Fighting disinformation plays a key role in battling Russian aggression

Britain's military officers stand next to a Challenger 2 tank at the Tapa Military Camp, in Estonia, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Britain's Defence Minister Ben Wallace said his country would send at least three batteries of AS-90 artillery, armoured vehicles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and 600 Brimstone missiles, as well as the squadron of Challenger 2 tanks. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

In Estonia, a country pioneering strategies to combat modern Russian disinformation, strategic communication means “planning and integrating the activities of the state into a coherent communicative” message and disseminating that message to society.

One key objective behind disinformation is to erode trust in government agencies. Experts say Russian disinformation is often used to pave the way for military operations, such as the war they waged in Ukraine.

“We have tried to measure short-term impact and long-term impact regarding disinformation narratives on Ukraine and especially Ukrainian refugees. And what we have found is that even though short-term impact is definitely there, luckily, we haven’t noticed any long-term impact yet. And how we measure this long-term impact is we do public opinion polls where we ask those very same questions which are spread on social media to find out how people really think.”

In an interview, Kersti Luha, head of Strategic Communications in Estonia’s government office, made it clear that Russia’s evolving disinformation efforts require constant vigilance and creative strategies to combat it.

Urve Eslas, a top analyst on the Strategic Communications team discussed their approach with WTOP’s National Security Correspondent J.J. Green.

January 21, 2023 | J.J. Green speaks with an Estonian official about strategic communication

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