Maciej Bartkowski
Maciej Bartkowski
A civil resistance expert and adjunct professor at Krieger School of Arts and Science, Johns Hopkins University where he teaches strategic nonviolent resistance
The case for civil resistance to Russia’s Populace-centric warfare

How Democratic Societies Can Fight and Win Against Authoritarian Hybrid Onslaught.

Putin’s Russia is waging populace-centric hybrid warfare against democratic societies. As such, effective counter-measures to this type of warfare must prominently
 involve civilian population highly versed in civil resistance strategies and tactics. Key attributes of successful civil resistance that, in the past, made societies resilient and mobilized against authoritarian regimes are now indispensable for design and effective deployment of defensive and offensive strategies against the Kremlin’s efforts to bring down democracies.

Informed by the dynamics of civil resistance and practice of nonviolent movements and campaigns national non-military strategies to counter the Russian hybrid onslaught must comprise of both defensive and offensive strategies, including:

  • societal mobilization against disinformation to counter lies and identify truth;
  • unified and mobilized grassroots groups;
  • building infrastructure for civil engagement;
  • educating population on civil resistance actions;
  • reaching out and extending solidarity to the society of the aggressor state;
  • utilizing domestic and international state and intergovernmental structures to establish and enhance readiness in civil resistance policy, planning and deployment;
  • bringing many more nonviolent actors and actions to bear on the attacking regime.

Developing and deploying these strategies are seen as an important step 
in countering both domestic and externally-driven authoritarian onslaughts
 on democratic societies. The study concludes with general and specific recommendations to different international, state, media and civic actors on the actions to integrate and augment civil resistance capabilities and practices. It finally lists a number of benchmarks that can be used to measure the level of national preparedness, readiness and capacity development to effectively deploy civil resistance defensive and offensive strategies against hybrid threats and attacks.

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