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Issue 2/2023: Inside the information war

Issue 2/2023 of New Eastern Europe is now available.

April 29, 2023 - New Eastern Europe - Issue 2 2023Magazine

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Can we define the moment of inception of the information war? Should we link it with the invention of the internet or social media? Evidently, historians and political scientists would provide a number of arguments against such a stance. The information war, as we understand it, has in fact been with us for quite some time. The reason for its existence lies mainly in our mysterious human psyche, which is often vulnerable to such phenomena as conspiracy theories, propaganda and disinformation. New technologies only contribute to amplifying the effects of such hazards and make them borderless.

Hence, if we cannot define the moment of inception of information war, can we imagine its conclusion? This is the key question which we asked ourselves while preparing this issue of New Eastern Europe. Admittedly, the question remains unanswered. Yet, our authors provide valuable insight into the inner workings and methods of information manipulation and how we can better protect ourselves and our communities. A key conclusion from our authors is that addressing malign online activity aimed at divisions and polarisation takes time and a lot of energy. Meanwhile hostile actors continue to adapt and find new ways to penetrate our societies. While creating a greater awareness is the first step to defend against information attacks, more needs to be done on both the individual and political levels. Certainly, the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine is key to better understanding how the information war works.

At the same time, this issue includes a series of texts which look specifically at how Russia has changed as a result of the war. Particular to note is how the culture of violence and patriarchy have found an acceptable place among the mainstream. Equally important is the topic of how Russians who do not support the war cope with the hopeless situation in which they find themselves. Through these texts we attempt to present knowledge from within Russia which is less covered in mainstream media which focuses largely on power politics with less attention to subtle intricacies.

While the spring often heralds a time of renewal, there are signs that the months ahead might be difficult ones. Despite this we remain determined to carry on with our mission to understand the wider changes occurring in our region and beyond. We are grateful for our readers and their support and we encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback via email and social media.

Table of Contents

 Can the information war be won?

How effective is Russia’s information war? Keir Giles

Can we win the information war? A conversation with Mattia Caniglia, Roman Osadchuk and Ruslan Trad

How Ukraine breaks Russia’s weaponised propaganda and disinformation Vladyslav Faraponov

Hostile narratives towards Ukraine in Central and Eastern Europe Adam Lelonek

The constant struggle of building resilience. The case of Czechia Pavel Havlíček

Russian propaganda in Poland in the context of parliamentary elections Michał Marek

Disinformation can be tackled through everyday habits A conversation with Agnieszka Legucka


Nagorno-Karabakh. No clear path out of the crisis An interview with Thomas de Waal

Essays and Analysis

The West’s rude awakening. Lessons after the first year of war Wojciech Michnik

Iran and Russia. Two pretty best friends Raze Baziani

From demilitarisation to “satanisation” Wojciech Siegień

From domestic abuse to Wagner’s sledgehammer. War as a product of systemic violence in Russia Maria Domańska

How Putin turned Russia into a failed state Andrei Nikolaev and Anastasia Sergeeva

February lasts a year Victoria Odissonova

 The historical advisors of Vladimir Putin Benjamin Looijen

Serbia–Kosovo relations. Old issues and new pressures for an epilogue Filip Mirilović

The human face of Ukraine’s reconstruction Veteran reintegration Iryna Dobrohorska

One country, two borders. How Poland differentiates narratives about migrants Givi Gigitashvili

Prospects and challenges for Central Asian states against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Danylo Stonis

Art, Culture and Society

Noch ist Polen nicht verloren! Germany, Poland – and Ukraine? Marcel Krueger

Bosnia’s wartime prime minister on reconciliation Leon Hartwell

Azerbaijan’s helping hand to Turkey after the disaster Arzu Bunyad 

Ukrainians try to cope after a year of war A photo-story by Wojciech Koźmic

History and Memory

Playing with the past. Does the decolonisation of the history of Ukraine make sense? Gennadii Korolov

Recipe for disaster. Preparations for the First World War on the eastern side of Europe Andrzej Zaręba

The Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 – 21. Populists and statesmen Oleksii Lionchuk


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