Russians promote their narratives in the academic environment of the Western world

Ukrainian culture and media analyst, journalist, and expert at the Ukrainian Book Institute Khrystyna Semerin conducted a study that reveals new milestones of Russian propaganda in the global academic environment.

According to it, the Kremlin is actively using three key elements to promote its own pseudo-history, culture, and pro-Russian narratives: money, cultural centers, and agents of influence who promote a Russian-centered agenda and foster loyalty to Russia in Western societies.

In her opinion, Ukraine was replaced by Russia in the academic community of Western countries long before the Russian-Ukrainian war of 2022. Or rather it was almost eliminated from the academic map of the world.

At least three official “soft power” organizations promote Russia in the world, including in the Western academic world. These are the “Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo),” the sanctioned “Russkiy Mir” Foundation, and the “Gorchakov Foundation for Support of Public Diplomacy”, whose very names carry a flavor of aggressive imperialism. Backed by enormous funding, they work for the political and military ambitions of the Kremlin.

Rossotrudnichestvo now has more than a hundred international offices and is fighting against the abolition of Russian culture in the West. Putin’s Russian World Foundation previously funded anti-Ukrainian campaigns among the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Rusyn movement project in Zakarpattia, Russian World conferences in Kharkiv and Donetsk, and before the Revolution of Dignity had branches throughout Ukraine. Together with the Gorchakov Foundation, it is currently developing an internship program for young political scientists and international experts called InteRussia20 and has a program of scientific visits called “New Generation.”

The Gorchakov Foundation is directly fed by Putin’s sanctioned oligarchs. It has an extensive list of events for foreign scholars, such as the Russian-Slovak Forum and the Russian-German conference “Post-Damascus Meetings.” Competent promotion, work with young scientists, flows of propaganda and disinformation, and money do their job.

Russia retains a privileged position in the Western academy with respect to the rest of regional studies, whose countries and peoples it declares the Orthodox “Russian world” and terrorizes with war in case of resistance, and with respect to Western studies themselves.

This aggressive strategy of the Kremlin to promote Russian in a democratic environment has been going on for decades and is bearing fruit. Even now, after the open aggression against Ukraine, there are ardent supporters of Putin’s ideas in the United States and other Western countries who do not understand why Ukrainians are so stubbornly opposed to Russia. And this is even though the answer to this question is obvious – it is a fight for a life.

Russia’s goal is not to inform the world about its own history or culture, but to physically take over by putting the intellectual elite of Western countries “to sleep”, destabilizing society, bribing, and, as a final step, occupying. All this is done right now against Ukraine and should be a warning to everyone else.

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