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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The tactical-technical characteristics of “color revolutions” are closely associated with the irregular, non-conventional type of war. Their combination forms an effective “hybrid” strategy for the customer. In the event of difficulties with a transition from non-violent protests to a “hot phase” methods of external intervention for deliberate escalation of the conflict can be used. One of such tools are the actions of “secret snipers”, which at the same time conduct secretive fire on security forces and the crowd of protesters.

In one of his speeches, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov confirmed this thesis, having revealed it in the example of events in the Middle East. In his opinion, the events of the “Arab spring” in the Middle Eastern space showed that “color revolutions” under certain conditions can develop into large-scale military operations: “Indicative examples of this are the events in Libya and Syria. An adaptive approach to the use of military force, consisting of the minimum necessary covert or overt military intervention in the situation, depending on the developments, was clearly shown”. For example, at the initial stage of the Libyan conflict the hidden use of military force by NATO countries was reduced to giving enhanced help to the opposition in the form of weapons, ammunition, and materiel. Subsequently NATO troops joined the operation to overthrow the sovereign leadership of Libya.

In Syria, because of the military-political actions of Russia, it was partially succeeded to neutralise the threat of open external intervention by foreign actors. However, like in the operations against Libya, a stake is placed on a constantly replenished flow of mercenaries and radical-militants, providing anti-governmental forces with large consignments of weapons and special equipment that prolongs instability.

There are several scenarios of events that can be modified depending on the global environment developing at the time of the realization of the coup d’etat, and a number of subjective factors:

“Color revolutions” serve as an independent destructive tool to undermine the State from within without the involvement of complex military force. There is an illegal seizure of power under the guise of a “non-violent struggle”, while specially trained political extremists block administrative buildings and capture key objects of infrastructure.

The most effective implementation of this scenario happens in those countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova) where there is a network of westernized and pro-American NGOs and private funds.

“Color revolutions” act as an auxiliary tool that complements the successful use of military (combat) force. The external driving force implements the forceful scenario of the seizure of State power with the involvement of extremist, terrorist, and other radical paramilitary forces, which enter into a direct confrontation with law enforcement bodies and State military structures.

As the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu noted: “If it isn’t possible to replace the government in the country, then conditions for an armed standoff for the purpose of further ‘shaking’ the objectionable government are created”. As a rule, this scenario is applied to those States that are capable of stopping – either completely or partially – destructive political technologies on its territory. (Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria).

The plans of the external controlling force for the organization of “color revolutions”, under certain conditions, can be supplemented with measures of a military and semi-military character, especially in the event of there being an absence of a mutually-guaranteed answer (for example, in the case of Serbia).

Here is how in Gene Sharp’s work the planning of a coup d’etat is masked under “democratic regime change”: “In accordance with an assessment of the situation, the choice of means, and the definition of the role of external help, the developers of the general strategy must sketch a general outline of the opportunities for the development of the conflict”.

The general conditional model for the organization of a coup d’etat:

A modelled situation is an attempt to seize State power by force in combination with “soft power” components.

A conditional period is the time that the political system is the most vulnerable: the pre-election period, the transitional period connected with a change (transfer) of power, and also artificially instigated internal political crisis (various provocations, regardless of “binding” to the electoral cycle).

The main objective of the opponent is the overthrow of the objectionable regime, mainly using tools of “soft power”, a coup d’etat disguised as a “people’s revolution” – a combination of the protest potential of civil masses and in-advance prepared shock cells of the “revolution”, the coming to power on a wave of mass protests of destructive opposition controlled by an external controlling force, the replacement of the national-orientated elite with a westernized (American) one, de-sovereignization of the State and its plunder.

Conditional internal political situation – the presence of contradictions in society, the rupture on the line people-State, a latent internal conflict (ethnic, language, religious, etc.), social-economic difficulties of the population, mass protest actions, a state of war, weakness (vulnerability) towards external pressure and towards resistance to destructors from within, the shaky position of the political leadership of the country, the presence of traitors from the “5th and 6th columns” ready to support the coup.

