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Analysis of Russian & Chinese Influence in Central Europe

Security Strategies Program is publishing the second part of its publication “How do EU Members States’, Canadian and the United States Intelligence Agencies Assess Russian and Chinese Influence Operations?”. This second report examines Russian and Chinese influence in the Central European region. The aim of the re-port is to more closely cover the actual events that have already happened in Central Europe and analyze them as part of the larger picture. The report is divided into two parts: Russia and China. In both cases, the report will first go through the short- and long-term goals for the countries. These goals have been adjusted to the context of Central Europe: what is the value of Central Europe for Russia and China? How does the region work as a mean towards larger foreign policy goals, and how does the region work as an end itself? Read more in the report. Číst dále

Vulnerabilities to Russian Influence in Montenegro

With a population of a little more than 650,000 citizens, Montenegro is NATO’s newest and smallest member. It joined the Alliance controversially and without a majority of public support in June 2017 (“The World Factbook: Montenegro”). Though Montenegro is small, its admission into NATO is viewed as a big win for the Alliance. The NATO win, however, is not in terms of what Montenegro can provide militarily – it has an army of a mere 2,000 soldiers – but in terms of the message it sends to Russia and other Western Balkan nations.

However, despite NATO membership, Russian influence in the country remains significant and has shown no signs of going away. This influence is seen in nearly all levels of Montenegrin society, but most prominently in the economic, political, civil society, media, and religious realms. Russia relies heavily on disinformation and uses its proxy agents to promote its agenda directly and indirectly in the country. The high level of corruption in Montenegro and its weak institutions provides the fuel that allows Russian influence to take hold and infiltrate all levels of society without any recourse. This poses a major threat not only to Montenegro, but to the broader Western Balkan region and to both NATO and the EU. It also damages Montenegro’s chances of EU accession in 2025, which the majority of the population supports, and feels is necessary for Montenegro’s economic prosperity.

Read the full Kremlin Watch Report.

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Balkans Watch

The Balkans Watch Briefing is a monthly newsletter aimed at summarizing the latest policy developments and non-governmental activities in the area of monitoring, exposing and countering hostile foreign influence in the Western Balkans. 

The region of the Western Balkans has been a subject of ambitions of several foreign authoritarian regimes which use different means and tools to manipulate the opinion of the local citizens with disinformation, project influence via politically motivated economic operations and ally with local policymakers.

Despite those developments, the debate in the region about hostile foreign influence is only in the starting point. International attention and assistance, sharing experiences, lessons learnt, and best practices are needed to turn the situation around.

Launching this new product was possible with financial support of the International Visegrad Fund. Monthly, you will be provided with news on new developments in the non-governmental as well as the governmental and political sector from the Western Balkans region. The contributions are provided by the most distinguished local organizations: Center for Democratic Transitions, Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ – Skopje and Zašto Ne.

Previous briefings:

  • November 2019

Kremlin Watch Strategy

2019 marks five years of highly aggressive behavior by the Russian Federation towards Western democracies. When Russia started a war against Georgia and subsequently occupied a fifth of its territory in 2008, the West failed to respond, naively believing that it could appease an aggressor. In 2014, the authoritarian regime led by President Vladimir Putin started the war against Ukraine, and at the same time, Moscow began to mobilize intensive hostile influence operations against Western democracies. 

Kremlin Watch Strategy offers a response with 20 specific measures for national governments which European countries must implement. This response is co-signed by 29 experts on security policy from all over Europe.

 

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The Significance and Modalities of Deterrence: The Current Military & Strategic Situation in the Baltics

This text highlights the deterrent and reassuring measures as decided at last three NATO summits, including the Enhanced Forward Presence and the need of their reinforcement.

The initial premise is that deterrence is not a “pointless provocation with a potential for escalation.” In its core, it is a “peaceful” concept. We do not need deterrence so we could fight; we need it so we would not have to.

Read the full report in PDF. Číst dále

The NATO Eastern Flank and the US Military Presence In The Region

When Russia started military operations in eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, both sides of the Atlantic reacted by force posture changes and economic sanctions. Where the USA changed also its strategic doctrine, Europe has not.  A wide range of policy recommendations by the US strategic thinkers demonstrates the fact that the United States took the events in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and the meddling into the US elections as a genuine game changer. It should be a common endeavor of all countries on NATO´s Eastern Flank that the build-up of US troops in the region is eventually NATO-ized.

