Autor - European Values

External Propaganda in the Republic of Moldova

Kremlin Watch Program of the European Values Think-Tank publishes a new Report on the lessons for the Moldoval government and the international community in regards to external propaganda. This case study of the situation in Moldova was prepared by Vladislav Saran, director of the independent Analytical Center Spirit Critic. Available in PDF.

STRATCOM SUMMIT 2019

April 10 – 12 2019, Prague

Hostile regimes of the Russian Federation and China have been as relentless as ever in their disinformation efforts targeted at Western democracies. The European Values Think-Tank will once again organize a conference that will bring together relevant figures from state administrations and civil society to discuss the means of effective defense.

This year will be the fifth iteration of the STRATCOM SUMMIT and will take place between the 10th and 12th of April 2019. The goal has remained the same: mindful of the importance of coordination and best-practice sharing, contribute to creating and improving existing policies to counter the aggressive disinformation campaigns. With its many guests, the summit will duly provide a platform for discussion and policy development.

Looking back at the past STRATCOM SUMMITS in 2016, 2017 and 2018, which have altogether hosted more than 500 experts from all over the world and this year’s STRATCOM SUMMIT will not fall behind in this respect.

Organized by:

European Values Think-Tank and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. 

European Values Think-Tank is a Prague-based think-tank focusing on defense of liberal democracy. Kremlin Watch is a strategic program of the European Values think-tank, which aims to unravel and confront instruments of Russian hybrid war, which is focused against the liberal-democratic system.

Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies is the official think tank of the European People’s Party. Through its work, it inspires ideas for action and shapes responses to European challenges.

STRATCOM SUMMIT 2017

How to Defend Allied Democracies against Hostile Influence & Disinformation Operations

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15 – 19 May 2017

THE STRATCOM SUMMIT welcomed altogether 330 participants representing 29 countries over five days. Specifically, 140 government specialists representing 27 countries came to the restricted part of the SUMMIT.

About the SUMMIT:

In recent years, NATO and citizens of its member states are under fire of systematic disinformation campaigns led by aggressive regimes – mainly by the Russian Federation and ISIL. The main goal of this summit is to bring together relevant figures from state administrations and civil society and discuss effective practices and policies for defending democratic states and societies.

Western democratic countries as well as international organizations started to adopt number of measures directed against the hostile influence & disinformation efforts. In order to successfully counter these campaigns, coordination and best-practices sharing is a key component. STRATCOM SUMMIT aims to contribute to creating and improving existing policies to counter disinformation campaigns by bringing together experts from European countries and the USA and providing a platform for discussion and policy development.

Publications

Policy shift overview: How the Czech Republic became one of the European leaders in countering Russian disinformation

Over the last year, the Czech Republic has undergone a major policy shift on the topic of Russian disinformation. Many questions have been raised on how it has happened and what practically it means. This paper aims to bring a simplified overview of what has happened in this particular field in the Czech context since 2014. This Kremlin Watch Report is available in PDF.

 policy shift_Page_01

A framework guide to tools for countering hostile foreign electoral interference

This brief Report aims to enumerate the tools that are nowadays used for hostile electoral interference and how they can be countered. It consists of 35 measures in 15 steps for enhancing the resilience of the democratic electoral process. The report by our Kremlin Watch Programme is available in PDF.

35 measures_Page_01

Overview of countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin’s subversion operations 

How do the EU28 perceive and react to the threat of hostile influence and disinformation operations by the Russian Federation and its proxies? Kremlin Watch Report available in PDF.

Overview of countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin’s subve

Photos

Day 3 part 1 part 2

Day 4 part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4

STRATCOM SUMMIT 2019

April 10 – 12 2019, Prague

Hostile regimes of the Russian Federation and China have been as relentless as ever in their disinformation efforts targeted at Western democracies. The European Values Think-Tank will once again organize a conference that will bring together relevant figures from state administrations and civil society to discuss the means of effective defense.

It will be the fifth iteration of the STRATCOM SUMMIT this year. Taking place between the 10th and 12th of April 2019, it will highlight the importance of coordination and best-practice sharing and contribute to creating and improving existing policies to counter the aggressive disinformation campaigns. With its many guests, the summit will duly provide a platform for discussion and policy development.

