The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money

In an era where freedom of speech and information are considered to be sacred, what happens when a powerful international actor abuses those freedoms to spread disinformation? This is the question that journalists Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss explored in a new report examining how the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin has leveraged the “weaponization of information, culture and money” to wage a war of influence against the West.

Joined by Hannah Thoburn of the Foreign Policy Institute and David Kramer of Freedom House, the authors discussed how and why Russia is working in these three areas to manipulate and subvert international order at a November 13, 2014 event cosponsored by the International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Institute of Modern Russia. The report analyzes the toolkit used by the Kremlin to exploit Western weak spots and recommends steps the West can take to counter the spread of disinformation and the weaponization of money, culture, and ideas. 

“The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money”

A Special Report by The Interpreter, a project of the Institute of Modern Russia

by Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss

Download the Report

Read the Executive Summary

 Watch the Report Discussion:

Related Content

Read a review of the report on “Putin’s Disinformation Matrix,” published by the Wall Street Journal.

Watch coverage of the report discussion produced by RFE/RL’s Current Time TV. [in Russian] 

Learn more about Peter Pomerantsev’s new book, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia.

Read “Russia’s International Media Poisons Minds,” written by Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung in The Moscow Times

Watch discussion about “Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova: How Corruption Threatens the Eastern Partnership,” an event cosponsored by the Forum, the Institute of Modern Russia, and the Legatum Institute in July 2014.

See video from the Forum’s October 2013 event with the Institute of Modern Russia and the Legatum Institute on  “Russia: A Postmodern Dictatorship?”