How Hybrid Regimes Use Propaganda for Election Interventions: The Refugee Crisis in Germany

How Hybrid Regimes Use Propaganda for Election Interventions: The Refugee Crisis in Germany

Abstract

We identify and theorize a new kind of election intervention, by hybrid regimes, in democracies, arising from state-to-state political communication. We argue that instabilities inherent in hybrid regimes cause them to generate a specific type for propaganda for domestic use, one emphasizing illiberal tenets and principles. This discourse is beneficial to populist and anti-systemic parties in democracies. Powerful hybrid regimes send abroad such communication in order to reap the benefits from a non-systemic political ecology in election-holding states. We find evidence for the argument in analysis of the refugee crisis in Germany, where we identify how political communication by Kremlin-sponsored media both aligned with and promoted issues close to the far-right populist AfD party, in a manner dependent on the local election calendar. We discuss the broader implications for this new type of international propaganda on election interventions and the rise of populism.

Publication
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