On May 26, 2017, the Russian military weekly, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, published an article by Yuri Baluyevsky, adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russia's National Guard Forces, titled "War Does Not End, It Pauses for a While - What The National Guard Is Being Prepared For." In the article, Baluyevsky explained that the role of the National Guard, established in 2016, was to prevent "color revolutions" (that swept pro-Russian regimes from power in Ukraine and Georgia) from repeating themselves in Russia proper. Baluyesky wrote: "Somebody may say that I am looking for enemies everywhere. But experience shows that non-profit and non-governmental organizations financed by various foundations – Soros’s and others – prepare the cadre for color revolutions." He then added: "Major threats to Russia may not be outside it, but within it. We must be ready to prevent these internal threats from thriving." He underscored that the National Guard's purpose is "to prevent reckless actions by those who cherish the idea of driving the country, by destabilizing the internal situation, to the same state that Libya, Syria, and Ukraine (to name a few) are in today."
In a recent interview with Russian news agency Interfax, the commander in chief of the National Guard, General Viktor Zolotov was asked how the National Guard plans to confront "attempts to destabilize the socio-political situation in the country." Zolotov answered: "The methods of destabilizing the situation within [our] society, frequently supported by the sentiments of law abiding citizens, are becoming more cunning and sophisticated. The internet is actively exploited for that purpose. The protest actions are obviously of a systemic character and are conducted following scenarios similar to the color revolutions in other countries. The genuine goal of fighting corruption is being replaced by general destabilization and fomenting chaos. Under the pretext of violations of rights and democratic freedoms in Russia, the EU, British and U.S. media are waging constant informational attacks aimed at discrediting our political leadership.
"We believe that countering civic–political destabilization should be done primarily in the informational sphere through cooperation and engagement – as the Russian President Vladimir Putin said – with the civil society, and with our citizens' support.
"The National Guard, for its part, is actively profiling, forecasting and analyzing the operational environment. We pay attention to new forms of unlawful behavior and its negative impact. Simultaneously, we continue to train and prepare our command apparatus and our servicemen. Training exercises are conducted to achieve our units' rapid response, smooth cooperation and heightened mobility."
Below are excerpts from Baluyesky's article:
Yuri Baluyevsky (Source: Gsiwinner.ru)
Russia's National Guard (Source: Nvo.ng.ru)
'Nobody Has Yet Succeeded In Bringing All Kinds Of Marches And Rallies To The Level Of Mass Violence In Russia'
"On the eve of the May holidays, tens of thousands of National Guard fighters were engaged in protecting public order and maintaining public security throughout the country. These measures were taken in connection with the nationwide protest action conducted by the network [of former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s] Open Russia movement in the country's large cities. Open Russia is financed from abroad and is therefore designated, together with other organizations supported by foreign capital (for example, the American Institute of Modern Russia), as an undesirable organization in Russian Federation territory.
"The organizers failed to produce large-scale participation – maybe it was due to lack of money, or maybe the warning by the authorities that the routes of the protest marches in Moscow and some other cities were unauthorized. As a result, about 250-300 people, according to various estimates, participated in the 'mass rally' in the capital, 150 – in Saint Petersburg, around 50 in Novosibirsk, 40 in Kemerovo, 30 in Tula, two solitary pickets simulated 'mass participation' in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and no protest took place in Khabarovsk at all.
Open Russia has already tried frequently and unsuccessfully to use methods of nonviolent action tested in other countries. These methods were developed in 1973 by a Harvard University professor Gene Sharp – founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Ford Foundation, and the International Republican Institute (directed by the Senator John McCain).
"This institution has close ties to the American Research and Development (RAND) strategic research center. And although Sharp’s method of action is called nonviolent, in fact, it most often ends with violence, mass disturbances and fierce confrontation with law enforcement agencies on the part of the opposition.
"In this context, Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, translated to Russian, has proven to be an ineffective manual in Russia. Nobody has yet succeeded in bringing all kinds of marches and rallies to the level of mass violence in Russia. At the same time, one fact arouses concern – that American political scientists have redirected their attention from attempts to influence politicians, as they did at the turn of this century, to the most ideologically vulnerable part of the Russian population – university, college and even school students, as was demonstrated in March-April 2017.
