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The ‘Russian Disinformation Threat’ and the EU Response: the Debate

Student: Ville elo oskari Majamaa

Supervisor: Maxim Bratersky

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: International Relations in Eurasia (Master)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2018

Following the events in Ukraine in 2014, the idea of Russian disinformation threat has increasingly occupied European academics and practitioners. In the European Union, ‘Russian disinformation’ was officially recognised as a threat in March 2015 but the debate regarding its nature and the appropriate Union response has continued ever since. By applying the concept of ‘strategic narratives’, this study traces the introduction, performance and contestation of the Russian disinformation threat- narrative in the European Union institutions in 2015-2017. The paper argues that while this narrative was initially endorsed by the three main Union institutions, by the end of 2017 a competing narrative emphasising the threat from unattributed ‘fake news’ begins to challenge its legitimacy. While the two narratives currently coexist in the European Union discourse, they are incompatible in their threat attribution and suggested policy responses, which suggests that the situation is temporary.

Full text (added May 15, 2018)

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