Autor - European Values

Italy

Summary: Italy is one of the founding members of the EU and NATO. Though traditionally a country with deep economic ties to Russia, Italy showed a strong support for a common EU and NATO stance on Russia. At the same time, Italy does not wish to completely alienate Russia, and it believes that a dialogue is possible. Still, Italy has shown disapproval towards Russian actions in Syria, but its national security is more concerned with the refugee flow over Mediterranean, than any immediate threats Russia may pose to Italy. Italian politics is full of pro-Russian elements, however, and many politicians believe that the EU sanctions are harmful to Italy, and therefore they should be lifted.

I. Relationship Parameters

History:  The relationship between Italy and Russia has strong historical roots. Italy’s Partito Comunista Italiano was the most influential Western communist party during the Cold War era with a strong electorate and, naturally, a pro-Russian stance. After the fall of the USSR, the relations between the two countries grew even stronger. Putin has maintained a good relationship with Italian leaders, especially with the former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Nowadays, the two countries have strong bilateral institutional and economic links.[1]

Energy: Russia is Italy’s biggest supplier of natural gas, supplying 47% of Italian gas imports. As for oil, Italy purchases around 20% of oil from Russia. Italians see a reliable supplier in Russia and do not hesitate to give preference to it over others (e.g., Algeria).[2]

Trade: Despite the bad economic situation in Russia and the EU sanctions, the economic relations between Italy and Russia remain at a substantial level. Italy is Russia’s third largest trade partner and seventh supplier. The Italian and Russian business sector are connected to a large extent. Berlusconi, a successful businessman himself, has profited significantly from deals with Russia. Italian and Russian firms in the industrial and high-tech sectors often collaborate with each other. Italian Unicredit Bank is the top foreign bank in Russia. Considering the interconnectedness of the Russian and Italian economy, the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU are viewed quite negatively in Italy and many Italian politicians want them to be lifted.[3]

European policy orientation: As for the EU policy on Russia, Italy shows rather reluctant support for it and its main objective is to maintain good relations with Russia. In addition to its negative view on anti-Russian sanctions, there are more examples when Italy prefers its own stance on Russia to the one of the EU. For instance, Silvio Berlusconi described in 2008 some NATO actions as “U.S. provocations” of Russia. Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI once commented that the real threat to Western Europe’s energy security was not Russia, but Ukraine.[4]

Cultural relations: The two countries cooperate together extensively on the cultural level as well, for example, they signed the Executive Cultural Collaboration Programme 2016-2018, which aims to promote their cooperation in education, culture, and art. Also, youth exchange programmes are very popular.[5]

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometer, 47% of Italians had a positive view of Russia.

Number of Russian diplomats: 79 (without spouses).[6]

STRATCOM: Italy is a sponsoring nation of the NATO STRATCOM COE.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Strategic partner. Italy has deep trade and energy links with Russia. As for political relations, the relationship between the two countries was influenced by an extreme warm personal relationship between the former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Putin. Even after Berlusconi left office, the political relations remain strong.

EU-28 Watch (2015): Italy has aligned with the EU and NATO in condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its destabilising role in Eastern Ukraine. However, the government rejects the idea of a new Cold War and has been rather vocal in advocating a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, as well as the continuation of a critical dialogue with Russia. Indeed, Italy is trying to develop a distinctive approach towards the issue, combining resoluteness on the Ukrainian dossier with stressing the importance for the EU as a whole to keep the dialogue with Russia open. Italian opposition parties, part of the business sector and a significant portion of the Italian public calls for lifting or at least mitigation of the EU sanctions.

National Perspectives (2013): The starting point of Italy’s Russia policy – that Russia needs to be part of the European political-security equation – is commendable, as it is hard to envisage a fully stabilized Europe without Russia being a committed member of it. Italy is therefore wise to avoid unnecessary confrontation and to work toward a sustainable modus vivendi between Russia and the West. However, its inability to make better use of its leverage on Russia – enshrined in the potential of common EU policies – risks making its long-term objective unattainable. Therefore, the set of policies that make up Italy’s Russia policy do not deserve the name of strategy, as bilateral action and EU action proceed on different tracks, at different speed, and sometimes even in different directions.

Views from the capitals (2016):[7] Italy sees its role as providing a reality check for EU policy on Russia. It believes that, given Moscow’s strategic centrality in the neighbourhood, the EU must move towards a more constructive, pragmatic dialogue, and that EU measures concerning Russia should be debated instead of simply adopted. However, Russia’s role in the Syrian tragedy has made it more difficult for Italy to maintain this stance.  Rome and Moscow have a relatively strong and deep-rooted partnership that is likely to stand the test of time, barring the worst-case scenario of a “hot war” between NATO and Russia. This peculiar partnership between a regional power and a former superpower works on the basis that neither Russia nor Italy interferes in the domestic affairs of the other, and they recognise their respective spheres of influence. This means that Italy’s Russia policy does not fit well with the EU’s overall approach. It also helps to explain Rome’s reluctant support for EU sanctions against Russia. When it comes down to it, Italy’s only real interest in the eastern neighbourhood is to avoid the most dangerous scenario of NATO involvement in the Ukraine crisis – something that could have a disastrous impact on its relations with Russia.

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Slacker on relations with Russia on energy issues, leader on pressuring Russia to use its leverage to stop conflict in Syria (2014).

III. Policy Documents

National Strategic Framework for Cyberspace Security (2013)[8]

The document does not mention Russia at all.

White Paper for International Security and Defence (2015)[9]

The document does not mention Russia at all.


 

 

[1]Alccaro, Ricardo, Italy, Chapter 5 in National Perspectives on Russia, https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21646626-italy-trying-straddle-widening-rift-between-russia-and-west-relatively-friendly

[2]https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_a_marriage_of_convenience_the_future_of_italyrussia_relations, https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/politica_estera/aree_geografiche/europa/i_nuovi_rapporti.html

[3] https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/it-forrel-ru.htm

[4] https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/it-forrel-ru.htm

[5] https://www.esteri.it/mae/en/politica_estera/aree_geografiche/europa/i_nuovi_rapporti.html

[6] https://www.esteri.it/mae/doc/lda.pdf

https://www.esteri.it/mae/doc/20130422_ldc_22_aprile_2013.pdf

[7] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_view_from_rome_reflection_before_renewal7142

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_a_marriage_of_convenience_the_future_of_italyrussia_relations

[8] https://www.enisa.europa.eu/topics/national-cyber-security-strategies/ncss-map/IT_NCSS.pdf

[9] https://www.difesa.it/Primo_Piano/Documents/2015/07_Luglio/White%20book.pdf

Ireland

Summary: Ireland is a non-NATO EU member state, lying at the westernmost fringe of the European Union. Ireland’s position towards Russia is barely identifiable, but in most questions of international relations Irish politics tend to seek a common ground with the United Kingdom. The only interest Ireland has in Russia is primarily commercial, but when it comes to defense measures, Ireland tends to rely heavily on the UK’s military, but so far Ireland remains uninterested in abandoning its neutrality policy.

I. Relationship Parameters

Geography: Ireland is located in the westernmost part of Europe, and it is the only Atlantic EU member state that has never joined NATO. Ireland lies far from Russia, making its relations with Russia a low priority, in comparison with priorities given to its only neighbor, the UK, and Brussels, since the country is both an EU and Eurozone member state.

War in Syria: Ireland’s Taoiseach Kenny demanded new sanctions to be imposed against Russia in response to bombing of Aleppo, supporting British PM May’s condemnation of Russia’s actions in Syria.[1]

Tensions: Russian aircraft and ships occasionally approach the UK’s and Ireland’s airspace and territorial waters, causing the UK’s Royal Air Force to be on guard. The latest such incident occurred in February 2017.[2] However, this issue remains largely that of Britain, not Ireland. Instead, Ireland’s policy has been that of neutrality, which some still believe to be a wise choice, evoking the warning of President de Valera, who called for caution in alliances that can lead a country like Ireland to go to war.[3] One important event that chilled Ireland’s relations with Russia was the 2011 spy scandal, which revealed that Russian spies in the US have been using false Irish passports, and led to a Russian diplomat being expelled by Irish authorities.[4]

View of Russia: 39% of the Irish hold a somewhat negative view about Russia, 23% somewhat positive, 19% very negative and 8% very positive.[5]

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Frosty Pragmatist. Ireland’s economic relations with Russia are insignificant. In its dealings with Russia, Ireland prioritizes the issue of protection of human rights in Russia, using international organizations as the platform of discussion.

National Perspectives (2013):  Ireland’s relationship with Russia has had a commercial accent ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. The rapid growth of the small nation’s economy, even though it ended abruptly following the 2008 financial crisis, always made Ireland a place of economic interest for Russia. As the two countries experienced an impressive growth in mutual economic relations in the early 2010s, Ireland was one of the few European countries that maintained a trade surplus with Russia all at the same time.

EU-28 Watch (2015):  n/a

View from the capitals (2015): “Dublin’s position is that restrictive measures against Russia, coupled with open dialogue and continued political and economic engagement with the various sides in the conflict, offer the best way of creating the conditions for a breakthrough.”[6]

III. Policy Documents

Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World (2015)[7]:

Russian actions to destabilise eastern Ukraine and exert economic pressure on other Eastern Partnership countries have strained regional stability and political and economic relations with Russia. These actions disregard fundamental principles and obligations of international law, including respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. While sanctions have been imposed on Russia by the EU and others in response to these actions, it is uncertain how these tensions will be managed or may evolve. The reverberations have been felt in Russian incursions into the airspace and territorial waters of a number of EU member states, and are likely to continue to be felt both in relations with Russia and in approaches to regional security and stability. An immediate priority will be a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, which respects its right to freely determine its future without external interference or pressure. This would open the way to resuming an open and constructive relationship with Russia, an important economic partner for the EU as well as on efforts to address regional and international challenges.

Defense Strategy (2015-2017)[8]:

The conflict in Ukraine in 2014, following on from the events in Georgia in 2008, has challenged perceptions about the stability of the broader European region. The probability of a conventional military attack on Ireland’s territory from another state is currently assessed as low. However, potential conflicts affecting member states of the EU present serious security concerns for Ireland and the future outlook is likely to remain unpredictable.

White Paper on Defense (2015)[9]:

Tensions have arisen in the European neighbourhood within and between some states which were formerly part of the Soviet Union. Russia has sought to re-assert its influence over these states. Certain of these states have sought greater integration with the West and others have moved to strengthen links with Russia. The conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008 and the conflict that has emerged in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, have illustrated the potential for the escalation of military confrontation in the region.


