Hi! My name is Anton Shirikov, and I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I study media, propaganda, misinformation, political polarization, and trust. My dissertation examines how authoritarian leaders use propaganda to maintain public support. I combine original experiments and surveys situated in Russia with large-scale cross-national data to show that autocrats such as Vladimir Putin can improve the credibility of biased state media by continually supplying their supporters with belief-consistent messages. This affirmation propaganda also undermines the power of less biased independent media. Citizens who are trapped in state media echo chambers are, consequently, less adept at recognizing disinformation. I suggest the conditions under which affirmation propaganda is effective.
In my other work, I study political elites and institutions in Russia and the former Soviet Union, as well as the legacies of communism.
My analysis and commentary have appeared in The Washington Post, on PBS NewsHour, in The Financial Times, HuffingtonPost, USA Today, Politifact, Portland Press Herald, Press Gazette (UK), CBC, The Daily Dot, and on Wisconsin Public Radio.