RE­PORT: MOSCOW BUY­ING POLITI­CIANS

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Rus­sia is con­duct­ing so-called in­flu­ence oper­a­tions in Europe that in­clude fund­ing pro-Rus­sia politi­cians, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Vir­ginia-based Cen­tre for Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think tank.

“De­spite sanc­tions crip­pling the Rus­sian econ­omy and its cur­rency in tail­spin, the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment has in­creased mon­e­tary sup­port for politi­cians through­out Europe,” the re­port states.

Moscow also has spent mil­lions of euros to in­flu­ence elec­tions, and U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have warned that Rus­sian strate­gic in­flu­ence oper­a­tions are un­der­way in France, the Nether­lands, Hun­gary, Aus­tria and the Czech Repub­lic.

“Rus­sia has re­port­edly also given fund­ing to far-right groups, in­clud­ing Golden Dawn in Greece, Job­bik in Hun­gary, and the Na­tional Front in France,” the re­port by CI Cen­tre lead an­a­lyst Mihkel Smit states.

Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence and cy­ber­op­er­a­tions also are in­creas­ing across Europe and the United States, the re­port said. “In coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence re­ports, sev­eral Euro­pean na­tions have warned that they are vul­ner­a­ble to Rus­sian cy­beres­pi­onage.”

Tra­di­tional Rus­sia es­pi­onage also is in­creas­ing and was de­scribed as ag­gres­sively op­er­at­ing at the high­est lev­els since the end of the Cold War. The Rus­sian spies are tar­get­ing NATO in­tel­li­gence and de­fense in­for­ma­tion. Key lo­ca­tions ap­pear to be new NATO mem­bers in a bid to cir­cum­vent more estab­lished coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vices in older al­liance mem­bers.

One Rus­sian spy ring was un­cov­ered op­er­at­ing in Lithua­nia in De­cem­ber 2014, when an of­fi­cer of the Rus­sian Fed­eral Se­cu­rity Ser­vice, known as FSB, was iden­ti­fied as seek­ing to in­flu­ence se­nior Lithua­nian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Rus­sian spies and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers were un­cov­ered in Ger­many (2015), Poland (2014), the Nether­lands (2012) and the United States (2015).

“Rus­sia has also re­peat­edly at­tempted to ac­quire U.S. mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing an FSB-di­rected op­er­a­tion in Hous­ton that shipped $50 mil­lion worth of mi­cro­elec­tron­ics and other sen­si­tive tech­nolo­gies to Rus­sian mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence en­ti­ties be­tween 1998 and 2012,” the re­port said.

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