Summary of Russian “Hybrid Warfare”

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Russia captured the world’s attention in 2014 with its land grab in Crimea, and again, in 2016, when Russian sabotage just might have swayed America’s tight presidential race. According to scholar Ofer Fridman, such events illustrate that the world has entered a new era of warfare. In this shadowy new realm, warfare is less about body counts and more about the tough-to-quantify aims of fomenting conflict and gaining influence. This dense academic tome focuses on the theory behind modern “hybrid” warfare – a topic that promises to shape geopolitics for years to come. 

About the Author

Ofer Fridman is director of operations at the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications and a research fellow at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.



Warfare, once an orderly endeavor, has turned into a messy and complex process.

The novel threat, hybrid warfare, is the culmination of centuries of conflict. Through the 19th century, nations generally fought wars in an orderly way. Battlefield’s boundaries were clearly marked, and the distinctions between combatants and non-combatants were obvious. Combatants even used predictable tactics. Soldiers formed lines and columns to engage with the enemy.

By the mid-20th century, however, the tactics of war had evolved dramatically. World War II showed the new mind-set: Nations no longer confined military targets to soldiers on the battlefield. Hostilities no longer ended at the front. Instead, opponents attacked strategic locations deep in enemy territory. A few decades later, the Vietnam War cemented the idea of a quagmire conflict in American military thinking. Vietnam revealed the power of guerrilla tactics and irregular forces in fighting a better-armed, better-financed opponent. These developments in warfare led a number of military strategists to create new theories of conflict, going by such monikers as “compound warfare...

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