From September 4th to September 8th,2017, the Estonian School of Diplomacy (ESD) hosted an 18-member delegation of diplomats from Ukraine for a study visit that focused on issues of soft power diplomacy and hybrid warfare. The delegation had the pleasure of meeting their peers from the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as officials from various governmental institutions, including the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Government Office of Estonia. The delegation also met with a group of researchers from the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) and the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP).
The highlight of the study visit was the expert workshop on September 7th entitled “Information, Cyber and Hybrid Means as New Warfare Methods”, jointly hosted by the ESD together with the ECEAP. The workshop started with a panel discussion moderated by Piret Pernik, a research fellow from the ICDS, with panellists Dmytro Zolotukhin, the Deputy Minister of Information Policy for Ukraine, Dmitri Teperik, the chief executive of ICDS projects in Ukraine, and Sergiy Korsunsky, the director of the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. The second panel included Dace Kundrāte, a senior expert with the NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence, and from Ukraine Analytica; Hanna Shelest, editor in chief, and Yevgenia Gaber, deputy editor.
The panellists discussed the challenges and threats facing Ukraine, the existing experience in countering these challenges, and how to prevent them in the future. The discussions centred around issues such as resisting disinformation and questions such as, how to effectively stem Russian disinformation while adhering to values such as freedom of speech. Panelists stressed that Russia’s ability to reframe narratives. Also, they highlighted current domestic difficulties within Ukraine, such as the deepening lack of trust between society and government. The last part of the workshop concluded with a detailed look at the mechanisms used to frame the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, and the effective use of strategic communication by the Turkish government.
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