Aug 20, 2018 - World

Response to Russian threat varies widely in Europe

A report from the Czech-based European Values think tank evaluates all 28 European Union countries based on their governments' attitudes, policies, and strategic responses to the Russian threat, following the Kremlin's recent influence operations throughout the West.

Reproduced from Kremlin Watch; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Kremlin Watch; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: The "Kremlin Watch" report grouped countries into five categories based on their acknowledgement of the threat and governmental countermeasures. The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, as well as the U.K. and Sweden, were labeled "full-scale defenders." Greece and Cyprus were found to have shown "no meaningful resistance to Russia's subversive activities."

The characterizations:

  • Kremlin collaborators: "Do not feel threatened and are advocating for better relations with Russia, often regardless [of] what atrocities Moscow is responsible for. Often support Kremlin’s foreign policy objectives, such as stopping further sanctions under arguments related to appeasement or alleged business ties."
  • Countries in denial: "[A] critical mass of the governing politicians denies or systematically underplays existence of the threat. The governments are not concerned with disinformation and influence operations; they do not consider them a threat and take no steps to counter them. The intelligence services are not concerned with hostile interference and subversion."
  • The hesitant: "[Have] concerns about Russia, but given complicated historical, economic, or geographical relations, have most of the time stayed away from being vocal about the Russian aggression."
  • The awakened: "These countries have significantly updated their policies and concerns following Russian aggression in Ukraine."
  • The full-scale defenders: "Held concerned views of Russian foreign policy and now are at the forefront of the European response to its aggression."
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