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Author: Agnieszka Legucka

Disinformation can be tackled through everyday habits

A conversation with Agnieszka Legucka, an analyst with the Polish Institute of International Affairs. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

MACIEJ MAKULSKI: Do you see a qualitative difference in Russia’s information war strategy in recent times, especially since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine? Or is it rather more of the same?

AGNIESZKA LEGUCKA: We are definitely in an information war. On the one hand Russia has been challenged by several blockades, especially in the European Union, of its so called media like RT, Sputnik, or 60 минут (60 minutes, a TV show broadcasted on the state-owned Channel One Russia – editor’s note). On the other hand, Russia has adapted to this new situation by moving to the “underground”, as seen through closed Facebook groups. Russian trolls have started to be much more active in several different countries. There is evidence that the trolls are very active in countries such as Hungary and Germany, which might be seen as weak spots.

April 29, 2023 - Agnieszka Legucka Maciej Makulski

What would be the consequences of a Russian collapse?

No one knows how the war in Ukraine will end. However, Russia’s weakening position in Ukraine may be an indication of something much greater internally. Three scenarios outlined below can help us understand what might be next for Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation.

One of the reasons for Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine was to accelerate the process of dividing and weakening the West while strengthening his internal position by repeating the “Crimea effect” of 2014. Meanwhile, there are many indications that through the war in Ukraine, Putin may instead be contributing to the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This would be a paradox of history, as he has accused his predecessors of contributing to the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century, which is how he defined the collapse of the Soviet Union.

December 8, 2022 - Agnieszka Legucka

Russia at war with COVID-19, again!

Many Russians have refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Several factors explain this. First, people do not trust the authorities or the Russian vaccine. Second, the pandemic is now considered history by many who see no need to get vaccinated. Third, disinformation has created a lot of uncertainty surrounding the vaccine.

In early July 2021 a new wave of COVID-19 hit Russia. This time it came in the form of the more transmissible Delta variant. As a result, Russia began reporting new infections and the largest number of deaths (nearly 800 per day in early August) since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year. At the same time, vaccination rates have remained extremely low, especially when compared to countries in the European Union and the United States. In fact, Russia is the only vaccine producing country with such low vaccination rates. A mere 19 per cent of Russians have gotten fully vaccinated since December 2020.

September 12, 2021 - Agnieszka Legucka

Putin’s ideas for 2024

Vladimir Putin’s push for constitutional changes is likely a way to stay in power. But will they be enough to convince the society which is growing more discontent with the current stagnation?

January 31, 2020 - Agnieszka Legucka

How not to be a useful idiot in relations with Russia

Russia is a state of mind. This applies not only to Russian citizens, but it also manifests itself in its foreign policy. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014 many have understood that Russia is a revisionist power, one that is seeking to regain its position in the world.

January 28, 2020 - Agnieszka Legucka

A tribute to Nemtsov

A review of Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance. Edited by: Andrey Makarychev, and Alexandra Yatsyk. Publisher: Ibidem-Verlag (part of the series SPPS edited by: Andreas Umland), Vol. 181, Stuttgart, 2018.

When I hear the name Boris Nemtsov, Russia’s alternative history often comes to my mind. I ask myself: what would today’s Russian Federation look like if there were more people like him? I then imagine the 1990s, when privatisation was performed in a more legal way so it could not become – as the Russians called it – prichvatisation (in English the word prichat means "capture") and the free market was seen as something more than an opportunity to make the rich even richer, and that democracy was not associated only with chaos.

January 2, 2019 - Agnieszka Legucka

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