"It is possible that former leaders of the Serbian organization Otpor! (Resistance!) had a hand in the development of the modern protest movement in Russia; on the basis of their organization, they founded the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies – CANVAS. According to French sources, CANVAS is financed by two American organizations: the International Republican Institute – IRI, and Freedom House.
According to a survey, the core group of Resistance! consisted of college students (51%), school students (30%), workers, managers, and college-educated professionals (3 to 5%).
"After the events in Yugoslavia, CANVAS has had a chance to work in 37 countries; in particular, it trained the members of oppositional organizations Kmara in Georgia, Pora! in Ukraine, Zubr in Belarus (On 24 March 2006, after the failure of the Cornflower revolution, it announced its dissolution), Yox! (No! – full name: “Yox” Movement - Azerbaijan), Oborona in Russia, KelKel in Kyrgyzstan, Bolga in Uzbekistan. With the help of its techniques, as CANVAS leaders boast, opposition in any country can learn the necessary methods of struggle and adapt its activity to local conditions.
'Any Color Revolution Is A Staged Action Aimed At Provoking A Coup D’Etat'
"In 1993–1995, I served as chief of staff – first deputy commander of Russian Armed Forces in Transcaucasia. Eduard Shevardnadze was then the Georgian head of state. He and I practiced our Georgian and discussed the new relations between Russia and Georgia. He did a lot for the rapprochement of the two countries: legalized the presence in his country of a Russian military base and of Russian peacekeepers. Following his application in October 1993, Georgia was admitted as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
"At the same time, Shevardnadze flirted with Washington, tried to convince Bill Clinton of the necessity for an international military presence in Georgia, and signed an agreement on the opening of a U.S. military representative office in Georgia and starting a 'military cooperation program' that included American aid and financial support in reorganizing the Georgian armed forces. These foreign policy waverings, the absence of a program of state building or an understanding of the country's domestic situation, in my opinion, created the conditions for the opposition to prepare the Rose Revolution, very similar to the Serbian Bulldozer Revolution.
"When I came to Georgia in February 1993, all the world could be found there. Some states were represented and were looking for their place in this country, and found it. Somebody may say that I am looking for enemies everywhere. But experience shows that non-profit and non-governmental organizations financed by various foundations – Soros’s and others – prepare the cadre for color revolutions. Mikheil Saakashvili, for example, was trained on the money of non-governmental organizations. It is noteworthy that the regime change happened as early as five months after the first contacts between Georgian activists from Kmara and CANVAS representatives.
"In April 2010, a CANVAS trainer and at the same time employee at the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) Marko Ivković participated in the preparation of the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, which resulted in Kurmanbek Bakiyev's ouster from power. Marko Ivković tried to organize something similar in Russia but was deported from Moscow and became a persona non grata.
"In October 2013, Marko Ivković and the head of the Department of strategy and coordination development of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Fink Brian (Gomez) arrived in Ukraine as consultants on color revolutions and participated in meetings with opposition leaders, where the future Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, also took part. In total, about 30 foreigners worked in the headquarters of the Ukrainian opposition, as claimed Oleg Tsaryov, a people’s deputy of the 7th Parliament of Ukraine. Therefore, when I am told that color revolutions are an outlet for people’s anger, which has been building up inside, I disagree, because I am absolutely sure that any color revolution is a staged action aimed at provoking a coup d’état.
"In late 20th – early 21st century, over 30 color revolutions took place. They did not bring any good to the peoples of the countries that had to undergo these monstrous experiments of the overseas strategists. Look at Libya. It was an amazing country, where a child received the highest social security from the state from the moment of birth. And what was done to it in February 2015? Libya disintegrated into several entities, and a civil war has been going on there for over a year.
'The Goal Of 21st Century Wars Will Not Be The Capture Of Territories, But Rather The Subjugation Of The Political Machinery'
"History of the art of war teaches us that war is the most effective way to change the architecture of the world. But the goal of 21st century wars will not be the capture of territories, but rather the subjugation of the political machinery and the formation of a system of external control over people living in these territories. In these wars of the new type, one can clearly distinguish three stages.