Looking back at the past STRATCOM SUMMITS in 2016, 2017 and 2018, which have altogether hosted more than 500 experts from all over the world, this year’s summit will not fall behind in this respect.

Organized by:

European Values Think-Tank and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. 

European Values Think-Tank is a Prague-based think-tank focusing on defense of liberal democracy. Kremlin Watch is a strategic program of the European Values think-tank, which aims to unravel and confront instruments of Russian hybrid war, which is focused against the liberal-democratic system.

Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies is the official think tank of the European People’s Party. Through its work, it inspires ideas for action and shapes responses to European challenges.

#BalkansWatch: Bringing Visegrad experience for countering malign influence in Western Balkans

The goal of this project is to bring unified methodology (which was already proved in Visegrad countries) for analyzing and assessing foreign influence of third countries in the Western Balkans. It also sets out to bring Visegrad experience and lessons learnt with organization of advocacy and analytical networks, advocacy tactics, personal and NGO security to the Western Balkans. Furthermore, we will create #BalkansWatch network in Western Balkans by finding 15 top like-minded influencers in each of WB countries and developing network of 100+ Balkans expert watchers in the EU Currently, only limited experience on this issue on organizational and personal level exists among WB NGOs. Comparatively, this area is relatively well-researched among V4 think-tanks. Not only do WB NGOs need supervision and transfer of knowledge and experience in this specific field from their V4 counterparts, also more international focus is needed on this under-researched and under-estimated issue on the WB region. The project is unique in combining knowledge and experience transfer from V4 to WB, in organizing the NGO advocacy network on this issue (similar to one which exists in V4), creating practical bonds between V4 and WB specialists, and in mainstreaming this issue through existing communication channels of V4 think-tanks to international media and Western expert community. This is badly needed since the issue of third country influence activities in WB is under-estimated and it is in the interest of the Visegrad group to raise this issue internationally.

Partners:

Political Capital, Hungary

Cybersecurity Foundation, Poland

STRATPOL – Strategic Policy Institute, Slovakia

Foreign Policy Research Institute, USA

Center for Democratic Transition, Montenegro

 

Commentary: EU finally makes a serious move against hostile disinformation

The good news is that finally, the EU officially calls Russia out as the main driver of hostile disinformation against Europe. This Action Plan is the most detailed and comprehensive document the EU has ever produced in the threat of hostile disinformation. Unlike previous EU documents on this issue, it clearly names Russia as the main actor behind the threat of hostile disinformation. It is the assessment of the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell that “disinformation by the Russian Federation poses the greatest threat to the EU”. Despite many EU officials, including several Commissioners who often try to downplay the Russian hostile role, the EU clearly states the obvious in this document.  Číst dále

Open Letter by European Security Experts to President of the European Commission J. C. Juncker and High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini

Please, start taking pro-Kremlin disinformation seriously

Meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Source: President of Russia

Dear President of the European Commission,

Dear High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy,

On Sunday, March 4, a chemical weapons attack was conducted on European soil for the first time in over 70 years. Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. The attack was accompanied by a massive disinformation campaign by Russia.  The EU was quick and determined in its response. It condemned the attack strongly and many of its member states expelled Russian diplomats.

We need similar determination showing the EU is ready to defend itself against Russia’s disruptive disinformation operations seeking to abuse our vulnerabilities. In the aftermath of the Salisbury attack, the European Council invited the High Representative and the Commission to present an action plan on disinformation.

This is your chance to finally send a strong signal to Russia: that the EU does not tolerate Russia exploiting its fundamental values and principles, such as freedom of expression, for malign information operations aimed at weakening the EU and its member states. Already in 2015, the European Council tasked the Commission and the EEAS to challenge Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaign, and a communications team, the East Strategic Communications Task Force at the EEAS was set up as a first step.

As European specialists focusing on foreign and security policy, we are closely following the activities of the Commission on countering the threat of disinformation campaigns. Many of us have cooperated with the East Stratcom Task Force since it was established. We have seen first hand how the capacity of the only counter-disinformation team mandated by the EU heads of states and governments has been not been supported as it should have.

