The Estonian-Russian border negotiations : a prelude to the cyber-attacks of 2007
Alenius, Kari (2017-06-29)
Alenius, Kari (2017) The Estonian-Russian border negotiations : a prelude to the cyber-attacks of 2007. In Scanlon, M. and Nhien-An, L.-K. (eds.) Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ECCWS 2017, pp. 17-23.
© The Author, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
Russian information warfare operations in neighbouring states — in the Baltic States and ex-Soviet republics in particular — form a complex system of activities. The operations are conducted under the doctrine of near abroad and for the purposes of influencing these states’ decisions in ways considered favourable to Russian Federation. The Russian government has actively pursued the imposition of a dependent relationship upon the neighbouring states, with the desire to remain the region’s dominant actor and political arbiter, continuing the Soviet pattern of hegemonic relations.
After the Russo-Georgian war of 2008 and Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present) in particular there has been an ever increasing interest in the Russian information warfare. Nevertheless, the subject is far from having been thoroughly studied as regards, for instance, the roots and development of Russian information operations.
This study focuses on an early (2005) example of how current issues are intertwined with contradictory historical interpretations. The aim of this study is to examine the rhetoric and propagandistic messaging used by Russia in the context of the failed border negotiations between Estonia and Russia in 2005: Why were certain methods used? What was the essential aim of the messaging and why was this so? When this episode is compared with the better known 2007 cyber-attacks on Estonia it is evident that the border negotiations can be considered as a prelude to the latter one. In both cases the dispute was, in the first place, over the nature of Soviet annexation of the Baltic States.
The main sources comprise published comments and interviews of the Russian highest political leaders (President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov) and Russian newspaper articles that dealt with the issue in 2005. Alongside the methods of rhetoric studies this research utilizes discourse and narrative analysis and propaganda studies.
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