2014 Moscow conference on international security [I]

Color revolutions threaten global stability – Russian Defense Minister
Voice of Russia | 23 May 2014

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said there is a threat of the spread of "color" revolutions in the world, that are increasingly resembling forms of warfare. "The phenomenon of ‘color revolutions’ is becoming a significant factor in the destabilization of the situation in many regions of the world. Foreign values are being forced on peoples under the guise of democracy," Shoigu told at conference on international security held in Moscow on Friday.

"The socioeconomic problems of some countries are used for replacing nationally oriented governments with regimes controlled from abroad," Shoigu said.

"They, for their part, provide their patrons with unimpeded access to these countries’ resources," Shoigu said.

"These ‘color’ revolutions are increasingly looking like combat and are developed according to the military arts," the minister said.

It’s time to stop playing geopolitical games – Russian President

Russian President Vladimir Putin said global instability is on the rise and it is now time to stop forcing someone’s methods and values on countries.

"The process of development of a new polycentric system of international relations is proceeding with difficulty and is accompanied by an increase in global instability. We have not been able to make considerable headway in the formation of a union space of peace, security and stability in Europe and the Atlantic," Putin said in his address to participants in a security conference, which was read at the opening ceremony by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

"The situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa remains tense, and serious risks are associated with the situation in Afghanistan," the president said.

"Obviously, modern challenges and threats make it necessary to stop the archaic logic of geopolitical games with a zero result, the attempts to force your own methods and values on other peoples, including by color revolutions," the address says.

The 3rd conference on international security is to be held in Moscow on Friday. The forum is to be attended by Defense ministers or Deputy Ministers from the member-countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as a number of Middle Eastern, European, and Asian countries.

Participation of the Defense ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iran, Pakistan, Serbia, and Deputy Ministers, among them the Chiefs of the General Staff of Syria and Iraq, has been confirmed. In all, more than 300 representatives from 40 countries are to take part in the conference. NATO and European Union countries have declined to participate.

The forum is to begin with a plenary meeting on the themes of global security and regional stability. The following persons will address those present: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, as well as Defense ministers of other states and the chiefs of international organizations — CSTO Director-General Nikolai Bordyuzha, Lieutenant-General Yuri Zhadobin, Belarusian Minister of Defense, Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s Defense Minister, and others.

There will be two panel discussions on the themes of "The Search for Ways to Stabilize the Situation in the Middle East and North Africa" and "Afghanistan and Regional Security."

Participants in the panel meetings are to discuss, in particular, the lessons of the "Arab spring", the impact of the situation in Afghanistan on neighboring states, possible ways for interaction between the CSTO and NATO, and other themes.

The forum is to take place in the capital’s Ukraine Hotel. However, the theme of the crisis in Ukraine, which was originally planned for discussion at the conference, has been struck off the forum’s agenda.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoly Antonov are to hold a number of meetings on the sidelines of the conference. Thus, Shoigu, in particular, is to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Iran, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Serbia, and Armenia

About 200 Russian and foreign journalists will cover the conference. More than 350 experts expressed desire to take part in the conference. The Russia-24 and Zvezda (star) television channels and the official website of the Russian Defense Ministry will broadcast conference proceedings live.

On May 24, participants in the conference will visit the firing range of the Taman motorized rifle division at Alabino where international tank biathlon competitions are due to take place in August.

The first Moscow conference on international security was held in 2012 and dealt with antimissile defense in Europe. Participants in the 2nd conference in 2013 discussed matters aimed at ensuring European security.

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_23/Colored-revolutions-threaten-global-stability-Russian-Defense-Minister-7815/

 

Kremlin Paranoia Cooks Up New Threats
By Dmitry Gorenburg
The Moscow Times | Jun. 08 2014

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The May 23 to 24 Moscow Conference on International Security, sponsored by Russia’s Defense Ministry, focused not on conflict zones or technology advances, but on the role of popular protest — specifically "color revolutions," in international security.

The speakers, among them top Russian military and diplomatic officials such as Sergei Shoigu and Sergei Lavrov, argued that color revolutions are a new form of warfare invented by Western governments seeking to remove independently minded national governments in favor of ones that are controlled by the West. They argued that this was part of a global strategy to force foreign values on a range of nations around the world that refuse to accept U.S. hegemony, and that Russia was a particular target of this strategy.

While the West considers color revolutions to be peaceful expressions of popular will opposing repressive authoritarian regimes, Russian officials argued that military force is an integral part of all aspects of color revolutions.

According to them, Western governments first attempt to topple opposing governments with peaceful protests. But military force is is still an option.

If the protests turn out to be insufficient, military force is then used openly to ensure regime change. This includes the use of external pressure on the regime in question in order to prevent the use of force to restore order, followed by the provision of military and economic assistance to rebel forces.