 

 

[1] https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/taoiseach-demands-sanctions-on-russia-over-aleppo-devastation-426864.html

[2] https://www.thesun.ie/news/557941/typhoons-scrambled-to-intercept-two-russian-bombers-near-uk-a-day-after-putin-warned-to-prepare-for-time-of-war/

[3] https://irishcatholic.ie/article/neutrality-%E2%80%93-foreign-policy-which-has-served-us-well

[4] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/diplomat-expelled-from-russian-embassy-after-revelations-on-spies-irish-passports-1.560623

[5] https://ec.europa.eu/finland/sites/finland/files/ebs_451_anx_en.pdf

[6] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_view_from_dublin_a_wait_and_see_approach311368

[7] https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/ourrolesandpolicies/ourwork/global-island/the-global-island-irelands-foreign-policy.pdf

[8] https://www.defence.ie/WebSite.nsf/72804bb4760386f380256c610055a16b/1f3141532ba9083380257e0d00587018/$FILE/Department%20of%20Defence%20and%20Defence%20Forces%20Strategy%20Statement%202015-2017%20English%20Version.pdf

[9] https://www.defence.ie/WebSite.nsf/WP2015E

Hungary

Summary: Hungary is a EU member state, and it was one of the first former Eastern Bloc countries to join NATO. Though Hungarians maintain generally hostile attitude towards Russia, not least due to two countries’ troubled past during the Communist era, the current government of PM Orban uses good relations with Russia as a leverage in Hungary’s relations with Brussels. Hungarian politics are dominated by right-wing and far-right elements, which are known to have been supported by Russia. Energy-wise, Hungary has no need to fear dependency on Russia, but it has used its transit status to cut-off the reverse supply of natural gas to Ukraine in 2014. Russian financial ties with Hungary are also strong. Nonetheless, Hungary remains dedicated to NATO, even though its stance towards the EU is far more negative, even though it does not fiercely oppose EU sanctions against Russia.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Russia’s image in Hungary was traditionally not favourable due to the communist past and memories of Russian military occupation. Hungary experienced harsh repressions that led to the revolution of 1956 crushed by a joint military operation of the Warsaw Pact. Thereafter, relations between both countries were damaged until breakup of the USSR. In the 20 years following the regime change, Hungarian left parties maintained some contacts with Russia, but the overall diplomatic relations between both countries were limited to trade. However, every government is forced to have a working relationship with Kremlin due to the energy dependency.[1] Deepening of political ties between Hungary and Russia since 2010 (policy of “Eastern Opening” during the second Orbán-cabinet). Current rapprochement is being justified as an attempt to “recapture eastern markets”.[2]

Foreign policy: Interest-based policy. Hungary does not have a conceptual approach to Russia that would provide a ground for a clear foreign policy programme.  Currently, it is becoming more value-laden since Hungary follows the footsteps of the Kremlin based on common values of “conservativism” and autocratic methods of power.  Pragmatism is used to mask the shared value-set.

Putin´s man: PM Victor Orbán used to be the most fervent anti-Russian politician in the post-transition Eastern bloc. Nowadays he is labelled as “Putin’s man”. He is openly admiring Mr. Putin as a strong national leader. After annexation of Crimea, he declared his support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but at the same time accused Kyiv of discriminating ethnic minorities (Hungarian minority in Zakarpattia Oblast) and claimed that the Kyiv’s government was not democratic. Accordingly, Orbán has sought to weaken European sanctions. During his government, Russia has gained influence over Hungarian politics.[3] All in all, pendulum politics is pursued as Hungary has been avoiding any friction in relations with Russia.

Energy: Intensive “gas diplomacy” and energy dependence on Russia. Approximately 57% of its gas and 89% oil demand is provided by Russian imports. However, Hungary does not have to fear a sudden cut-off, since it has the largest underground gas storage infrastructure in CEE[5] and thanks to the strategic partnership with Russia. To enhance its relations, Russia is offering price discounts on oil and gas deliveries. The long-term gas procurement agreement with Gazprom guarantees supplies up to the 2019. Hungary agreed on building the South Stream pipeline in cooperation with Russia and Gazprom despite the negative opinion of the European Commission (2015). Currently backing Nord Stream II, despite the fact it might suffer economically due to the lost in transit fees.

Nuclear energy dependency on Russia.[6] A nuclear deal on the expansion of Paks Nuclear Power Plant by the Russian company Rosatom was concluded in 2014 without holding a tender. It had led to an infringement proceedings by the European Commission for a lack of compliance with EU public procurement, but after a lengthy probe, the Commission approved the project.[7] This creates enormous economic interest for both sides.

Energy blackmail: After meeting in Budapest between the PM Viktor Orbán and the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller in 2014, Hungary unexpectedly stopped gas supplies to Ukraine. This happened at the time of growing tension in Eastern Ukraine and as Russian-Ukrainian-EU gas talks were held in Berlin. “Hungary cannot get into a situation in which, due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it cannot access its required supply of energy,” Mr Orban said on the state radio. His statement followed threats from Moscow that it could cut off countries that have been re-exporting gas to Ukraine avoiding its energy sanctions.[8]

Economy and trade: Russia is Hungary´s third largest import partner and 13th trading partner.[9] Hungary’s export to Russia has started to decrease in 2011, this trend has been accelerated due to the EU sanctions and nosediving of Russian Ruble. In 2015 it reportedly decreased by more than 40 per cent.[10] Anyway, as an important buyer of Hungarian state bonds, Russia practically finances Hungarian state debt.[11]

Eastern Partnership: Not very enthusiastic or proactive, focusing on Moldova and the partly Hungarian-populated Transcarpathian region in Ukraine.[12] Hungary is pushing for deepening of energetic cooperation with Azerbaijan, therefore neglecting human rights situation in the country.[13] Hungary would not risk alienation with Moscow because of Eastern neighbourhood.[14]

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometr, 37% of Hungarians had a positive view of Russia.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007):[15] Friendly pragmatism: maintains a close relationship with Russia and tends to put business interests above political goals. Hungary supports EU´s role in the Eastern neighbourhood.

National Perspective (2013): Pragmatic ‘business as usual’ approach. Directly supporting eastern dimension of EU external relations. Prioritized countries: Ukraine and Moldova. Point of discord: support for the EU and NATO aspirations of certain EaP countries.

Anti-Russia/Russia-cautious camp represented by Fidesz. Pro-Russia – Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). [16]

EU-28 Watch (2015): Pro-Russian domestic party landscape. PM Victor Orbán has turned leading political party Fidesz to a vocal defender of Russia´s action in Ukraine. The second strongest right-wing party Jobbik pursues engagement with Moscow even more. Public pools indicate rather balanced view, coupled with more sceptical stance toward Russia. All in all, Hungarian foreign policy is determined by utilitarian considerations of economic ties with Russia. [17]

Hungary is supporting strengthened NATO presence in face of a threat from Russia. In addition, Hungarian defence and special forces has started to pay attention to Russian hybrid warfare.

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Opponent of sanctions, but eventually subscribed to the common approach (2015). Leader on the relations with Russian on the EaP, supporting European Commission in resisting Russian pressure on EaP countries, promoting visa liberalization with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine after being a slacker on diversification of gas supply routes to Europe (2015, 2014). [18]

View from the capitals (2016): Fidesz government opposes automatic prolongation of sanctions, but it would not veto it. It estimates that the sanctions have resulted in lost export opportunities worth 4-4,5 billion $. Orbán has advanced his Eastern Opening toward Russia and bilateral meetings between political representations are now regular. [19]

III. Policy Documents

Foreign minister statements (2016):     

Russia is a priority economic, trade and energy partner of Hungary, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said after the meeting of the Hungarian-Russian inter-governmental economic committee on Wednesday in Budapest. […] The Minister, who is also co-chair of the committee, reiterated at the press conference: a decision was adopted on Tuesday on the extension of the sanctions against Russia. Hungary is of the opinion that this decision was made in an incorrect and anti-democratic manner, as the Member States should have discussed the matter at the highest possible level. […]  Regarding energy issues, he said: the Paks 2 project is the single most important project from the respect of Hungary’s energy security. They are currently discussing whether MVM Magyar Villamos Művek Zrt. can be involved in a few projects to be implemented by Rosatom elsewhere so that the company can gain relevant experience in the field, he explained. He also reiterated that they have altered the long-term gas procurement agreement which provides for the drawdown of 25 billion cubic metres of gas, and as a result, the country’s safe gas supply is guaranteed up to the end of 2019. The pricing mechanism has been changed in Hungary’s favour, and the parties also decided on the purchase by Hungary of an additional 600 cubic metres over and above the contracted quantity, he said.[20]

National security strategy (2012):[21]       

Hungary today enjoys an unprecedented level of security as the result of Euro-Atlantic integration. However, military force may still play primary role in a regional conflict in Europe and its neighbourhood. The stability of Hungary’s Eastern and Southern neighbourhood and the spreading of democratic values are of paramount importance for the country’s security. Hungary employs active foreign policy and is strongly interested in EU and NATO continuing to pay eminent attention to these regions, offering membership or the strongest possible partnership. Hungarian communities living outside the borders of Hungary have a particular place in the country’s security policy.


[1] https://www.origo.hu/itthon/20080228-gyurcsany-a-deli-aramlat-megelozte-a-nabuccot.html

[2] https://www.politicalcapital.hu/wp-content/uploads/PC_SDI_Boll_study_IamEurasian.pdf

[3] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_hungary_in_the_grip_of_a_bear_hug_7019

[4] https://www.politicalcapital.hu/wp-content/uploads/PC_SDI_Boll_study_IamEurasian.pdf

[5] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_hungary_in_the_grip_of_a_bear_hug_7019

[6] https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/eastern-europe-s-russian-energy-dependence-deeper-than-you-think

[7] https://www.reuters.com/article/eu-hungary-nuclearpower-idUSL5N1GJ2VD

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/26/hungary-suspends-gas-supplies-ukraine-pressure-moscow

[9] https://www.politicalcapital.hu/wp-content/uploads/PC_SDI_Boll_study_IamEurasian.pdf

[10] https://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news/russia-a-priority-economic-partner-of-hungary

[11] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_how_should_europe_respond_to_russia_the_hungarian_view406

[12] https://eu-28watch.org/issues/issue-no-11/hungary/

[13] https://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR73_SCORECARD_2013_AW.pdf

[14] https://eu-28watch.org/issues/issue-no-11/hungary/

[15] https://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf

[16] Dangerfield, M., Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, chapter 11, in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[17] https://eu-28watch.org/issues/issue-no-11/hungary/

[18] https://www.ecfr.eu/scorecard

[19] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_view_from_budapest_the_status_quo_might_just_do7147

[20] https://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news/russia-a-priority-economic-partner-of-hungary

[21] https://www.eda.europa.eu/docs/default-source/documents/hungary-national-security-strategy-2012.pdf

Germany

Summary: Germany is a key EU and NATO member state.  Though traditionally more sceptical about the threat posed by Russia than its eastern neighbours, Germany supported tough EU measures against Russia in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea. Like France, Germany has undergone a significant deterioration of relations, intensified by Russian attempts to spread “fake news” in Germany and influence the country’s internal political affairs. Russia remains Germany’s largest energy supplier, even though Germany was one of the first countries to advocate for a better energy security during Russia’s natural gas disputes with Ukraine in the past decade. However, Russian meddling in Germany’s internal affairs remains a bigger threat than the energy dependence on Russia so far.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Relationship between Germany and Russia has deep roots and was influenced by the Cold War era and the division of Germany into two states, which encouraged West Germans to adopt a stance of pragmatic cooperation with Russia. After the reunification of Germany, the bilateral relations were influenced by Ostpolitik (the normalization of relations between West and East Germany – therefore with USSR/Russia as well) and cooperation in the energy sphere. During the chancellorship of Gerhard Schroder, Putin’s close friend, the ties between the two countries deepened. The good level of cooperation can be seen in the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which was criticised by several EU member states. Overall, German policy during Schroder’s chancellorship was more oriented on national rather than European interests. On the contrary, Angela Merkel has been more critical towards Putin, even though not significantly.[1] After the 2014 Ukraine crisis, the bilateral relations has worsened to a large extent. However, neither the politicians nor the public in Germany share the same attitude towards Russia. Nowadays there are two concepts for Germany’s approach towards Russia – one considers Russia to be Germany’s strategic partner and makes reference to Ostpolitik, the other doubts the significance and sees Russia as a state with a substantial potential for destructive action. Generally speaking, the first concept is popular amongst Social Democrats, the Left Party and Alternative for Germany; while the second amongst Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Greens.[2]

Energy: Russia is Germany’s largest energy supplier, roughly 22-23% of German’s primary energy comes from Russia. Germany imports nearly 40% of its natural gas from Russia (making it by far the biggest importer of Russian gas) and around a third of its oil and coal as well.[3] [4] The two countries cooperated on the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which transfers Russian gas to Western Europe, chiefly Germany. In connection with this project, Germany has been criticized for lack of solidarity with several EU member states in Eastern Europe since these transit countries were bypassed by the pipeline which allows Russia to cut off their gas supplies without affecting the flow to Western Europe.[5] A proposed expansion of the pipelined called Nord Stream 2 has been under a lot of criticism as well.[6]

Trade: In 2014, Russia was Germany’s eleventh biggest export market and Germany was Russia’s seventh biggest buyer of goods and services.[7]  Even though the trade between Russia and Germany was damaged by the sanctions, the bilateral foreign direct investment landscape shows no signs of decline. The investments of German firms in Russia has been increasing significantly in the recent years, Germany being the second-biggest investor in Russia in 2016.[8]

Secret service activity: German foreign intelligence service sees a substantial threat in Russia in connection with the spreading of fake news and cyber-attacks, by which Russia could try to influence the outcome of 2017 general election. “We have evidence that cyber-attacks are taking place that have no purpose other than to elicit political uncertainty,” said the president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Bruno Kahl. According to Hans-Georg, president of the domestic BfV intelligence agency, Russian secret services has been conducting cyber-attacks “aimed at comprehensive strategic data gathering”.[9] How serious can the Russian disinformation efforts in Germany be was well illustrated by the “Lisa case”, one of the major topics in German public discussion in January 2016. The 13-year old Russian-German girl had gone missing for 30 hours and, according to a Russian TV channel, she has been raped by Arab migrants. Even though the German police debunked the story, it was intensively reported in Russian media and ended in diplomatic tensions between Germany and Russia.[10]

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometer, 23% of Germans had a positive view of Russia. Polls conducted by the Körber Foundations shows that 69% of Germans favour lifting the economic sanctions imposed by Russia and the EU.[11]

Number of Russian diplomats: 108 (196 with spouses).[12]

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Strategic partner. Strong economic relations, especially in energy. Political relations remain strong as well, even though Angela Merkel is more critical towards Russia than her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder.

