No. 48



Influenceability of Citizens as a Threat to National Security and Constitutional Order: Two Case Studies

14 December 2023


RiTo No. 48, 2023

Democratic governance and a free society also entail rights and duties, including the duty to be responsible for the consequences resulting from one’s actions. How does invisible influencing activity affect people’s decisions in a democracy and at public events?

The two cases mentioned in the heading are the Maidan revolution in February 2014 and the United States Capitol attack on 6 January 2021.

The case of the Maidan demonstrations was different from the case of the Capitol attack and can be described as an event based on emotions and values, where there was organising without a clear leader and leadership.

In the case of the Capitol attack, the influence of the leader and of the media and social media proved to be important prerequisites for influencing the masses. It was also pointed out in the experts’ assessments, where the influence of the leader was associated with their importance in creating and changing group dynamics, the need to establish their identity by leading the masses.

Media and social media monitoring, the results of the monitoring and the forecasts based on them are necessary to be aware of the potential and scale of the risks.

According to the Estonian experts, foreign influencing activity is an important factor that can lead to an increase in the impact resulting from influenceability also in the context of mass behaviour, especially if a part of the Estonian population does not perceive it as a security threat.