Dr Ilya Yablokov
Department of Journalism Studies
Lecturer in Journalism and Digital Media
+44 114 222 2524
Full contact details
Department of Journalism Studies
9 Mappin Street
Ilya joined the department in July 2021 as Lecturer in Journalism and Digital Media. Ilya’s sphere of research interests includes (but is not limited to) dis/misinformation, conspiracy theories, international broadcasting and political communication as well as journalistic practices of (self-)censorship in the post-socialist countries. His most recent projects focus on the production and dissemination or Russian state disinformation campaigns via the so-called ‘troll factories’. Together with Elisabeth Schimpfossl, Ilya is also working on the monograph on the history of Russian media management since 1987.
Ilya’s recent monograph Russia Today and Conspiracy Theories: People, Power, Politics on RT (with Precious Chatterje-Doody) explores how Russian international broadcaster uses traditional and new media environments to spread disinformation on subnational, national and international levels. This work was spawned by Ilya’s previous research into conspiracy theories in Russia. His monograph Fortress Russia: conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet world (Polity 2018) studied how political elites in post-Soviet Russia use conspiracy theories for political purposes and to boost social cohesion under Vladimir Putin. Its Russian version had three editions and was included in a longlist of best non-fiction books of 2020.
As a principal investigator of the British Academy research grant entitled 'Self-censorship in post-Socialist countries' (2017-2019, with Elisabeth Schimpfossl) Ilya studied practices of self-censorship in the Russian media and explored the political, economic and cultural factors influencing the specifics of self-censorship in the post-socialist states of Russia, Hungary and Latvia. In collaboration with colleagues from UK, Denmark, Hungary and Latvia the project looked at informal practices that define the work of newsrooms across the post-socialist world.
Ilya has published research in leading academic journals in the field of media and Russian studies, including Journalism, European Journal of Communication, Russian Review, Politics, Participations and Democratizatsiya: Democratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization.
Ilya’s media appearances include BBC World Service, Eurozine, Al-Jazeera, Meduza, Open Democracy Russia, the Moscow Times and The Conversation.
- Research interests
Ilya's research interests have several strands that might seem to be quite different and, in fact, can intertwine in a surprising way.
The first strand of research is related to dis/misinformation and conspiracy theories. These are the topics on which Ilya's research is focused on:
- conspiracy theories
- strategies of dis/misinformation
- political communication and propaganda
- digital media and disinformation
The second strand of research is related to the study of post-socialist journalism in the countries of the former Eastern bloc. Ilya's research is related to the history of media transitions from the socialist to capitalist modes of media management and newsmaking, as well as the role of media elites in the processes of democratisation and democracy's decay. These are the topics of Ilya's research:
- media elites in the former socialist countries
- censorship and self-censorship
- Russian and post-Soviet journalism and newsmaking
- propaganda, disinformation and newsmaking in the authoritarian regimes
- Fortress Russia Conspiracy Theories in the Post-Soviet World. John Wiley & Sons.
- Russia Today and Conspiracy Theories. Routledge.
- A brief history of news making in Russia. Journalism, 22(12), 2895-2905.
- Post-socialist self-censorship : Russia, Hungary and Latvia. European Journal of Communication, 35(1), 29-45.
- Self-censorship narrated: journalism in Central and Eastern Europe. European Journal of Communication, 35(1), 3-11.
- Anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in Putin's Russia. Antisemitism Studies, 3(2), 291-316.
- Global crises as Western conspiracies: Russian theories of oil prices and the ruble exchange rate. Journal of Soviet and post-Soviet politics and society, 3(2), 47-86.
- Social networks of death : conspiracy panics and professional journalistic ethics in the post-Soviet Russia. Quaderni, 94, 53-62.
- Power lost and freedom relinquished: Russian journalists assessing the first post-Soviet decade. The Russian Review, 76(3), 526-541. View this article in WRRO
- From Soviet to Russian media managers. Russian Politics, 2(1), 7-31.
- Media elites in Post-Soviet Russia and their strategies for success. Russian Politics, 2(1), 32-53.
- Introducing Russia’s media aristocracy. Russian Politics, 2(1), 1-5.
- Conspiracy Theories as a Russian Public Diplomacy Tool: The Case of Russia Today (RT). Politics, 35(3-4), 301-315.
- Coercion or Conformism? Censorship and Self- Censorship among Russian Media Personalities and Reporters in the 2010s. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 22(2), 295-311.
- Russian disinformation finds fertile ground in the West. Nature Human Behaviour.
- Conspiracy theories and fake news In Butter M & Knight P (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories London: Routledge.
- Conspiracy theories in Putin’s Russia: the case of the ‘New World Order’ In Knight P & Butter M (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories London: Routledge.
- Conspiracy Theories in Post-Soviet Russia, Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them (pp. 360-371). Oxford University Press
- Teaching activities
Ilya's current teaching portfolio consists of the modules related to political/public communication, the principles of journalism and research methods in media and communication studies.
He is involved in teaching the following MA modules:
- JNL 6210 Research methods
- JNL 6027 Journalism, Globalisation and Development
- JNL 6075 Media Freedom European, UK, US perspectives
On the UG level Ilya is involved in teaching seminars on JNL 120 Essential journalism.
In 2022-2023 academic year Ilya will also be a convenor of the new MA module on conspiracy theories as a communication tool.