Fifth World War refers to a concept of non-linear war; the war of all against all. The term was coined by Vladimir Putin‘s vizier Vladislav Surkov.
According to Surkov, the first four world wars were fought with physical weapons and military power, while the fifth world war is being fought with information (and disinformation), culture, and ideology. He argues that the primary battlefields of this new conflict are not physical territories, but rather the minds and hearts of people around the world.
Psychological and information warfare
Surkov contends that the fifth world war is a “non-linear” war that is fought with a range of unconventional tactics, including propaganda, disinformation, and psychological manipulation. He suggests that this new form of warfare involves using technology and media to shape public opinion, sow division and distrust, and destabilize target societies.
Surkov’s ideas about the fifth world war reflect a growing concern among some scholars and policymakers about the role of information and technology in contemporary conflicts. However, his views on this subject are controversial, and some critics argue that his analysis reflects a Russian perspective that seeks to justify the uses of information warfare and psychological warfare as a means of advancing Russian interests.