The alleged actions of opponents (the external controlling force and its agents in the form of destructive opposition in the target country):

1) Under socio-economic and political slogans, the bringing-out of civil masses to the streets and to localize them in the central part of the country (city) where key objects of the State’s infrastructure are located.

2) The instigation of the civil masses to violate the law, calls for the “indefinite” occupying of space, the creation of a tent town.

3) The organization of a supply for the camp with the help of elite groups and traitors “at the highest levels”, the creation of alternative self-defense forces, coordination councils of the opposition.

4) Discrediting power structures of the State with the purpose of neutralising the military factor and to deprive the target State of power support.

Because of a lack of ample opportunities for the destructive opposition to confront the authorities and law enforcement bodies (the condition of an asymmetry of potentials), the main objective of the opponent (the external controlling force) becomes a reduction of the “gap” in the capacities of the opposing sides at the expense of large-scale external (international) pressure on the government and law enforcement bodies of the target country. Upon a successful succession of events the military power of the target country (“monopoly” of force) is neutralised by indecision, sluggishness of giving orders, anti-State decisions, hidden sabotage, and treachery at the highest levels.

Around the protest events being prepared the activity of foreign residents increases, the arrival of employees of diplomatic missions, foreign missions, and NGOs to the “places” takes place, the probing and assessment of the situation is carried out, weaknesses in the organization of counteraction from the State are found. This is necessary for the expeditious modelling of the “color” scenario and coordination of the actions of destructors.

On the “tribune” of the protest scene western “emissaries” – ambassadors of foreign States, former officials, employees of foreign missions and NGOs – appear, the aim of which is to influence the power structures of the target country (applying pressure, inducement to the “non-use” of force, the offer for various options of an “exit” from the situation – up to provocative concessions (the agreement of ambassadors with Viktor Yanukovych), and also support of opposition en scene (ostentatious demands not to infringe on the rights and freedom of protesters, justification of riots and provocations made by them). With the help of their high international status and influence they seek to legitimize the actions of riots in defiance of the norms and principles of international law, interfering with the internal affairs of a sovereign State.

The US and its allies use tactics of “double standards”. Breaches of the law in the objectionable target countries are exposed as the “democratic will” of citizens, and actions for the quelling of disorder by the legitimate authorities are labelled only as “infringement of rights and freedoms”. While in the US and the countries of the West breaches of the law are harshly punished, especially during mass actions.

5) The catalyzing of protests (artificial “heating”, crowd “narcotization”, musical concerts with the invitation of celebrities), the order to “unknown snipers” to shoot at peaceful participants of meetings with the obligatory pinning of responsibility for the death of people on the acting authorities and law enforcement bodies.

6) Isolation or arrest (liquidation) of legitimate State leaders, the fight against security forces; forceful seizure of administrative buildings and objects of infrastructure, before the changing of the political regime takes places.

The protest base used by the external controlling force:

1) The political weakness of the authorities, gradually losing control over the public-political and socio-economic situation in the country.

2) A split in the ruling elite, the creation of a counter-elite with the help of oppositional elite factions and destructive non-systemic opposition.

3) The stratification of society, the amplification of social inequality, the emergence of fairly dissatisfied wide mass of people.

4) The dependence of the ruling political elite on western countries owing to the concentration of financial and other material assets, and also family members who study or living abroad.

5) The domination of anti-State moods in the capital and other large cities of the country.

One of the main catalysts of “color revolutions” is the fair discontent of the population towards the policies of the authorities in power as a result of socio-economic problems. Countries with a prolonged period of economic recession fall into the “group of risk”. The external controlling force seeks to strike a notable blow on the financial and economic sector of the target country. For this a wide range of measures of financial-economic influence are employed: illegitimate international restrictions, sanctions, embargoes, introduction of other bans.

