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Vail Symposium presents program on Russian efforts to amplify disinformation and undermine democracy on Thursday

  • January 25, 2021

Peter Pomerantsev, a senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the west as a child. He has studied propaganda, misinformation as well as manipulation and addresses these efforts in his latest book, “This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality.”

Svet Derderyan, Ph.D., is a professor of Instruction in Political Science at University of Colorado Boulder and an adjunct assistant professor at University of Denver. He grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and moved to the U.S. as a teenager for college.

On Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon, the Vail Symposium presents both Pomerantsev and Derderyan in a free Zoom webinar program titled “Active Measures: The Russian Effort to Undermine America.” Register at

“Throughout the 20th century, Russia used disinformation to control and manipulate its citizens,” said Claire Noble, program manager. “With the ascendancy of former intelligence officer Vladamir Putin to the Russian presidency, those efforts were directed against their neighbors in Europe and, ultimately, the United States.”

About the speakers

Pomerantsev is a senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University where he co-directs the Arena Initiative. Between 2017-20, he was a senior fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science where he was the director of the Arena Initiative, a research project dedicated to overcoming the challenges of digital era disinformation and polarization. His book on Russian propaganda, “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible,” won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and was nominated for the Samuel Johnson, Guardian First Book, Pushkin House and Gordon Burns prizes. It is translated into over a dozen languages and was dramatized on BBC Radio 4. His new book, “This is Not Propaganda,” was released in August 2019; it won the Gordon Burns Prize and was a Times Book of the Year.


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From Duterte in the Philippines, Russian troll factories, eastern Ukraine, global democracy activists and many others, he describes in his latest book the use of social media, data analysis and similar techniques to fight oppressive governments as well as governments using no less technologically-savvy means to manipulate populations at home and abroad, illicit fear, provoke aggression and, above all, silence dissenting voices.

Derderyan’s research focuses broadly on global anti-corruption, the role of international organizations in democratization, and foreign direct investment and economic development.

If you go …

  • What: “Active Measures: The Russian Effort to Undermine America”
  • When: Thursday, 11 a.m. to noon
  • Where: Zoom Webinar
  • More information: This program is free. Register at

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