05:38 19th March 2021
Much has been written of the Kremlin's attempts to undermine democracies in recent years. Just this week, US intelligence agencies issued a report claiming that Russia and Iran both sought to interfere in the 2020 presidential election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The report claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US."
As we have explored before, Russia is not necessarily looking for a set outcome, but the destabilising influence Trump played - as well as the Pandora's Box that was opened by the Brexit referendum - have served its purposes well. Faith has been weakened in the democratic institutions that have strengthened the west for so long.
However, there is a new kid in town, and one who Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat recently described as "a very good student" of tactics developed in Russia.
Beijing has been using Australia as "a test ground" for some of these tactics, while propaganda has been used increasingly within China and in parts of the world where they are hoping to gain a foothold in order to "shape the battlefield".
China may not yet have the sophistication that Russia has - but could it get there?
This week we talk to Julia Pamilih of the China Research Group about how Beijing is using disinformation in its efforts at 21st century colonialism, and how it could affect democracies in the west.