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The Age of Post-Truth: State Influence and Strategic Communication - Contemporary Security Challenges on Europe’s Eastern Flank

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Connections: The Quarterly Journal, Volume 17, Issue 2, p.19-35 (2018)

Keywords:

fake news, Information warfare, media, Russia, state influence, strategic communication, strategic messaging

Abstract:

The role of strategic communication has changed in the context of Russia’s relations with its partners, including the West, the post-Soviet space and the Western Balkans since 2013 with the declaration of the close integration of communication with other means of Russian influence. Moscow has allocated more resources than ever and weakened the traditional western media superiority. However, it is not the media per se but its integration with the realization of strategic objectives that has represented the main differences compared to earlier times. It is not Russia’s primary intention to convince but to raise doubt in the messages of other actors and gain influence in societies and over governments. In the area of the former Soviet Union, strategic messaging is part of a continuum that includes the eventual use of military force. The West faces a dilemma as it must not undermine its own values and must preserve the freedom of speech and the press while Russia protects its media monopoly and has effectively eliminated the freedom of electronic media at home. The West has reacted belatedly and hesitantly as far as its strategic messaging, although it is gradually catching up with taking certain counter-measures not only nationally but also through its institutions.