In December, Johanne Kalsaas from the University of Bergen will present her research “Hackers, trolls and the discourse of derailment: Subverting accusations of cyber aggression on the Russian-language internet” on how cyber attacks interplay with the verbal subversive practices in the Russian digital communication space.

Online talk will be organized in Zoom December, 14 from 12:00 to 13:30 (Helsinki time). If you want to participate and get emails about the next online talks, please leave your contact information here until December, 13 noon: registration form. If you registered for Online talks or RMLN email list before, no need to register again, we’ll send you the information.

Research summary: This research explores links between international cyber attacks attributed to Russia, and verbal subversive practices within the Russian information environment. Through a case study of Russian online reactions to the hacking of neighboring NATO-member Norway’s parliament in 2020, Johanne shows how widespread trolling of Norwegian politicians served to supplant any substantial debate about Russia’s information warfare. By mocking the accuser, Norway, online trolls subverted or entirely derailed critique of the alleged attacker, Russia. The talk thus highlights intersections of Russian hacking and online trolling — the latter potentially disrupting any meaningful discussion about the former — suggesting the importance of studying the two phenomena in light of each other.

Speaker’s bio: Johanne Kalsaas is a PhD candidate in Russian media studies at the University of Bergen. In the Autumn of 2021 she is a visitor at Aleksanteri Institute, Helsinki University. Johanne’s doctoral project is titled “How to troll the trolls: Narrating Norway on the Russian-language Internet”. In it, she studies Russian digital (i.e. user-generated) narratives about Norway and the Nordics, aiming to uncover if and/or how these narratives are shaped by pro-Kremlin informational influence and political trolling. Johanne’s research interests lie at the intersection of news discourse, digital culture and participatory propaganda.

Moderator: Dr Olga Dovbysh (Helsinki University)

Online talk on Russian Media is a collaborative initiative between Russian Media Lab Network, University of Helsinki, and Tampere Research Center for Russian and Chinese Media.

Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash

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