Russian Disinformation: What is it and why does it matter?
Join the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication & The Atlantic Council in welcoming Ben O'Loughlin, Alistair Miskimmon, Christopher Walker and Alina Polyakova for talks and a panel discussion on Russian Disinformation. Professors O'Loughlin and Miskimmon will discuss 'Strategic Narratives and the Ukraine Crisis', Christopher Walker will address the issue of 'Dealing with New Competition' and Alina Polyakova explains 'The Kremlin's Trojan Horses' before joining IPDGC's Public Diplomacy Fellow Thomas Miller in a panel discussion.
Professor Ben O’Loughlin, Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Professor Alister Miskimmon, Reader in European Politics and International Relations and Co-Director of the Centre for European Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Alina Polyakova, Deputy Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Senior Fellow for the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council.
Thinking Past the Weaponization Debate: Strategic Narratives and the Ukraine Crisis (O’Loughlin & Miskimmon)
Western military leaders appear to be falling prey to a ‘propaganda panic’ that they are losing an information battle, while journalism, democracy and the liberal world order fall into crisis. Instead of seeking to explain how audiences in Ukraine and elsewhere are being persuaded or not by Russia, it is more helpful to understand how the communications of all actors emerge from longstanding identities, memories and expectations that are themselves rooted in longstanding narratives.
Dealing with the New Competition (Walker)
“Disinformation” is one part of a wide-ranging, but unitary, effort by authoritarian regimes to influence audiences. It is particularly worrying that Russia and other authoritarian trendsetters, along with modernizing their domestic censorship toolkit, have adapted their techniques for international application.
The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses (Polyakova)
Through its network of political alliances Russia seeks to infiltrate politics, influence policy, and inculcate an alternative, pro-Russian view of the international order. In Europe, the goal is to weaken NATO and the EU. The Kremlin’s destabilization tactics have focused on: (1) building political alliances with ideologically friendly political group and individuals, and (2) establishing pro-Russian organizations in civil society, which help to legitimate and diffuse the regime’s point of view in a way that is difficult to expose.