Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: changing the narrative

This week, the Russia-Ukraine Dialogues aimed to provide a nuanced and informed analysis of how Russia's narrative has changed since February 2022. Panelists focused on Russia's official statements, media coverage, and social media messaging to identify key themes and trends in the country's evolving narrative. Topics of discussion included claims that Russia is saving Ukraine from “historic lands” and “Nazis”, the Kremlin’s portrayal of international actors such as NATO and the EU, and how Russian information warfare is impacting on the prospects for a peaceful resolution.



This webinar was held on Tuesday 30 May.

Meet the speakers and chair

Ivana Stradner (@ivanastradner @FDD) is a research fellow with the Foundation For Defense of Democracies’s Barish Center for Media Integrity, where her research focuses on Russia’s information operations and cybersecurity, particularly Russia’s use of advanced forms of hybrid warfare and the threat they pose to the West. Ivana studies Russia’s security strategies and military doctrines to understand how Russia uses information operations for strategic communication. Given the divergence between the American and Russian militaries’ understandings of cybersecurity, her work examines both the psychological and technical aspects of Russian information security.Ivana also analyzes Russian influence in international organizations; she is currently focusing on UN efforts to regulate information security and the UN Cybercrime Treaty. In her writings, videos, and interviews, Ivana consistently champions a robust use of the international rule of law against revisionist powers (such as China and Russia). Because of her work to better understand Russian hybrid warfare in Eastern Europe, Ivana was asked to testify before the EU Parliament and brief various government officials.

Jennifer A. Cassidy (@OxfordDiplomat) is a Departmental Lecturer in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford. She gained her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, exploring the evolving topic of Digital Diplomacy in an Age of Real-Time Governance. This continues to be one of her primary research areas, alongside; Technology, Diplomacy, Big Tech, and Political Crisis. In 2017, Jennifer produced the first edited volume on Gender and Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Routledge). Jennifer has also served as a diplomatic attaché to Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the United Nations in New York, and the European Diplomatic Service to the Kingdom of Cambodia, working on the Khmer Rouge Tribunals, and development and human rights issues within the region. Jennifer regularly provides political commentary to the international media (BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, RTE) on topics of international, and national politics, political crisis, digital diplomacy, war crimes, and the role of gender in the political and diplomatic sphere. 

Julia Davis, M.S. (@JuliaDavisNews @thedailybeast) is a columnist for The Daily Beast and a Russian media analyst, who specializes in exposing Russian propaganda tactics, with focus on the Kremlin’s hybrid warfare and foreign policy. Julia’s investigative reports and articles have repeatedly exposed Russia’s propaganda machine, prompting retractions and corrections by RT (formerly Russia Today) and other media outlets. Julia has been sanctioned by the Russian Federation for her ongoing efforts to debunk Russian propaganda, expose war crimes and genocidal rhetoric that is prevalent in the government-controlled state media. Julia created and operates the Russian Media Monitor, analyzing Russian state media in broader context of the Kremlin’s propaganda. Julia’s articles and videos about Russian propaganda have been translated and shared all over the world.

Leon Hartwell (@LeonHartwell) is a Senior Associate at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, diplomacy, democracy, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was the Senior Advisor of the Central and South-East Europe Programme (CSEEP) and the 2022 Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts. Hartwell has published extensively in professional scholarly outlets and mainstream media ranging from the Negotiation Journal (Harvard-MIT-Tufts) and Oxford University Press to War on The Rocks. He speaks Afrikaans, English, Dutch, and Latvian, which he studied at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.