Interesting look at the Russian academic community and its impact on policy. It’s written by Mariya Omelicheva for PONARS Eurasia and titled Influencers, Echo Chambers, and Epistemic Bubbles: Russia’s Academic Discourse in the Wake of the War in Ukraine.
Much of the scholarship in the field of Russian IR takes place in an epistemic bubble that has been cut off from sustained interactions and funding from non-Russian sources. Echo chambers that deliberately amplify the government’s assertions are maintained by an elite community of experts affiliated with select academic institutions connected to the Russian state. A smaller group of influencers has direct access to government decision-making, which it exploits to influence the political elite and public views. When top decision-makers release their claims about Russia’s foreign policy, echo chambers entertain and develop these political positions. Validated in echo chambers and propagated by influencers, these ideas then re-enter foreign policy discourse. This dynamic leads to the dangerous transformation of ideological constructs into Russia’s “truths” and “post-truths” about the world.