Russia Opens Information Warfare Center – Does It Mean Further Cyber Threat to the West?

  • Among the tasks of the Center are research in the field of strategies and tactics for conducting information wars and countering information attacks directed against Russia.
  • One of the current major agendas of the center is to work with the Donbas and Luhansk People's Republic in regards to the so called "information warfare" by Ukraine.
  • The center will focus on collaboration with secondary schools across Russia, in order to propagate "proper information."

A new center for information warfare opened at Ryazan State University, a university in Ryazan, Ryazan Oblast, Russia. It was founded in 1915. It bears the name of Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, who grew up in the region. According to the announcement the reason behind the creation of the information warfare center and counter-propaganda technologies is to focus on Russia’s interests in this sector.

Among the tasks of the Center are conducting research in the field of strategies and tactics for conducting information wars and countering information attacks directed against Russia; developing programs of additional education and professional development on the problems of information warfare for various target audiences; organizing educational events to improve the literacy of young people and the population as a whole in the field of protection from destructive information and psychological impact; expert and analytical work.

The timing is right at the cusp of the constitutional amendment vote. Russian President Vladimir Putin is stepping up his agenda and the announcement of the center further signifies the direction of Russia. One of the current major agendas of the center is to work with the Donbas and Luhansk People’s Republic in regards to the so called “information warfare” by Ukraine. It also came out the center has been working in that area for some time covertly.

The center will focus on collaboration with secondary schools across Russia, in order to propagate “proper information” It is a new attempt at the digital social engineering for the younger generation. It will include ultra-modern methods of information and psychological impact on the mass audience and ways to deal with it; the trolls and bots, fakes and memes, “information bombs” and “information mines.”

The main threat area for Russia is the Internet. That is why like China, Russia is creating its own intranet, which will be equivalent to the great firewall of China. Technologies for manipulating mass consciousness are becoming more sophisticated both from a psychological and technical point of view. For destructive purposes, the most modern software and hardware complexes are used, as well as the technology of trolling and other network destructions.

The Center’s task is to inform various target audiences about the latest information threats, how to recognize and counter them. Forewarned means armed. It is the same scare tactics that were used during the Soviet Era. The only difference is the tactics have now evolved into cyberspace.

It shows Russia’s open involvement in cyber warfare. The center opening is not a surprise. The objectives remain the same. The only difference is the public announcement about it. Clearly, it operated covertly for some time without an official title. Russia continues to focus on such antics.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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