The Kremlin`s voices in Europe. First part25.01.2020
The last year demonstrated a series of painful foreign-policy strikes, which essentially have shaken idea, that was established in society about support of Ukraine by the entire free world supports.
Russia returned to the PACE, Italy sentenced Vitaly Markiv, “Nord Stream-2”, increasingly bold and loud voices about the need to lift sanctions. All this cannot leave us indifferent. But how does it turn out, despite the fact that truth is on our side, we are defending our country rather than being invaded in foreign, we are constantly had to prove our Western partners obvious things? The reason is trivial, is the uninterrupted flow of Russian propaganda. One might think that the information war is only Russian talk shows and fake news. However, this is far from true.
Here is not a complete list of how the Kremlin manipulates public consciousness:
- uses diplomatic institutions as propaganda propagators;
- finances the distribution of propaganda material in foreign media;
- involves government-controlled media, defamation campaigns of certain figures, politicians or entire public groups;
- uses specially trained “undercover” specially trained individuals in the war zones, as OSCE inspectors, journalists, officials of international organizations etc;
- created and supported a number of foreign “historical”, “cultural” organizations that continue pro-Russian propaganda rhetoric in other countries;
- embodies the practice of using “useful idiots” in propaganda campaign and activities of information and psychological impacts;
- uses specially created system of Internet bots to fill information space with openly false information (fakes);
- conducts misinformation campaigns and information and psychological operations.
It is a well-established mechanism, controled by a single center and provided with almost unlimited financial resources. We have to admit that not many countries can allow to squeeze the information clench information fists so hard.
But this is not about Russian diplomats or TV channels like the infamous RT. We also have not deliberately analyzed pro-Putin journalists such as Graham Phillips (Britain) or Billy Sixs (Germany). We focus on those who forms a deeper view: politicians, experts, cultural figures, and civic activists.
- The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the European Union’s backbones. From every beginning of the Russian aggression Germany participates in each process, including “Normandy Format”, it offered, so-called, “Steinmeier formula”, etc. The importance of this state, and consequently it’s society’s opinion, is implicit for us and our enemy.
So, who rules the pro-Russian lobby in Germany?
“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” – is the German the right-populist movement, founded in 2014 (Coincidence? Nonsense!) in Dresden.
PEGIDA activists are very notorious by waving Russian flags during manifestations. This movement calls for immediate normalization of German-Russian relations.
The National Democratic Party of Germany “Alternative for Germany” is a right-conservative and Eurosceptic political party in Germany, founded on 6 February 2013. Today, AfD is the most active political power in the Bundestag, which supports pro-Russian initiatives. Representatives of this party often serve as “observers” on elections in the Russian Federation, occupied regions of Eastern Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh. These “observers” are massively used by Russian propaganda in order to create the semblance of legitimacy.
AfD leaders, Oleksandr Gauland and Yorg Moyten became one of the first German politicians to congratulate Putin on his re-election. They promised him “to do their best to renew the constructive nature of Russian-German relations”. It includes the lift of sanctions harmful for both sides.
The Left Party (Die Linke) is a socialist political party in Germany, founded in June 2007 by merging East German post-communists. The Left’s MPs, Wolfgang Gerke and Andrew Hunko visited occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine in 2015. Party’s representatives served as observers on the “referendum” in Crimea and assessed voting as meeting all “international standards”.
The Left representatives call for replacing NATO with collective security system, that includes Russian Federation as a member-state.
In May 2014, the party stated that Germany should not support Ukraine, until it is ruled by “fascist” government. One of “Lefts” founders, Gregor Gisi, commenting on the military operation in Syria, stressed, that Russians were invited by the Asad (the president of Syria), so it is more legitimate than other nations’ operations according to the international law.
The Free Democratic Party (FDP) is a liberal party in Germany, founded on 11 December 1948. It is interesting because of its uncertain position concerning Russian Federation.
The FDP leading functionary, Wolfgang Kubicki, started to support the lift of anti-Russian sanctions recently. He thinks, that without such steps the situation will lead to the beginning of the new “Cold” war. Moreover, Kubicki, have stated several times, that German agriculture got to the disadvantageous situation because of sanctions, and German industry has to leave Russian market.
The politician is also confident that the Great Britain is wrong accusing Russian Federation in poisoning its ex-spy by nerve agent. Moreover, he supports building of the resonant gas pipeline “Nord Stream-2”.
The Bavarian Economics Association (VBW) is the largest German association of business representatives. It has more than 130 economic associations and 40 private companies in Bavaria.
Party leader, Bertram Brossardt, said that “Russia is an important trading partner for us, and dialogue should not be interrupted.” The anti-Russian sanctions, in his opinion, “were a mistake: they did not contribute to any political changes, but seriously harmed states’ economies”.
“Center of continental cooperation in Munich” (CCC) is an international NGO. It encompasses politicians, journalists, scientists and activists in Europe and Eurasia for promotion the establishment of the “common environment from Lisbon to Vladivostok” based on friendly relations enhancement and cooperation between the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union. CCC’s headquarter is located in Munich.
CCC’s declared goals include the release of Europe from USA hegemony in all social spheres: military, political, economic and media; creation of the common continental European economic, social and cultural environment, that includes Russia as a basis for ensuring security, peace, and prosperity in Europe. The organization has working relations with Moscow. Its leader, Yuriy Kofner, is a director of the “Eurasian movement”, established by Oleksandr Dugin, who is one of the Russian nationalism ideologists.
