Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Kiril Avramov


Other facultyPh.D., University of Sofia

Visiting Post-doctoral research fellow

Contact

  • Phone: 512-475-6145
  • Office: BUR 578
  • Office Hours: Office hours for Fall 2019: Mondays 1 pm - 3 pm or by appointment in BUR 578
  • Campus Mail Code: F3600

Interests


Non-western political warfare, Soviet and Russian propaganda, Soviet and Russian influence and psychological operations, "weaponization of information" and cognitive hacking, elite and mass cognitive resilience, history of Soviet and East European civilian and military intelligence services.

Biography


Kiril Avramov currently is a visiting post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and a non-resident Fellow to the Intelligence Studies Project (ISP) at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Previously he was the Acting Vice-Rector for International Relations and Research at the New Bulgarian University (NBU) in Sofia, Bulgaria and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at NBU. He studied previously at Gustavus Adolphus College (USA/MN), the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Central European University (Hungary), and NBU. He taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Sofia until 2005 and, from 2006-2010, was also the Director of the international consultancy and research institute “Political Capital” in Bulgaria. In 2010, he was appointed as the Director for International Relations of Political Capital at the firm’s headquarters in Budapest. Dr. Avramov was a Fulbright Senior Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015-2016. He earned a full scholarship for his PhD research at the University of Sofia and received an “Open Society Institute-Sofia” scholarship for his year-long PhD specialization at the Central European University in Budapest.

 

Courses


REE 335 • Security/Policy E Eur/Rus

43034 • Spring 2020
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 136
GC (also listed as GOV 365N)

Description:

This course will examine key contemporary security issues and policy dilemmas through the perspective of post-communist Eastern European countries from 5th and 6th EU enlargement waves, in the framework of their membership in supranational organizations. It will survey the existing and emerging internal policy debates concerning the challenges that Central and Eastern European states face vis-à-vis resurgent Russia’s grand strategy and interventions, Chinese foreign policy outreach, energy security, as well as the challenges posed by terror, migration and the pressures and uncertainties originating in EU’s Eastern and Southern neighborhoods. The course is designed to examine the transformation of regional states’ national security strategies, threat perception and priorities transitioning from former Warsaw pact to full-fledged EU and NATO membership in shaping their respective national security priorities. The course is designed thematically and will focus on interpreting the respective countries’ policy shifts and responses within the framework of changing global security environment through the theories and concepts of EU security policy. Specific accent will be put on the “borderlands” threat perception, issue securitization, prioritization and subsequent policy formation of the small states within the framework of the EU and NATO’s strategies in response to contemporary external challenges. The aims of this survey include the provision of students with conceptual tools in examining the role and place of Central and Eastern European states in formation and adoption of EU’s security policy, critical analysis of their contemporary key foreign and security policy dilemmas, as well as an opportunity for interpretation of the national interests, policy responses, interactions and foreign policy and security contexts of the respective countries in focus.

REE 387 • Protest And Rev In E Europe

43095 • Spring 2020
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM PAR 305

Description:

This seminar focuses on the causes, specific patterns and modes of mobilization, protest and regime change in Eastern Europe in comparative historical context from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution to 2014 Ukrainian revolution. The seminar will scrutinize and compare the specific national roots of discontent, mechanics of mass mobilization, patterns of democratic uprisings and the nature of internal and external responses at national elite and mass levels. It will also analyze the interactions with external actors, foreign policy and security interests involved and actual outcomes and impact of these events in the context of respective countries’ socialist and post-socialist pathways. In search of answers, as to why and how Eastern Europeans protest and rebel, and critically evaluate what are the results of these in historic perspective, we will combine a mix of traditional approaches borrowing conceptual instrumentation from the fields of political science and history pertinent to continuity and change in Eastern Europe. In addition, as students will be engaged in empirical analysis of primary declassified archived national security, intelligence and diplomacy relevant material, elements of theory of intelligence will be employed, in evaluation of Western and Eastern respective perceptions, analysis and estimation of processes and expected outcomes. Students will be encouraged to investigate, examine and interpret the archival data that reflects the causes, roots and expected outcomes of protests and revolutions in Eastern Europe through the lenses of American diplomacy, intelligence and security apparatus, in search of analytical biases, detection and specific interpretations of Soviet and Russian “active measures” applied in response to anticipated or active protest and mobilization. The aim of the thematic seminar is to combine multiple theoretical approaches with practical application in developing an informed appreciation and deeper understanding of the internal root causes and “mechanics” of Eastern European protest and mobilization strategies, as well as their Western “reflection” through the lenses of the national security and intelligence apparatus, as sources in aiding subsequent policy shifts and responses.     

REE 335 • Political Warfare/Propagnda

42743 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLM 5.124
GC (also listed as GOV 360N)

Description: This course focuses on the phenomenon of political warfare in contemporary global context, with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. The course will broaden students’ understanding of the nature of political warfare, including its role and limits in achieving influence over opponents’ decision-making processes via non-lethal methods. Using historical case studies as a starting point, we will explore the evolution of techniques of political warfare, including psychological warfare and propaganda. Through readings and discussion, students will learn to evaluate various frameworks for evaluating the deployment of “weaponized information”, often used in combination with force, subversion, economic pressure and public diplomacy, to achieve national strategic and tactical goals. We will also look at the role of intelligence in crafting, disseminating and exploiting information in both historical and contemporary contexts. Finally, we will investigate contemporary forms of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and “fake news” as “weaponized” by non-liberal democratic regimes in pursuit of their respective foreign policy goals. Students will be expected to attend certain relevant events organized by UT Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project.

Grading:

Grading will consist of:

1) in-class participation (5 %)

2) weekly response papers (40 % i.e. 5% each paper)

3) mid-term exam (20%)

4) in-class case presentation (5 %)

5) final research paper (30%).

 

Required texts: These are the texts that contain the required reading for this course. 

  • Jowett, G. S., & O'Donnell, V. (2015). Propaganda & persuasion.Sixth Edition ,Sage.;
  • Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda: the formation of men's attitudes. Knopf.
  • McCauley, K. (2016). Russian Influence Campaigns Against the West. From the Cold War to Putin., Createspace Independent Publishing.
  • Patrikarakos, D. (2017). War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Basic Books.

REE 335 • Political Warfare/Propagnda

43944 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.212
GC (also listed as GOV 360N)

Description:

This seminar focuses on the phenomenon of political warfare in contemporary global context, with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. The course will broaden students’ understanding of the nature of political warfare, including its role and limits in achieving influence over opponents’ decision-making processes via non-lethal methods. Using historical case studies as a starting point, we will explore the evolution of techniques of political warfare, including psychological warfare and propaganda. Through readings and discussion, students will learn to evaluate various frameworks for evaluating the deployment of “weaponized information”, often used in combination with force, subversion, economic pressure and public diplomacy, to achieve national strategic and tactical goals. We will also look at the role of intelligence in crafting, disseminating and exploiting information in both historical and contemporary contexts. Finally, we will investigate contemporary forms of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and “fake news” as “weaponized” by non-liberal democratic regimes in pursuit of their respective foreign policy goals.

Students will be expected to attend relevant events organized by UT Austin’s Intelligence Studies Project.

 

Learning outcomes:

1) understand the nature of political warfare in the contemporary context 2) evaluate the role and toolbox of psy-ops in historic and contemporary contexts and 3) analyze and critically evaluate instances of propaganda and strategic messaging.              

 

Target audience:

Students interested in intelligence studies, international relations and diplomacy, Russian foreign policy, as well as Russian and Eastern Europe area studies.

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  • Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600
    Burdine Hall 452
    Austin, TX 78712
    512–471–3607