Media education is needed to counter Russian information and psychological operations - Liubov Naidenova

10 February 2018, 19:54

Within the hybrid war against Ukraine, Russia conducts powerful information and psychological operations (IPO) using technologies of the XX and XXI centuries, which are aimed at imposing artificial motives and needs. The best counteraction to the impact of these IPOs should be the development of media education among the Ukrainians, especially, among children and young people.

Such a statement was given by Liubov Naidenova, the Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs, Head of the Laboratory of Psychology of Mass Communication and Media Studies of the Institute of Social and Political Psychology of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine during the VI Kyiv Security Forum for Youth.

"What can we oppose to these information and psychological operations that are being conducted against Ukraine. The best variant is the creation of more initiatives aimed at the media education, explanation of these influences, preparing from the childhood, the ability to notice and eliminate these negative informational influences", she said.

According to L. Naidenova, it is necessary not only to explain the existing risks of media influences, "but to create such a system when children and young people would be in a situation where they themselves need to think more about what is produced from screens, from the media". The most important thing, the Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs, the Institute of Social and Political Psychology stressed, is not to lose your own motivation: "The most important thing is to have your own motivation, to have within yourself a reason for action".

The scientist emphasized that Russia is currently conducting an informational and psychological war against Ukraine as part of a hybrid war. "The hybrid war includes territorial and informational influences, and these information influences consist of informational and psychological operations, that is, the target of any information influences is not only the real world, but also the intangible - the moral and psychological states of both military and civilian people. The main thing we should understand that it's a person, his or her motives, needs, the ability to be active, to want something", she said.

In this struggle for human psychology, the Russians use technologies as of the 20th and 21th centuries. In particular, the concept of reflexive control and the alternative fact concept (both technologies of the 20th century) are applied.

"In 2016, the Oxford Dictionary chose the "post-truth" as the term of the year. This is a phenomenon when the audience reacts on falsely messages, alternative facts not less, at least, than on truthful", she said.

Reflexive control is the management of the enemy in the information confrontation, when an idea of the territory or bridgehead, resources, intentions is created. According to L. Naidenova, it was this technology that helped to occupy the Crimea easily, because, for a long time, people were imposed an opinion that the Crimea is Russia, and as a result, most of the population easily enough decided that "they are Russia".

Also, in Ukraine there is distorted understanding of Russia's military resources: "For the overwhelming majority of people in Ukraine believes that these resources are very large and very professional". And this distorted view, according to the scientist, reduces the possibilities and intentions of Ukraine.

Alongside, the Russians use technologies of the 21st century, which are "even more subtle". In particular, this concerns the management of prospects, the reduction of optimism of people, the destruction of their perception on a positive future. "As worse the person will feel psychologically, as more he or she will be vulnerable to the imposition of thoughts", L. Naidenova said.


Youth Kyiv Security Forum is the platform for discussion of current issues of international relations and foreign policy of Ukraine by young experts. The purpose of the forum is to strengthen the role of the new generation of experts, to improve their ability to participate in the process of political analysis and development.


NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Ukraine (NIDC)

Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Organizer of the Forum is the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation.