The New York Times: Russia waging war with money and ideology
"The war in Ukraine, in which Russia is opposing the West, is not only waged with tanks, artillery and military personnel," Peter Baker and Stephen Erlanger wrote in The New York Times. According to US and European officials, Moscow is increasingly using other " weapons ”- money, ideology and disinformation.
According to the authors, the Obama administration and its European allies have a hard time fighting in their own countries Moscow’s attempts to use its economic power, finance European parties and movements, and spread an alternative view of the Ukrainian conflict.
“The Kremlin’s goal appears to be to sow discord, destabilize the EU, and possibly shatter the consensus on rejection of Russian aggression, which until now has been relatively unified, although sometimes fragile,” the article says.
True, American officials and European diplomats are now confident that the EU will extend sanctions on Russia on June 25-26. “But, contrary to the wishes of some American officials, there is no desire to add new sanctions,” the authors note.
Russia's attempts to influence the West take different forms, continue Baker and Erlanger. Moscow is convincing the countries of Southeastern Europe to support the new gas pipeline project, as well as posting publications paid by its government on newspaper tabs and on sites in 26 countries. There is an idea to expand the RT channel so that it also broadcasts in French and German.
“American and European officials have accused Moscow of funding green movements in Europe in order to encourage protests against fracking. The move is intended to protect the Russian gas industry. And the mysterious "troll farm" in St. Petersburg is spreading false stories on Twitter about chemical releases or outbreaks of Ebola in the West, "the article says.
According to the authors, recently Russia has been able to enlist support in Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic and even in Italy and France. It not only allies with Moscow's traditional allies - the left, but also finds common ground with the far-right, who sympathize with Putin's attacks on the "moral decay" of the West.
For example, in France, the National Front "confirmed that it took $ 11,7 million on credit from the First Czech-Russian Bank (Moscow), which is associated with the Kremlin," the article says. True, the head of the Marine Le Pen party denied media claims that this was only the first tranche of the 50 million loan.
After the leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, published his photos at a conference in Moscow, the party was accused of being dependent on the Kremlin. Fear, however, stated: “We are convinced of our neutrality and do not receive financial donations or loans” from Russia.
Similar accusations were made in Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Baltic countries, the article says.
“It is clear that the Kremlin is fully interested in splitting Europe in every possible way,” Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister, wrote in an email interview. "And he actively tries to play on all the differences he sees."
“President Putin sees NATO as a threat and will seek opportunities to discredit and ultimately undermine the alliance,” wrote General Dempsey, head of the US Army Joint Chiefs of Staff, in an email sent by his spokesman. "Putin's ultimate goal is to split NATO."
However, American expert Fiona Hill believes that, with the exception of Le Pen's party, claims that Russia is funding European parties are based more on theoretical assumptions than facts. According to Hill, Russians "want to convince everyone that everyone is corrupt, that everyone can be influenced."
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