A new form of weaponry that has entered the Russian repertoire of disguise, a type of warfare known as maskirovka and follows a psychological doctrine that has become a critical part of the country’s ambitions geopolitically, involves inflatable weapons.
Aleksei A. Komarov, the military engineer who is in charge of this new addition, discusses the self-proclaimed dishonest tactics of the military
“If you study the major battles of history, you see that trickery wins every time. Nobody ever wins honestly.”
The deceit in the new weaponry involves the fact that the inflatable fabric, which closely resembles a slate-gray MIG-31 fighter, acts as a decoy to the enemy.
— Снегоуборщик (@antihuylo) March 9, 2015
Komarov is the overseer of the sales at Rusbal, which is a hot-air balloon company responsible for providing the Ministry of Defense with one of Russia’s more secretive military threats, including an increasing arsenal of inflatable jets, missile launchers, and tanks. The inflatable decoys are lifelike in appearance from as near as 300 yards, the New York Times reports.
Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the nation has found its way back onto the world’s stage as a geopolitical threat. The Times shares about the steps Putin and the Kremlin have taken in this regard, all by using tactics of deceit and persuasion.
“…the Kremlin has employed a range of stealthy tactics: silencing critics abroad, hitching the Orthodox Church to its conservative counterrevolution, spreading false information to audiences in Europe and even, according to the Obama administration, meddling in American presidential politics by hacking the Democratic Party’s computers.”
The foundation of maskirovka is to keep the enemy guessing and to never admit true intentions while always denying activities and using any means necessary, politically and militarily, to maintain an element of surprise. Military analysts explain that this form of warfare is multilevel in that the deceit can range from disguising an individual as something entirely different to high-level political calculated evasions of truth and misinforming or dis-informing an enemy or neighboring nation.
Fotoset: rocketumbl: Russia’s inflatable decoy weapons Armi http://t.co/GLPjgwzqCh
— Obokiki (@obokiki) June 18, 2014
A telling example of this in Russia’s past includes the most recent military deployment that involved literally masking soldiers in disguise back in 2014 as vacationing or as volunteering in eastern Ukraine, and as a humanitarian airlift to Syria in 2015.
The publication expands on the former example.
“As the Russian incursion in Ukraine unfolded, Moscow sent a ‘humanitarian’ convoy of whitewashed military vehicles to the rebellious eastern provinces. The trucks were later found to be mostly empty, prompting speculation that they had been sent there to deter a Ukrainian counteroffensive against rebels.”
While at a news conference just after the invasion of Crimea, Putin flat out denied that the soldiers, or “green men,” caught on news casts around the globe were Russians. He stated that anyone could simply buy a military uniform and don it. Finally, five weeks later, Russia’s president fessed up to the troops as being his own.
Just last month, the Russians were at it again, denying that their warplanes had attacked a humanitarian convoy in Syria just after Washington’s assertion on the matter. Initially, the Ministry of Defense in the nation stated that the trucks may have been hit by rebel mortar and then suggested that a U.S. Predator drone was the culprit. Later, it was suggested that the cargo had simply caught fire.
The style of warfare goes far and beyond the typical camouflage tactics used by all armies. Looking back on Russian military initiatives and offensives, from Afghanistan and Chechnya to the Ukraine, each was opened with a trick on Russia’s part such as soldiers arriving initially in unmarked uniforms. In 1983, Russian soldiers, disguised as tourists, sailed to Syria. This tactic became known as the “comrade tourist” ruse.
A former professor at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, notes the difference between the Russian and American warfare styles by way of a simple metaphor. “They look at war as chess, and we look at it as checkers,” he said.
Dima Adamsky, a writer on Russian psychological warfare, wrote in her most recent paper about their use of maskirovka.
“[Maskirovka] is designed to manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments and societies. [The opening moves, if played well, will] appear benign to the target.”
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]