Read @apolyakova on the threat to U.S. elections posed by disinformation and conspiracy theories emanating not just from Russia but also from China, Iran, Venezuela, and beyond:https://t.co/wkta5xoHhn
— Foreign Affairs (@ForeignAffairs) September 12, 2020
As Vladimir Putin positions himself to be Russia’s leader for life, undermining faith in democracy writ large is still very much in the Kremlin’s interest, says Alina Polyakova, President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis – a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy – and Adjunct Professor of European Studies at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS.
Elections in the United States and other democracies will face an onslaught of disinformation and conspiracy theories emanating not just from Russia but also from China, Iran, Venezuela, and beyond, through a number of channels: traditional state-sponsored media, fly-by-night digital outlets, and fake social media accounts and pages, she writes for Foreign Affairs.
Before Russia’s “firehose of falsehood,” as researchers at the RAND Corporation have called it, turns into a worldwide tsunami, Washington’s task is to increase the pain Moscow will feel if it engages in further disinformation campaigns, Polyakova suggests:
- As a first step, the U.S. government should add individuals and state-linked entities that engage in disinformation campaigns to its sanctions list. Existing executive orders and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed by Congress in 2017, give the government the authority to be far more aggressive on this front. …
- Second, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development should expand funding for independent research groups and investigative journalists working on exposing Russian-linked corruption across the world. The 2017 Panama Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed rampant corruption in Putin’s inner circle….
- Perhaps most important, the U.S. government must do much more to explain to its citizens what state-sponsored disinformation is and why they should care. … European governments, such as the United Kingdom during the Skripal scandal, have developed strategic communications campaigns to counter false narratives. The European Union, through its foreign affairs arm, has set up a rapid-response mechanism for member states to share information about foreign disinformation campaigns. Washington could learn from the experiences of its partners. RTWT
The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) is holding a virtual policy discussion on the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns, Putin’s recent attempts at revisionism, their role in the changing political landscape, and implications for upcoming elections. Panelists will explore effective counter-narratives to fight back on multiple levels, including in the political, economic, and military spheres, and how the Three Seas Initiative should be a positive factor in this challenge.
Resilience and Russian Interference: Neutralizing the Kremlin’s Campaign to Dismantle Democracy
Confirmed speakers: Ambassador William Courtney (RAND); Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges (CEPA – a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy); Mr. David Kramer (Florida International University); Mr. Viktoras Daukšas (Debunk.eu). Additional speakers to be announced.
The discussion will be held via Zoom – secure link to be provided. If you have questions, please contact the Joint Baltic American National Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on the CEEC and speakers’ bios, please visit https://www.ceecoalition.us/