We watched Russia sow disinformation, undermine the democratic process, attack the underpinnings of civil discourse, and use grey area information war tactics to enflame ideological and physical wars and cause chaos.
Russian information campaigns attacked Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands with misinformation and disinformation campaigns to extend their influence by keeping their neighbors off balance and unable to ally with the western world. We saw all of this happen in the decade before 2016. When they came for us, we rallied together to fight back against foreign interference and won the information war.
Wait, no we didn’t? That’s depressing.
Nina Jankowicz’s incredibly insightful and utterly depressing book highlights Russian Information Operations that were conducted in eastern Europe that were in plain sight throughout the last decade. Ms. Jankowicz isn’t highlighting information kept in the vaults of the Kremlin, used as military strategic operations, or derived from some covert spycraft. This was right in front of us the entire time and we learned nothing.
When nothing less than the future of democracy, civil discourse, and the truth were on the line, we balked. We played a pointless game of whack-a-troll while these eastern European countries tried to preserve their democratic ideologies and autonomy from Russian influence and in many cases lost.
Jankowicz’s book should be required reading for anyone in the fields of strategic communication, government and crisis communication, National Defense communication, information operations, intelligence, and information security. It is my opinion that this book will become a primer on combating Russian misinformation and disinformation.
Either that or we will all start watching RT.