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How Kremlin Weaponized Yandex and Telegram in Tensions with Belarus

Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

You are cordially invited to a presentation on the topic:
How Kremlin Weaponized Yandex and Telegram in Tensions with Belarus
Franak Viačorka

Thursday, February 27th
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

The Institute of World Politics
Commodore John Barry Room
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C.


About the lecture: Historical Pompeo’s visit to Minsk amid Russia-Belarus tensions was met with thousands of posts, comments, memes, manipulative publications online. The extensive network of pro-Russian organizations, digital influencers, Russia-friendly media, and particularly web-services, including Yandex and news, Odnoklassniki and VK, Telegram messenger, was mobilized to fill out the information space with the specific narrative and mislead the population. This lecture is about the role of media in Russia-Belarus conflict, mechanics of the Russian propaganda machine in Belarus, and how technology helps regimes to manipulate public opinion and perception of the events.

About the speaker: Franak Viačorka is a digital media strategist and journalist from Belarus. He works as a research media analyst for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (contractor) focusing on digital markets of Russia and Eurasia. His research focus is on Russian and Chinese efforts to control smaller actors, spread disinformation, and build the sovereign internet infrastructure. He has served as a creative director for the Belarus service of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, Vice President for Digital Communication Network, and consultant for the Freedom House, and Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Franak is a frequent speaker and an advocate for democracy and personal freedom. For his activism and journalist work in Belarus, he was multiple times jailed by the Belarus authorities. Franak’s activism in Belarus has been chronicled by documentary filmmakers and recognized by many international organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, Open Society Foundations. He was the first Vaclav Havel Fellow at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty under Havel’s personal recommendation.

He graduated from American University in Washington D.C. (M.A.) and Warsaw University in Poland (B.A.), and he also studied at Belarus State University, Georgetown University, and European Humanities University.

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