Jun 15 — Report launch: Why conspiratorial propaganda works and what we can do about it

  • When: June 15, 2021, 17.00 EEST
  • Where: Zoom
  • To attend: Register here or follow the event
  • Language: English

Conspiratorial propaganda is increasingly used by mainstream political actors to undermine democratic values and institutions. Conspiracy theories about the philanthropist George Soros flourish across the world, as do fake stories about secret medical experiments run by “deep state” Western powers.

The Kremlin and its proxies in Ukraine use such conspiratorial disinformation to argue that the West is no better than Russia and that Ukraine should abandon democratic reforms.

A joint research project by Arena, Internews Ukraine, PIJL and the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research has explored audience vulnerability and resistance to conspiratorial narratives, through a combination of media monitoring, polling and focus groups. We found that conspiratorial disinformation resonates with many people’s deep-seated perceptions: a zero-sum vision of the world and a lack of agency. Challenging conspiratorial propaganda will mean engaging with these underlying issues.

Join us for a presentation of the report’s key findings and a discussion of what we can do to strengthen audience resistance to conspiratorial propaganda. 


  • Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the director of the Arena program, dedicated to overcoming the challenges of disinformation and malign propaganda that endanger democracy. His book on Russian propaganda, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and was nominated for a number of others, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Guardian First Book Award, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and The Gordon Burn Prize. His second book, ‘This is Not Propaganda’, won the 2020 Gordon Burn Prize and was a Times Book of the Year. He regularly presents radio documentaries and podcasts on the BBC, and is a lapsed television producer. 
  • Angelina Kariakina, Ukrainian journalist, co-founder of the Public Interest Journalism Lab, media manager at Public Service Broadcaster (Suspilne), former chief editor at hromadske.ua
  • Inna Borzylo, expert at the Public Interest Journalism Lab, former executive director at Centre UA NGO, Ukraine
  • Liubov Tsybulska, Head of the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security at Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy. Former head of Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group at Ukraine Crisis Media Centre. (TBC)
  • Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ukrainian philosopher, analytics director at Internews Ukraine, chief editor at UkraineWorld.org, doctor of political studies, lecturer at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. His books won Yuriy Sheveliov Prize, Petro Mohyla Prize, Ukrainian Book of the Year prizes etc.
  • Vitalii Rybak, analyst at Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld.org

Full text of the report is available in English and Ukrainian.


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