Reader the full report in PDF.

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Enhancing and sharing lessons learnt in resilience and self-protection capability of civil society in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Recently the discourse on work of civil society organizations has been changing in countries in the Eastern Neighborhood (EN) region. This disrupting issue has impact on the stability of the EN states and societies and therefore it affects the future of their European aspirations. The organizations are under pressure of the direct disinformation campaign, which underestimate the solidarity within the whole country. Based on the experience of the European Values Think-Tank (EVTT) we will teach them how to defend themselves better and how to expose these illegitimate methods of influence.

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CONFERENCE ON DISINFORMATION: Case studies from Georgia and Western Balkans

European Values Center for Security Policy is organizing a conference on disinformation, centered on Georgia and Western Balkans case studies, in cooperation with Transition Promotion Program of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and International Visegrad Fund, under auspices of MEP Markéta Gregorová of Greens/European Free Alliance.

We will be covering the state of play of Kremlin’s influence, discussing ways of facing this threat and sharing lessons on personal security in this line of work. Useful perspectives from Georgia and Western Balkans will be supplemented by our own experience from the Czech Republic.

The conference will take place on December 3rd in Brussels. 

Please register using the form below:


PROGRAM:

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Distinguished analysts Mariam Tsitsikashvili and Richard Kraemer are joining the European Values team as Kremlin Watch Fellows

The team of the European Values Center for Security Policy welcomes Ms. Mariam Tsitsikashvili and Mr. Richard Kraemer in our Kremlin Watch Program.

Non-resident Senior Fellow

Richard Kraemer

Richard is the President of the US-Europe Alliance and a Eurasia Program fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Within Richard’s research interests fall the politics of Western Balkans, Turkey and Afghanistan, Russian interventions, and the role that democracy assistance plays in the maintenance of U.S. national security.

“I’m excited and proud to join the European Values team. For me, the Center’s uniquely proactive and investigatory research reaches a higher level as EV’s works unequivocally reflect its commitment to the defense and preservation of liberal democracy in Europe. I enthusiastically welcome this opportunity to contribute to the Center’s expansion analytically and institutionally, drawing from my work in Southeastern Europe and beyond,” comments new Non-resident Senior Fellow Richard Kraemer.

Richard’s bio:

Richard Kraemer is the President of the US-Europe Alliance and a Eurasia Program fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, where his recent research is largely focused on Turkish and Balkan affairs. Previously, Richard managed the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) Program Portfolio on Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey. Before his work at NED, he oversaw programs in those states and the Levant at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Richard also taught law and researched at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He is an affiliated expert of the Public International Law and Policy Group, where he advised the governments of Georgia and Montenegro. A member of the New York State Bar Association, Richard holds a JD from American University and a BA from the College of William and Mary. He’s appeared in numerous international and U.S. media. He is professionally proficient in Polish, Farsi, and Dari.

Non-resident Fellow

Mariam Tsitsikashvili

Mariam is active in the field of foreign and security policy. Her research focus is oriented on European integration, foreign state-sponsored disinformation, and malign influence.

“I am really honored to join a team of dedicated professionals at the European Values Center for Security Policy. This group has become a leader in exposing and confronting instruments of malign influence and disinformation operations not only in the Czech Republic but at a European level as well. With its initiatives and programs, the European Values Center for Security Policy has proved to be an engine for bringing about a vision, ideas, and methodologies on how to best withstand the increasing threats of foreign state-sponsored disinformation and malign activities. Being a part of this amazing team of professionals is a great opportunity as well as responsibility for me,” says new Kremlin Watch Non-resident Fellow Mariam Tsitsikashvili.

Mariam’s bio:

Mariam Tsitsikashvili holds the position of Project Manager and Research Fellow at Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS), a multi-profile think tank established in Georgia. She supervises projects related to European integration, foreign state-sponsored disinformation, and malign influence. Her research interests include foreign and security policy. Before taking the position of Project Manager, she worked as a Political Analyst at FactCheck Georgia. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences, with a major in Eurasian and Caucasus Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tbilisi State University. She also studied International Relations at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland.