Our Work In Action: Analysis and Insights

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Since they came to power in 2010 and 2012 respectively, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President Aleksandar Vučić have developed a strong political partnership. Both leaders have been classified as illiberal, populist, and authoritarian by international organizations, such as Freedom House and V-Dem Institute. These characteristics can partially explain their inclination to cooperate, especially in the context of criticism coming from the European Union.

Russia employed information and psychological operations (INFO- and PSYOPS) against Ukraine and the West for over a decade now. Key components that grew in significance over the years are the use of cyberspace (especially social media and quasi- and fringe media outlets), employment of conspiracy theories and engaging the whole administrative and state media apparatus in the dissemination of selected messages, falsehoods, disinformation and narratives.

Since the most recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia's armed forces on February 24, 2022, the International Republican Institute (IRI)’s Beacon Project has been analyzing online media data from multiple Central and Eastern European Countries to track aspects of key narratives that have the potential to erode support for Ukraine.

The reports are released every two weeks and cover trends in online media from Websites, Forums, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit related to three primary topics: Sanctions on Russia, Refugees, and NATO.