Jedi and Starmen—Cyber in the Service of the Light Side of the Force

  • Torsti Sirén
  • Aki-Mauri Huhtinen
Part of the Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering book series (ISCA, volume 93)


Today’s colliding world views between West and East have resulted in phenomena such as the war in Ukraine and pro-Russia trolling in Finland. In this context, social media, understood here as a synonym for cyber, is ‘contaminated’ and has turned out to be a chaotic virtual environment that facilitates the dissemination of all kinds of propagandist lies and pseudo-truths in addition to fact-based discussion. This article leans theoretically on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and the Leader–Member Exchange (LMX) Theory of Leadership. The main argument of SDT is that human beings have an intrinsic need to explore and satisfy their curiosity. The LMX Theory of Leadership complements SDT by focusing on the relationship between leaders and their subordinates, which, for the purposes of this article, concerns the relationship between an explorer and their followers. The article poses the question: What motivates some individuals to challenge existing oppressive world views and injustices regardless of the fact that they know they will be heavily criticised as a result of their explorative journey? In addressing this question, the authors have used abductive content analysis to analyse the motivational factors and experiences of Finnish investigative journalist Jessikka Aro in relation to her exploratory journey in exposing pro-Russia trolling in Finland. The key arguments are as follows: Jessikka Aro’s main motivation for exposing pro-Russia trolling in Finland stemmed from her professional curiosity towards Russia and Russian propaganda. She did not intend to become any kind of leader or champion (‘Jedi’) for her followers (‘Starmen’) and was actually embarrassed by such labels, even if her followers might have regarded her as such. She has continued her exploratory journey in exposing pro-Russia trolling in Finland because she has been supported by her significant others (working community, family and closest friends) and generalised others (social media followers), and has managed to create new human networks, which have also encouraged her to stay on the same track. Aro contends that after publishing a number of articles and giving interviews and lectures on pro-Russia trolling in Finland, many Finns have begun to talk more openly not only about Russian propagandist trolling and pro-Russia trolling networks but also about Russia’s acts of aggression in violation of international agreements.


Information warfare Reflexive control Cyber Social media Zeitgeist Self-determination Theory (SDT) Leader–Member Exchange (LMX) theory of leadership Motivation Pro-Russia trolling 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Defence UniversityHelsinkiFinland

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