National Perspectives (2013): “Considering its overall weight within the EU and its developed relationship with Russia, Germany is often seen as a potential motor for revitalizing EU-Russia relations. However, the perception of Germany as too inclined to cater to both Russian and its own national interests, fuelled in particular by the Nord Stream project, makes it unlikely that Germany could take on this role alone. Germany’s strong pursuit of its economic interests in its relationship with Russia will likely remain constant, leaving it vulnerable to criticism within the EU. If, though, as appears increasingly possible, Russia becomes weaker internally due to its failure to modernize on a variety of fronts, it may grow less attractive as an economic partner for Germany. This could bring other aspects of Germany’s Russia policy to the fore, ones that are more compatible with broader EU interests. In this scenario, the idea of Germany (together with Poland) as a driver of the EU’s Russia policy appears probable.”

EU-28 Watch (2015): In general, the relations to Russia are viewed as very important in Germany and are widely discussed. Overall it is seen that after a phase of complementary interests between the EU and Russia, the relations deteriorated until the deep crisis they are in now. When discussing the future relations with Russia, there is a forward-looking approach in Germany going beyond the immediate Ukraine crisis and an overall understanding that Russia is crucial for a peaceful and prosperous Europe. However, it is also becoming increasingly clear that Russia under the present government is an extremely difficult partner to achieve this goal. There is an increasing impression that Putin is untrustworthy and unpredictable. This leads to the continuous debate on how dialogue can be continued with Russia without failing European values.

Views from the capitals (2016):[13] Economically speaking, Germany is actually much less dependent on Russia than generally perceived, and experiencing little blowback from the EU sanctions and counter-sanctions, it will be willing to use them as a tool to contain Moscow. Regarding its role in Europe, Germany has learned through the recent crises that its hegemony will not be tolerated. Without a multilateral framework to accommodate the interests of other European states, Germany alone cannot shape European politics. Therefore, if the role of the EU and NATO is diminished, this would greatly reduce Germany’s influence in practice. As for public opinion, sympathy both for Russia and Putin has plummeted in Germany in recent times, with Russia becoming more nationalistic. These negative attitudes towards Russia will continue and sympathy is likely to fall even further. Russia’s support for far-right forces will cause more unease than its military adventures do, however, these forces will remain an isolated community – for now, at least.

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Leader on maintaining a strong and united sanctions policy, slacker on commitment to Eastern Partnership countries (2016). Leader on developing sanctions towards Russia (2015). Leader on supporting European Commission in resisting Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries; supporting strong European position on rule of law, human rights and press freedom; pressuring Russia to use its leverage to stop conflict in Syria and engage new Iranian government in nuclear negotiations; while slacker on relations with Russia on energy issues (2014). Leader on promoting human rights in Russia; co-operating with Russia to solve protracted conflicts and persuading Moscow to support EU positions on Syria (2013).

III. Policy Documents

Review 2014: A Fresh Look at German Foreign Policy[14]

Annexation of Crimea: Following the address of President Putin, the Kremlin signed the Treaty of Accession of the Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation. This unlawful step has led to the most serious crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War… Together, as the EU, we have clout in the world – the Ukraine crisis shows how important joint action is.

White Paper on German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr (2016)[15]

Russia is openly calling the European peace order into question with its willingness to use force to advance its own interests and to unilaterally redraw borders guaranteed under international law, as it has done in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This has far-reaching implications for security in Europe and thus for the security of Germany.

The crisis in and surrounding Ukraine is the concrete manifestation of long-term internal and external developments. Russia is rejecting a close partnership with the West and placing emphasis on strategic rivalry. Internationally, Russia is presenting itself as an independent power centre with global ambitions.

This is reflected, for example, by an increase in Russia’s military activities along its borders with the EU and NATO. In the course of extensively modernising its armed forces, Russia appears to be prepared to test the limits of existing international agreements. By increasingly using hybrid instruments to purposefully blur the borders between war and peace, Russia is creating un- certainty about the nature of its intentions. This calls for responses from the affected states, but also from the EU and NATO.

Germany continues to support the long-term goal of a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia. For the time being, the Russian Federation’s current policies, which are reflected in the annexation of Crimea and the present doctrine declaring NATO a threat, necessitate a dual approach: credible deterrence and defence capability as well as a willingness to engage in dialogue.

2015 Annual report on the Protection of the Constitution[16]

Now as before the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the major players behind espionage activities directed against Germany. Russian espionage continues to be essentially influenced by the conflict between the West and Russia in regard to Ukraine. Not least, the Russian services are also attempting to present their point of view to the public and to use their contacts to exert influence.

The interest of the Russian intelligence services continues to be focused on the traditional target areas: politics, industry, science, the energy industry, technology and the military. The Ukraine conflict has, however, resulted in a clear shift of their priorities: This issue with all its political, economic and military ramifications is increasingly in the focus of their intelligence activities. Russia’s primary interest is to obtain early information on the stance taken on the Ukraine crisis by the Federal Government, the political parties and institutions, on the way they intend to handle it and on their future policy towards Russia.

Apart from intelligence gathering the services also attempt to influence decision-makers and public opinion in Germany according to their interests. In this context it is of particular interest for them to get an insight into decision-making processes and to find out to what extent it is (still) possible to influence them. Also, Russia increasingly disseminates pro-Russian propaganda through various public media (TV and radio stations, the Internet, high-profile events, etc.). For example, in their German-language broadcasts, Russian international broadcasting stations which are close to the Russian government present facts in a way which reflects a pro-Russian view. In most of these cases it is, however, hardly possible to prove a direct involvement of the Russian intelligence services.

Cyber Security Strategy for Germany (2011)[17]

The document does not mention Russia at all.


 

 

[1] Stewart, Susan, Germany, Chapter 2 in National Perspectives on Russia.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21635010-two-big-parties-differ-germans-are-hardening-their-views-russia-new-ostpolitik

[2] https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-commentary/2016-11-07/dreaming-normalisation-germany-vs-russia

[3] https://energytransition.org/2014/03/closer-look-at-german-energy-dependence-on-russia/

[4] https://untrusted.markkit.net/untrusted/https___www.cleanenergywire.org_factsheets_germanys-dependence-imported-fossil-fuels.html?s=rpfrmrq7ps572eicdo9b1m4kr4#

[5] Stewart, Susan, Germany, Chapter 2 in National Perspectives on Russia.

[6] https://www.ft.com/content/72bd7ecc-f29a-11e6-8758-6876151821a6

[7] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-28423733

[8] https://www.wsj.com/articles/german-firms-place-new-bets-on-russia-1481193003

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/german-spy-chief-russian-hackers-could-disrupt-elections-bruno-kahl-cyber-attacks

[10] https://www.nato.int/docu/Review/2016/Also-in-2016/lisa-case-germany-target-russian-disinformation/EN/index.htm

[11] https://www.koerber-stiftung.de/fileadmin//user_upload/koerber-stiftung/mediathek/pdf/2016/Survey_Russia-in-Europe.pdf

[12] https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/cae/servlet/contentblob/332540/publicationFile/158033/VertretungenFremderStaatenListe.pdf

[13] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_managing_the_unmanageable_germany_and_a_resurgent_russia

[14] https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/download/37355057/41950-2259c-f1521-4fb59-25a9d-9b0ea-eafd8-214c9

[15] https://www.new-york-un.diplo.de/contentblob/4847754/Daten/6718445/160713weibuchEN.pdf

[16] https://www.verfassungsschutz.de/embed/annual-report-2015-summary.pdf

[17]https://www.bsi.bund.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/EN/BSI/Publications/CyberSecurity/Cyber_Security_Strategy_for_Germany.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Greece

Summary: Greece is one of the oldest NATO member states and the first Balkan state to join the EU.  Greece’s difficult history with Turkey urged it to look to Russia for support. Therefore, Greece was typically in opposition to EU measures that could raise Russian disapproval. The current Greek government, finding the country in the middle of an economic and financial crisis, was hopeful to find aid from Russia instead of Brussels. Greece remains, nonetheless, supportive of the EU and NATO, but it always makes sure to underline its aim to keep bilateral relations with Russia at a warm level.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Greece has a long and close history with Russia dating back to the 19th century and the WWI. During the WWII Greece has suffered from occupation by Axis forces, but it was liberated by the British. A brief civil war between Greek Communists and pro-Western forces followed, with the former abandoned by Stalin, but many maintaining hope that they will turn Greece into a Communist state. Though the two countries have been on the opposite sides during the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union brought them closer.

Cyprus: Greece keeps looking for Russia as a counterbalance to Turkey in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the island being divided between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. During a Turko-Cypriot missile crisis in 1997[1], Greeks reinforced its contingent on the island (ELDYK) in order to reassure Cypriots of Greek support, following Cypriots’ decision to deploy Russian S-300 air defence missiles. Though Turkey and Greece remain members of NATO, a threat of direct confrontation between two hostile countries’ armies on Cypriot soil is not completely out of the question. Therefore, Russia’s position as a balance against Turkey is relevant in Greek military strategy and foreign policy.

Energy: Greece has been engaging in bilateral energy talks with Russia for over a decade. Greece has backed the 2007 South Stream project in the past, which faced criticism from the West because it went against the Nabucco pipeline project. [2] The 2015 meeting between President Putin and PM Tsipras shifted talks from financial aid from Moscow to energy questions, and Putin proposed a natural gas pipeline to Greece in order to help Greece in solving its debt crisis.[3]

Military partnership: Greece has been purchasing Russian military equipment since the 1990s, and conducting military exercises in close partnership with Russia as late as 2009[4]. In 2016 Greece has signed a defense partnership treaty with Russia, claiming it is necessary to preserve Greek defense industry at the time of a continuing economic crisis in Greece.[5] During a conflict between Putin and Turkish President Erdogan over downed Russian plane in Syria, Russian state media have emphasized its military partnership with Greece, as a way to show a common stance against Turkey.[6]

Sanctions: The Russian ban on EU food products affected Greek farming industry, with many farmers having been oriented towards exporting up to 90% of their produce to Russia for many years. Manolis Glezos, a WWII veteran and a left-wing Greek MEP wrote a letter to President Putin pleading not to impose “counter-sanctions” on Greek food imports to Russia. [7]

Economic crisis: Greece has yet to fully recover from the financial crisis that wrecked the Hellenic Republic’s economy.  There were fears that PM Tsipras would look for financial aid from Moscow after achieving victory in the elections[8] but that did not come to pass so far.

