Tag "CEPA"

Brian Whitmore: Putin unmasked

By Brian Whitmore, for CEPA In the midst of an abysmally managed crisis, the Russian leader argues that he should rule forever. Why? Because he should. Vladimir Putin got caught telling the truth. In an interview with state television this weekend, the Kremlin leader said constitutional amendments that would effectively make him president for life were necessary because if he left office on schedule in 2024 it would disrupt “the normal rhythm”

COVID is not the only virus: Russian cyberattacks are hardening Europe’s resolve​

By Franklin Holcomb, for CEPA The Kremlin uses its cyber toolkit to spread political disunity, delegitimize and destabilize national governments, and compromise European security. Russia’s operations target everything from European civil society and state institutions to energy and transport companies and banks. European states and EU institutions are hardening their cyber defenses but the Russian government has yet to be deterred.  Germany has recently taken the lead in the EU in responding to Russian cyber aggression. On May 13, Angela Merkel revealed that hackers linked to the GRU

A bad day in court for NS2: litigation, disinformation, and Russia’s energy weapon

By Alan Riley, for CEPA Nord Stream 2 is in battle mode. The Russian-German gas project appears to be applying every possible legal argument and procedure to ensure the Baltic Sea pipeline will operate on its terms, i.e. unfettered by European Union law. In the German courts, it is challenging the German energy regulator, the BNetzA, which denied it a derogation (get-out) from the market liberalization mandated by the EU Gas Directive.

Infodemic in Italy: A Parliamentary intelligence committee lays bare Russian and Chinese interference

By Francesco Bechis, for CEPA It’s official: China and Russia used the covid-19 pandemic to propagate and spread disinformation in Italy, exploiting the emergency for their own interests, according to Copasir, the Parliamentary committee overseeing the intelligence services. The bipartisan report, authored by Enrico Borghi of the Democratic Party (Pd), draws on classified material provided by Italian government agencies.  In the past three months, Russia and China have transformed Italy into

Edward Lucas: Irony amid the menace. Echos of a captive past

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA Vladimir Putin is often criticized for his nostalgia for the USSR (he memorably called its collapse a “geopolitical catastrophe”). But many thousands of Russians in the “Soviet Citizens” movement take that view a step further. A majority of those taking part in the March 1991 referendum on the Soviet Union’s future, they argue, voted in favor of its continuation. It therefore follows that the Soviet

Daily disinformation: Gaslighting the neighbors

By Alex Lehtis, for CEPA Russia has long been using disinformation, weaponized corruption, organized crime, and oligarchic structures to maximize its influence in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.  On May 14, CEPA hosted a panel discussion on Russian active measures in these countries during the covid-19 pandemic. Brian Whitmore moderated, and the Atlantic Council’s Eto Buziashvili, the Public Interest Journalism Lab’s Nataliya Gumenyuk, and WatchDog.MD Community’s Valeriu Paşa weighed in with their thoughts.

The Kremlin’s numbers racket

By Brian Whitmore, for CEPA A Persistent and Prolific Propaganda Machine Meets a Deadly Global Pandemic. Now What Happens? Despite sharing a 4,200-kilometer (2,600-mile) border with China, the site of the initial outbreak, Russia reported a remarkably low number of infections in the early days of the pandemic. That story soon unraveled though — and in a way that bodes ill for the Kremlin. Doctors and journalists pointed out that the country was simultaneously experiencing

Brian Whitmore: A viral Victory Day

By Brian Whitmore, for CEPA The subdued Victory Day celebrations in Russia this weekend were an apt metaphor for the state of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine as it struggles with a global pandemic.  No military parade on Red Square. No columns of soldiers and veterans. No World War II-vintage Red Army vehicles. And no modern military hardware to showcase for the world. But May 9 did feature fireworks, a flyover

The desanctification of Putin

By Brian Whitmore, for CEPA The Political Costs of COVID-19 Are Beginning to Mount  After weeks of indecision, the Kremlin bowed to reality last week and postponed a much-hyped parade on Red Square to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Defense Ministry quarantined troops that had been rehearsing for the ceremony after scores of them became infected.   This was a big setback. The event

Fighting infection and malign influence: The Baltic response to the COVID-19 crisis

By Réka Szemerkényi, for CEPA Past week’s CEPA webinar with the Baltic ambassadors to the United States highlighted the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic on regional cooperation, the EU, and transatlantic security. The participants were Jonatan Vseviov (Estonia), Māris Selga (Latvia) and Rolandas Kriščiūnas (Lithuania). The following are the highlights of that conversation, condensed and paraphrased for clarity.  The crisis is common. The virus does not discriminate between countries

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