Ukraine’s soft-power struggle faces hard reckoning


When “little green men” invaded Crimea in the spring of 2014, Russian media went into overdrive, smearing Ukraine’s Euro-revolution as a “fascist coup d’état,” POLITICO reports:

A group of professors and students struck back and unwittingly made history that spring when they launched, the first site to directly tackle and refute Russian propaganda. Now that the rest of the world has woken up to the Kremlin’s disinformation tactics, the journalism school crew behind StopFake have emerged as the “grand wizards” of the fake-news-busting world. …  They now organize media workshops across the Continent, offering guidelines on recognizing and debunking Russian propaganda.

“There was a growing avalanche of propaganda from Russia seeking to reframe the narrative in the Kremlin’s favor, and we urgently needed to counterbalance that,” says Yevhen Fedchenko, the dean of Kiev Mohyla University’s journalism faculty and one of the founders of StopFake.

Mariupol residents say the angry divisions of past days have faded over the past three years, as support for Russia has ebbed and a sense of Ukrainian identity has grown. Much of that shift can be attributed to revulsion at the war, and Russia’s role in fuelling it, but U.S. soft power has also played a significant role, The Globe and Mail reports.

“I think the percentage of people who support … Russia, the separatists, is less and less every year,” said Julia Didenko, a Mariupol-based journalist. “It’s hard to find someone who will say, ‘I support Russia,’ or ‘Donbass should be independent.’”

Ms. Didenko works in the local office of Hromadske, a television station that receives money from both USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy – a separate agency funded by the U.S. Congress – as well as other foreign donors, including the Canadian Embassy in Kiev and the International Renaissance Foundation of U.S. billionaire George Soros.


A House Armed Services subcommittee will have a hearing on information warfare and counter-propaganda at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2118.

Crafting an Information Warfare and Counter-Propaganda Strategy for the Emerging Security Environment

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 – 3:30pm

Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Matthew Armstrong, Associate Fellow, King’s Center for Strategic Communications, King’s College London

The Honorable Michael Lumpkin, Principal, Neptune

Mr. Timothy Thomas, Senior Analyst, Foreign Military Studies Office, Ft. Leavenworth, KS


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