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometer, 66% of Greeks had a positive view of Russia.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Greece is one of the “Trojan horses” that often defend Russian interests in the EU system, and are willing to veto common EU positions. Over the years, Russia has provided Greece with useful support in its dealings with Turkey and a ready supply of military equipment. It also serves as an increasingly important partner in the energy sphere. European diplomats from other member states argue that, in exchange, Greece has sought to position itself as a ‘promoter’ of Russian positions within the EU on issues ranging from EU involvement in the Eastern neighbourhood to the regulation of energy markets. One senior official from another member state claims that “every possible EU step in the eastern neighbourhood that might even theoretically upset the Russians has been opposed by Greece.” This pattern has applied to EU policy on Belarus, the Black Sea region and Georgia. For example, in 2007, it stopped the EU from extending the mandate of the EU Border Support Team in Georgia to include the secessionist region of Abkhazia.

National Perspectives (2013): For Greece, good bilateral relations with Russia are important, but they are not independent of its commitments to and membership of the multilateral EU arena. 

EU-28 Watch (2015): Notwithstanding that a comfortable majority of the Greek people is united by the idea of belonging to the European Union and the Εurozone, the government shows a certain tendency towards intensifying and deepening its relations with Russia. This is due to the historical and cultural relations between the two countries, to the possibilities offered by Russia to make Greece an important point of energy transit towards Central and Western Europe, but above all, Russia serves as a counterbalance to the pressure exerted by the creditor institutions, regarding the austerity policy promoted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Furthermore, in June 2015 Greece and Russia examined the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream project to Greece through a South European pipeline, but the discussions have remained stagnant, in view of the recent political developments in Greece. There has even been an attempt to investigate the intentions of Russia on the prospect of a loan, while the possibility of Greece’s participation in the New Development Bank is currently under examination.

Views from the capitals (2015-16):[9] The initial hope of the Greek government in early 2015 to find alternative financing in Moscow in order to improve its negotiating position with EU and IMF creditors was dashed by July of that year. SYRIZA’s decision to sign the third Greek rescue package demonstrated not only the failure of its negotiating tactics with the country’s creditors but also the limits of the Greek-Russian bilateral relationship. Since the signing of the so-called ‘Agreekment’ the government has shown a remarkable degree of alignment with EU policies. This can be expected to continue, with Greece unlikely to oppose the consensus of other member states in the upcoming European Council discussion on Russia. The period when Athens contemplated imposing a veto in order to exert pressure on its partners is now over. But the new reality of Greek acquiescence to EU policy hides deep ideological differences between Athens and the majority of its fellow member states. EU sanctions against the Kremlin, for example, run counter to Greek interests. On the whole, SYRIZA does not see Moscow as ‘the problem’ in EU-Russia relations and is advocating for a more constructive approach. Accordingly, it takes a positive view of the suggestion of ‘selective engagement’. On occasion the Greek government has been vocal in its support for Russia more broadly, such as during the Warsaw NATO Summit in July.

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Slacker on Relations with Russia on Energy Issues (2014).

III. Policy Documents

Bilateral Relations with Russia (based on Greece-Russia Joint Action Plan 2015-16)[10]

Greek-Russian diplomatic relations were established 185 years ago. Greece is linked to Russia by strong historical ties of friendship based on shared spiritual and cultural values. Contacts between the two countries are frequent and include reciprocal visits of the ministerial and political leadership. By joint decision of the two sides, 2016 will be a ‘Year of Greece’ in Russia and a ‘Year of Russia’ in Greece.

Statements by the Foreign Minister (2016)[11]

In the EU, more or less in NATO, there are two trends on handling Russia: one tough, one more realistic. Deterrence and dialogue. The main question is whether the West wants to consolidate the security architecture in Europe against Russia or with Russia. I am in favor of the second option, as long as the other side helps through its choices. There are two types of sanctions: those imposed to bring the opponent to its knees – a lost cause – and those aimed at bringing the opponent to the negotiating table. As a rule, sanctions do not have significant results. In the EU, we should discuss why and whether the EU wants to renew the sanctions against Russia.

White Paper on Defense (2014)[12]

Russia that is on its way to re-establish its position as the second pole of the international power system, with an increasing influence on the European and Asian affairs and a continuous and particularly active military and economic policy… Greece gives great importance to the strengthening of bilateral defence cooperation with EU and NATO member states… and also the smooth course and development of bilateral defence cooperation with the Russian Federation and other countries in the historical & geographic environment.


 

 

[1] https://www.aparchive.com/metadata/TURKEY-TANSU-CILLER-CYPRUS-MISSILE-CRISIS-INTERVIEW/fa5aff45763878a38dbe69b90783b004

[2] Christow, G. Cyprus and Greece, Chapter 17 in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[3] https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/06/19/greece-signs-deal-with-russia-to-build-gas-pipeline

[4] Christow, G. Cyprus and Greece, Chapter 17 in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[5] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/natos-united-front-under-threat-after-greece-signs-arms-deal-wit/

[6] https://sputniknews.com/europe/201605261040281235-russia-turkey-greece-military/

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/13/greece-farmers-russian-sanctions-rotten-fruit

[8] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eurozone-greece-russia-idUSKCN0PD0YH20150703

[9] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_view_from_athens_towing_the_line7148

[10] https://www.mfa.gr/en/blog/greece-bilateral-relations/russia/

[11] https://www.mfa.gr/en/current-affairs/top-story/foreign-minister-kotzias-interview-in-sundays-real-news-with-journalist-vasilis-skouris.html

[12] https://www.mod.mil.gr/uploads/Dnsi_enimerosis/Pdf/White_Paper.pdf

France

Summary: France is a founding member of the EU and NATO and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Though traditionally friendly towards Russia, France’s stance towards Russia grew chillier after the 2014 events in Ukraine. French politics are not without allegations of financial or intelligence ties to Russia, even though the government’s stance suffered through a radical U-turn on Russia following the annexation of Crimea. France was one of the key countries to initiate the EU sanctions against Russia, but also one of the main countries to participate in negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, and pro-Russian separatists. Facing other issues than Russia, France’s national security focus is less concerned with Russian threats to the EU bloc and more with terrorism. Meanwhile, eurosceptics and the far-right remain relatively popular, even with the alleged support by Russian intelligence.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Since the fall of the Soviet Union, France has pursued a rather warm approach towards Russia. In 1989, the French president Francois Mitterand stressed the special responsibility of France and Russia for European stability. The two countries become even closer after Vladimir Putin took office, partly thanks to the personal friendship between Putin and the then president Jacques Chirac, who wanted to reinforce the EU-Russian relations. Chirac’s successor Nicolas Sarkozy concentrated more on the new EU member states than on Russia, but the 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict, which took place during the French EU presidency, forced him to focus on Russia as well. France played a role of a mediator during the conflict and, eventually, Sarkozy managed to negotiate a ceasefire deal. Nevertheless, France has been criticized for being “too soft” on Russia. Until the events in Ukraine and Syria, the bilateral relations seemed to be improving and in the case of Syria, furthering military cooperation against ISIS started to take place, although it did not last long and the tensions escalated with France criticizing the intense bombing of Aleppo by the militaries of Russia and Syria.[1]

Military cooperation: A well-known example of recent military “cooperation” between France and Russia is the case of Mistral ships. Since 2010, there had been discussions about the possible sale of those French military ships to France and in 2011, a $1,7 billion deal was made. According to the deal, two ships should have been built in France and two in Russia afterwards. However, Russia eventually did not receive any of the ships because France decided to call off the sale due to the activities of Russia in Ukraine and mounting pressure from NATO. France refunded Russia $1 billion and sold the two already constructed vessels to Egypt. [2]

Energy: As far as energy is concerned, Russia is only a minor player in France. French imports of natural gas are highly diversified, Norway having the biggest share (only 13% of French natural gas comes from Russia).[3] The dependence on Russia is even weaker when looking at the oil imports – just under 7% of French oil is Russian.[4] About 75%of French electricity is generated by nuclear power, using uranium imported mostly from Canada and Niger.[5]

Trade: In 2014, France was the third largest European supplier of Russia. France’s trade balance with Russia is structurally in deficit due to the very large share of oil and refined petroleum products in French imports (83%). Most of the French exports to Russia are high value-added goods. Russia was one of the top three recipients of French foreign direct investment flows in 2013. Nevertheless, the bilateral trade relationship has deteriorated due to the EU sanctions.[6]

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometer, 26% of French had a positive view of Russia.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Strategic partner. For several decades, France’s approach to Russia has been motivated by a wish to strengthen its own position and, occasionally, Russia has been a useful ally. The political relationship does not have much of an economic foundation, however, links are growing in the energy sphere.

EU-28 Watch (2015): As for public opinion, French citizens in their majority hold unfavourable views of Russia’s current government and geopolitical role. Regarding political parties, the picture is a lot less clear. In each political party, we find staunch supporters of the “Russian cause”, while the pro-Russian network is stronger on the political right and amongst eurosceptics.  The far-right Front National has a strong affinity with Putin’s Russia. Turning to civil society, France traditionally has a dense network of associations working on developing relations with Russia in a variety of fields. Frequently, descendants of Russian immigrants are strongly involved in such organisations, their work being complemented by cultural diplomacy from the Russian side, with the news website “sputnik” as one of its instruments. As to economic relations, they have suffered considerably from the repercussions of the Ukrainian crisis. Franco-Russian political relations were affected by the EU sanctions and disagreement over the Syrian war.

National Perspectives (2013): As a founding member of the EU, France has always been a key player in European politics and the desire to contribute to European security can thus be considered as a natural objective of French foreign policy. French leaders have always been very keen on advancing their goals within the EU framework as long as it clearly benefited French national interests. There are various interpretations of Russia in France. On one hand, the French press and academia are divided between the defenders of human rights, those who fear a revival of imperialism and those concerned about Russia’s ambiguous position on proliferation and arm sales. On the other hand, the political elite seems divided between those who value Russia as a strategic partner, those who see Russia as an emerging market and thus a major opportunity to boost the economy and finally those who admire Putin as a defender of Russian interests and independence in the mould of Charles de Gaulle, the last ‘real statesman’ on the international stage. The French authorities do not see any contradiction between both supporting the EU and establishing further co-operation with Russia; rather, a partnership with Russia should be an element of an effective European foreign policy. France remains strongly attached to the EU. The French authorities are aware that relations with Russia should not eclipse this. But France has also become a vector for Russian interests to be heard within the EU.

Views from the capitals (2016): France’s involvement in pushing forward sanctions run counter to its previous efforts at developing economic relations with Russia. What’s more, France now finds itself committing its diplomatic resources to a region that is traditionally absent from its foreign policy radar, and at a time when threats emanating from some of its usual zones of focus – in the Middle East and Africa – are particularly acute. Such a response from France was, above all, prompted by the nature and magnitude of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. [7]

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Leader on maintaining a strong and united sanctions policy and slacker on commitment to Eastern Partnership countries (2016). Leader on developing sanctions towards Russia (2015). Leader on pressuring Russia to use its leverage to stop conflict in Syria and engage new Iranian government in nuclear negotiations (2014). Leader on persuading Moscow to support EU positions on Syria (2013).

STRATCOM: France is joining the list of countries participating in the NATO STRATCOM COE.

