VSQUARE SPECIAL REPORT
How Central Europe was trapped by Eastern input
Russian influencing strategies are like a swarm of bees: they consist of many small factors that don’t match one particular frame. VSquare Project report presents an analysis of Russian propaganda influencing, which turns out to be the main weapon used in a quiet information war.
Hungary’s largest university teamed up with local Rosatom lobbyists in a freelancing effort to please the Russian president with a surprise award ceremony
The head of Budapest’s public transport was in the way of a Russian metro company’s business, with more than 200 million euros at stake. A KGB-style provokatsiya was utilized to get him fired and force the Hungarian capital to buy malfunctioning and expensive Russian metro cars.
‘Circles close to Kremlin are trying to turn the border city of Przemyśl into Polish Belfast. They are doing it through reviving long standing disagreements between Poland and Ukraine, and with help of the local radical nationalists,” says Marcin Rey, the creator of a Facebook profile „Russian 5th Column in Poland’.
Alexander Usovski was active in the Visegrad region, set up foundations, looked for EU grants, finally received money from Russia in cash, without leaving any paper trail. That’s how he started to organize a network of dutiful and useful people. And indeed, everything went just the way his sponsor wanted.
Perhaps he was a fool, a liar and a fraud, the Baron von Munchausen of Russian influence in Europe. But the case of Alexander Usovsky – even though it may seem like a farce – is actually very serious. It’s the first so thoroughly documented example of Moscow’s foreign policy. It shows sources of its financing and explains who is answering to Kremlin’s propaganda puppet masters. And how it makes use of radical nationalists.