The Gathering of the Russian Cyberspaces: State Sovereignty and Information Control
Newton, Matthew Robert
MetadataShow full item record
Since the start of the Putin era in 2000, Russia has been waging two different political-informational wars that are fundamentally defensive in nature. One is against the penetration of western institutions into Russian society and the other is against its own citizenry. Internally, Russia intends to prevent a subversive, internationally-focused domestic culture from dominating and taking over the leading Putinist culture. By consolidating news and media platforms, curbing and criminalizing the free flow of information, and building a sovereign "information sphere," Russia is realizing a degree of state stability at the cost of increasing international isolation and deepening societal schisms. Disrupting and manipulating information flows is a crucial tool in Russia's arsenal in order to minimize domestic dissent and build consent for the political status quo. This paper explores how the influence of conservative political thought has established itself in multiple spheres of official state doctrine and sheds light on the greater strategy behind these political-informational wars. Select political developments in the post-Soviet space are also analyzed in order to better understand the evolution of state doctrine in the context of these wars. This paper also identifies critical domestic policy decisions made by the Russian administration to carry out its military and information security doctrines by challenging the penetration of foreign information and communications technology, cracking down on dissent, and mitigating the penetration of western NGOs into Russia's sovereign sphere. The paper concludes with a speculative outlook on Russian politics and society over the next six years.