Reinforcing Deterrence Through Societal Resilience: Countering Hybrid Threats in the Baltic Region

  • James Rogers


Fifteen years ago, it was generally hoped that the Baltic region, broadly encompassing the three Baltic states, that is, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the Nordic states, Poland, Germany and Russia, would become progressively integrated economically to such a degree that it would become a strategic backwater in world affairs (Andersson and Balsyte 2016). With the enlargement of the European Union (EU) in 1995 and 2004 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and 2004, the region looked set towards near-full incorporation into the Euro-Atlantic structures, all underpinned by the Anglo-American conventional and nuclear deterrents. Today, just a decade later, the rise of a revisionist and belligerent Russia has fundamentally altered the perception of strategic analysts in relation to the Baltic region. In response, NATO’s Newport and Warsaw summits of 2014 and 2016 put the Baltic region firmly back onto the strategic map to such an extent that it would not be exaggerating to argue now that the Baltic states have themselves become a ‘geostrategic frontier’ for the defence effort of the entire Euro-Atlantic area. Indeed, as NATO’s response has intensified, the Baltic region—insofar as it has sucked in countries like Canada, Germany, the UK and the USA—might be considered as having expanded to become a ‘Wider Baltic’ area, effectively tethering the Baltic to the North Atlantic in a way not seen since the height of the Cold War. Therefore, to consider the three Baltic states in isolation would make little strategic sense and likely lead to fundamental misunderstanding as to the region’s centrality to the West’s wider defence effort.