III. Policy Documents

President Hollande’s foreign policy speech (2015)[8]

When the very foundations of collective security are called into question, a swift and firm response must be provided. That’s what we did with Chancellor Merkel (…) We must be clear-sighted: the ceasefire isn’t being fully observed, the withdrawal of heavy weapons hasn’t been completed and the Ukrainian people’s living conditions are tragic (…) The Ukraine crisis is having detrimental effects politically. Economic relations between Russia and Europe are frozen, with sanctions that are having consequences for Russians, but also for Europeans. France wants to maintain a sincere dialogue with Russia, in keeping with history and with the nature of our relationship and the common interests we have in the world (…) In September 2014, I suspended the delivery of the first Mistral ship to Russia. In the present context, France clearly couldn’t deliver a force projection instrument to Russia.

French country files: France and Russia (2015)[9]

Political dialogue between France and Russia has been limited following the annexation of Crimea, by the introduction by the European Union of sanctions against Russia and Russia’s suspension from the G8. However, the authorities maintain regular dialogue at the highest level with Russia, in particular for the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. The presence of President Putin in France on 5 and 6 June 2014 to commemorate the D-day landings was an important step to renew dialogue with Russia and established the Normandy Format (France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine) for resolving the Ukrainian crisis.  Further meetings between President Hollande and President Putin opened the way for negotiations and the signing of the “Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements” adopted in Minsk on 12 February 2015.

French White Paper on Defence and National Security (2013)[10]

Russia’s military budget is growing rapidly, it is modernising nuclear arsenal and working to provide its conventional forces with enhanced intervention capabilities. This rearmament is accompanied since 2006 by increasing displays of strength: political exploitation of its energy resources, pressure on its neighbours and recognition of secessionist entities in Georgia. Warmer relations with the western nations have not achieved all the declared objectives, as shown by continuing disputes over NATO, disarmament and the resolution of the Syrian crisis. Russia is trying to establish a monopoly over energy supply routes, thus complicating European efforts to diversify their imports. Russia is equipping itself with the economic and military clout to engage in power politics.

Report of the National Assembly Delegation on Intelligence (2015)[11]

Public documents of the intelligence committee and agencies (DGSE and DGSI) only mention Russia as a partner in fighting terrorism, since it is also a target of recruitment and disinformation by terrorist groups: “These groups have, as never before, relied on a modern propaganda machine, using the most advanced techniques of communication, including social networks, video, and the Internet, to convert to their cause many foreigners worldwide, but particularly in the francophone and Russophone world.”

“Cooperation with Russia is strong, not least because 7-8% of people wishing to leave France for Syria or return are Chechens, some of whom are involved in the planning or financing of attacks.”

French National Digital Security Strategy (2015)[12]

The document does not mention Russia at all.


 

 

[1] Le Noan, Rachel, France, Chapter 3 in National Perspectives on Russia, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/17/problem-russia-syria-greenpeace-kremlin-europe-eu, https://euobserver.com/foreign/135459

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/09/23/egypt-to-buy-french-mistral-landing-ships-originally-intended-for-russia/?utm_term=.178006aeb7d0

[3] https://www.gasinfocus.com/en/indicator/sources-of-natural-gas-consumed-in-france/

[4] https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/visualize/tree_map/hs92/import/fra/show/2709/2014/

[5] https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx

[6] https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/russia/france-and-russia/

[7] https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_russia_2030_potential_impact_of_french_policies

[8] https://www.ambafrance-uk.org/President-Hollande-outlines-French-foreign-policy

[9] https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/russia/france-and-russia/

[10] https://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/215253/2394121/file/White paper on defense_2013.pdf

[11] https://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/rap-off/i3524.asp

[12] https://www.ssi.gouv.fr/uploads/2015/10/strategie_nationale_securite_numerique_en.pdf

Finland

Summary: Finland is a non-NATO EU member state with a great significance in Russia’s recent history. Finland has always tried to find a compromise with Russia due to its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and deep economic ties with Russia. Still, Finland is aware of the threats posed by Russia and engages in military co-operation with NATO in order to counter them. At the same time, Finland still sees hope in rebuilding EU-Russia relations.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Finland achieved independence from the Russian Empire in 1918, after over a century of Russian rule. The USSR and Finland fought each other in 1939-40 in a Winter War, with Finland preserving its independence but ceding Karelian Isthmus, Ladoga, and the Petsamo corridor to the USSR. Although Finland joined the Axis at the outbreak of war between Nazi Germany and the USSR in 1941, it quickly switched sides in 1944 and avoided a prospect of Soviet occupation in the aftermath of the war. During the Cold War, Finland chose to stay neutral in the East-West divide, and, as a result, never joined NATO. Moreover, Finland’s capital Helsinki was chosen for the signature of the Helsinki Accords and the creation of the OSCE, which catalysed the dissident movements in the Eastern bloc at the time and offered assurances for the USSR and its satellites that post-war borders in Europe will not be changed.

Economy: For a short time during the 2008 financial crisis, Russia became Finland’s largest trading partner, but since sank to the third place.[1] By 2015, Russia is the fifth largest exports and the third largest import partner of Finland.[2]

Energy: Finland is heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. Finns traditionally saw Russia as a reliable energy supplier, despite their progress towards diversification of energy sources.[3]

Military cooperation: Though Finland tries to maintain friendly relations with Russia, it has encouraged NATO enlargement and it has always engaged in a deep partnership with the alliance.[4] Finland reserved the right to apply for NATO membership once such option will appear beneficial to the country.[5] Finland is concerned about Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic zone[6] and the security of its autonomous Aland islands, lying in the northern Baltic right between Sweden and Finland. Though the islands remain demilitarized, Finnish military expressed a view that re-militarization of Aland is necessary for the country’s security.[7] In contrast to Russia, NATO is seen by Finland as a stabilizing factor in the Baltic Sea region, but unlike other Nordic countries, Finland maintains generally good relations with Russia, even though Finns have grown more and more disillusioned with hopes that Russia and EU will deepen their cooperation.[8]

Secret service activity: In 2015, SUPO for the first time publically dubbed Russia as a surveillance state. Since 2013, Finland’s MFA has reported on monthly cyber-attacks from Russian groups with state-level cyber capabilities. Russian land purchases near strategic sites in Finland have raised security concerns. In April 2015, the Finnish Navy detected a Russian submarine in its territorial waters near Helsinki; Russian aircrafts continue violating Finnish airspace; exercises etc.

View of Russia: According to Eurobarometer, 55% of Finns maintain a somewhat negative view on Russia, with 26% having a very negative view, but only 17% somewhat positive and only 1% very positive[9].

STRATCOM: Finland is a partner country of the NATO STRATCOM COE.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Friendly Pragmatist. Finland puts its economic and business interests above political goals in terms of relations with Russia, which reflects its history of being the USSR’s only immediate non-NATO European neighbour. However, Finland’s economy gradually shifted away from reliance on Russia, particularly focusing on Germany as its primary trade partner instead. A particular point of dispute between two countries, however, was the discriminatory tariff policy imposed on Russian wood exported to Finland and Sweden, introduced following the EU’s WTO accession.

National Perspectives (2013): Both countries proximity have contributed to generally pragmatic and relatively warm relations, however, Finland’s attempts to improve relations with Russia during Finland’s 2006 EU presidency have failed to reach that goal. Traditionally less critical of Russia, Finns gave birth to the term “Finlandization”, which does have a pejorative connotation of tolerating Russia’s idiosyncrasies. Moreover, Finland encouraged the NATO enlargement, but so far it remains outside NATO itself. In the past, Finland has shown activism in trying to mediate conflicts where Russia was involved, such as the Chechen wars or – less successfully – the 2008 war in Georgia. However, as time went on, Finland’s position on Russia continued to side with other Nordic countries, particularly that of Sweden or Denmark, both of whom are traditionally much more critical of Russia. Furthermore, expanding Finnish presence in the former Soviet Union through Finland’s foreign aid program did little to appease Russia.

EU-28 Watch (2015): Although Finns generally see Russia as an unstable partner; Finland has nonetheless demonstrated eagerness to re-establish functional relations with Russia. Still, Finland has been supportive of Ukraine’s right to decide its own affiliations, yet it is fearful that hasty inclusion of Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership program into EU membership candidacy lists would be unwise. Finns insist on fulfilling all necessary criteria before EU membership accession, criticizing the decision for inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in the EU as too hasty. In terms of economic partnership with Russia, Finland tries to balance its EU commitments along with its own bilateral relations with Russia. This is exemplified by Finland’s support of anti-Russian sanctions following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the Finnish government’s approval of building several new nuclear power plants with Russia’s Rosatom’s participation in the projects, despite EU’s policy of lowering the union’s energy dependence on Russia.

III. Policy Documents

Government’s Defence Report (2017)[10]

The military-strategic importance of the Baltic Sea region has risen and military activity has intensified in the area. Simultaneously, the military footprint in the Arctic region has grown. As it is a base with strategic weapons, the Kola Peninsula retains its importance to Russia. […] Russia aims to strengthen its great-power status, and it has expressed the goal of a sphere-of-influence based security regime. It has demonstrated the ability to take swift strategic decisions and to employ coordinated military force and a wide range of other instruments in pursuing its objectives. Alongside the protracted conflict in Ukraine, Russia has specifically demonstrated its sophisticated and wide-ranging air power in the Syrian War. Russia is developing the capabilities of its armed forces and is also maintaining the capacity to manage a major military crisis. All security authorities’ capabilities can be used for military purposes. Russia has bolstered its western defences as well as its response and readiness in the Arctic. Much as in the West, Russia focuses the material development of its armed forces on long-range strike capability and precision-guided weapons, manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, robotics, nuclear weapons, air and space defence as well as digital command & control and intelligence systems (C4ISR).

Government Report (White Paper) on Finnish Foreign and Security Policy (2016)[11]

Russia’s leadership perceives international relations a geopolitical zero-sum game and has mostly abandoned cooperation-based security thinking. Instead, it has publicly promoted its goal of a sphere-of-influence-based security regime and demonstrated the will and capacity to employ military force in pursuing its objectives. In its relations with Russia, Finland promotes cooperation and is guided by the EU’s common positions. Improved cooperation between the EU and Russia would strengthen the security and economy of all of Europe; Russia’s isolation does not serve anyone’s interests. The precondition for such improvement is, however, that Russia comply with international law and its other international obligations. The implementation of the Minsk Agreement is vital for better EU-Russia relations.

SUPO yearbook (2016)[12]

The intelligence targets related to current phenomena vary, but also they are underpinned by foreign states’ long-term interest in Finland. In relation to Finland’s population, there is a considerable amount of foreign intelligence personnel in the country. Especially Russia sees Finland as an interesting intelligence target but also other major powers find our country important.

Strategic Priorities of the Foreign Service (2015)[13]

The tightened security situation, brought on by Russia’s actions and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, has far-reaching impact on relations between the EU and Russia and on Europe’s security. Finland contributes to resolving the crisis in Ukraine. Finland also supports the stabilisation of Ukraine and the reforms it requires. The improvement of relations between the EU and Russia is desirable, but cooperation must be based on respect for international law and international commitments. Finland complies with the European Union’s Common positions on Russia. Finland maintains relations with Russia that are as broad and functional as prevailing conditions allow.

Finnish Security and Defence Policy (2012)[14]

Finland develops its relationship with Russia through close interaction and cooperation at the political level, between the authorities, through the economy and at the level of citizens. Furthermore, Finland encourages Russia to participate in regional cooperation in its neighbourhood. It is Finland’s goal that Russia strongly commit to international cooperation and multilateral treaty regimes and global burden-sharing. Finland actively promotes a broad-based development of the EU-Russia relationship. EU-Russian cooperation should also be developed in the field of foreign and security policy. Positive developments in NATO-Russia relations promote stability in the region.

Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) Yearbook (2015)[15]

In relation to Finland’s population, there is a considerable amount of foreign intelligence personnel in the country. Especially Russia sees Finland as an interesting intelligence target but also other major powers find our country important.

