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The George Washington University

Bucerius Fieldwork Grant

Manufacturing Dissent: Assessing the Micro-Level Effects of International Propaganda


Fear of foreign interference in domestic elections has caused countries to become more responsive to international propaganda. However, warning citizens about international propaganda may not only have direct effects on citizens’ receptivity to foreign messages but it can also cause individuals to overestimate the impact of mass communication on public opinion. Notably, the influence that people expect propaganda to have on ‘others’ may lead citizens to support more anti-democratic policies in order to protect ‘vulnerable’ voters. I rely on a survey experiment in Latvia to assess whether warning audiences about the threat of Russian propaganda promotes distrust in media, heightens political cynicism, and increases support for elite control over political information.

Aleksandr Fisher is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University and an Associate Scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. His academic research addresses topics of foreign propaganda, authoritarian information politics, and international democratization, as well as their implications for U.S. foreign policy. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Temple University in 2014, and his Masters of Arts in Political Science in 2017 from George Washington University.

"A New Cold War? The Impact of International Rivalries on Foreign Public Opinion" International Journal of Public Opinion Research, forthcoming

"Is There a Trump Effect? An Experiment on Political Polarization and Audience Costs" with Murphy Ever and Steven Schaaf. Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming

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