How the West Can Defend Against Russian Hybrid Warfare

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How the West Can Defend Against Russian Hybrid Warfare

14th June 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

In the last 10-15 years we have seen an increasingly brazen and widespread Russian campaign of hybrid warfare against the West. The UK has shown extraordinary restraint in the face of incidents such as the Skripal attack, and others have faced online barrages. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is now the time to ensure that the West has a suitable system of domestic defences against the “tripod” of Russian political warfare instruments: disinformation and cyber, financial, and human, whose aim is to weaken, divide and demoralise us?

A new Henry Jackson Society paper explores this “tripod” approach which exploits the openness of Western societies and uses it as a weapon against them. Every form of contact – financial, political, cultural, academic, scientific, commercial – is used as a vector for hostile activity. Fortunately, a great deal can be done to remedy the situation, and it can be done without substantially damaging the openness and rule of law that are the hallmarks of liberal democracies, yet Russia’s intelligence services have used to their own ends.

The Henry Jackson Society invites you to join us for this event and paper launch, where its authors and other experts will propose mutually-supporting measures in the intelligence and security, media, technology, legal and educational spheres to strengthen Western defences.



Neil Barnett is founder and CEO of Istok Associates, a London-based intelligence and investigation consultancy focused on Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Previously, he was a journalist in the same regions for 13 years and wrote for The Telegraph, The Spectator, and Jane’s publications. He covered the war in Iraq, the Ukrainian Orange Revolution, the eastern expansion of NATO and the EU in the 2000s, and Balkan organised crime. He is a contributor to the Atlantic Council and the Free Russia Foundation.



Dr Roman Dobrokhotov is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Insider, a Russian independent online magazine focused on investigations and debunking of fake news. He has a Ph.D. in political science and used to be a civil activist and organiser of protest campaigns in support of human rights. The Insider was founded in 2013 and published a number of important investigations about the Kremlin hackers, the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal by GRU, downing of MH17 Boeing in Ukraine, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and Vladomir Kara-Murza by FSB, the Khangoshvili murder in Berlin and many others. The Insider has a lot of international awards such as Council of Europe Award for Innovation, Emmy, European Press Prize, Free Media Award and many others.




Dr Helena Ivanov is an Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.

Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.



Dr Alan Riley specialises in EU and international commercial law. He is current a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Washington DC, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Energy Community, Vienna. He has written extensively on energy security and EU energy and competition law. Much of his recent work focuses on questions of the operation of legal rules in a geopolitical framework. For example, the role of legal rules in underpinning or challenging Nord Stream 2 or legal remedies to arrest the flood of tainted capital sourced from authoritarian states and the use of legal rules to obtain redress for Ukraine for the invasion and occupation of its territory. Dr Riley was formerly Professor of Law, City, University of London, holds a PhD from the Europa Institute, Edinburgh University and qualified as Solicitor.






The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to hold an event discussing Dr Helena Ivanov’s and Neil Barnett’s latest paper on Western defence against Russian hybrid warfare. Neil Barnett introduced the paper and his main recommendations. He emphasized the need for a better cross-agency cooperation, better strategy and priority setting in counter-terrorism agencies, and a re-evaluation of Russian diplomats’ presence in the UK. Dr Ivanov discussed the role of the media in Russian hybrid warfare, outlining the need for more awareness and regulation of media agencies and online content. Dr Dobrokhotov spoke about the history of Russian hybrid warfare up to the Ukraine invasion, underlining the need for an international response. The panellists discussed the budget of such defence and how it could be translated into existing frameworks.




14th June 2022
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, England, SW1P 4QP
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4QP United Kingdom
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Neil Barnett


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