  1. Adamsky, Dmitry. 2015. Cross-Domain Coercion: The Current Russian Art of Strategy. Paris: French Institute of International Relations. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  2. Allison, Roy. 2008. Russia Resurgent? Moscow’s Campaign to ‘Coerce Georgia to Peace’. International Affairs 84 (6): 1145–1171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson, Jan Joel, and Erika Balsyte. 2016. Winter Is Coming: Chilly Winds Across Northern Europe, Issue Brief, No. 34 (December). Paris: European Union Institute for Security Studies.Google Scholar
  4. Asmus, Ronald D. 2010. A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Bartles, Charles K. 2016. Getting Gerasimov Right. Military Review 30 (January). Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  6. BBC. 2017. Lithuania Plans Fence on Russian Kaliningrad Border. BBC News, January 17.
  7. Berzins, Janis. 2014. Russia’s New Generation Warfare in Ukraine: Implications for Latvian Defence Policy. Riga: Latvian National Defence Academy. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  8. Bouchet, Nicolas. 2016. Russia’s ‘Militarisation’ of Colour Revolutions. Policy Perspectives 2 (4): 1–4.Google Scholar
  9. Budjeryn, Mariana. 2014. The Breach: Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity and the Budapest Memorandum, Issue Brief. Washington, DC: Wilson Centre.
  10. Coalson, Robert. 2014. Top Russian General Lays Bare Putin’s Plan for Ukraine. Huffington Post, September 2.
  11. Dupont, Claire. 2016. When Decarbonisation Meets Disinformation: EU-Russia Energy Relations. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  12. ERR. 2016. Federation Council Speaker: Russia Will Continue to Defend Non-citizens in Baltics. May 12. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.
  13. Farmer, Ben. 2015. Putin Will Target the Baltic Next, Defence Secretary Warns. The Daily Telegraph (, February 18.
  14. Focus Washington. 2013. Ambassador of Lithuania on Country’s Progress. June 23. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.
  15. Freedman, Lawrence. 2004. Deterrence. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2009. Framing Strategic Deterrence: Old Certainties, New Ambiguities. The RUSI Journal 154 (4): 46–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Freier, Nathan. 2009. The Defense Identity Crisis: It’s a Hybrid World. Parameters 39 (1): 81.Google Scholar
  18. Goble, Paul. 2015. Very Few Russians in Estonia Want to Leave. Estonian World, February 17.
  19. Grand, Camille. 2016. Nuclear Deterrence and the Alliance in the 21st Century. NATO Review, July 4.
  20. Grigas, Agnia. 2014. The New Generation of Baltic Russian Speakers. EurActiv, November 28.
  21. ———. 2015. How Russia Sees Baltic Sovereignty. The Moscow Times, July 14.
  22. Grygiel, Jakub, and Wess A Mitchell. 2014. Limited War Is Back. The National Interest 135 (August 28): 37–44.Google Scholar
  23. Hale, Henry E. 2014. Russian Nationalism and the Logic of the Kremlin’s Actions on Ukraine. The Guardian, August 29.
  24. Hoffman, Frank G. 2009. Hybrid Warfare and Challenges. Joint Forces Quarterly 52: 34–39.Google Scholar
  25. Holmes, James R. 2014. Everything You Know About Clausewitz Is Wrong. November 12. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  26. Huggler, Justin. 2014. Utin ‘Privately Threatened to Invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states’. The Telegraph, September 18.
  27. Isherwood, Julian. 2015. Russia Warns Denmark Its Warships Could Become Nuclear Targets. The Telegraph, March 21.
  28. Jensen, Donald N. 2015. Is Radical Nationalism in Russia Getting out of Control? May 12. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  29. Kaspoglu, Can. 2015. Russia’s Renewed Military Thinking: Non-linear Warfare and Reflexive Control. Research Paper 121 (November). Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  30. Kobzar, Svitlana. 2016. Mind the Gap: Interpreting the Minsk II Agreement. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  31. Kofman, Michael. 2016. Russian Hybrid Warfare and Other Dark Arts. March 11. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  32. Kofmann, Michael, and Matthew Rojansky. 2015. A Closer Look at Russia’s ‘Hybrid War’. Kennan Cable. Washington, DC: Wilson Centre.
  33. Koort, Kaatja. 2014. The Russians of Estonia: Twenty Years After. World Affairs 176 (2): 66–73.Google Scholar
  34. Korsunskaya, Darya. 2014. Putin Says Russia Must Prevent ‘Color Revolution’. November 20. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  35. Kristovskis, Gatis. 2016. NATO – Russia Confrontation Could Escalate, Says Latvian State Secretary. January 7. Accessed 15 Jan 2017.
  36. Lanoszka, Alexander. 2016. Western Intelligence and Counter-intelligence in a Time of Russian Disinformation. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  37. Laurinavicius, Marius, Roman Yakovlevsky, Daniel Szeligowski, Maksym Khylko, Oleksandr Tytarchuk, Raimonds Rublovskis, and Pawel Fleischer. 2015. Baltic Security: Russia’s Threats, NATO’s Capabilities and the ‘Belarus Facto’. EESRI Comment.
  38. Long, Austin. 2008. Deterrence: From Cold War to Long War. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.Google Scholar
  39. Marder, Arthur J. 1961. From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. McKew, Molly K. 2017a. Putin’s Real Long Game. January 1. Accessed 22 Jan 2017.
  41. ———. 2017b. Russia Is Already Winning. January 18. Accessed 22 Jan 2017.
  42. Nestoras, Antonios. 2016a. Russia and the European Far Right After Brexit: Shifting Gears in the European Parliament. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  43. ———. 2016b. Is Information Warfare Breaching the European Parliament? Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  44. Nimmo, Ben. 2016. Identifying Disinformation: An ABC. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  45. Oldberg, Ingmar. 2007. Russia’s Great Power Ambitions and Policy Under Putin. In Russia: Re-Emerging Great Power, ed. Roger E. Kanet. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. Oliphant, Roland. 2016. Russia ‘Simulated a Nuclear Strike’ Against Sweden, Nato Admits. The Telegraph, February 4.
  47. Paulauskas, Kestutis. 2016. On Deterrence. NATO Review, August 5.
  48. Pomerantsev, Peter. 2014. How Putin Is Reinventing Warfare. May 5. Accessed 22 Jan 2017.
  49. Putin, Vladimir. 2014. Speech to the Conference of Russian Federation Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives. Conference of Russian Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives, Moscow.
  50. Rogers, James, and Andra Martinescu. 2015. After Crimea: Time for a New British Geostrategy for Eastern Europe? London: The Henry Jackson Society. Accessed 13 Jan 2017.
  51. Rogers, James, and Andriy Tyushka. 2016. Russia’s ‘Anti-hegemonic’ Offensive: A New Strategy in Action. Diplomaatia 160 (December). Accessed 13 Jan 2017.
  52. Roudik, Peter. 2008. Russian Federation: Legal Aspects of War in Georgia. Washington, DC: The Law Library of Congress.
  53. Rühle, Michael. 2015. Deterrence: What It Can (and Cannot) Do. NATO Review, April 20.
  54. Shirreff, Richard. 2016. 2017: War with Russia. London: Coronet.Google Scholar
  55. Tsygankov, Andrei. 2005a. Vladimir Putin’s Vision of Russia as a Normal Great Power. Post-Soviet Affairs 21 (2): 132–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. ———. 2005b. Vladimir Putin’s Vision of Russia as a Normal Great Power. Post-Soviet Affairs 21 (2): 132–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Van Der Putten, Frans-Paul, Minke Meijnders, and Jan Rood. 2015. Deterrence as a Security Concept Against Non-traditional Threats. The Hague: Clingendael Institute. Accessed 22 Jan 2017.
  58. Van Puyvelde, Damien. 2015. Hybrid War – Does It Even Exist? May 7. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  59. Weitz, Richard. 2014. Countering Russia’s Hybrid Threats. Diplomaatia 135 (November). Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  60. White, Jon. 2016. Dismiss, Distort, Distract, and Dismay: Continuity and Change in Russian Disinformation. Brussels: Institute for European Studies.Google Scholar
  61. Williams, Henry. 2016. Is Putin Eyeing up the Baltic States? July 28. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  62. Wintour, Patrick. 2014. Cameron Warns Putin Against Ripping Up International Rulebook over Ukraine. The Guardian, November 10.
  63. Yost, David S. 2015a. The Budapest Memorandum and Russia’s Intervention in Ukraine. International Affairs 91 (3): 505–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. ———. 2015b. The Budapest Memorandum and the Russia-Ukraine Crisis. June 10. Accessed 14 Jan 2017.
  65. Zapfe, Martin. 2016. ‘Hybrid’ Threats and NATO’s Forward Presence. Policy Perspectives 4 (7): 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Rogers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Global Britain ProgrammeThe Henry Jackson SocietyLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Political and Strategic StudiesBaltic Defence College (2015–2017)TartuEstonia

Personalised recommendations