Last year, 65 security experts across Europe called for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to triple the capacity of the EEAS East STRATCOM Team and give it a budget in millions of Euros, so it could start fulfilling its mandate as stipulated by the Member States and the European Parliament. 

This has not happened. The only budget given to the understaffed team is 1,1 million euros through the European Parliament and as a result, the team still has no permanent budget enabling strategic long-term planning. The EU response to Russia’s disinformation is based on just a couple of experts mainly paid by the member states, while the official investment by Russia alone in its propaganda channels is over one billion euros. The Commission is still clearly failing in delivering a practical response to pro-Kremlin disinformation, despite repeated calls from the Member States, the European Parliament, and numerous European security experts.

We are aware of other initiatives by the Commission. The trouble is that these initiatives either fail to see that Russia is by far the most aggressive foreign actor in the disinformation space, or they fail to design any meaningful response against this actor. This means that East StratCom is so far the EU’s only response against the Kremlin’s hostile information aggression.

The European Parliamentary elections are approaching. We have seen Russia’s orchestrated attempts to influence the French elections and Brexit. It has hacked the parliament ahead of German elections and manipulated information around the Catalonia independence vote to influence public opinion, just to mention a few. The very EU’s East StratCom provides publicly available evidence of Russian hostile activities. There is an ongoing disinformation campaign by Russia around the downing of MH17 and chemical attacks in Syria.

In April 2018, in Britain, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and France, the majority of people suspected Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning.  But in Bulgaria, for example, 81% did not see sufficient proof of Russian involvement. 54% considered that the Skripal case was a provocation against Russia. And in October, 28 percent of Russians believed the Skripals were in fact poisoned by British intelligence services. 3 percent said the attack was carried out by Russian intelligence services. Another 56 percent of respondents said, “it could have been anyone”. 

The EU’s weak response to Russia’s disinformation is damaging to the European Union’s credibility internationally, and as a security provider to its citizens. It gives way to malign actors to freely interfere.

Therefore, we call upon you, as the President of the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, to show that this Commission will actually do something in this important field. As European security experts, we propose the three following steps:

1.  As the Commission is about to present the Action Plan on disinformation, Russia must be explicitly identified as the main foreign source of hostile disinformation against the EU and its values. We have seen efforts inside the Commission to avoid pointing the finger at Russia, but as we have already seen in numerous cases, such an approach only encourages the Kremlin to be more aggressive. Russia must be officially named and shamed for its permanent hostilities against Europe.

2. The only European Council mandated body, the East Strategic Communications Task Force at the EEAS, should be provided with additional 30 experts with various language and specialist skills in order to be able to analyse pro-Kremlin disinformation with appropriate human resources, including during the upcoming European Parliament election campaign. It is a strategic political failure of President Juncker and High Representative Mogherini that since 2015, the Commission with thousands of employees was so far unable and unwilling to provide these resources to the only EU specialist team on this issue, despite numerous calls by various Heads of States and Governments in the EU Member States, by Member States’ Foreign Ministers, by the European Parliament, or by the European expert community.

3. The East Strategic Communications Task Force at the EEAS should be provided with an annual budget of at least 5 million EUR for special research, monitoring and campaigns. Without any real budget for its work, this team cannot have a relevant impact on the issue which the Member States and the European Parliament have repeatedly called for to be addressed. The adequate budget is needed for proper monitoring of disinformation oriented sources, both in the traditional media and in the social media, as well asother non-traditional sources. The Commission should also use its existing tools to enhance long-term financial and other support to independent local media working in/on Russia and the states of the Eastern Partnership.