"The first stage is destabilizing the situation in the target country and provoking an internal conflict through a crisis. An example is the start of the civil war in Syria in March 2011. In March 2006, when I was Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the RF and First Deputy of the Defense Minister of the RF, I visited Syria, met with Bashar al-Assad and talked to him. I got the impression that he was a sensible president. What’s more important is that people of various religious affiliations lived peacefully in Syria – Sunnis, Shiites, Alawis, who represent the Islamic world, and Christians. I did not even see a hint of a possibility that such a people could so savagely fight each other. It means that it was to somebody’s advantage to create and maintain the conditions for the bloody feast of the civil war. But before that, the situation in the country had to be destabilized. Let’s be frank: today we see that attempts are being made to do something similar in our country.
"The second stage is devestation, deterioration into a failed state. Whatever one may say, to me 'Ukraine' is not just an empty word. I was born in Ukraine, when my father continued to fight there against, maybe, the grandfathers or great-grandfathers of those who are now jumping and shouting 'Whoever is not with us is a moskal!'[a Ukranian ethnic slur against Russians] In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian economy was one of the strongest among the former Soviet countries. In the span of 25 years, it has crumbled, and the people have been thoroughly brainwashed.
"The third stage is the so called rescue operation – allocation of International Monetary Fund credits under certain conditions: conducting reforms that would lead to complete impoverishment of people, destruction of industry and agriculture, sell out of land, and finally, establishing complete economic control over the country. Ukraine is now only a step away from this end to the “revolution of gidnist” [dignity – Ukr.]. The situation in Russia could have developed exactly as in Ukraine, if preventive measures of financial, organizational and educational character had not been taken in a timely manner.
"As a military man, I compare our country to a target. In the center are the leaders and the political elite. In the second circle is the economy, in the third – the infrastructure, in the fourth – the population, in the fifth – the Armed Forces. Today, an attack is launched not against the Armed Forces, but against the civilian population, as less resilient than the military to the influence of psychological warfare forces and methods. The sequence of events is familiar from the experience of color revolutions. The organizers lead millions of people into the streets, who shout 'Down with…!' The authorities start losing control. Then come the sanctions – a combined effect on the country's economy. The armed forces do not know what to do. All this leads the country to a collapse. That’s how a modern war can develop.
"When the new version of the RF's Military doctrine was being prepared in 2014, we sat with officers of the Interior Forces of the Ministry for Internal Affairs on the joint committee. We updated Article 11, which noted the trend of military dangers and threats shifting into the informational space and domestic sphere of the Russian Federation.
"The President of the RF, Vladimir Putin, speaking at the extended session of the RF Security Council on 20 November 2014, said: 'We see what tragic consequences the wave of so-called color revolutions has led to, what turmoil is experienced by the people in the countries that have undergone the irresponsible experiments of covert and sometimes blatant external interference in their lives. For us, this is a lesson and a warning, and we must do everything necessary so that nothing of the kind ever happens in Russia.'
"From June 2013, protective measures have been taken to neutralize the destructive activity of some Russian non-profit organizations (NPOs) that received financial and material resources from foreign sources, such as USAID. The Ministry of Justice compiled a special registry of NPOs that function as foreign agents. As of 26 April 2016, 126 such NPOs were listed in the Ministry of Justice registry, and exactly one year later 98 organizations remained. 28 NPOs were not banned; they were unwilling to advertise their foreign connections that discredited them in the eyes of ordinary citizens of our country.
"The activity of some organizations was banned in the territory of the Russian Federation – such as the American National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the RF, provided financial backing in the amount of $5.2 million to Russian commercial and non-commercial structures in 2013–2014. This money was received by NED from such private foundations as the Smith Richardson Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. I don’t believe in the altruism and disinterestedness of generous American donors. Such foundations do not engage purely in brainwashing.
