Abstract: This article delves into an examination of video game streaming and its impact on shaping perceptions of the Russo-Ukrainian War as an influence operation. Specifically, it investigates the case of a 16-year-old boy known as GrishaPutin who streamed a multiplayer game of Hearts of Iron IV from the ChVK Wagner Centre. Drawing upon the framework of popular geopolitics and considering the narrative, ludic, and representational dimensions of these streams, this article situates the event within the broader social context in which the influence operation unfolds. Ultimately, this paper concludes that this event represents a novel and yet to be fully established practice in the realm of influence operations. It highlights how such information operations can evolve and adapt, with non-state actors occasionally driving innovation in ways that may not have been anticipated or planned by established state entities.
With the takeover of Crimea by masked Russian soldiers/fighters without national insignia in February/
March 2014, with the Kremlin at first denying its involvement, war became ‘hybrid’ in our minds. The follow-on conflict in Eastern Ukraine, with separatism supported by neighbouring countries and the armed establishment and military securing of pseudo-state people’s republics, including recourse to pro-Russian fighters ‘on holiday’, has reinforced the impression of a hybrid form of warfare, raising the question: what is hybrid warfare? This article argues that the specific nature of hybrid warfare is essentially a strategic matter characterised by three key tendencies and their orchestration within a hybrid ‘grand strategy’: 1. Focusing the decision of the war/conflict, as such, primarily on a broad spectrum of non-military centres of gravity in a flexible and dynamic manner. 2. Operating in the shadow of various interfaces against specific vulnerabilities of the opponent, thus challenging traditional lines of order and responsibilities, creating ambiguity and paralysing the decision-making process of the opponent. 3. Creative combination and parallel use of different civilian and military means and methods, categories and forms of warfare and fighting, thus creating ‘new’ mixed, hybrid forms.1 At the same time, there is a growing sense that hybrid forms of warfare will shape the face of war in the 21st century.2 They seem to offer unpretentious political success by smart recourse to limited, deniable and supposedly manageable use of force. The assumption that the risk of military escalation and political damage could be kept within limits may at the same time increase the likelihood of the offensive use of hybrid forms of warfare. For this reason, it is high time to improve our common and comprehensive understanding of hybrid forms of warfare as a precondition for common and comprehensive action in defence and response.
This paper aims to discuss the implications of Ukraine crisis to the U.S. foreign policy towards the Baltic
States. This paper consists of several parts. To begin with, political discourse of Obama‘s and Trump‘s administrations‘ is analysed. The second part presents an analysis of practical level of U.S. relations with Baltic States during and after Ukraine crisis, focusing on three dimensions: political/diplomatic, military and economic. In the third part of this paper, implications of the Ukrainian crisis on U.S. relations with Baltic States are assessed, comparing trends in official political discourse and practical foreign policy of Baltic States prior to and after the Ukraine crisis.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a clear sign that Moscow is looking to extend its sphere of influence and it forced the Baltic States to take a very close look at their deterrent capabilities. The article introduces the basic concepts of deterrence and discusses the differences between the deterrent capabilities of Ukraine and the Baltic States. Furthermore, the threats that Russia presents, the factors that were responsible for Ukraine’s deterrence failure and the challenges that the Baltic States are facing are analysed. The article concludes that while the Baltic States are significantly better prepared for possible Russian aggression, their deterrent capabilities must continuously evolve to reflect the changes in the nature of modern warfare.