Reflexive Control Theory: a Soviet perspective on influence and why it matters in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Reflexive control theory is a theory of influence that was developed in the 1960s, in Soviet Russia. During this lecture Maria will talk about the cybernetic origins of the theory, what we know about reflexive control, and what we do not know about it. She’ll then talk about why this under-researched theory from Soviet times is important to take into account in the todays world and how it can help us think about strategic decision making in hybrid warfare.

Maria works as an analyst for Thomson Reuters Special Services International. Before joining TRSSI, Maria has worked for several think tanks in the Netherlands, the UK, and Montenegro. In addition to this, she has been working for several organisations as an analyst and advisor, and has considerable experience of all issues relating to hybrid and grey zone warfare.

Throughout her career, Maria specialised in the analysis of military thought and grand strategy, and strategic influence and statecraft. Her specific interest has been focused on improving contextual situational awareness, finding (qualitative and quantitative) patterns in conflict, including patterns of state and non-state actor behaviour, and the development of early warning systems. Together with the foregoing, her academic interests include the modelling of reflexive control theory.

Maria has a BA degree in European Studies, with a specialism in diplomacy, from The Hague University and an MSc degree in Crisis and Security Management from Leiden University.