"Organizers of color revolutions understand perfectly that protest campaigns can at any moment move beyond the confines of the constitutional framework, as was the case in Tbilisi, Bishkek and Kiev. In the violent phase of the Kiev Maidan movement in February 2014, the experience of the Orange Revolution was used. It was that experience that provided the Maidan activists with new street riot tactics: blocking and capturing administrative and governmental buildings in the Ukrainian capital. Not many people know that in 2004, preparations for violent confrontations with the state were under way in Kiev: fighters were mobilized, hundreds of Molotov cocktail bottles were prepared, detailed plans of Kiev's central districts were drawn, including underground infrastructure. In February 2014, all this proved handy for the implementation of the violent phase of the conflict. Dmitry Yarosh claimed that the Right Sector (an organization banned in Russia) had a weapons arsenal that was enough to 'defend all Ukraine from internal occupants.'
The National Guard's Place In The Public Security System: 'It Is To Defend Our Motherland, Our country, That The National Guard Forces Have Been Created For'
"Yugoslavia is one of the first countries that ceased to exist as a multinational state. I visited it many times and saw a lot. Not far from Belgrade, there is a city called Novi Sad, where the training base for the leaders of color revolutions was situated. And one of the trainers was Robert L. Helvey, a former colonel in the American army and a counterintelligence agent. He conducted seminars in Serbia in spring 2000. In one of his interviews, Helvey said that nonviolent action is 'a form of warfare. And you have to think of it in terms of a war. So the principles of war that apply to a military struggle have tremendous importance strategic nonviolent struggle.'
"If it is so, then the defense against mass disturbances in our cities' streets should also be conducted in terms of a war. The coup d’état in Kiev, naturally, became one of the argument favoring the creation of the National Guard Forces in Russia. The idea to convert the Ministry for Internal Affairs Interior Troops into the National Guard was articulated for the first time in late 2000. But by that time, the decision had not yet matured, as they say. It kept ripening gradually, in proportion to the aggravation of 'warfare' (using Helvey’s words) against the existing power.
"I rose through all the ranks in the Armed Forces, and finished service as the Chief of the General Staff – the man responsible for the use of the RF Armed Forces in various conditions. My proposals were either accepted or not, but they provided the basis for the documents currently called 'Defense Plan of the Russian Federation for 2016–2020'; the plan contains a full analysis of what may be in store for us in the upcoming decades. There is a place in this document for the National Guard Forces as well. It is defined by a succinct but capacious sentence about state security – a concept that includes state defense. In particular, the Federal Service of the RF National Guard Forces is entrusted with participating in the Russian Federation's territorial defense. I remind you that Vladimir Putin put the Defense Plan into effect by his decree in November 2015. Based on the Plan, the April 5, 2016 decree, 'Issues of the Federal Service of the RF's National Guard Forces and the September 30, 2016 decree 'On the Federal Service of the National Guard Forces of the RF' from were issued.
"Any country exists in three conditions: in peace, on the threshold of aggression, and in time of war. It is at wartime that territorial defense is put into effect. It boils down to performing the same tasks we do in peacetime. It’s just that in time of war, harsher martial law is applied, but the ideology of employing the National Guard Forces is essentially the same.
"The National Guard was not created for intimidation; its purpose is to prevent reckless acts of by those who cherish the idea of conveying the country, by destabilizing the internal situation, to the same state that Libya, Syria, and Ukraine (to name a few) are in today. Our actions are aimed at protecting citizens, maintaining public order and public security, and, ultimately, preventing color revolutions. The emergence of the National Guard is the response to the challenge thrown to our society, the answer to the threat of using technologies of the so called nonviolent resistance, which should be more accurately termed a color revolution. These technologies are constantly being upgraded. New methods of crowd control and local activist recruitment are being developed, cliché chants and joke collections are created, social network experience is accumulated, tactics of interaction with police and mass media are practiced, new mobilization schemes are explored. Even a special computer training game has been created, where the computer represents the authorities, and the gamer has to stage a nonviolent coup using a wide range of options.
"The mass use of informational and communicational technologies has become an active part of the practice of 'nonviolent resistance'. Information war, even if we do not want to wage it, will go on, and we, the National Guard Forces, will participate in it and react to it. It is not accidental that one of the National Guard's powers is to participate 'within the scope of its competence, in carrying out activities on information confrontation.' This confrontation is as important, and maybe even more important, for the protection of public security as the physical confrontation with a street crowd of many thousands. As experience has shown, preparation for color revolutions consists of 12 stages. The first three are oral and written propaganda with the aim of spreading ideas, the same kind of propaganda in order to organize the masses, and, finally, local small-scale rallies and protests with the aim of organizing the masses and instilling party discipline in them.
