December 7th, 2016 Experts of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation in Kiev took part in the seminar: ‘V4+ Security – Strengthening the Eastern Frontier of the V4’, which was organized by the Hungarian think-tank Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy as well as the Ukrainian Prism. The main conclusions flowing from the meeting is surge of Russian propaganda and disinformation activities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe on the one hand and low efficiency in terms of protection from these activities in the V4+ countries.
Although the seminar was devoted also to joint exercises and missions performed by V4 countries, Ukraine and Moldova, participants in practice, focused on the second part of the seminar: countermeasures to propaganda in the security sphere. In particular, the most active were the experts from these two, most vulnerable countries, which have considerable experience in dealing with the Russian propaganda and disinformation. During the seminar, several points were made on Russian activities in this matter and number of difficulties associated with their prevention emerged. For example, a frequent theme of Russian propaganda are slogans about the weakness of NATO and Western sanctions targeting Russia or the need for reconstruction of the Slavic Community. Moreover, pro-Russian lobbyists spreading Russian propaganda were also mentioned as a serious problem (especially strong in Moldova) and a widely used theme is the creation of external or internal enemy.
In addition, to characterize the problems, experts have tried to explain nuances and differences between the concepts of “propaganda”, “disinformation” and “strategic communication” as well as indicate the possible action by authorities and civil society initiatives to counter Russian propaganda. Especially, the creation of a common, state-level communication strategy, financing of trips for journalists and training to combat disinformation was pointed, as well as the creation of centers to combat propaganda.