Can Democracy Survive in an Age of Information War?

March 2021 No Comments

Speaker(s): Pomerantsev, P. (Johns Hopkins University)

Date: 30 March 2021

Speaker Session Summary

SMA hosted a speaker series session with Mr. Peter Pomerantsev (Johns Hopkins University) as a part of its SMA IIJO Speaker Series.

Mr. Pomerantsev began by highlighting a phrase that he believes relates well to Russia’s concept of information: “The most dangerous idea in information war is the idea of information war itself.” This phrase is particularly applicable to Russia because the Kremlin views all communication as a facet of information warfare, according to Mr. Pomerantsev. The belief that all information is used to manipulate contradicts friendly political discourse between state leaders, feeds into conspiracy theorists’ rationale, and forces governments to securitize any form of communication. Furthermore, Russia’s concept of information leads them to view all of history through the lens of an information battlefield, Mr. Pomerantsev explained. This viewpoint was evident even as far back as the collapse of the Soviet Union, when former KGB agents began writing a revisionist form of history claiming that the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of its adoption of Western values, as opposed to political or economic causes. Mr. Pomerantsev concluded his brief set of remarks by emphasizing that the main dilemma facing Western countries is: How do they effectively combat Russia’s disinformation without resorting to the same combative mindset and tactics?

Speaker Session Recording

To access the recording of this event, please email Ms. Nicole Peterson (

Briefing Materials

Our speaker has requested that we not share his slides publicly.


Submit A Comment