FROM MERCENARIES TO PRIVATE DEFENCE. THE CASE OF RUSSIAN PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANIES

  • Iulian CHIFU
  • Teodor FRUNZETI "Spiru Haret" University

Abstract

The modern hybrid warfare came with an important added value involving old instruments in new clothes. It is the case of the Private Military Companies, used in a way that allows credible denial and the hiring of mercenaries with impunity. It is the case of the Russian PMCs, a form of the private defense that goes the closest to mercenaries. Lawfare, another very present form of the hybrid approaches nowadays, has provided the means to hire and change a highly condemn practice as well as the breach of the rules of war and the human rights into a very effective tool with a very high impact when facing regular armies as well as guerillas, irregulars or legitimate protesters.

The study makes an overlook into the international legal framework for the use of mercenaries and moves to the uses and abuses of the new PMCs – Private Military Companies. From the legal framework observed in the case of American legislation and private defense approaches in the US, the translation of the PMCs as an instrument in Russia has put the framework under the umbrella of a real lawfare, with ambiguity in the status and illegality according to the internal Russian legislation. Not talking about difficulties of those PMCs and their way of operating to fit into the international legislation regarding mercenaries and the illegal interventions of hybrid nature.

Russian mercenaries case study is in the heart of the present paper. It covers the legal (in)existent internal base, the hybrid use of legally inexistent private defense companies in Russia’s offensive special operations, as well as the use of the lack of legal base for constraining mercenaries by condemning some for a credible denial. And last but not least, the habitudes in using Russia’s PMCs as a power projection instrument, methods to covertly finance those interventions and the political use of such an instrument in showing characteristics of a Great Power.

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Published
2020-03-31
Section
Articole