Considering the increasing role of the technological developments nowadays, it can be argued that states that ignore advances in the cyber field may face important security problems. In this sense, states should follow the technological developments closely; they need to reorganize their capacities against cyberattacks by aligning all their institutions and strategies with the cyberspace. As a matter of fact, it is known that Russia, like many other states, has made a significant development in the field of cyberspace. The security- based experiences of the RF has been started during the Afghanistan War.
It is accepted that the program that forms the basis of Russia’s cyber strategy is the “Revolution in Military Affairs” program initiated by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, who served in the Soviet Union Army in the 1980s. It would not be wrong to mention that the program attaches importance to network technologies and technical operations in order to make the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union more effective.
“Moreover, most important factor affecting Russia’s cyberspace policy is that Russian politics has a war-based culture throughout history. From this point of view, it is possible to argue that in the international area RF for achieving its goal uses all methods and, in this context, it would not be wrong to note the Niccolò Machiavelli’s word from his writing “Prince” where he was mention that “All the ways going to the purpose are permissible.”
During the Chechen War that took place between 1994 and 1996, the spread of negative news against Russia by using the opportunities provided by the cyber space encouraged the developments in the field of network technologies and information warfare in the Russian security and military bureaucracy.
As it will be remembered, after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed the Serbian forces in Yugoslavia in 1999, Russian and Serbian hackers carried out cyberattacks on the military communication systems of NATO member countries and to the infrastructure systems of the Minister of Defense of the United States (USA)
Moscow frequently uses activities such as cyber espionage, disinformation, electronic warfare, psychological warfare and propaganda offered by cyberspace to achieve its goals in the international arena. Since the beginning of the 2000s, Russia has started to publish official documents on the subject by giving importance to the cyber security.
The “National Security Concept”, which entered into force on January 21, 2000, and the “Information Security Doctrine”, adopted by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 9, 2000, are among the official documents. The document named “Conceptual Views on the Activities of the Russian Armed Forces in the Information Field” published in 2011 based the activities of the Russian Army in the information age on some principles such as legality, cooperation, innovation and interaction. The text “Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept”, adopted in 2013, also contains critical information about network diplomacy.
Nowadays, new technologies are among the instruments of modern foreign policy as they pose threats to national security. In this context, a document named “Russia’s Basic Principles in the Field of International Information Security” was published in 2013 and the document determined the basic principles of the country’s information security in the international arena. It is clearly stated in the text that it is aimed to create conditions in which Russia can compete with other important powers of the world in the field of information and telecommunications technologies.
Using the possibilities of new technologies, Russia carries out hybrid attacks through its cyber power. For example, Moscow carried out DDoS (network) attacks targeting Estonia in 2007, Georgia in 2008, Kyrgyzstan in 2009 and Ukraine in 2014.
RF uses the capacity of the advanced technologies effectively not only on its neighbors RF also uses the power of the cyber space effectively on the global actors as well. The cyber-attack is a big issue for the USA and its NATO allies. For this reason, countries that understand the power of cyberspace are strengthening their infrastructure against cyber-attacks by making serious investments in this area.
Currently, Russia is the vital global actor using the power of the cyberspace. In this direction, it uses the opportunities offered by new technologies as a strategic foreign policy tool. As a matter of fact, the references to cyber security in Russia’s strategy documents are increasing every year. In parallel, intelligence services also benefit from cyber-attacks.
As a result, changing technology also differentiates the national security concepts and foreign policy instruments of states. In this framework, the power gained in the cyberspace is a tool that states use to obtain their interests over other actors. Based on all this information, it can be predicted that states that want to reach the level of global power will make moves that prioritize increasing their cyber capacity. The example of Russia also confirms this.