Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Russia will Win New Hybrid War on the Ground but Remains at Risk in the More Important Cognitive Sphere, Ponomaryova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 23 – In response to Vladimir Putin’s moves in Ukraine, Elena Ponomaryova says, “the West has unleashed total hybrid war against Russia,” something that has “fundamentally erased the line between war and peace and that requires “a restructuring of our everyday life.”

            According to the MGIMO political scientist, there is no doubt that Russian troops will be successful on the battlefield, but “the main battles of this war” are not going to be there “but in the cognitive sphere.” And there, Russia faces serious challenges that generate concern (

            Too many senior Russian officials consider the war only in terms of its “’hot’ form” and therefore don’t see what is happening within the country as a matter of national security and in fact a war by other means. They thus continue to function as if nothing has changed except on the military battlefield.

            But in fact, everything has changed as a result of “the total hybrid war” Russia is now being forced to fight, Ponomaryova says. And that means both leaders and led must show discipline rather than a relaxed attitude toward critics of the military effort because such an attitude gives a victory to the West.


            According to the political scientist, the preservation of stability requires a fundamental shift in attitude by the authorities to anyone who questions the value of the military operation in Ukraine. If that is not understood, she argues, what Russia will certainly win on the battlefield there will pale in comparison to what it could easily lose inside the country. 

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