Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Russian Electoral Interference: Present, Past, and Future

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and the live stream recorded on YouTube.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to view the event video.

Join us for a meeting of the New York-Russia Public Policy Seminar, a forum co-hosted by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University and the New York University Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia. This event is cosponsored by the New York University Center for Social Media and Politics.

In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, one of the most enduring stories has been the scale with which Russia exploited weaknesses in the digital information environment to interfere with foreign elections, both domestically and abroad. While significant scholarly and journalistic work has studied both the strategies and possible effects of Russian interference, important questions remain. What impact (if any) did Russian foreign influence campaigns have on voters’ beliefs and behaviors? How have Russian tactics developed over time? And what might we expect in regards to Russian interference around the 2020 U.S. Presidential election and beyond?

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Renée DiResta, Technical Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania

David Shimer, Associate Fellow at Yale University

Moderated by
Alexander Cooley, Director of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Zeve Sanderson, Executive Director of the Center for Social Media & Politics, New York University
Joshua Tucker, Director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, New York University


Renée DiResta is the Technical Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory. She investigates the spread of malign narratives across social and other media networks. Renee’s areas of research include disinformation and propaganda by state-sponsored actors, and health misinformation and conspiracy theories. Renee has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civic, and business organizations, and has studied disinformation and computational propaganda in the context of pseudoscience conspiracies, terrorism, and state-sponsored information warfare.

“What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation” (The New York Times)
“Computational Propaganda: If You Make It Trend, You Make It True” (The Yale Review)
“The Facebook hearings remind us: information warfare is here to stay” (The Guardian)
“She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened.” (profile, The New York Times)

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the university’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. She has authored or co-authored 16 books, including Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, which won the Association of American Publishers’ 2019 R.R. Hawkins Award and was published in a revised paperback edition by Oxford University Press in June 2020. Her other books include Spiral of Cynicism (with Joseph Cappella) and The Obama Victory: How Media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election(with Kate Kenski and Bruce Hardy). In 2020, the National Academy of Sciences awarded Jamieson its Public Welfare Medal for her “non-partisan crusade to ensure the integrity of facts in public discourse and development of the science of scientific communication to promote public understanding of complex issues.” Jamieson is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association. She also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the International Communication Association. For her contributions to the study of political communication, she received the American Political Science Association’s Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award in 1995. In 2016, the American Philosophical Society awarded her its Henry Allen Moe Prize in the Humanities.

Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President: What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know (Revised edition, June 3, 2020)
What should the press learn from its use of Russian hacked content?(Boston Globe, April 23, 2019)
How Russia cyber attacks helped Trump to the US presidency (The Guardian, October 22, 2018)
How Russia helped swing the election for Trump (The New Yorker, September 24, 2018)



David Shimer is the author of Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference (Knopf, June 2020). He is pursuing a doctorate in international relations at the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar. His reporting and analysis have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Foreign Affairs. He is an Associate Fellow of Yale University, where he received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in history.


Smaller Democracies Grapple with the Threat of Russian Interference (The New Yorker)
A Cold War Case of Russian Collusion (Foreign Affairs)
Election Meddling in Russia: When Boris Yeltsin Asked Bill Clinton for Help (The Washington Post)
How Generations of Russians Have Tried to Influence American Elections (review, The New York Times)



Event Video