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UCL SSEES Research Blog


A showcase of research from UCL's School of Slavonic and East European Studies staff and students


Archive for June, 2015

How Western plans to fight Putin’s propaganda war could backfire

BlogAdmin26 June 2015

Joanna Szostek, a Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow at UCL SSEES, considers the implications of Western proposals to fight Russian propaganda. She argues that injecting Western government money into Russian-language news content could backfire.

An information war is raging in Eastern Europe; at stake are perceptions of the situation in Ukraine. In both Russia and the West, the commentariat claims the other side manipulates gullible minds with propaganda.

Vladimir Putin on Russia Today. Photo: Wiki Commons.

In mid-May, Russian television ran a six-minute report about “battle formations” pitted “against Russia” on the internet and airwaves. By this it meant the volunteer Information Army established by the Ukrainian Information Ministry and the “myth-busters” Brussels hopes to recruit to defend its Eastern Partnership initiative against Russian disinformation.

A week later, the Latvian capital Riga hosted a conference where hundreds of journalists and assorted experts discussed how to counter the “Russian information threat”. EU officials were in attendance, promising tens of millions of euros to support “free media” across the six Eastern Partnership states.


When is repaying public debt not of the essence?

BlogAdmin19 June 2015

Raphael Espinoza

Raphael Espinoza (UCL, Centre for Comparative Studies of Emerging Economies, SSEES) reports on the latest research being carried out at SSEES into debt repayment strategies.

My co-authors at the IMF, Jonathan D. Ostry and Atish R. Ghosh, have written a blog post “When When i Repaying Public Debt Not Of the Essence”, summarizing our joint work that is contributing to the debate on debt repayment strategies in countries with fiscal space such as the UK or the US.

See for instance, in the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The Economist , as well as comments by Simon Wren-Lewis, Martin Sandu, David Wessel, and Maya MacGuineas.

The original blog post is summarized below


Why we don’t need to panic about Greece  

BlogAdmin9 June 2015

Media coverage of the talks between Greece and its Eurozone partners sounds increasingly alarming, but there is no need to run for cover. Filipa Figueira explains why we don’t need to panic about Greece.

Yanis Varoufakis (Photo: Wikicommons).

The past few months have seen a series of “make or break” meetings between Greece and the other Eurozone countries – culminating on 24 April with a tempestuous Eurogroup meeting in Latvia. There, finance ministers allegedly accused Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis of being “a gambler, a time-waster and an amateur”, and blocked their ears while he was speaking to show their despair. This led Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to reshuffle the negotiating team – Mr Varoufakis has not been fired, but was sidelined, as Deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will now be heading the negotiations with the Eurogroup.

So are we approaching “Grexit”? Most probably not.