Author: Asya Metodieva
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Disinformation campaigns have become a considerable threat to domestic political processes across Europe. The 2017 French and German elections testified to Russian efforts to meddle in domestic political affairs. The Visegrad states have also been targets of extensive disinformation campaigns following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy in Central Europe weakens the West while strengthening the Russian political influence on the region. This policy brief discusses information warfare threats to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and evaluates their state-level strategic responses. The paper specifically focuses on pro-Russian disinformation activities as a form of cyber-threat. It argues that while some Visegrad states securitize the issue at the political level, other offer an environment conducive to online propaganda simply because they do not consider it a problem. At least three factors contribute to the cyber-security behaviour of the Visegrad states: 1) Capacity to react, 2) Political regime change and 3) Relationship with Russia. This analysis aims to provide local governments with a comprehensive overview of the V4 cyber-security landscape, help them improve their national policies and deepen regional cooperation.
Keywords: V4, Cyber security, Disinformation, Cyber defence, Cyber capabilities