Putin’s propaganda war: is he winning?
Moltz, James Clay
Mabry, Tristan James
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Following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has executed an information campaign that could fundamentally change its role on the international scene. Vladimir Putin, through his use of hybrid tactics, has orchestrated a narrative painting ethnic Russians throughout Moscow’s near-abroad as victims of the West, which, he claims, wants to dictate immoral social practices and policies of political domination against Slavic civilization generally and Russia more specifically. Ultimately, this thesis addresses whether Russia is winning the propaganda war, and if so, where it has managed to claim victories. Putin’s attempts to co-opt populations in Russia’s near-abroad and in Europe have yielded varying degrees of success, but largely limited to former Soviet bloc republics. By analyzing six countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, France, Germany, and Finland) across two different regions, this thesis highlights the sources of Putin’s influence as well as areas of weakness. Its conclusion suggests policies for uniting and strengthening the fight by both the United States and Europe against the Kremlin’s information war, including education, tightening of access to Western media outlets, and counter-measures based on fact-checked narratives.
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