«I will never forget this day, the 4th of March (2014 – editor), when at the session of the Regional Council Pro-Russian citizens tried to burst into the hall, and at this time all Russian channels were showing this as an expression of the will of Odesa residents at a time when at the end of the day dozens of times, twenty times more residents of Odesa gathered who wanted and showed that Odesa was Ukraine and would be Ukraine always», – so the Deputy Chairman of the Odesa Regional Council Mr. Yuri DIMCHOGLO started his speech at the CPD training seminar on countering disinformation. He thanked the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania for the support in holding the event mentioning that both the Odesa region and Ukraine in general daily face the hybrid warfare and those information technologies seeking to block our country’s development.
On August 28 the Center for Public Diplomacy – in compliance with all quarantine security measures – held the fourth training seminar «Disinformation as an instrument of hybrid warfare: aspects of its spread and possibilities to counter propaganda» for representatives of local authorities, public sector and mass media.
Mr. Valdemaras SARAPINAS, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to Ukraine, took part in the event and delivered welcoming remarks wishing the seminar participants good and fruitful work. He mentioned that the Kremlin propagandists denied the occupation of Lithuania and of other countries of the region as well, tried to discredit Lithuanian armed forces, to reduce confidence in the government agencies, to depreciate the nationhood of the Republic of Lithuania. That is why it is important to evaluate the information attacks against our countries, to stand up against propaganda, to exchange experience how to fight against disinformation better and enhance security of the region.
Mr. Michał KAMIŃSKI, Deputy Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, shared Poland’s experience in fight against propaganda. He stated that besides the army and diplomacy the information weapon had been always considered to be the main weapon of the Russian Empire. «Today not only in Poland, but also within the West, in America, in the United Kingdom Russians support nationalists being afraid of liberal Europe. Collapse of the European Union is one of the main aims of Russian propaganda and Russian policy».
In his presentation Dr. Nerijus MALIUKEVIČIUS, Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of the Vilnius University, provided a number of examples of information manipulations used by Russia at the present time. Explaining why such a strategy – «a big lie strategy» – is really effective and why it works, he mentioned that in the times of war, pandemic or crisis a lie can be particularly effective: «Jonathan Swift said that while the truth is waking up and getting its boots on in the morning, a lie has already flown around the world several times». It is very important to correct disinformation and fight fakes, however, these are already the post-measures and they have another effect.
Also, among the event speakers were:
Mr. Andrii VITRENKO, Chair of the Center for Public Diplomacy, Vice Minister of Culture for European Integration (2014-2016);
Ms. Iryna ZHOVTA, Chief Specialist of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Division of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine;
Mr. Serhii SYROTENKO, Chair of the Centre for Promotion of Changes “Vzaiemodiya”, Chief of Staff of the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine on Humanitarian Issues (2016-2019);
Ms. Natalka SAD, Expert on Communications, Board Member of the Center for Public Diplomacy;
Ms. Dar’ya HLUSHCHENKO, Speechwriter Analyst, Head of Communications Department at the Ukrainian National Bar Association.
The training seminar was held in cooperation with the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, the Odesa Regional Council and funded under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Užsienio reikalų ministerija.