"During these stages, the information war is intended to stop the growth of threats to public safety. It includes: monitoring public opinion, synthesizing data received from different sources, the preparation of applied forecasts and recommendations on selecting resources and capabilities for ensuring public safety. The ultimate goal of information war is maintaining public security.
"Events in Iraq have shown that everyone is a participant in information warfare – from the president to an ordinary citizen. But it is the mass media that plays a leading part. Even during the Napoleonic era people said: 'One newspaper is worth five divisions'. The mass media has today moved into virtual space. On the internet, one can see, read and hear even things that are officially embargoed for press publication. In addition, the registered mass media has acquired powerful rivals in the form of network groups and communities, or even individual bloggers who command an audience of many thousands. The coup in Kiev had good press coverage, too. One must not forget it.
"The words we say are an expression of our opinion; that is, to some extent, information countering an opinion that differs from ours. But the country's development ultimately depends not on counteraction but on interaction, including interaction between power and society, power and opposition. It must be based on mutual respect and understanding of the fact that we live in one country, and we won’t have another. Unfortunately, this does not sit well with our opponents who want only their words to be loudly heard, only their opinion to prevail in the public consciousness. Instead of dialogue, they use only the most unfair practices. For example, at the end of last year, the National Guard website suffered a DDoS-attack. Well, à la guerre comme à la guerre. We live in the world of information technologies. We are participants in this war – informational, technological, communicational. Our task is not to allow negative influence on public consciousness, especially of the young part of our society.
"The National Security Strategy that the National Guard is guided by mentions consolidation of national accord as one of the long-term national interests. It is the cornerstone of the security of the country and each and every individual. Our centuries-old history has proven that Russia cannot be defeated from the outside. One does not have to be a great historian to see that. Where is Carl XII with the Poltava battle and where is Hitler with the Moscow battle? If somebody tells me now that we don’t have any enemies, I can prove it with one or two arguments. Major threats to Russia may be not outside it, but within it. We must be ready not to allow a threat from within.
"The mission of the National Guard is to protect the individual, the society, and the state from internal and external threats. It is not accidental that I mentioned the individual first. It does not matter what the individual stands for. For example, my attitude towards Alexey Navalny is negative, but he is an individual too, and should be treated as such. The foreign mass media observed that law enforcement officers in the streets of Moscow behaved correctly towards the protesters. Although the route of the march was unauthorized, the roads were not blocked. Moreover, as the correspondent of the Russian BBC News Service reported on April 29, 'policemen urged people through megaphones not to cluster and to pass straight to 23 Ilyinka St. – the reception office of the presidential administration'.
"Actions of a law enforcement structure may be acknowledged as right or wrong, justified or unjustified. As of today, I have not heard about the mass non-acceptance by the population of the actions of the National Guard. 'If you have this kind of data, let’s improve the situation together', I said during my meeting with journalists. For our main goal is not fighting dissenters but defending our homeland. The frontline correspondent of 'Krasnaya Zvezda', writer Ilya Ehrenburg wrote in 1942: 'Dying for your Motherland is not only dying for your state, history, freedom. Any boy playing outside at the moment is the living, tangible, and perfect Russia as well'.
"It is for the very purpose of defending Russia, our country, that the National Guard Forces have been created."
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (independent military survey), NVO is a Russian military weekly supplement to Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Yuri Baluyevsky is an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard Forces of the RF, he previously served in the following posts: Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the RF – First Deputy of the Defense Minister of the RF (2004–2008), Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the RF (2008–2012), army general.
 Nvo.ng.ru, May 26, 2017.
 Interfax.ru, June 16, 2017.
 Nvo.ng.ru, May 26, 2017.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6916, Kremlin Critic Khodorkovsky: Fear Is On The Rise In Russia, But So Is Fearlessness, May 11, 2017.