How Russia Makes Power Plays in European Politics

Oct 11, 2018 | 15:00 GMT



  • Russia will support various anti-liberal and far-right movements in Europe and Western-leaning former Soviet countries as part of its prolonged standoff with the West.
  • Declining populations throughout Eastern Europe and tensions over immigration into the European Union will make countries increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by Russia.
  • While Russia's efforts to undermine the cohesion of the European Union and stymie integration efforts into the bloc may not always be immediately successful, they nevertheless offer Moscow a low-cost strategy for fostering divisions within the West.

Several of Russia's hybrid warfare tactics against the West were on prominent display this past week, as U.S., U.K. and Dutch authorities exposed a campaign by the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU to conduct a cyberattack against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a global chemical weapons watchdog based in the Hague. Russia has proven itself skilled and active in conducting cyberattacks and poisonings, but amid these types of high-profile cases is a more subtle, ongoing aspect of Russia's hybrid warfare strategy: the effort to support conservative, far-right and anti-liberal movements in the West and Western-leaning states. As demographic and immigration pressures become more pronounced in Europe, Russia is seeking to use such pressures in its bid to foster divisions within the West and slow or even prevent states throughout the European borderlands from joining the European Union or NATO....

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