Lecture for the generation of the fake-news era

Today, students of the USUE Institute of Public Administration and Law were taught to think critically so as not to become victims of hybrid wars, which are going on in the modern world on a par with traditional wars.

At the beginning of the lecture, Natalya Gromova, deputy director for education of the USUE Institute of Public Administration and Law, gave a historical journey back to the times of Sun Tzu. The ancient Chinese thinker who wrote The Art of War described ways to influence the enemy through psychology and economics, such as bribery, blackmail, and using third parties. He is credited with the phrase “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” preserving the lives of your soldiers and your resources.

It is the intensification of the struggle for resources that is the main reason hybrid wars are becoming more common in modern times. Their key feature is the alternation of the “hot” conflict phase with the “cold” one, in which the struggle is waged through economic and information pressure.

Fear of losing economic stability, loved ones, and personal prestige can often shape the phobias of certain groups of people, as Natalya Gromova explains. “These are the same social engineering tricks that telephone fakers use. Manipulating a person, they encourage him to commit some illegal actions. Young people often ‘get caught’ in social games or quests. Those who are older are ‘hooked’, for example, by a promise to help pay off their debts.”

"Basically, I've come across things like this before," says Artyom Lesik, a first-year student at the Institute of Public Administration and Law. He adds that his generation grew up in the era of fake news and understands the importance of critically evaluating information from unverified sources. “However, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to remind about this. After all, today the hybrid war is being waged against our country.”

Many local destructive impacts, which seem insignificant on a national scale, significantly increase the burden on all areas of life, which can be especially painful in the context of an ongoing conflict. In October 2022, attention to the problem of the hybrid war being waged against Russia was drawn by the first vice-rector of the Russian State Social University (RSSU), Jomart Aliyev, who gave a public lecture at USUE.

The head of the USUE department for educational work, Yuri Kolomiytsev, commented on how focused our students were on this topic. “This is very good, because critical thinking skills will be useful to them not only in the context of hybrid wars. This is useful to know and remember for any person in any circumstances.”

Last academic year, 10 USUE teachers completed a training course at RSSU on hybrid warfare. This year, a collective monograph is being prepared for publication. They plan several other similar lectures to be given during the semester, and, in December, there will be a roundtable to discuss this topic. 

USUE students were told about the importance of critical thinking in the era of hybrid wars

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