Signatories

  • Harpaul Alberto, Centennial Group International, USA
  • Alex Alexiev, Chairman, Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and BulgariaAnalytica.org, Bulgaria
  • Karl Altau, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Estonia
  • Laima Andrikiene, Member, European Parliament, Lithuania
  • Erkki Bahovski, Editor of Diplomaatia, International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia
  • Kamil Basaj, CEO, Info Ops, Poland
  • Valdis Berzins, Foreign News Editor, Latvijas Avize Daily, Latvia
  • Petr Bohacek, Director, European Security Journal, Czech Republic
  • Michael Boltze, B&B Boltze GbR, Germany
  • Eto Buziashvili, Georgian Strategic Analysis Center, Georgia
  • Arnaud Castaignet, Head of Public Relations, e-Residency, Estonia
  • Halyna Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine
  • Slawomir Debski, Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Poland
  • Kestutis J. Eidukonis, President, VilNews.com, Lithuania
  • Yevhen Fedchenko, Chief Editor, StopFake, Ukraine
  • Iulian Fota, Former Presidential Adviser, National security, Romania
  • Rob Gill, Irish-Ukrainian Solidarity, Ireland
  • Gustav Gressel, Senior Fellow, ECFR, Germany
  • Shota Gvineria, Senior Fellow, EPRC, Georgia
  • Joel Harding, Independent Information Warfare Expert, USA
  • Pavel Havlíček, Fellow, Association for International Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Gunnar Hökmark, Member, European Parliament, Sweden
  • Boris Chykulay, Head of the Board, Forum of the Ukrainians in the Czech Republic, Czech Republic
  • Gyarmati Istvan, ICDT Foundation, Hungary
  • Wojciech Jakóbik, Editor in Chief, BiznesAlert.pl, Poland
  • Bojan S. Janković, President, League West (Liga Zapad), Serbia
  • Peter Jukes, Dial M for Mueller, USA
  • Ruslan Kavatsiuk, Advisor, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euroatlantic Integration of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Tunne Kelam, Member, European Parliament, Estonia
  • Maksym Khylko, East European Security Research Initiative Foundation, Ukraine
  • Bjarne Kim, Author, Denmark
  • Tamar Kintsurashvili, Media Development Foundation, Georgia
  • James Kirchick, Fellow, Brookings Institution, USA
  • David J. Kramer, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, USA
  • Marius Laurinavičius, Senior Fellow, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
  • Andrii Lavrenuk, Correspondent in France, Ukrainian National News Agency UKRINFORM, Ukraine
  • Jan Lipavský, Member, Parliament, Czech Republic
  • Ivan Lozowy, Movement to Fight Corruption, Ukraine
  • Radu Magdin, VP, Strategikon, Romania
  • Juraj Mesik, Analyst, Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Slovakia
  • Jelena Milič, Director, Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies, Serbia
  • Giorgi Muchaidze, Executive Director, Atlantic Council of Georgia, Georgia
  • Andrej Novak, European Cosmopolitan Consulting, Germany
  • Vít Novotný, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Belgium
  • Paata Gaprindashvili, Director, Georgia´s Reforms Associates (GRASS), Georgia
  • Dmytro Potekhin, FakesRadar.org, Ukraine
  • Kristi Raik, Director, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, Estonia
  • Nima Rashedan, CivicCloud, Poland
  • Giedrius Sakalauskas, Director, Res Publica – civic resilience center, Lithuania
  • Sven Sakkov, Director, International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia
  • Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Member, European Parliament, Poland
  • Robert Seely, Member, Parliament for Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
  • Eugeniusz Smolar, Centre for International Relations, Poland
  • Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation, USA
  • Evgeni Starikov, KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Alice Stollmeyer, Defending Democracy, Belgium
  • Radu Tudor, Pol&Mil Analyst, Romania
  • Andreas Umland, Senior Fellow, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Ukraine
  • Marcel H. Van Herpen, Director, The Cicero Foundation, The Netherlands
  • Ilian Vassilev, Former Ambassador, Bulgaria to Russia, Bulgaria
  • Ernest Wyciszkiewicz, Director, Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding, Poland

 

 

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2018 Ranking of countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin’s subversion operations

This report is a follow-up to the Overview of countermeasures by the EU28 to the Kremlin’s subversion operations conducted by the European Values Think-Tank and published in May 2017. It summarises the attitudes, policies, and strategic responses of the EU28 to Russia’s disinformation campaigns and other hostile influence operations. The special focus in this updated issue is on the main developments and changes, positive or negative, which took place during the months after the original report was published. Specifically, the developments have been updated up to June 1st, 2018. Read the PDF.