Policy Brief: Drivers of Disinformation in Central and Eastern Europe and Their Utilization During the Pandemic

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Research shows that Central and Eastern European region is receptive to disinformation and conspiracy theories. But are there any region-specific drivers behind? How can malign superpowers abuse the current situation to build their image, and exploit the already existing vulnerabilities?

The supply-side of disinformation – the producers – has always driven more attention in the press and policy discussions alike. But at the same time, for sound policy responses, the demand side – the social and psychological drivers of disinformation – should be well understood.

In this paper, Peter Kreko, Director of the Political Capital Institute, identifies some important drivers of disinformation on the demand side in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). While the combination of these factors is important to understand the vulnerabilities of CEE, the brief sheds light on how these vulnerabilities are being exploited by external actors aiming to influence the societies in CEE, mainly from Russia and China.

The paper was produced within the HADES project financially supported by the United States Department of State.