20 years under Putin: a timeline

On November 13, 2014, The Interpreter editor-in-chief Michael Weiss and journalist Peter Pomerantsev presented their report titled “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money” at the National Endowment for Democracy’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Participants in the discussion (left to right): Peter Pomerantsev, Michael Weiss, Hannah Thoburn, David Kramer. Photo: courtesy of NED.


Participants in the discussion that followed included Hannah Thoburn, Eurasia analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative; Christopher Walker, executive director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies (National Endowment for Democracy); and David Kramer, then-president of Freedom House. 

According to Pomerantsev, the 20th century was defined by a fight against censorship, while the 21st century has been defined by a fight against the abuse of the freedom of information. Since Russia cannot defeat the West in an open confrontation, the Kremlin exploits the West’s flaws. Weiss noted that false information produced by the Kremlin infiltrates the Western narrative, sowing confusion and misunderstanding. All the participants agreed that the West lacks a coherent policy toward Russia, a problem that was highlighted by the emergence of the Ukraine crisis.

You can watch the report discussion below: