The evidence is dramatic: A significant number of French military officers have openly expressed support for Russian policies. For them Vladimir Putin is a sympathetic figure. Some even unreservedly admire him. Retired senior officers have supported Russia’s intervention in Syria and have agreed with its aggression against Ukraine.
Latvia is vulnerable to Moscow’s aims, because a large portion of the country’s residents speak Russian as their mother tongue. The Baltic states are the front line targets in the barrage of information directed from Russia.
Such are the observations and conclusions of an extensive study presented by the Open Estonian Fund and conducted by journalists, think tanks and NGOs from France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Greece and Italy.
The study focused on Russian activity in Europe and the Kremlin’s ties with ’Euro-skeptics’, the ultra-right and religious groupings.
From the results it was evident that the spread of anti-Western ideology through ’soft-power’ has used open diplomacy and the pretence of protecting Russians abroad. An important tool has been the media for which Russia is currently formulating a new info-doctrine focussing on the promotion of Russian intellectual and cultural values worldwide.
Russia’s influence is passed on in different ways in each state depending on the similarities/dissimilarities with Russian culture or local preconceptions of Russia. Opportunities vary according to the pro- or anti-Russian feeling amongst the elite and the public. If public opinion isn’t pro-Russian, then the export of values takes an indirect route. Usually the use of peripheral, ‘unimpotant’ organizations and existing, reactionary groups has more success than publically familiar ones.
(Pikemalt Eesti Elu 28. okt paberlehest)
Moscow wins advocates for its policies in Europe, by promoting time-worn western values, study concludes