ISP Fellow Kiril Avramov and LBJ Master’s Candidate Ellery Cushman Co-Author Article “Eurosodom: Specifics of Weaponized Sexuality and Gender-Based Narratives in Contemporary Russian and Pro-Russian Disinformation”

News | January 4, 2021

ICONO 14, a bilingual (Spanish-English, Portuguese-English) journal focused on information and communication technologies, published this analysis on one particular aspect of Kremlin-sponsored political warfare: sexuality and gender-based narratives in Russian and pro-Russian disinformation campaigns targeting European Union and aspiring members from 2015-2020. The authors argue that the potency of these narratives arises from the emotional and cognitive load that they elicit.

Their significance is often overlooked in security, intelligence, and communication studies. In order to alleviate this gap, the article employs mixed-methods analysis of the role and function of these narratives within the larger body of Russian disinformation. This research shows that sexuality and gender-based disinformation narratives are designed to target basic human emotions, such as fear, anger, hostility, confusion, and disgust, by exploiting existing cognitive biases within the targeted population. These narratives are a useful and effective political and propaganda tool meant to elicit support for a specific brand of traditional values that furthers the Kremlin’s geopolitical aim of creating an alternative to Western liberal hegemony. Read the full article HERE.