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Abstract: Russian influence operations during the 2016 US elections, and the investigations that followed, revealed the broad scope of Russian political warfare against Western democracies. Since then, Russian operations have targeted the UK, France, Germany, Ukraine, and others. Other state and non-state actors, motivated by politics or profit, have also learned and adapted the Kremlin’s tool-kit. With the 2020 elections a year away, what have we learned about foreign information operations? How has the transatlantic community responded and what are the threats we are likely to face? Drawing on extensive research on transatlantic relations, disinformation, and Russian foreign policy, Dr. Polyakova will discuss the state of policy options to address disinformation, analyze Russian intentions, and highlight emerging threats.
Alina Polyakova is the founding director of the Project on Global Democracy and Emerging Technology and a fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, where she leads the Foreign Policy program’s Democracy Working Group. She is also adjunct professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Her work examines Russian political warfare, European populism, digital authoritarianism, and the implications of emerging technologies to democracies. Polyakova's book, "The Dark Side of European Integration" (Ibidem-Verlag and Columbia University Press, 2015) analyzed the rise of far-right political parties in Europe. She holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's in economics and sociology with highest honors from Emory University.