The US, covering itself with the noble task of “liberal democratization”, combines military mechanisms of combat with civil ones for the purpose of overthrowing objectionable political regimes.

The West managed to extract geopolitical benefits from the crash of the bipolar system of the international relations and the elimination of an antagonistic standoff (capitalism-socialism). Washington, having felt impunity, started forcefully increasing its military-political power. After the collapse of the USSR and the military-political structure of the Department of Internal Affairs, which carried out the role of counterbalancing NATO, having used the weakening of Russia and the period of formation of new contours of world order, the US and its allies began to impudently interfere in the affairs of sovereign States, under the slogan “spreading and strengthening democracy”, many objectionable political regimes were overthrown. The ultimate goal of western countries led by the US is regime change in Russia, the coming to power of pro-Western forces, a loss of sovereignty and the total decomposition of State institutions accompanied in parallel with the pumping out of natural resources from the Russian subsoil.

The weakening of “rigid” counter-intelligence existing in the Soviet period allowed the intelligence agencies of the adversary and related-to-it foreign NGOs to expand network-centric subversive work inside Russia. If earlier the preparation for a coup, as a rule, took place secretly at the underground level, today preparation for “overthrowing regimes” takes place practically openly. The function of conductors is assumed by the numerous NGOs, which cover their destructive work with the slogan “protection of human rights”. As one of the developers of the known structure NED frankly stated: “Many things from what we do today, the CIA did 25 years ago”.

The events of recent years testify that destructors and their foreign curators even more often take as a basis of their strategy saboteur-subversive activities, “partisan” combat tactics during the seizure of power, combining in this way conditional “hard” and “soft” power.

Countering destructive anti-State forces will be complicated by the fact that in the conditions imposed by the adversary, there is a need to resist our own citizens, which will demoralize the authorities and law enforcement bodies. And western planners place an emphasis on this. That’s why during the snuffing out of the negative scenario of events it is necessary to separate provokers and militants in the crowd from peaceful citizens who came out to show their sometimes fair discontent towards rather objective difficulties and problems existing in the country.

Despite the numerous attempts of western planners to present coups d’etat as a result of the triumph of technologies of “non-violent resistance”, it is precisely the power component that acts as the main factor of success of all the operation. Combat shock groups of the “revolution” play one of the most important roles during the realization of destructive political technologies.

Firstly, without the use of the power factor it is impossible to seize key administrative buildings and objects of infrastructure – without this it won’t be possible to apply serious pressure on the government. It is obvious that only peaceful methods in the style of Gene Sharp tactics concerning non-violent resistance – for example, mass protests on the square – won’t help to successfully realize the scenario of a coup. Destructors also try to intimidate civil servants for the purpose of their “voluntary” refusal to use their powers of authority. Without such catalysts as, for example, aggressive illegal actions against law enforcement bodies or the smashing of shop windows it would be very difficult to support the passionarity of the crowd, and, in conditions of the raised psycho-emotional condition of protesters, to skilfully guide them.

Without the treachery or sabotage of law enforcement bodies it is impossible to successfully realize any coup. It is precisely for this reason that coups d’etat in States where the power bloc found itself on the same side as the mutineers or showed passivity were successful. It’s not at all because protesters could demoralize law enforcement bodies through “non-violent actions of resistance” and “civil disobedience”.

The various epithets “bulldozer”, “orange”, “rose”, “snow”, “tulip” are designed to add an aura of revolutionary romanticism to violent illegal acts aimed at the overthrow of the constitutional system. It’s not important in what percentage ratio the violence during the realization of a coup d’etat was estimated, how many law enforcement authorities and ordinary peaceful citizens suffered, who came to the square sometimes with fair criticism towards the authorities, it’s not important how much glass was smashed by mutineers and how many buildings were burned – in the West the coup will be written down as one more “peaceful“, “people’s revolution” that overthrew the hated “non-democratic regime”.

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