- The United Kingdom. One of the most unfriendly countries for an aggressor. He supports Ukraine consistently and consistently, and also has his own accounts in the Russian Federation. The more the public interest has influence. So which forces should we rely on in the United Kingdom?
The British National Party (BNP) is a right-wing political party that publicly demonstrates support for Putin’s policies. It is characterized by a rigid party structure. The party’s electorate is mainly represented by the lower middle class, workers, and the British who need social assistance.
The party leader is Nick Griffin, a British politician, former chairman of the British National Party and a former member of the European Parliament from the North West of England. He participated as an observer in the 2011 State Duma elections, stating that “the Russian election is far fairer than the UK election”.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is a political party in the United Kingdom that demands the country’s exit from the European Union and holds conservative views.
Many members openly express their admiration for Putin and his support for his actions in Syria.
Nigel Faraj, leader of the party from 2010 to 2015, member of the European Parliament, a regular guest of the Russian media, in 2015 called on the Dutch to vote in a referendum against the ratification of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine.
Bruges Group Analytical Center – publishes propaganda materials in line with the Kremlin’s policies, for the preparation of which, Russia pays for the travel of its employees. During investigation, which was conducted by The Sunday Times, they found that Russian travel expenses were provided to leaders of organizations associated with two high figures in the Conservative Party. In a video from a trip published by the Bruges Group, Olds described the Ukrainian government as a “hunta” and asked if the enclave should further “expand its borders to liberate the territory from Kiev’s tyranny” in a certain way.
The leader of the group, Robert Olds, publicly supported the annexation of Crimea by Russia and laid the blame on the West for the “crisis in Ukraine”.
The Bow Group is the oldest analytical center in the UK Conservative Party. Its leader, Ben Harris, was one of the key speakers in Moscow at the International Forum “The large family and the future of humanity”. He upheld Russian anti-gay laws and condemned the atmosphere of fear created by LGBTQ people in Britain. The Saint Andrew Fund, a Swiss charity organization that has close ties with Putin (about it in the following materials), paid Harris-Quinn’s flight to Moscow.
The Bow Group later released a report with exhortation to cancel sanctions against Russia, and recently called on the British government to work closely with Russian intelligence.
And at the very end a piece of Italy. A piece, because we will take a closer look at the Russian lobby in Italy in the following materials. Italy is especially important for us. Numerous Ukrainian diasporas lives in Italy, and it was in Italy that Vitaliy Markiv was convicted as a result of a successful information operation by Russian special services. Numerous Ukrainian diasporas live in Italy, and it was in Italy, as a result of the successful information operation of the Russian special services, that Vitaly Markiva was convicted. We will tell more about pro-Russian forces in Italy in the following materials, and now, as a trailer, one citizen.
Sarah Reginella, of Ancona, is a psychologist. In 2015 she went to the occupied Donbass. Of course, she went illegally, including as a photographer Andrea Rockelli, whose murder is accused of Vitaliy Markiv. The purpose of the voyage was “to make documentaries about human behavior during armed conflict”. And Sarah did make 4 films: “I am Italian”, “Voices”, “Donbass Times” and “The beginning of the war. Psychology of Conflict”.
Here are how the authors describe the movie “Voices” – “a small movie about life in the Donbass during the Civil War. The film was shot by Europeans for Europeans as well. Sarah Reginella tried to break the information blockade and show EU residents a real picture of what is happening in the Donbass”.
In December 2015, she visited the regional executive committee of “United Russia” in Ufa, where she met with Duma deputy Anvar Makhmutov and Bashkortostan MP Konstantin Kanunikov to discuss the political situation in Ukraine and Syria.
Then Reginella stated that she aims to make films about the Donbass, which will cover the real situation and show that the situation in eastern Ukraine is a purely internal conflict.
Although Sarah Reginella is neither a professional journalist nor a politician. She decided to discover for herself and Italy the truth about the war in Ukraine. Sarah lived in the southeast of the country for several months to find out the truth about the internal conflict in the Donbas. In her videos, she shows life of refugees and opinion of locals about the war. The Italians plan to make a similar movie about the conflict in Syria
Radinella visited the occupied part of Ukraine quite often, met with representatives of the Russian clergy, occupation authorities and ordinary occupant combatants.
At the same time, she supported the Russian propaganda that the West and the USA created a conflict on the East of Ukraine.
She also noted in her posts that the Russia Federain Armed Forces are not in the Donbass.
In May 2016, Ambassador of Ukraine to Tallinn Viktor Kryzhanovsky appealed to the Estonian authorities to prevent the screening of the film “The Donbass Times” shot by the Italian director Sarah Reginella in Estonia. Because this film is part of the ideological hybrid war of the Russian Federation and is designed to refute Russian military aggression against Ukraine. However, unsuccessfully, the film was shown in Estonia, just like in other European countries. In addition, this is probably not the last creative work of senora Reginella on the spread of Russian propaganda in Europe.
We will not offer you any specific conclusions in this first part of our material. However, as we can see in these specific examples, the Russians are not limited with dissemination of fake information. They seek and find, and then support, those who become the systemic repeater of Russian propaganda, and at the same time, live in the society in which they operate. It is a systematic and long work, but the result is appropriate. So, you can counteract such work only systematically.
To be continued…
International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda.