The most pessimistic Kremlin watchers worry how far Putin will go with the combination of psychological manipulation and cyberwarfare. They view the pattern of Russia’s electoral meddling in the context of Putin’s recent embrace of what is known as the Gerasimov doctrine, a nontraditional approach to military conflict named after the chief of the Russian general staff, Valery Gerasimov, that relies heavily on cyberwar and influence operations. “A perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict,” Gerasimov posited in a now famous 2013 manifesto, through “political, economic, informational, humanitarian and other nonmilitary measures applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population.”
the Russians understand that the real power of this domain is in influence operations, psychological warfare, changing people’s perceptions of what’s truly going on.”
As results came in on election night in 2012, he falsely tweeted that the Republican had won the popular vote and urged an uprising. “The phoney Electoral College made a laughingstock out of our nation,” Trump tweeted. “The world is laughing at us. More votes equals a loss … revolution! This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
Trump’s former campaign manager worked for Putin’s proxy in Ukraine until the pro-Western uprising there, and Trump, his family and a foreign policy adviser have done tens of millions of dollars of business in Russia. The exact amount is unclear, and Trump has declined to disclose details of his Russian business partners.