On Friday, March 27, CEPA hosted a virtual panel discussion on the latest efforts by Russia and China to exploit the on-going coronavirus pandemic, featuring insights from Alexandre Alaphilippe, Executive Director at EU DisinfoLab, Jakub Janda, Executive Director at the European Values, Edward Lucas, Senior Vice President at CEPA, and Lucrezia Poggetti, Analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. The conversation will be moderated by CEPA President and CEO Dr. Alina Polyakova.

The chaos created by the rapid spread of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented opportunity for state-sponsored disinformation—echoing the KGB's infamous “Operation Infektion” in the 1980s, which blamed the United States for the creation of HIV.

Russia and China are exploiting both real-life mistakes and weaknesses in the information space to control and modify the narrative, with impacts on geopolitics and national security. China is seeking to blame the United States for the virus and portraying itself as the best source of medical technology to deal with it. Russia is sowing divisions between and within Western countries to undermine public confidence in government competence and integrity.

While the West struggles to curb the pandemic, China and Russia are gaining the upper hand on the global stage.

Participants considered: the latest trends in adversary info-ops; how to identify, expose, and counter them; and how government, civil society, and industry can work together to build resilience.

Edward Lucas

Dr. Alina Polyakova