Disinformation · Information operations · Information Warfare · Reflexive Control · Russia

Thesis: Reflexive Control and Disinformation in Putin’s Wars


Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type: Thesis

Degree Name: Master of Arts (MA)

Department: Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures

First Advisor

Artemi Romanov

Second Advisor

Mark Leiderman

Third Advisor

Laura Olson Osterman

Abstract

The use of reflexive control (RC) and disinformation in the Russian conduct of kinetic and non-kinetic warfare is evident in conflicts from the Second Chechen War to Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. The original Soviet theory of RC has been refined and expanded into new dimensions of warfare including the concepts of information warfare and cyberwarfare, thus becoming a major weapon of the Russian military in its influence campaigns against the West. The technique of feeding disinformation or selecting the information an opponent receives in order to influence his voluntary decisions has been exploited by Russia under Putin in conflicts and in his foreign policy. The skillful use of disinformation has in most cases shaped public discourse, manipulated international understanding of events, and essentially achieved Reflexive Control over Russia’s opponents.

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