea of ‘hybrid warfare’ quickly gained prominence as a concept that could help to explain the success of Russian military operations in this conflict. Although the concept continues to enjoy widespread popularity in both scholarly and policy circles, its utility as an analytical tool is also heavily contested. This article adds to the literature critical of the ‘hybrid warfare’ concept. It argues that in addition to the fact that what is now described as a ‘hybrid’ approach to war is nothing new, the problems pertaining to its utility for the study of contemporary Russia go deeper than this. ‘Hybrid warfare’ inadequately reflects the direction of Russian military modernisation and as such has led to a skewed understanding of Russian military capabilities. Moreover, the tendency to use ‘hybrid warfare’ not only to conceptualise developments in the Russian military, but in the country’s foreign policy in general, can lead to serious unintended consequences.


Renz, B. (2016). Russia and ‘hybrid warfare’. Contemporary Politics, 22(3), 283-300.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 13, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 25, 2016
Publication Date Jul 2, 2016
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2016
Journal Contemporary Politics
Print ISSN 1356-9775
Electronic ISSN 1469-3631
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 3
Pages 283-300
Keywords Hybrid warfare, Russia, strategy, Putin, foreign policy, NATO
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:


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