How does Russian propaganda work (or does not)?

kutsutilaisuus · SEMINAR · 07.02.2024 14:00 - 16:00


The different means and ways of Russian propaganda have increased since the beginning of the war of aggression in Ukraine. New technologies and outlets have offered ways for even more advanced propaganda and disinformation in the form of deepfake videos, fake accounts and bot armies.

This seminar deals with questions on how Russian propaganda operates through various media channels and how one can estimate its real-world impact within the country. The speakers will present their original empirical studies of internet trolls and bots as well as impacts of social media and Telegram channels inside Russia.


Mariëlle Wijermars, Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics, University of Maastricht
Maxim Alyukov, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Manchester

Margarita Zavadskaya, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Jussi Lassila, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA


Mariëlle Wijermars

Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics, University of Maastricht

Mariëlle Wijermars is Assistant Professor in Cyber-Security and Politics at Maastricht University. Her research examines the human rights’ implications of internet policy and platform governance, in particular in authoritarian states. She has published extensively on censorship and propaganda in Russia and is the editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russia Studies (with D. Gritsenko and M. Kopotev), published by Palgrave Macmillan (2021), and Freedom of Expression in Russia’s New Mediasphere (with K. Lehtisaari), published by Routledge (2020). She is the author of Memory Politics in Contemporary Russia: Television, Cinema and the State (Routledge, 2019).

Maxim Alyukov

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of Russian and East European Studies, University of Manchester

Maxim Alyukov is a Political Sociologist interested in media, political communication, and political cognition in autocracies, with a specific focus on Russia. Currently, he is a Leverhulme Early Career Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Russian and East European Studies, University of Manchester. Before joining the University of Manchester, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at King’s Russia Institute at King’s College London, where he remains a Research Associate.

Maxim holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Helsinki. His research has been published in a variety of disciplinary and area studies journals, including Political Communication, Politics, Qualitative Psychology, and Europe-Asia Studies. He also contributes to public discussion by writing for non-academic media. Maxim is also a member of the Public Sociology Laboratory, a research group analysing politics and society in Russia and the post-Soviet region in comparative perspective, and an affiliate of the International Panel on the Information Environment, an organisation dedicated to providing actionable scientific knowledge on threats to the global information landscape.


Margarita Zavadskaya

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Margarita Zavadskaya holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute (Fiesole, Italy, 2017). She has worked at the Electoral Integrity Project (Universities of Harvard and Sydney, 2015), the European University at St. Petersburg (2016-2022), and the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki (2018-2022) as a researcher and lecturer. From 2019 to 2022, Margarita served as PI for the research project ‘Electoral Malpractice, Cybersecurity and its Political Consequences in Russian and Beyond (ElMaRB)’.

Margarita has broadly published on the role of elections in authoritarian states, mass protests and public opinion in many journals. Currently, Margarita focuses on the political impact of Russian emigration in receiving countries, including EU member states, under the auspices of the OutRush research project.


Jussi Lassila

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Jussi Lassila is a Senior Research Fellow in the Russia, EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Eurasia research programme at Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He has published widely on issues related to Russian domestic politics, in particular identity politics, nationalism, populism and political communication. He has commented extensively on topics related to Russian politics and society, especially in the Finnish media. Latest academic publications include “Casting off Soviet chains? Conditions for the ideological renewal of communist successor parties in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova since the 2010s” (with Ryhor Nizhnikau), Journal of Eurasian Studies 2022 (open-access), Attitudes to Putin-Era Patriotism Amongst Russia’s ‘In Between’ Generation (with Anna Sanina), Europe-Asia Studies 2022 (open-access) and “Whose turn, for whom? Conservative values and Putinʼs social contract in Conservatism and Memory Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe”, Routledge 2021.