Venäjän vaikuttamistoimet Ukrainassa: paikallisväestön näkökulmia ja tulkintoja
In 2014, Russia rolled into Crimea, orchestrated a swift and one-sided referendum, and annexed the Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian government as well as Western countries were blindsided by the attack and slow to provide any response. Due to the comprehensive and cross-sectoral Russian effort, it become obvious that Russia had prepared the Crimea operation for years. This paper examines some characteristics of the Russian hybrid influencing operations – the methods and tools used in Ukraine from the local perspective. The purpose of the study is to gain insights on how the local population felt this influence and further, how they reacted to these actions namely before the annexation of Crimea. The study is based on document review and empirical data collected in Ukraine during May 2019, comprising of 18 interviews, which were analysed by using content-driven analysis. Warden Five Ring Model was adapted to formulate the interview questions, and the Russian influencing operations are perceived as being part of Russian hybrid warfare towards Ukraine. The results of the study suggests that Russia had started employing non-military means, against Ukraine years before the armed aggressions started. Among others, it engaged in a propaganda war against Ukraine, meddled in Ukrainian elections, supported pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine, established political and military influence, and introduced treaties and bilateral agreements beneficial to Russia. However, the results of the study indicated that the above-mentioned activities were not perceived as hostile or abnormal, as Russia was considered as a friendly or even brother-like country. The dominance of information space until 2014 allowed Russia to target and exploit Ukrainian protest potential and create and fuel tensions between Russian and Ukrainian speaking population. The use of cyber domain was an important factor in the achievement of Russian victory in the Crimea operation. Russian influencing operations already prior to annexation of Crimea demonstrated how cyber operations are used not only to disrupt technical systems, but also how they can be used to psychologically influence audiences.