SUPO Operating Environment (2015-2016)[16]

Finland is a constant target for structured and long-term foreign intelligence activity. In relation to Finland’s population, there is a considerable amount of foreign intelligence personnel in the country. Especially Russia sees Finland as an interesting intelligence target. The key objectives of foreign intelligence activity include anticipating and influencing Finnish policy-making and recruiting individuals who could be used to influence political decision-making and shape public opinion. The main targets of political intelligence are the Finnish foreign and security policy, the country’s actions as an EU member, and the cooperation with NATO. In the field of military intelligence, it is Finland’s military capability, the society’s resilience to crisis, and the security of supply of the country… During the crisis in Ukraine, Russia and its intelligence agencies are trying to influence the outside world views and decision-making in many different ways – including by spreading disinformation… including in Finland.


 

 

[1] Etzold, T., & Haukkala, H., Denmark, Finland and Sweden, Chapter 9 in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[2] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fi.html

[3] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[4] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[5] https://vnk.fi/documents/10616/1093242/J0113_FinnishSecurity_net.pdf/f7d0b3db-f566-4d32-af19-68a7064e24ee?version=1.0

[6] https://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=348060&nodeid=49540&contentlan=2&culture=en-US

[7] https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2016-10-26/gotland-and-aland-baltic-chessboard-swedish-and-finnish-concerns

[8] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[9] https://ec.europa.eu/finland/sites/finland/files/ebs_451_anx_en.pdf

[10] https://www.defmin.fi/files/3688/J07_2017_Governments_Defence_Report_Eng_PLM_160217.pdf

[11] https://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=348060&nodeid=49540&contentlan=2&culture=en-US

[12]https://www.supo.fi/instancedata/prime_product_julkaisu/intermin/embeds/supowwwstructure/72829_SUPO_2016_ENG.pdf?304cc2d77276d488

[13] https://formin.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=327068&nodeid=49221&contentlan=2&culture=en-US

[14] https://vnk.fi/documents/10616/1093242/J0113_FinnishSecurity_net.pdf/f7d0b3db-f566-4d32-af19-68a7064e24ee?version=1.0

[15]https://www.supo.fi/instancedata/prime_product_julkaisu/intermin/embeds/supowwwstructure/67074_2015_Supo_ENG.pdf

[16]https://www.supo.fi/instancedata/prime_product_julkaisu/intermin/embeds/supowwwstructure/64088_Suojelupoliisin_toimintaymparisto_vuosina_2015-2016.pdf?63bfcddeb81cd388

Estonia

Summary: Estonia is a post-2004 EU and NATO member state, which is known to have generally cool relations with Russia. Estonia has suffered from cyber-attacks and agitation of its Russian minority by Russia in the past, and it is often seen as one of the first victims of the “hybrid war” tactics. Its sizeable Russian minority and the Estonian government’s naturalization policies are often brought up by Russian diplomats in order to paint Estonia as a human rights violator, despite the situation being far more complex than that. Russia plays a significant role in shaping Estonian national security policy, and the events of 2014 only assured Estonia that its fears were justified and more EU member states will raise awareness of the Russian threat.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Estonia became an independent republic soon after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, following centuries of Russian, Scandinavian and German dominance. It remained independent during the interwar period, but suffered Soviet occupation at the outbreak of the WWII. During the Nazi Germany’s invasion, many Estonians joined the Estonian Waffen SS legion, either as volunteers or conscripts. After the war, some Estonian patriots, nicknamed the “Forest Brothers” (Est. metsavennad) continued to fight the Soviet government well into the 1950s. Estonia became one of the first Soviet republics to declare its independence from the USSR, after nearly five decades of Soviet occupation that was never recognized in the West. Estonia still considers it a period of foreign occupation and refuses to recognize Russians who moved to the country from the Soviet Union at that time as Estonian citizens.

Trade: Russia is one of the biggest trade partners of Estonia, along with Finland, Sweden, Germany and Latvia, among others, despite the fact that of all three Baltic states, Russia’s share is the smallest in Estonia[1]. In the past, Russia has reacted to internal events in Estonia, such as the 2007 decision to move the “Bronze Soldier” Soviet war memorial from Tallinn city center to the outskirts, by limiting trade with the Baltic country[2].

Energy: Unlike the two other Baltic States, Estonia managed to diversify its energy supply relatively quickly[3], lowering its dependency on Russian natural gas and oil. Estonia established an energy link with Finland and invested in shale oil projects in Jordan and the US, at the same time looking at its own shale oil resources[4].

Tensions: Estonia’s national border with Russia is still a matter of dispute, since the 2005 treaty between two countries has not been ratified by Russia, and Russia accused Estonia of harboring claims on Russian territory due to reference to 1920 Tartu peace treaty in the Estonian parliament’s preamble to the treaty’s ratification[5]. The Tartu peace treaty defined Pechory (Petseri) and Ivangorod (Jaanlinn), and their outskirts, as parts of Estonia, but were ceded to the RSFSR after the WWII. Furthermore, the 2007 “Bronze Soldier” controversy led to riots by Russian minority in Tallinn, which coincided with an anti-Estonian sentiment rising in Russian media, as well as hacking of Estonian’s government websites. This is sometimes seen as the first instance of Russia’s “hybrid war” tactic, short of a full-scale military aggression. Another serious tension between two countries arose in September 2014, when an Estonian KaPo (Internal Security Service) agent Eston Kohver was kidnapped by FSB and sentenced for 15 years for espionage[6]. However, Kohver was soon released in exchange for Aleksei Dressen, a former KaPo officer, who was previously sentenced as a Russian spy[7].

Military cooperation: Estonia is a member of NATO and a long-term defense partner of Finland, as well as of its Baltic neighbors. Estonia and Finland both protested Russian jets’ violation of the two countries airspace, but if Finland seeks bilateral defense agreements with other countries, Estonia seeks assurances as a member of NATO[8]. Estonia joined Finland in a plan to purchase South Korean K9 Thunder howitzers in February 2017[9]. Estonia has shown solidarity with Georgia and deepened military cooperation with that former Soviet republic in recent years, sharing a mutual goal of preparing for potential Russian aggression, and preserving each other’s territorial integrity. During the Georgian minister of defense’s visit in January 2017, Estonian officials voiced support for Georgian bid to join NATO, and promised to maintain extensive military cooperation between the two countries[10]. However, Estonia cannot rely on its allies alone, and it has shown in 2016 that it is ready to engage in insurgency tactics in case of full-scale Russian invasion[11], raising a question of how much other NATO member states are ready to sacrifice for Estonia’s security.

Russian minority: Estonia is a home to one of the largest Russian ethnic minorities in the EU, and it has been a point of contention with Russia. The Russian minority in Estonia is not uniform, and shows internal divisions along the lines of knowledge of Estonian language and loyalty to the Estonian state, with the least loyal to be found in the Ida-Virumaa and its easternmost city of Narva[12]. Furthermore, though Russia emphasized ethnic Russians’ status in Estonia as a human rights violation, it has discouraged assimilation and integration of Russians in Estonia in order to use them to isolate Estonia in the international arena as a country at odds with European values[13]. Furthermore, the majority of ethnic Russians do not wish to move to Russia, mostly because they cannot expect the same rule of law and freedoms in Russia as they can in Estonia, even if they remain in Estonia as non-citizens[14].

View of Russia: 36% of Estonians hold a somewhat negative view of Russia, 25% somewhat positive, 24% very negative and 7% very positive[15].

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Frosty Pragmatist. Russia has allowed pro-Kremlin youth groups, such as “Nashi” to enter and besiege Estonian embassy in Moscow during the Bronze Soldier crisis in Tallinn. Furthermore, Russia is the likely culprit behind cyber-attacks against Estonian government websites, and it has engaged in trade wars with Estonia every time the two countries’ relations hit a low point. Furthermore, Estonia blocked the Nord Stream pipeline through its territorial waters and it has shown support to a more active Eastern neighborhood policy.

National Perspectives (2013):  Estonia and Russia’s relations have been frosty ever since Estonia’s independence has been restored. Russia continues to insist that Estonia should stop any discriminatory policy against the country’s Russian minority, while Estonians believe that ethnic Russians, who came to the country during the Soviet occupation, are obliged to prove they are loyal and fit to be Estonian citizens. The newly elected PM Ansip’s decision to move the Bronze Soldier memorial from the Tallinn city center caused condemnation by the Russian government, riots in Tallinn, cyber-attacks, and trade sanctions imposed by Russia. As a result of this, Estonia was one of the first countries to link NATO’s Article 5, which obliges NATO members to help one member against foreign aggression, with cyber-security.

EU-28 Watch (2015):  Estonia sees the recent events in Ukraine as a sign that it was correct in warning other EU member states against trying to compromise with Russia. Estonia expressed not only support for institutional reforms in Ukraine, but also supported supplying Ukraine with NATO arms. The majority of Estonian public believes that Russia is a mortal enemy to Estonia. However, the country’s substantial Russian minority provides a voting base for more moderate elements, such as the Center Party, and some MPs, including EUP MPs from Estonia, criticized sanctions against Russia and the EU stance on the annexation of Crimea.

III. Policy Documents

International Security and Estonia (2017)[16]

In a situation where the Kremlin continues to probe the boundaries of what is permitted and what is not, the vitality of the transatlantic security system based on trust and shared capabilities is at a critical stage, which is why close watch must be kept over any efforts by Russia to fracture European unity in the context of elections held in various countries as well to ensure that the sanctions remain in place. A test of strength is taking place every day in cyberspace as well.

International Security and Estonia (2016)[17]

The Russian ruling elite is convinced that, in communication with the West, Moscow can only defend its interests from a position of strength, which includes a constant demonstration of military threats. The Russian leadership considers NATO’s security reinforcement measures and the growing number of NATO members as an existential threat, and views the European Union’s integration policy as damaging to its interests. This threat assessment was the basis for the aggression against Georgia and Ukraine: an attempt to obstruct any Western integration of countries within the sphere of Russia’s perceived privileged interests, without any hesitation, and using any means necessary.

KaPo Annual Review 2015[18]

Media projects are the most visible part of Russia’s influence operations, while its core arsenal has remained unchanged and its foreign policy and military activities played an important role in the conflicts in both Ukraine and Syria. The main messages of anti-Estonian influence operations did not change much in 2015. Estonia was again accused of favouring Nazism and discriminating against the Russian-speaking population. Among the messages disseminated by Russian influence operations, an important role is played by the large proportion of inhabitants in Estonia with undetermined citizenship and the transition of upper secondary schools with Russian as the language of tuition to Estonian. As a notable addition, the migration crisis was used to instigate tensions in both Estonia and the entire European Union. It was mainly due to the refugee crisis that the contrasting of the Western and socalled Russian civilisations, and instigation of opposition to the EU and NATO, intensified.

National Defense Strategy (2011)[19]:

The Estonian security environment is also influenced by the internal and foreign policies of the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation has demonstrated an increased interest in re-establishing its spheres of influence and strengthening its influence over Europe’s security environment. The presence of Russian Federation military forces in close proximity to the Estonian border has increased.

National Security Concept of Estonia (2010)[20]:

Russia defines its interests departing from restoration of its status as a major global power, and occasionally does not refrain from contesting other countries. In addition to political and economic means, Russia is also prepared to use military force to achieve its goals. Russia also uses its energy resources as political and economic means in different areas of international relations. […]The Estonian economy is tightly interlinked with the global economy. Global developments, including economic crises and the instability of essential external markets, have significant effect on Estonia. Changes in the structure of energy supply established between the European Union and Russia may also affect the functioning of the Estonian economy. The isolation of electricity and gas supply from the European interconnected energy networks adds to the risks related to the resilience of critical services. Estonia’s potential of pursuing economic activities in the field of the transport of hydrocarbons, based on by the geographic location, is sensitive to economic and political pressure. Crisis in the economic and financial sector may create a favourable environment for social tensions and spread organised crime.

[1] Lasas, A. and D. J. Galbreath, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Chapter 10 in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[2] Lasas, A. and D. J. Galbreath.