If these measures are not sufficient, Western states organize a military operation to defeat government forces and allow the rebels to take power. Russian officials at the MCIS conference described color revolutions as a new technique of aggression pioneered by the U.S. and geared toward destroying a state from within by dividing its population. The advantage of this technique, compared to military intervention, is that it requires a relatively low expenditure of resources to achieve its goals.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu argued that this scheme has been used in a wide range of cases, including Serbia, Libya, and Syria — all cases where political interference by the West transitioned into military action. Now the same scheme is being followed in Ukraine, where anti-regime protests have over several months been transformed into a civil war, and in Venezuela, where the so-called democratic opposition is supposedly organized by the United States.

This perspective appears to be at the core of a new national security strategy that Russia is developing. Although Western readers may find it hard to swallow the lumping together of uprisings as disparate as those in Serbia in 2000, Syria in 2011, and Venezuela in 2014, from the Russian point of view they all share the common thread of occurring in countries that had governments that were opposed to the U.S.

Although uprisings in countries whose governments were closely allied to the U.S., such as Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and Egypt and Bahrain in 2011 are harder to explain, such inconsistencies appear to not trouble the Russian government.

Listening to the speeches at the conference, I was left with one big question: Do the Russian officials actually believe this? Or is it just propaganda meant to convince the Russian population and leaders of other countries?

If it is merely propaganda, then perhaps Russian leaders are acting from a realist playbook. In that case, the West just needs to convince them that it is against their interests to try to create a bipolar world where countries are either with the West or against it.

But if the former is true, then the opposition to the U.S. and the West is about mindset and has nothing to do with interests. If this is true, it is not worth spending time to try to convince the current leadership to pursue more cooperative policies. If they truly believe that the U.S. is seeking to force them out of power and is simply waiting for an opportune moment to strike, then Russian policies will remain committed to ensuring that the U.S. does not get such an opportunity.

In this environment, Russia’s current policy in Ukraine is not just about geopolitical calculations regarding Ukraine’s economic ties with the EU versus the Eurasian Union, or even potential Ukrainian NATO membership. Instead, a main goal may be to strengthen President Vladimir Putin’s regime domestically by increasing patriotic attitudes among the Russian population.

Patriotism would thus be the means by which the Russian government inoculates the population against anti-regime or pro-Western attitudes. This goal would explain the obsessive focus on building an anti-Ukrainian and anti-U.S. domestic media narrative from an early stage in the Ukraine conflict.

One thing that may strike observers is that the supposed U.S. strategy laid out by Russian officials very closely parallels Russia’s actions in Ukraine in recent weeks. While Russian officials certainly did not organize the Maidan protests, NATO has accused Russia of backing pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin has repeatedly used the threat of force to try to influence the actions of the new Ukrainian government, both by making statements in which they reserve the right to intervene in the conflict and by staging several military exercises on the Ukrainian border.

Is this a case of Russian officials giving the U.S. what they think is a taste of its own medicine? Perhaps the Kremlin thinks that U.S. policy is aimed at destabilizing opposing regimes because such activities are a standard part of their own policy toolkit.

Dmitry Gorenburg, Ph.D. is a senior research scientist with CNA Corporation’s Strategic Studies division and an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/kremlin-paranoia-cooks-up-new-threats/501717.html

 

Russia and the “Color Revolution”
A Russian Military View of a World Destabilized by the US and the West
Anthony H. Cordesman
Center for Strategic and International Studies | May 28, 2014

The British strategist, Liddell Hart, stressed the need to understand rival views of grand strategy and military developments, or "the other side of the hill.” A range of Russian and Belorussian military and civil experts presented a very different view of global security and the forces behind it at the Russian Ministry of Defense’s third Moscow Conference on International Security on May 23, 2014.

The first session of the Conference presented an overview of the security situation, focusing on what Russian experts called the “Color Revolution.” Russian analysts have used this term since the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2012, in discussing the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine in 2004, and the "Tulip Revolution" that took place in Kyrgyzstan in 2005.

Russian military officers now tied the term “Color Revolution” to the crisis in Ukraine and to what they saw as a new US and European approach to warfare that focuses on creating destabilizing revolutions in other states as a means of serving their security interests at low cost and with minimal casualties. It was seen as posing a potential threat to Russian in the near abroad, to China and Asia states not aligned with the US, and as a means of destabilizing states in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia.

The second session repeated these themes, focusing on the instability in the Middle East, and the final session addressed the war in Afghanistan and South Asia.

Many of the speakers at the meeting from other countries touched on very different themes, but the Russian and Belorussian military speakers provided a consistent and carefully orchestrated picture of the “Color Revolution” – backed by detailed PowerPoint presentations, some of which came from the audience during what would normally have been the question period.

Key Russian officers and officials presented a view of the US and the West as deliberately destabilizing nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the world for their own ends. They describe such actions as having failed, and been a key source of terrorism. They see the West as rejecting partnership with the West as a threatening Russia along all of its borders with Europe.

