[ISN] Strategic Friendship in Asymmetric Domain)

http://www.pircenter.org/en/blog/view/id/208 By Oleg Demidov PIR Center 09.05.2015 The bilateral intergovernmental Russian-Chinese agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security which was signed on May 8, 2015 during the visit to Moscow of Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC and the President of China, could potentially become an important milestone in Russia’s strategy of pivoting to the East. Though in its current state the agreement rather provides a general cooperation framework, it also provides a broad range of directions for further practical cooperation steps and efforts between the two countries. It primarily focuses on systemic information exchange between special services of the two states, joint monitoring and prevention of escalation of serious incidents and especially conflicts in cyberspace, ensuring and strengthening cybersecurity of critical infrastructures, countering ICT-enabled forms and methods of terrorism, exchange of expertise and academic knowledge on cybersecurity, etc. A strong focus in made on joining efforts in countering the unlawful use of ICTs targeted at “undermining of social order, political and social stability, provoking extremism, hate and social unrest”, and even (and this is something quite new even for Russian doctrines, let alone intergovernmental agreements) “threatening to the spiritual sphere” of the two nations. Noteworthy, the agreement for the first time for a Russian official international document operates with the notion of strategic stability with regard to cyberspace and information security. Previously, a more broad and vague notion of ICT-enabled threats to international peace and security was used. Something distinct from a mere terminological equilibristic, this conceptual update serves as an indicator of the fact that Moscow now truly regards China as a strategic partner in the dialogue on political and military dimension of cybersecurity. The discourse of strategic stability was always linked to the issues of WMD strategic balance and (in Russian view) strategic antimissile defense. Now cybersecurity has a strong presence in this “elite club” of ultimate global security factors in the Russian strategic thinking, and first intergovernmental manifestation of this paradigm is addressed to and agreed with China. Accidentally or not, this aspect reveals interesting intersections with the recently published updated DoD’s Strategy for Cyberspace, which has replaced the previous document from 2011, even having in mind that an intergovernmental agreement and a national strategy are very different documents in terms of their scope and purposes. […]