[3] Lasas, A. and D. J. Galbreath.

[4] Lasas, A. and D. J. Galbreath.

[5] https://news.postimees.ee/1250918/estonia-russia-to-exchange-128-6-hectares-of-land-under-border-treaty

[6] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29078400

[7] https://news.err.ee/116833/kohver-released-and-back-in-estonia

[8] https://www.dw.com/en/russia-accused-of-estonia-airspace-violations-as-finland-signs-defense-pact-with-us/a-35994791

[9] https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2017/02/09/Estonia-partners-with-Finland-for-K9-howitzer-buy/5561486672458/

[10] https://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=29817

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/world/europe/spooked-by-russia-tiny-estonia-trains-a-nation-of-insurgents.html

[12] https://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/russians-estonia-twenty-years-after

[13] Ibid.

[14] https://qz.com/344521/in-estonia-life-is-good-maybe-too-good-for-ethnic-russians/

[15] https://ec.europa.eu/finland/sites/finland/files/ebs_451_anx_en.pdf

[16] https://www.teabeamet.ee/pdf/2017-en-c482143c.pdf

[17] https://teabeamet.ee/pdf/2016-en.pdf

[18] https://www.kapo.ee/sites/default/files/public/content_page/Annual%20Review%202015.pdf

[19] https://www.kaitseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/elfinder/article_files/national_defence_strategy.pdf

[20] https://vm.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/JPA_2010_ENG.pdf

Denmark

Summary: Denmark is one of the founding NATO countries and a firm supporter of the alliance. After the annexation of Crimea, Denmark was quick to voice its condemnation of the illegal act conducted by Russia. Relations between Russia and Denmark have been relatively cool ever since Putin’s rise to power, spoiled either by the war in Chechnya, human rights concerns, or environmental issues connected with Russia’s pipeline building activities in the Baltic Sea. Today, Denmark keeps facing constant military and diplomatic pressures from Russia but remains a firm supporter of the international sanctions against Russia.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Unlike other Scandinavian countries, Denmark has never been formally at war with Russia. Due to its strategic location as the gateway to the Arctic, Denmark has long been engaged in a power balance with both Sweden and Russia, frequently allying with the Russians against the Swedes. The relationship weakened in the 20th century with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and Denmark’s waning influence. During Cold War, Denmark was initially neutral but later joined both NATO (in 1949) and the European Communities (in 1973). Thus, while Sweden and Finland were positioning themselves ‘in between’ the East and the West, Denmark has anchored itself fully in the West.

Economy: Russia’s ties with Danish economy are negligible as the two countries both export fossil fuels, whereas other economic activity remains extremely small, though Denmark used to send aid to Russia’s Kaliningrad oblast.[1]

Energy: Denmark manages to maintain energy independence from Russia by exploiting its own North Sea fossil fuel reserves[2]. Furthermore, Denmark plans to become entirely fossil fuel-free by 2050, however, as the fossil fuels are expected to start running out by 2022, it may begin importing them instead[3], which poses a risk of Russian influence growing in the future.[4]

Tensions: In the past, Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and the war in Chechnya were met with criticism and condemnation by Denmark. The two countries’ bilateral relations were particularly strained over Denmark’s refusal to extradite the leader of Chechen separatists Akhmed Zakayev, which forced the EU-Russian talks on the communication between Kaliningrad oblast and the Russian mainland via the EU to be moved from Copenhagen to Brussels.[5] As the Russian Navy’s patrols in the Baltic Sea started to rise in intensity in the past few years, Denmark began to expand its cooperation with non-NATO Sweden in the face of a common perceived threat.[6] In 2015, a Russian military jet was spotted approaching the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm,[7] with Russia mounting a military exercise near the island three months later, while 90,000 people – including the majority of the country’s political elite – were present on the island for a local festival.[8] Also in 2015, Russia threatened to target Danish warships if the country joins NATO’s anti-missile defence system.[9] Furthermore, Denmark’s decision to send troops to the Baltic in 2016 caused a backlash from Russian ambassador, who accused Danes of leading an “anti-Russian campaign”, calling Denmark a “hostile” country.[10] In 2017, Denmark’s Defense Minister Frederiksen warned that the country faces cyber and nuclear threats coming from Russia[11]. Meanwhile, Denmark’s Center for Cyber Security raised the issue of the threat posed by Russia, calling Russia a leading cyber security threat, being a country that has heavily invested in its hacking capabilities.[12]

Human Rights: Denmark prioritizes the issue of human rights, fight against corruption, and rule of law in former Soviet states in accordance with the Eastern Partnership program.[13] Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes it clear that promoting democracy and human rights abroad is a priority for the country’s foreign policy.[14] In terms of relations with Russia, the issue of human rights in Russia’s Chechen republic is of a particular controversy as Danish government continues to highlight lawlessness and human rights violations in the region.[15]

View of Russia: According to Eurobarometer, Danish population expressed either somewhat negative or very negative view of Russia (42% and 41% respectively), with only 10% having somewhat positive and 1% very positive view.

STRATCOM: Denmark has a seconded national expert working at the EEAS East STRATCOM Team.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007): Frosty Pragmatist. Denmark became the first EU state to engage in a diplomatic fallout with Russia following Putin’s rise to power. Its decision to allow Chechen separatists to hold a congress in Denmark and its refusal to extradite Akhmed Zakayev cooled relations between two countries considerably.

National Perspectives (2013): A lack of substantial trade relations and past diplomatic quarrels, as well as Denmark’s concern for human rights in Russia, made bilateral relations between two countries chilly. However, a potential for expanding the two countries’ partnership emerged in 2009, followed by the 2010 state visit by then-president Medvedev. Compared to the Baltics and Sweden, Denmark has been called a more pragmatic partner by Russia at the time, showing far less opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline project, despite the pipeline going through Danish territorial waters. However, as the interest in the Arctic and its potential resources rises, so do the tensions between the two countries, both of which have extensive possessions beyond the Arctic Circle.

EU-28 Watch (2015): Denmark has shown strong support for imposing sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. As Denmark prepares to meet Russia’s challenge in the military sphere, it has maintained its opt-out stance on European defence policy, sticking with NATO instead. However, Denmark makes it clear that it is ready to re-establish good relations with Russia, once Russia finds a compromise with the Ukrainian government to normalize the situation in Ukraine. At the same time, Denmark remains open to the idea of European integration and expansion, given that new members will be prepared for it through undergoing substantial reforms.

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Leader on support for Ukraine (2016).

III. Policy Documents

Review of Denmark’s Foreign and Security Policy (2016)[16]

Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and destabilization of neighboring Ukraine is challenging the European security order and established principles of autonomy and territorial integrity of recognized states. With regard to Russia, Denmark should support the EU position on a common, robust and principled stance externally, as well as cohesion and resilience internally. This is to be accomplished especially through joint EU sanctions and NATO commitments, including Danish participation in training exercises in the neighboring area. Firmness should not stand alone, but must be backed by dialogue with Russia on the basis of established principles and cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

MFA Annual Report (2015)[17]

The Ukraine crisis will continue to constitute a significant foreign and security policy challenge. Compliance with the Minsk Agreement is deemed to have particular importance for ensuring peace and stability in Ukraine. In 2016, Denmark will continue its engagement to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the reform process… Russia seeks a key role in managing important international security issues. Denmark will strive to maintain the EU pressure on Russia to contribute constructively to a political solution to the Ukraine crisis and, at the same time, seek critical dialogue and engagement, including in relation to the conflict in Syria, Iran’s nuclear programme, the fight against terrorism and the Arctic.

Danish Defence Agreement (2013-2017)[18]

Russia is mentioned only in terms of “confident cooperation” on missile defense and the Arctic. (the document was adopted before the Ukraine crisis, and also before the Russian ambassador said Danish warships will become targets for Russian nuclear missiles if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system.)

DDIS Intelligence Risk Assessment (2015)[19]

Terrorism, Russia’s conduct and the extensive cyber espionage will continue to constitute the most serious risks to Denmark. Russia’s ambition is to restore its role as a great power with decisive influence on major international issues. Russia attempts to re-establish its dominant influence over the non-NATO member states in the post-Soviet space. Russia has demonstrated capability and willingness to use military means to achieve its strategic objectives. Russia continues to develop its armed forces for rapid deployment in local wars or conflicts along the Russian periphery, and is trying to sway the strategic balance in the Baltic Sea region. Russia has invested intensively in the expansion of its cyber capacities and now holds sophisticated capabilities to launch extensive cyber espionage campaigns against political and military targets in the West.


 

 

[1] Etzold, T., & Haukkala, H., Denmark, Finland and Sweden, Chapter 9 in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[2] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/occasional_paper/2014/pdf/ocp196_en.pdf

[4] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[5] Etzold, T., & Haukkala

[6] https://www.ibtimes.com/sweden-denmark-build-closer-defense-ties-russian-threat-baltic-rises-1941861

[7] https://www.thelocal.dk/20150324/russian-fighter-jets-spotted-near-bornholm

[8] https://www.thelocal.dk/20150625/russia-rehearsed-takeover-of-denmark

[9] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-denmark-russia-idUSKBN0MI0ML20150322

[10] https://www.thelocal.dk/20160527/russia-lashes-out-at-hostile-denmark

[11] https://financialtribune.com/articles/international/57571/denmark-braces-for-military-buildup

[12] https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/02/09/world/europe/ap-eu-denmark-russia-cyber-security.html?_r=1

[13] https://eu-28watch.org/issues/issue-no-11/denmark/

[14]https://amg.um.dk/~/media/amg/Documents/Policies%20and%20Strategies/Democracy%20and%20human%20rights/Democratisation%20and%20human%20rights%20for%20the%20benefit%20of%20people/DemocratisationandHumanrightsforthebenefitofpeople.pdf?la=en

[15] https://www.nyidanmark.dk/NR/rdonlyres/662FD8CA-B89C-438C-B532-591500571951/0/ChechnyaFactfindingreport26012015FINALinklforside.pdf

[16] https://um.dk/~/media/UM/Danish-site/Documents/Udenrigspolitik/Aktuelle%20emner/148396_udredning_UK_summary.pdf?la=en

[17] https://um.dk/~/media/UM/English-site/Documents/About-us/Ministry%20of%20Foreign%20Affairs%20of%20Denmark%20Annual%20Report%202015.pdf?la=en

[18] https://www.fmn.dk/eng/allabout/Documents/TheDanishDefenceAgrement2013-2017english-version.pdf

[19] https://fe-ddis.dk/SiteCollectionDocuments/FE/EfterretningsmaessigeRisikovurderinger/Risikovurdering2015_EnglishVersion.pdf

Czech Republic

Summary: The Czech Republic is a member of the EU and was one of the first former East Bloc countries to join NATO. The Czech stance on Russia remains ambivalent, but it is fully aware of threats Russia poses. The country’s energy sphere remains highly dependent on imports from Russia, which is also its largest non-EU trade partner. Russian intelligence’s presence in the Czech Republic is significant, and the country’s intelligence services are aware of this issue. Still, the Czech Republic remains dedicated to NATO, and its close proximity to the former Soviet Union makes the country’s government aware of threats Russia poses, particularly after the 2014 events in Ukraine.

I. Relationship Parameters

History: Due to the communist-era legacy, Czech public is historically sensitive to direct Russian (or any other foreign) operations on its territory.[1] Attempts in the Russian Federation to rewrite or falsify history about the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 are particularly delicate to Czechs. Documentary Warsaw Pact: Declassified Pages presenting the invasion as a protection against NATO aggression that was broadcasted on Russian state channel Russia-1 in 2015 angers Czechs as well as Slovaks. Recently, a controversial Russian memorial honouring “the fallen soldiers, internationalists, and peacemakers” built by group of Russian veterans in Prague cemetery has been removed after the negative reactions it received.

