Eesti Elu
Recruitment more reliable than ‘soft power” for Russian influence goals in Estonia (1)
Rahvusvahelised uudised 21 Jun 2013 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Laas Leivat

All three intelligence services of the Baltic states agree that Russian special services have not eased up their activities in these formerly Soviet-occupied countries. Their unassailable goal? To regain for Russia the influence it once had during the totalitarian era.

Janis Kazocins, the former director (up to 2013) of the Latvian intelligence service (SAB) stated this spring that Russia has a well-established plan to influence the domestic political, economic and monetary affairs of Latvia. It pursues these goals operating both clandestinely as well as openly.

Russia’s compatriots program, says Kazocins is its most seemingly active tool in this pursuit. The ten-year-old program is generously financed, well co-ordinated and perceived as a legitimate operational tool within Russia. Kazocins stressed that the wellbeing of Russian compatriots abroad is not important to the Kremlin, but their potential in using them for gaining influence is paramount. The Latvian SAB (Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution) has the same counter-intelligence responsibilities as Estonia`s Kapo, but does not investigate criminal matters which Kapo does.

At a conference in Stockholm recently, named `Security Around the Baltic States 2013` Kazocins stressed that Russia wants to restore its former superpower status, a fundamental goal of its security and foreign policy. Its `centuries long paranoia` won`t allow it to abandon its strategic depth and as it feels endangered after the collapse of the Soviet empire.

Lithuania`s State Security Department in its recent annual report once again stated that Russian intelligence agencies as being the most aggressive and active in the country. Added to this, in Lihtuania, is the additional activity of Belarus’ special services. In addition to targeting strategic energy projects, foreign affairs, economic, military objectives etc., the Russian and Belarus services are busy in influencing Lithuania’s political sector. The Russian FSB was developing contacts in government, political parties, the press, academics, high tech and ethnic minorities. (loe pikemalt Eesti Elu 21. juuni paberlehest)
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