Hostile Influence Strategies & Operations

Between Bad, Worse, and Worst: Europe Faces Tough Tests This Winter

Europe is under growing pressure from the East. First, the dictator of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, after a test run of weaponised waves of migrants against the Lithuanian and Latvian borders over the summer, has now sent not just hundreds but thousands of migrants to breach the borders of the European Union. Kuźnica, on the Polish border, was only the first major attempt; many more are likely to follow to coerce the EU into accepting the regime in Minsk as legitimate and lifting the sanctions.

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Resilient Ukraine – a Delicate Mosaic? Society, Media, Security, and Future Prospects

Since 2014, after the occupation of the Crimea and part of the territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Ukraine has remained the object of complex operations of influence from Russia. Effective protection from such operations is possible only if the various components of national resilience are fully explored, from regional media development to the readiness and ability of citizens to resist operations of such influence.

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Responding to a Dictator’s Stunts: A No-Thrill Flight Without a Destination?

It is quite extraordinary to see a state being rebuffed by Hamas, berated by the Ryanair CEO, admired by a boss of a Russian state propaganda outlet and prompting an immediate response from the EU that goes beyond “deep concern”—all within 36 hours of a major civil aviation incident. Whatever the reaction, we must give it to them: the regime in Minsk played by the “book of rogues” as a deserving and almost exemplary disciple of its big brother in Moscow. Can it be stopped from attempting similar stunts in the future? Probably not, so we will have to be prepared.

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Russian forces landing a shore during a military drill along the Opuk training ground not far from the town of Kerch, on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of the occupied Crimea. The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief.

Ukraine: A Crisis Recedes, a Fog of Ambiguity Descends

The announcement by Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergey Shoygu, on 22 April that Russia would be withdrawing the forces it had assembled for the ‘snap exercises’ launched on 7 April has been met by as much confusion as relief. In the time that has passed since that announcement, statements by the Biden administration and the proposed Biden-Putin summit have increased confusion rather than dispelled it.

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Another Provocative Test of Ukraine’s Societal Resilience

The attention being paid to the geopolitical implications of the situation developing on the Russia-Ukraine border should not overshadow the need to also respond to Russia’s day-to-day manipulation of Ukrainian society, especially in the regions located near occupied Crimea and the frontline in eastern Ukraine.

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Hybrid Atoms: Rosatom in Europe and Nuclear Energy in Belarus

In late 2020, Belarus inaugurated the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (Astravyets NPP). This facility – funded by the Russian government and built by the Russian state-owned corporation Rosatom – is one that Lithuania considers a threat to its national security. The project has already been causing frictions in the Baltic region that are yet to be resolved; the situation is emblematic of why and how Moscow is advancing its interests by exploiting the nuclear energy aspirations of various countries in Europe.

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