1st Edition

Disinformation, Narratives and Memory Politics in Russia and Belarus

Edited By Agnieszka Legucka, Robert Kupiecki Copyright 2022
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the ways in which Russia and Belarus use disinformation, "weaponised" historical narratives, and the politics of memory for domestic and foreign policy purposes, utilising these factors to justify aggressive foreign policy in defensive terms and, domestically, for legitimating local ruling elites, consolidating the states’ propaganda machines, and mobilising both societies around national power centres. Besides analysing Russian and Belarusian disinformation, geopolitical narratives, and policies, the book also assesses the effectiveness of these measures and discusses how the West can counteract the geopolitical narratives disseminated by Russia and Belarus that attempt to undermine Western democracies and weaken the resilience of its societies.

    Introduction Agnieszka Legucka and Robert Kupiecki 1. Russia: Her Political and Historical Identities - Strategic Dilemmas Adam Daniel Rotfeld 2. Russian Disinformation: Old Tactics and New Narratives Agnieszka Legucka 3. "Western Betrayal": The Founding Myth of Russian Foreign Policy Robert Kupiecki 4. How to Weaponize Information: Russian Patterns Jakub Olchowski 5. Political Narratives as a Source of Lukashenka's Legitimacy Justyna Olędzka, Max Rust 6. The Role and Place of Belarus in Contemporary Russian Geopolitical Narratives Michał Słowikowski 7. The Myth of a Great Patriotic War and Russia’s Foreign Policy Maria Domańska 8. Russia’s Approach to International Law as a Foreign Policy Tool: the Case of the Annexation of Ukrainian Crimea Sławomir Dębski 9. The Strategic Culture of Russia: Why is the Dialogue so Challenging? Agata Włodkowska 10. When Europe is Sick, Russia is Not the Remedy: A French Attempt at a European Reset with Russia? Marek Menkiszak 11. Sanctions as a Form of Dialogue Ernest Wyciszkiewicz 12. Does the West Need a Coherent Response to Russian Disinformation? Tomasz Chłoń


    Agnieszka Legucka is a Senior Research Fellow of the Russia in Eastern Europe Program at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and an Associate Professor of Security Studies in the Academy of Finance and Business Vistula, Warsaw, Poland.

    Robert Kupiecki is a career diplomat, whose postings include Undersecretary of National Defence (2012 to 2015) and Polish Ambassador to the United States of America (2008 to 2012). He is also an Associate Professor of Security Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland.

    This book is topical, authoritative, insightful and comprehensive. It outlines the origins and mechanisms of Russia and Belarusian disinformation campaigns. It explains how they work — and how we can counter them. Anyone interested in the freedom and security of the free world should read it.  

    Edward Lucas, fmr. senior editor, The Economist, author Deception and The New Cold War

    This timely book adds to our understanding of the growing threat of disinformation, especially from Russia and Belarus. Societies can only properly respond to information environment threats if there is a thorough knowledge of the myths and false narratives seeking to undermine our societies. The book’s insights make for compelling read for all countering disinformation practitioners from national administrations and international organisations to academia and the think tank community; forewarned is forearmed. 

    Baiba Braže, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy

    In order to address disinformation, we need to understand it on a deeper level. This book gives us exactly that, and more, offering an insightful perspective of how disinformation and propaganda became the intricate tools to advance the agendas of both Russian and Belarusian regimes. A must-read for all willing to profoundly understand the threat of today.  

    Martyna Bildziukiewicz, Head of East Stratcom Task Force, European External Action Service

    The authors demonstrate with intellectual rigour that in the hands of authoritarian states such as Russia and Belarus, disinformation is more than a social evil; it is a tool of warfare seeking to undermine democratic institutions and polarise our societies into political disorder. The authors back up their analysis with extensive research, deep knowledge and the  use of concrete examples that expose the techniques and strategies that Russia and Belarus are using today to weaken the West, and that other adversaries will undoubtedly seek to emulate tomorrow. This is why this book is so valuable and so timely. All those concerned with the health of democracy and the liberal society should put it at the top of their reading list - and then resolve to take action along the lines that this book usefully recommends.

    Jamie Shea, Professor of Strategy and Security, University of Exeter