On the other hand, a considerable portion of population shares a pro-Russian sentiment. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) is ,despite the past,[2] currently the third-most popular party in the country[3] and could return to power in coalition with the Social Democrats after the next parliamentary elections.

View of Russia: Neither the Czech elites nor the public have reached a consensus in their relationship with Russia. The Czech foreign orientation is trans-Atlantic, but the Czech government has no clear stance whether Russia is rather a threat or an important partner with whom cooperation needs to be enhanced. A strong and popular pro-Russian voice is the Czech president Miloš Zeman, on the contrary to the Czech Government, which defends the positions of EU and NATO.[4]

The pro-Russian president: In the aftermath of the Crimea crisis, Miloš Zeman denied the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine and endorsed claims that Kiev is ruled by fascists.[5] He has repeatedly said that Czech Republic should call for a withdrawal of EU sanctions against Russia and claimed that they have been damaging Czech farmers and the Czech industry.[6] Zeman, as well as former president Václav Klaus, has strong ties to Russian LUKoil. Both men maintain friendly relationship with Vladimir Yakunin, who is close to Vladimir Putin.[7]

Dispute over the US missile shield: After the Czech government entered negotiations with the US on the deployment of a radar system of US missile defence shield in 2007, Russia threatened to place short-range nuclear missiles on the borders with NATO pointing at the Czech Republic.[8] Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed it would lead to “an inevitable arms race”[9] and threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987. Just the day after the Czech Republic signed the agreement on establishing the radar, Russia curtailed oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline in the country by 50% that had to be substituted by delivery through the TAL/IKL pipeline.[10] Accordingly, Russia considered the decision to drop the plans a diplomatic victory. Reactions in the Czech Republic were mixed.[11]

Secret services activity: Russian spies are thought to be one of the most active foreign agents operating in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech counter-intelligence agency BIS, most of them operate under a diplomatic cover of the overstaffed Russian embassy in Prague, counting almost 140 employees.[12] Some estimates claim that two thirds of them could be spies.[13] In its annual report (2015), BIS warned against their activities comprising operations in the context of information war, political, scientific-technical, and economic espionage. Russian secret services are also trying to cooperate with the Russian community in the Czech Republic (2014).[14] Russian federation is mentioned alongside China as the biggest threat in a state-run or state-supported cyber espionage.[15] In the past, some spies had to be expelled from the country, but Czech diplomacy have not intended to escalate the conflict publicly because of the possible reciprocal action from Moscow.[16]

Trade and investment: Russia is the largest non-EU market for Czech export and an important investor in the country. According to the Czech Export Strategy, it is among twelve priority countries.[17] Czech Republic is a common tourist destination for Russians as well. Currently, the economic exchange has been declining following the devaluation of ruble, recession of Russian economy, and economic sanctions. Especially the Ministry for Industry and Trade advocates for strengthening the economic cooperation with Russia.[18] The dark side is the penetration of Russian capital connected to the grey market into the Czech economy and the strengthening the Russian political influence in the Czech Republic.[19]

Energy: Approximately 73% of Czech gas and 68,5% of oil imports come from Russia, therefore, energy dependency on Russia is a key security issue. In the context of oil supplies curtailment in 2008, the Czech Republic has negotiated more oil to flow in via the Western European TAL pipeline when there are problems with the Druzhba pipeline.[20] Gazprom´s long-term contract with RWE Transgas runs through to the end of 2035.[21] The Czech Republic was active in the settlement of the Russia-Ukraine gas transit-fees dispute in 2009. Nevertheless, Russia´s reputation as a reliable supplier was damaged. Consequently, during its presidency in the Council of the EU in 2009, the Czech Republic was a vocal supporter of projects aimed at reducing the negative impacts of energy dependency on Russia, such as the so-called South corridor or the Third Energy Package.[22] Over the past few years, Russian Gazprom has continued in its efforts to control the transport, storage, and trade in the region. It has started to supply Czech customers with gas through the company Vemex owned by Gazprom and together with its Czech partner KKCG has increased the capacity of gas storage. Czech energetic sector is also of interest for Russian espionage in the country.

Regarding the nuclear energy dependency on Russia, TVEL, a subsidiary of Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom is an exclusive supplier of fuel for the Temelin nuclear plant until 2020.

Military tensions: The Czech Republic has traditionally been trying to avoid exacerbation of its tense relations with Russia. In the context of the Ukraine crisis, the country has been more willing to boost military cooperation with its NATO allies.[23] 82% of Czechs approved the NATO convoy (Operation Dragoon Ride) drive through the country.[24]

Normative issues: Czech Republic is active in raising democracy and human rights issues at the EU level and supports a value-based approach on Russia, but it is rather passive in shaping EU policy on Russia. Activism is visible only when interests are at stake.

Eastern Partnership was launched at the Prague Summit in 2009. The Czech Republic shows support for the EU action in the region, including Minsk peace process and following economic sanctions, but does not take a active role in shaping common position.

View of Russia: According to the latest Eurobarometer, 39% of Czechs had a positive view of Russia.

STRATCOM: The Czech Republic has a seconded national expert working at the EEAS East STRATCOM Team. The Czech Republic have also sent its national expert to the NATO STRATCOM COE in late 2016.

II. Expert Assessment

Power Audit (2007):[25] Frosty pragmatists. The Czech Republic is oriented towards its business interest, while permanently raising concerns about democracy and human rights issues. For example, in 2006, it joined up countries supporting potential peace support mission in Moldova that, in the end, was not even discussed at the EU level. It is also active when Russia violates its commercial interests or diplomatic norms.

National Perspectives (2013): The Czech Republic follows a pragmatic ‘business as usual’ approach. Fear of Russia in the country is vastly overshadowed by their economic and energy relations. The government is sensitive to attempts of Russian companies to buy strategic Czech firms such as Czech Airlines or Transgas.

The Czech Republic directly supports the eastern dimension of EU external relations and prioritize countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Belarus. There is a degree of a ‘Russia-first’ principle regarding support for their EU and NATO aspirations.

Anti-Russia/Russia-cautious political parties: The Civic Democratic Party (ODS). Pro-Russia – the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD).[26]

European Foreign Policy Scorecards: Leader on support for a strong declaration at the Riga Eastern Partnership summit and for ratifying and implementing Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova (2016), supporting democratic reforms in EaP countries through bilateral assistance, promoting political freedom in Russia (2015), pushing visa liberalization for Russia, Ukraine and Moldova (2013).[27]

III. Policy Documents

The Czech Republic’s Defence Strategy (2017):[28]

The security situation in Europe got significantly worse since 2012. The Russian Federation openly realizes its power ambitions on the east of Europe, with the use of military force. Yet it does not hesitate to break the norms of the international law, including violation of territorial integrity of neighbouring countries. It uses a set of hybrid campaign tools against the member countries of NATO and EU, including targeted disinformation activities and cyber attacks.

Concept of the Czech Republic´s Foreign Policy (2015):[29]

Russia destabilizes the European security architecture. But as a permanent member of the UN it remains a significant player in addressing numerous international issues, therefore we need to cooperate with it. Czech policy towards Russia will depend on the Russian Federation´s respect for international law and for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its neighbours. Russia is potentially an important political and economic partner for the Czechia, as well as for the EU. In addition, Czech will seek to establish cultural cooperation and contacts with Russian civil society.

Security Strategy of the Czech Republic (2015):[30]

No direct mention of Russia, but indirect references. Declining security and stability in Europe´s flank regions and immediate neighbourhood could pose direct threat to the NATO or EU. It might be of classis military nature or in the form of hybrid warfare. Attempts of some states to carve out spheres of influence or to achieve a revision of existing international order through a military as well as non-military tools (including disinformation intelligence operations, unmarked military personnel, etc.) may be considered a threat.

Annual report of the Security Information Service (2015):[31]

As in previous years, Russian intelligence services were the most active foreign intelligence services in the Czech Republic. Many Russian intelligence officers were active under diplomatic cover of the Russian Embassy. Russian activities focused on the information war regarding the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts and on political, scientific, technical and economic espionage. Information operations aimed to weaken the Czech media, influence perceptions, confuse the audience, promote tensions, disrupt NATO and EU alliances, isolate Ukraine. Russia and China pose the gravest threat to the Czech Republic as far as state-led or state-sponsored cyber-espionage campaigns are concerned. Russia was also mentioned in the context of offering information support to right-wing extremists, and violation of tax, regulatory and contract provisions by companies partly owned or directly controlled by Russian state administration.

Speeches by Foreign Minister (2015-2017):

According to Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek, Russian aggression and illegal annexation of Crimea is threatening Ukraine´s territorial integrity, sovereignty and stability. Czech Republic supports reforms and visa free regime for Ukraine.[32] Anti-Russian sanctions are effective.[33]


 

 

[1] https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zprava6c8d.html?ArticleID=1096

[2][2] https://foreignpolicy.com/2012/10/12/return-of-the-czech-communists/

[3] https://cvvm.soc.cas.cz/media/com_form2content/documents/c1/a7652/f3/pv170127.pdf

[4] https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2015-04-01/czech-dilemmas-over-russia-and-nato

[5] https://euobserver.com/opinion/133789

[6] https://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/president-zeman-says-czech-republic-should-call-for-end-to-eu-sanctions-against-russia

[7] https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/czech-republic-shifting-toward-west

[8] https://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/russia-threatens-to-aim-missiles-at-czech-republic-poland-if-us-installs-defence-shield

[9] https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200555.html

[10] Černoch a kol. The future of the Druzhba pipeline as a strategic challenge for the Czech Republic and Poland. International Institute of Political Science, Faculty of Social Studies. Muni Press, Brno 2012. ISBN 978-80-210-5926-9

[11] https://www.inss.org.il/uploadImages/systemFiles/INSSMemo155.02.2.Kalhousova.ENG.pdf

[12] Number can vary by several employees.

[13] https://www.respekt.cz/video/ondrej-kundra-v-cesku-jsou-stovky-ruskych-spionu

[14] https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zprava6c8d.html?ArticleID=1096

[15] https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zprava890a.html?ArticleID=1104

[16] https://praguemonitor.com/2016/09/06/ln-expelling-russian-spies-hard-czechs

[17] https://www.mpo.cz/dokument103015.html

[18] https://www.mpo.cz/en/guidepost/for-the-media/press-releases/minister-mladek-the-met-with-representatives-of-business-community-and-diplomacy-of-china–russia-and-azerbaijan-at-the-ie-fair-in-brno–153777/

[19] https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zprava890a.html?ArticleID=1104

[20] Černoch a kol. (2012), pg. 37

[21] https://www.gazpromexport.ru/en/partners/czech/

[22] https://www.eu2009.cz/assets/czech-presidency/programme-and-priorities/achievements/cz-pres_vysledky_cs_2.pdf

[23] https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/czech-republic-shifting-toward-west

[24] https://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/czechs-ready-to-join-operation-atlantic-resolve

[25] https://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf

[26] Dangerfield, M., Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, chapter 11, in M. David, J. Gower and H. Haukkala, ‘National Perspectives on Russia: European Foreign Policy in the Making?’, Routledge 2013.

[27] https://www.ecfr.eu/scorecard

[28] https://www.mocr.army.cz/images/id_40001_50000/46088/OS.pdf

[29] https://www.mzv.cz/file/1574645/Concept_of_the_Czech_Republic_s_Foreign_Policy.pdf

[30] https://www.army.cz/images/id_8001_9000/8503/Security_Strategy_2015.pdf

[31] https://www.bis.cz/vyrocni-zprava890a.html?ArticleID=1104

[32] https://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/udalosti_a_media/tiskove_zpravy/x2017_02_06_ministr_zaoralek_na_fac.html

[33]https://www.mzv.cz/jnp/cz/o_ministerstvu/archivy/clanky_a_projevy_ministru/clanky_a_projevy_ministra_zaoralka_2015/valku_s_ruskem_nechceme.html