2015 Cyber Conflict & Cooperation: The Role of Russia

Russia plays a formidable role in the cyber domain. It possesses a potent arsenal of cyberweapons, is a major presence in regional and international efforts to codify norms of cyber conduct, and is at the center of contemporary debates about internet freedom and governance. No major international cooperative effort in the cyber domain is meaningful without Russia’s participation in it; no conception of the future of cybersecurity is complete without an understanding of Russia’s impact on it. Russia, in short, is crucial both to the understanding of cybersecurity challenges and to the formulation of effective policy responses to them. The workshop to address these issues was supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


8:30am Introductions:

Shelby Luce, EPIIC 2015 Colloquium Member
Lucas Kello, Convener
Antonia Chayes on William Martel

9:00am Talk by Herb Lin (in memory of William Martel)
9:30am Discussion of digital surveillance and Internet censorship in Russia
11:00am Discussion of international cyber security and conflict


(1) To clarify the risks of international cyber conflict and Russia’s role as both a security threat to and partner of the West.
(2) To explore opportunities for cooperation between Russia and the West in efforts to strengthen rules, norms, and laws of cyber conduct and internet governance.
(3) To identify areas for further academic inquiry in the advancement of cyber studies at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Discussion Questions included:

• How does Russia conceive of “cybersecurity” and how does this conception differ from the perception and interests of the United States and its partner nations?
• What role does “information security” play in Russia and how does it affect the country’s stance towards internet regulation and governance?
• How have Russian opposition groups employed the internet as an instrument of political subversion? What has been the Kremlin’s response?
• What are the prospects for internet freedom in Russia?
• What has been Russia’s involvement so far in international cooperative efforts in the cyber domain (eg, Shanghai Cooperation Organization)? What cooperative efforts has Russia abstained from or resisted and why (eg, Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime)?
• How does Russian activity in the cyber domain threaten Western interests and what are appropriate responses to the Russian threat?
• What is the role of NATO in European cybersecurity, especially in relation to Russian strategic threats? • How and for what purposes does Russia cultivate, support, and employ proxy cyber militias? What risks do these civilian groups pose for the management of a major international cyber crisis?
• How have Russia and its foreign adversaries used cyber instruments in the current Ukraine crisis?

The session was held under Chatham House rules.

Convened by:

Lucas Kello (EPIIC’96), Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Director of Cyber Studies Programme, University of Oxford


Karina Alexanyan, Postdoctoral Scholar/Project Manager, mediaX, Stanford University; Affiliate, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School, Harvard University Antonia Chayes, Professor of Practice of International Politics and Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University; former Undersecretary, U.S. Air Force

Lt. Gen Arlen Jameson (USAF, ret.), former Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Strategic Command; Vice Chairman, Air Force Academy Board of Visitors Christian Lifländer, Policy Officer, Cyber Defence Section, NATO HQ, Belgium

Herbert Lin, Senior Research Scholar for Cyber Policy and Security, Stanford University; Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Richard H.L. Marshall, Director, Global Cyber Security Management, National Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security; Member, Senior Cryptologic Executive Service and Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service Margarita Zolotova, Director of College Strategy and Public Policy, Wickr, Inc.


Convened in Memory of William Martel (1955-2015)

William C. Martel was Associate Professor of International Security Studies whose research and teaching interests are in international security and public policy. His publications included Victory in War: Foundations of Strategy; “For America, Decline is a Choice,” The Diplomat, March 15, 2013; “A Roadmap for American Grand Strategy,” The Diplomat, March 4, 2013; “America’s Dangerous Drift,” The Diplomat, February 25, 2013; Grand Strategy of ‘Restrainment’, (Orbis, 2010); “Victory in the Scholarship on Strategy and War,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, September 2011; A Strategy for Victory and Implications for Policy (Orbis, 2008); and Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy (Cambridge UP, 2007). Formerly a Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College, he also served on the professional staff of the RAND Corporation in Washington. He served as an advisor to the National Security Council, was a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Secretary of Defense, U.S. Air Force and USAF Scientific Advisory Board, and served on the Defense Department’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee. He was the Principal Investigator in The Fletcher School-MIT Lincoln Laboratory studies formulating cyber codes of conduct and space rules of engagement. He lectured on national security to government agencies and Fortune 100 companies, was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and of the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire.