Author: csradmin

Fake news is a threat to electoral securityFake news is a threat to electoral security



Aleksandar Nacev

By participating in free and fair elections, citizens cast their votes expecting the officials they elect to represent their interests in the best possible way. The voters’ choice grants legitimacy to the elected representatives and the parties they are part of. This legitimacy allows politicians to enact and amend legislation in the way they find most appropriate and suitable – usually along the lines of a published policy platform or manifesto. While the competition for political power is an essential element in ensuring the democratic diversity of interests, the election process can become exposed to malicious attempts to influence the result, including attempts from foreign powers to try and manipulate voters with false messaging as well as outright interference in the electoral count.

 This reason alone should be enough to understand that protecting the integrity of elections is therefore a clear priority; both for individual states, but also for international organisations, such as the European Union. The threat has clearly been growing in the past couple of years, with a series of fairly blatant attempts to manipulate electoral processes in at least 18 countries, including the USA, Netherlands and the Ukraine.

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Truth is the best medicine – Countering Russian propaganda in MacedoniaTruth is the best medicine – Countering Russian propaganda in Macedonia



Aleksandar Nacev

Since 1989, one of the constant goals of Russian foreign policy has been to abolish — or at least weaken — the inner cohesion of existing trans-Atlantic and European institutions, such as NATO and the European Union, as well as the influence of the United States in Europe. In recent years, the Western Balkans have emerged as a front in Russia’s geopolitical confrontation with the West. Building on close historical ties, Moscow is taking advantage of political and economic difficulties to expand its influence, potentially undermining the region’s stability

Since the 1990s, the Western Balkan countries have dealt with internal vulnerabilities and experienced external influence from state and nonstate actors. These sources of instability have made the region more vulnerable and susceptible to external influence from Russia. Internal vulnerabilities such as the rise of nationalism, historical grievances, corruption, weakened state institutions and media, and unemployment have left these countries unstable, enabling state and nonstate actors to influence them. The Western Balkans are likely to become a significant playing field for the competition between Russia and the West. Russia has played a spoiler role by using information and political, economic and military tools to discredit Western institutions — including NATO and the EU — and the foundations of Western democracy, and to strategically project and alter elements of power in Western Balkan countries. Russia has chosen to intervene in the region by aligning with different elements and interfering in these countries’ internal affairs. Over the past decade, Russia has sought to play a larger role. The tools used are not new, but the extent of the involvement certainly is. Russia’s tools include not only instruments of soft power, such as cultural, religious and media campaigns, but increasingly, economic intervention. Slowly but surely, Russian state-owned and state-affiliated businesses are taking possession of key sectors of Balkan economies, transforming Russia into a significant power in the region.

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