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Andreas Pignitter

Andreas Pignitter

PhD Candidate


Andreas joined the Department of War Studies as a doctoral student in January, 2020. He holds a BSc (first class honours) in Security Management from the University of Applied Sciences Campus Vienna (where he also received a scholarship for his excellent achievements), and completed his MA in Strategy and International Security at the University of Hull. For the latter, his thesis concerned with the role of cyber power in modern military strategy, and contained an extensive research devoted to the changes of the conduct of warfare in modern time. Andreas has a vast expertise in the application of risk analysis (for the corporate as well as public sector), and was part of the Central & Eastern European Global Security Consulting Team within the Siemens enterprise. Before starting his academic career, he was member of the Austrian military and served as a UN-peacekeeper at the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in Syria, 2012. Having gathered practical and not everyday insights from his military assignment throughout the Syrian civil war, Andreas is keen to apply his experiences and skills to study the concept of war in its social-political entirety.

Thesis Title

The European Union and its Russian Hybrid Threats: An Analysis of Threat Understanding, Perception and Impact


Considering the long-lasting geopolitical rivalry between the West and Russia, various Russian methods aimed at compensating for Western economic and military superiority could be observed. Technological progress, as well as the ongoing processes of globalisation, seem to have added even more conflict potential to the already tense relationship between the ideological counterparts. This has resulted in a highly complex geopolitical environment in which the terminology of ‘hybrid threats’ has become an increasingly common vocabulary for today’s decision-makers. In his research, Andreas will address the European Union’s (EU) perception of Russian hybrid activities that threaten the institution’s social-political integrity and security stability. Primarily, the research will fill a gap in the existing academic literature on the EU’s understanding of this challenge and shall go beyond addressing the issue from an often narrow tactical-operational perspective. Andreas will focus on the EU’s perception of Russia’s threatening activities, the impact these threats could have for the supranational organisation and on how the EU responds to them strategically. Furthermore, he aims to put the EU’s perception in the context of Russia’s actual foreign and security policy. As occurs often in politics, the actions of one power are not always in accord with the perceptions of its receiver, and vice versa. While previous works primarily approached the problematic of Russian hybrid threats from the individual perception of European member states, Andreas’s research aims to start a strategic debate about the understanding of the EU as an institution. In summary, his approach aims to address an audience interested in the parties’ bilateral relations and will provide an objective and non-politicised piece, potentially useful for both sides’ endeavours towards conflict resolution, by focusing on the impact of perception and actual behaviour.

Research Interests

European Foreign and Security Policy, Russia’s geostrategic behaviour in the 21st century, grand strategy, political warfare, active measures, threat perception in IR


Primary Supervisor: Dr Domitilla Sagramoso

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Christoph Meyer