News & Comment

Accelerationism Meets Gamification: A Look at the Convergence in the Framing of Online Narratives – Petra Regeni on the Global Network on Extremism & Technology

“The convergence of gamification and accelerationism has further exposed future risks of violent extremism. It is contributing to the desensitisation of real-life violence and dehumanising victims rendering them into mere numbers/scores. Not only does such framing serve to normalise extremist rhetoric but it ultimately ends up glorifying terrorists, and even motivating further attacks as assailants could gain notoriety and sainthood status themselves,” Petra Regeni notes. Article published on 31 May 2023. 

From hot dog seller to mercenary leader: The rise of Wagner’s Yevgeny Prigozhin – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira on Sky News

“Originally, the Wagner Group was offering services [such as intelligence gathering, training, and support for logistics] that were more related to the ones that private security companies provide”, Joana de Deus Pereira Ph.D told Sky News’s Niall Paterson. The Wagner Group became more visible when “Prigozhin had this big window of opportunity during the annexation of Crimea. (…) There was always this blurriness between what they did, and what the Russian military did”, Joana de Deus Pereira added. However, “we cannot say that the Russian military are using the mercenaries, this would be an acknowledgement that they recognise them as partners on the ground”, Joana de Deus Pereira noted. Interview aired on 15 May 2023. 

Russia poised to exploit Sudan coup as EU looks on – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira in EU Observer

“[According to experts], the violent chaos in Sudan might well end with Russia building a strategic naval base there, as warlords court foreign sponsors,” the EU Observer writes. “They [Russia] already have a base in Syria very close by and I don’t doubt they’ll build this one very soon,” Dr Joana de Deus Pereira told EUobserver. Article published on 19 April 2023.

Russia’s interests in Sudan – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira on BBC The World Tonight

“Russia’s interest in Sudan is to have a stable situation as quickly as possible, because the current conflict disrupts the gold mining and other important sources of financing for Russia,” Dr Joana de Deus Pereira told BBC’s “The World Tonight”. These sources of financing are funding Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. “We also shouldn’t forget that Russia is a major supplier of arms to Africa, including to Sudan,” Joana added. Interview aired on 18 April 2023.

The role of Russia’s Wagner group in Sudan – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira on BBC Newsnight

“Wagner has been in Sudan since 2017, brought to the country by Omar al-Bashir, with the clear objective of buidling a military base in Port Sudan at the Red Sea and at the same time operating in exchange for mining concessions in the gold mine areas,” Dr Joana de Deus Pereira told BBC Newsnight. Supposedly, these efforts were ‘paying’ for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Joana added. Interview aired on 17 April 2023.

The West Is Preparing for Russia’s Disintegration – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira in Foreign Policy

Russia’s disintegration is “highly improbable,” Dr Joana de Deus Pereira, RUSI Europe Senior Research Fellow told Foreign Policy’s Anchal Vohra. Even such insinuations in the West will increase “Putin’s appeal,” Joana added, giving some perspective on how nationalist Russians might see them. Article published on 17 April 2023.

EU sanctions against Russia: Is our work really done? – Gonzalo Saiz Erausquin in EurActiv

Much focus is placed on discerning the impact sanctions are having on Russia, but EU member states must first ensure robust implementation, writes Gonzalo Saiz Erausquin, Research Analyst at the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, RUSI Europe. Article published on 4 April 2023.

Framing Sanctions: The Role Of Governmental Narrative-Building

Strategic communications are key to making sanctions work. Policymakers should pay more attention to the role of narratives in securing populations’ support for sanctions against Russia.
Commentary by Balázs Gyimesi, Communications and Events Officer, RUSI Europe, published on 30 March 2023.

War in Ukraine: The new roles of investigative journalism and civil society – RUSI Europe conference in the Brussels Times

“Ukraine will need a massive injection of funds for the reconstruction once hostilities cease. This will require proper mechanisms and expertise to ensure that these funds are not being mismanaged. For the Ukrainian reconstruction to succeed, international donors need trust, which can be reinforced by ensuring that civil society has a seat at the table”, the Brussels Times wrote in its coverage of the Securing Integrity Of Ukraine’s Reconstruction Funding conference. Article published on 20 March 2023.

Untangling the Spider’s Web: Tackling Transnational Criminal Networks

A coordinated transnational response is needed to understand and tackle the complex criminal networks involved in global illicit flows.
Commentary by Clotilde Sebag, CRIMSON Project Assistant, RUSI Europe, published on 2 March 2023.

Putin’s Russian Critics Are Growing Ever Louder – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira in Foreign Policy

Prigozhin is not only “doing the dirty work on the battlefield,” but also presenting himself as a national face during the war, RUSI Europe’s Dr Joana de Deus Pereira told Foreign Policy’s Anchal Vohra. “This is a political stunt that I don’t think the Kremlin had thought about. He wants to increase his political influence and enter the Kremlin. The elite will never accept that,” Joana said. Article published on 1 March 2023.

Who’s Afraid of The Wagner Group? – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira on BBC4

“Prigozhin used to be a tool for the Kremlin, but he has now become visible. And visibility in the eyes of the Kremlin isn’t a positive thing, especially when they aren’t in control of it”, Joana de Deus Pereira Ph.D, RUSI Europe Senior Research Fellow told BBC Radio 4’s David Aaronovitch on The Briefing Room. Interview aired on 23 February 2023.

The Putin and Wagner Group Clash Is Coming to a Head – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira in Newsweek

How has the relationship between the Kremlin and the Wagner Group changed since the launch of the Russian aggression against Ukraine? How is Yevgeny Prigozhin building his political character? How is Vladimir Putin reacting to Prigozhin’s communications? “Now, Prigozhin has become much more dangerous in terms of the political persona he wants to be,” Joana de Deus Pereira Ph.D, RUSI Europe Senior Research Fellow told Newsweek’s Isabel van Brugen. Article published on 6 February 2023.

What Are Lithuania’s Goals and Chances for NATO’s Vilnius Summit? – Dr Peter W Brorsen on LTV

What will be the priorities of the NATO Vilnius Summit? How are NATO-Ukraine relations going to evolve? Will NATO Allies agree on a new defence spending guideline? Will Sweden and Finland be joining the Alliance at the Vilnius Summit in July 2023? Read Dr Peter W. Brorsen, RUSI Europe Executive Director’s assessment of these issues in the Lithuanian public broadcaster – LRT’s article. Article published on 1 February 2023.

President Putin’s Chef or Mercenary Leader? – Dr Joana de Deus Pereira on BBC Newsnight

What is the Wagner Group, and what are its goals and methods? Listen to RUSI Europe Senior Research Fellow Joana de Deus Pereira Ph.D’s answers to these questions on BBC Newsnight. Interview aired on 12 January 2023.

It’s All Fun and Games, Until It’s Not: The Risks of Gamified Violent Extremism and How We Can Tackle It

by Petra Regeni, Research and Project Officer, Terrorism and Conflict group, RUSI Europe. Commentary published on 11 November 2022.

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