Research Shows Alleged Infiltration or Staging of Demonstrations in Western European Cities by Russian Secret Services, Aiming to Fuel Anti-Ukraine Sentiment or Disrupt Sweden’s NATO Bid
According to reports from multiple news outlets on Sunday, Russian secret services have allegedly been involved in staging or infiltrating demonstrations in major European cities for the purpose of propaganda.
The findings are based on a joint research effort by Süddeutsche Zeitung, German broadcasters NDR and WDR, French newspaper Le Monde, Swedish newspaper Expressen, and Scandinavian broadcasters DR, NRK, and SVT.
The research is said to have been conducted using leaked strategy papers attributed to the Kremlin’s security apparatus, although their authenticity cannot be independently verified.
However, the information contained in the papers corresponds to documented demonstrations that have taken place.
The reported objective of these staged demonstrations is to generate anti-Ukraine sentiment and potentially hinder Sweden’s NATO membership aspirations.
Fake anti-Turkish protests in European cities
Strategy papers reportedly suggest that Moscow is advising small groups of Russian agents to orchestrate fake protests in major European cities. These alleged Kremlin-directed protests have included anti-Turkish rallies where agents pose as Ukrainians while expressing opposition towards Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The intention behind such actions seems to be to create the perception of a widespread anti-Islamic sentiment across Europe.
Specific instances cited include a demonstration in Paris at the start of March, supposedly conducted by purported members of a Ukrainian community. During this event, participants were reported to have made Hitler salutes, worn balaclavas, and mocked the victims of the destructive earthquakes that had occurred in Turkey and Syria in February.
Provocateurs hijack other protests
According to the research findings, provocateurs were reportedly involved in infiltrating demonstrations held in various cities on unrelated issues such as nursing shortages, pension reform, and climate change. Their objective was to disseminate propaganda against support for Ukraine.
The reports suggest that the goal of these infiltrations is to create material for propaganda dissemination on Internet platforms. The Russian strategy papers identified specific cities, including Paris, The Hague, Brussels, and Frankfurt, as targets.
Photographs of the fake demonstrators have circulated on social media, seemingly portraying widespread anti-Ukraine sentiment in Western European countries, as reported by the outlets.
Journalists were able to trace the origin of some of the content back to three social media accounts controlled by the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
When approached for comment, the Kremlin reportedly did not respond to the allegations, as stated by Süddeutsche Zeitung.