Senior Russian officials are also using the term "Color Revolution” in ways that are far more critical than in the past. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the United States and the European Union of an attempt to stage yet another “color revolution” in Ukraine, and said during the conference that, “Attempts to impose homemade recipes for internal changes on other nations, without taking into account their own traditions and national characteristics, to engage in the ‘export of democracy,’ have a destructive impact on international relations and result in an increase of the number of hot spots on the world map.” (RIA Novosti, May 23, 2014 ‘Color Revolutions’ Cause Apparent Damage to International Stability – Lavrov,http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/color-revolutions-upset-global-stability-russian-foreign-minister/. )

The end result is a radically different reading of modern history, of US and European strategy, their use of force, and US and European goals and actions from any issued in the West and in prior Russian literature.

Western experts can argue the degree to which this represents Russian anger over the West’s reaction to event in the Ukraine, Russian efforts at persuading developing nations and Asia to back Russia in a reassertion of its strategic role in the world, propaganda to cloak the character Russian actions in the Ukraine and near abroad, an effort to justify Russian action in Syria, very real Russian concern over US and European actions that have destabilized key MENA and Central Asian states, and a host of other possible motives and intentions.

What is critical is that the US and Europe listen to what Russian military leaders and strategists are saying. These are not Russian views the US and Europe can afford to ignore.

The Burke Chair has prepared two versions of a briefing that presents the key points raised by Russian speakers in note form. It should be stressed that the summaries in these briefs have to be made using quick personal notes taken during the actual speeches, and are not quotes. They are only a very rough indication of what the speakers said, and lack important nuances.

Most speakers spoke in Russian and translation may have also have used wording the speakers did not fully intend.

These notes are, however, backed by photos of many of the “slides” used in the PowerPoints during the meeting – many of which were kindly provided to me by colleagues. These slides clearly present the views of the speakers in the form they chose.

http://csis.org/publication/russia-and-color-revolution

Download PDF file of Russia and the “Color Revolution” Full Report

Lavrov focuses on Syria, Afghanistan at Int’l Security Conference in Moscow
Voice of Russia | 23 May 2014

The 3rd conference on international security is held in Moscow on Friday. The forum is attended by Defense ministers or Deputy Ministers from the member-countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as a number of Middle Eastern, European, and Asian countries. Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has shared the Russian Ministry’s stance on the most significant securuty issues that are worrying the international community these days.

Syrian peace process

The search for compromises in the Syrian peace process cannot be based on regime change ultimatums, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "We stand for the resumption of the Geneva negotiations and the continuation of the inter-Syrian dialogue consistent with the approved agenda, whose first item is the termination of violence and the suppression of terrorism. The discussion of transitional period issues should concentrate on the search for compromises and accord rather than ultimatums demanding a regime change," Lavrov said at the Moscow international security conference on Friday. He said the attempts to use the humanitarian crisis or other aspects of the Syrian crisis as an excuse for foreign military interference were counterproductive. "Importantly, delegations of opposition groups negotiating with the government should be truly representative," Lavrov said.

Afhganistan and its post-US development

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged the prospective Afghan president to mind regional stability interests in deciding on the presence of US forces in Afghanistan after 2014. "As to the security cooperation agreement between Afghanistan and the United States, we believe that the new president of Afghanistan will make a decision proceeding from the interests of the Afghan people and regional security considerations," Lavrov said at the Moscow international security conference on Friday. The security agreement lays the legal groundwork for the US military presence in Afghanistan after the international coalition withdrawal in late 2014. Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has bluntly refused to sign the deal with the United States.

Reportedly, practically every Afghan presidential candidate supports this agreement. Russia has repeatedly said it has questions about the US plans to keep military bases in Afghanistan after 2014. Afghanistan will hold the second round of presidential elections on June 14 between former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

Ukrainian crisis

Russia on Friday accused the West of triggering the Ukrainian crisis by its "megalomania," as fighting continued in Ukraine’s east between federalization supporters and government forces two days before presidential election.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged the West to reach a settlement based on mutual interests.

"If we sincerely want to help the Ukrainian people overcome this crisis, it’s necessary to abandon the notorious zero-sum games, stop encouraging xenophobic and neo-Nazi sentiments and get rid of dangerous megalomania," Lavrov said in a speech at a security conference in Moscow organized by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Participation of the Defense ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iran, Pakistan, Serbia, and Deputy Ministers, among them the Chiefs of the General Staff of Syria and Iraq, has been confirmed. In all, more than 300 representatives from 40 countries are to take part in the conference. NATO and European Union countries have declined to participate.

The forum is to begin with a plenary meeting on the themes of global security and regional stability. The following persons will address those present: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov, as well as Defense ministers of other states and the chiefs of international organizations — CSTO Director-General Nikolai Bordyuzha, Lieutenant-General Yuri Zhadobin, Belarusian Minister of Defense, Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s Defense Minister, and others.

There will be two panel discussions on the themes of "The Search for Ways to Stabilize the Situation in the Middle East and North Africa" and "Afghanistan and Regional Security."

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_05_23/Lavrov-focuses-on-Syria-Afghanistan-at-Intl-Security-Conference-in-Moscow-3093/

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