The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) recently published a 38-page study, Russian Cyberwarfare: Unpacking the Kremlin\u2019s Capabilities by two esteemed researchers, Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov. The opening premise is that Russia has not demonstrated its cyber warfare adroitness in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Whether the Russians tried, and their efforts failed due to the capabilities of Ukraine\u2019s cyber defenders or because leadership meddling disrupted the execution strategies of the professional cyber warriors, hasn\u2019t yet been revealed. What is evident is that the Ukraine example has called into question the Russian playbook being technologically focused and suggests that the political quotient is much more in play than perhaps previously suggested.History of Russian cyber operationsThe authors take the reader through a tour de force on the history of cyber operations, outlining the roles played by the \u201cKey Russian cyber actors\u201d which included, the Federal Security Service (FSB), 16th Director of the FSB\u2014Center for Intelligence in Communications (FAPSI), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Military Intelligence Service (GRU), Presidential Administration\/Security Council, and the Russian cybersecurity companies. They continue how Russian collaboration and coordination in offensive cyber operations is best described as \u201cremarkably fluid and informal.\u201d Providing an informal definition of the playbook being exhibited, though it is likely not etched in pencil, let alone granite.\u00a0 The four identified system of cyber operations per the authors include:Coordinated through a set of political processes centered on the Presidential Administration and the Security Council, rather than a traditional, military-style command structureCharacterized by significant overlap in mission and capability, often leading to competition for resources and sometimes to problems of coordination and conflictSubject to a significant degree of informality and political maneuvering, as different actors report to the Presidential Administration and Security Council via different channels and with differing degrees of accountabilityHeavily dependent on the private sector for training, recruitment, and technology, leading to a high degree of informal interagency integration at the grassroots levelFor those lacking a firm grounding in the evolution of Russian cyber operations, the report walks you through exemplars from 1991 through 2016 when the involvement of Russia in influencing and affecting elections in the West was laid bare, and the year ended with an internal dustup and arrests within the FSB and Russian private sector of personnel involved and believed to have let the cat out of the proverbial bag to the West, specifically the United States. The walk through Russian cyber operations continues from 2017 to 2022 and includes the creation, within Russia, of the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).Russian cybersecurity talent leaving for the WestOf particular note, especially given the current exodus of cyber talent from Russia by those who are voting with their feet in response to Russia\u2019s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting embargos and crippling sanctions, is the manner in which Russia has historically addressed its cyber and information operations personnel pipeline.As in the West, a finite number of individuals are available to fill an ever-increasing number of cybersecurity or cyber operations roles. The report suggests the personnel shortage is not an issue in Russia (pre-Ukraine invasion).In 2015 the Ministry of Defense set up the ARSIB (Association of CISOs) as a means to raise the collective tide within the Russian cybersecurity world. The ARSIB hosts the CTF competitions at universities and also hosts multiday hackathons. The country\u2019s polytechnic schools historically are given resources to produce talent and the recruitment of personnel both within the ethical cyber community, as well as the resident criminal cyber community is a natural segue, snapping up the talent from the academic pipeline. The authors posit that today, the Kremlin is much like the Soviet era in the manner in which acquiring talent is concerned, with the creation of education pipelines, to \u201cmake sure that enough talent and resources are available for Russia\u2019s cyber operations on a global scale.\u201dOne of the recommendations made by the authors which should absolutely resonate with every CISO who has hired personnel who have recently emigrated from Russia is to provide them training opportunities that touch on ethics and the rule of law. \u00a0Russia\u2019s strength comes from its creation of cadres of personnel to fill their pipeline, that is until such time as the flow of trained personnel to the West causes shortages of personnel.Soviet roots shape Russian cyber activitiesIn closing the report draws four conclusions:Russia does not have a true cyber command. There is no clear delineation of operational responsibility and no uniform system of reporting and accountabilityThe organizational, strategic, and cultural differences that characterize Russia\u2019s various military and security agencies in the conventional field do not carry over into cyber operations.The lack of a true cyber command appears to mean that agencies tend to apply conventional approaches to cyber, rather than developing command-and-control approaches tailored to the cyber domain.Russia\u2019s cyber-active state, quasi-state, and non-state cyber actors share roots in the Soviet and early post-Soviet SIGINT and cyber spheres \u2014 roots that continue to shape how Russian cyber functions to this day.