Last week's events concerning the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign


Opening remarks

  1. Help us crush the Russian propaganda machine
  2. Joke of the week

Policy & Research  

  1. The Moscow syndrome
  2. Approaching the second round 

U.S. Developments  

  1. Biden announces $800M in new military aid for Ukraine
  2. US officials preparing for potential Russian cyberattacks

Kremlin’s Current Narrative 

  1. Kremlin: Europe is double striking Russia. What will be the response?
  2. Ukraine reports Russian strikes on military infrastructures in Lviv left Ukrainian civilians dead 

Taipei news

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Joke of this week

Hospodářské noviny

Policy & Research

The Moscow syndrome

The Russian regime has favoured domestic public opinion for now, but in the long-term, the "special military operation" narrative may come crashing down on Putin. The Kremlin's domestic strategy is to suppress not only dissent and opposition but any opinion that differs from the institutional narrative. Vladimir Putin himself, in one of his speeches called for action of "self-cleansing" by Russians, encouraging cruel actions against critics of the regime, with compatriots lashing out at each other ever since. The result is a nation radicalized, and for many, it is simply easier to accept that they are not on the wrong side of the conflict, ignoring the atrocities and following the Kremlin's propaganda, in a vicious cycle reminiscent of a collective version of Stockholm syndrome.


Meanwhile, Putin is preparing the May 9th victory celebrations to make them resemble those of 1945 as much as possible; at the same time, the professional class, necessary for the country to advance economically, is pouring out of the country damaging Russian human capital in the long run. The Kremlin's attempt to offer cash rewards is not proving effective and the cost proves too high when stifled by sanctions and the costs of war, inevitably eroding the people's trust in Putin over time.

Approaching the second round of elections in France

After the first round of the election, polls appear to confirm Emmanuel Macron's lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen as both prepare for the live debate, the same one that likely granted victory to the En Marche leader in 2017. Since then, the opposition Rassemblement National party has worked hard to get rid of some of the more controversial aspects, which have been embraced by its strongly xenophobic rival Éric Zemmour. Even as the media has focused on her electoral promises over the past week, bringing controversial measures such as the "strategic rapprochement" with the Kremlin after the war in Ukraine disputed measures to combat Islamic extremism, and the proposed law to benefit French nationality over others to the centre of the debate.


The latter measure in particular would provide French nationals be favoured "for work, welfare and benefits," arguably violating the constitution's principle of equality. These and other measures promised by Le Pen would lead the country down a controversial path against the EU, resembling Hungary and Poland, and threatening an indirect Frexit, while Le Pen and her father are also facing accusations from the anti-fraud division of the EU. By winning the first round, Marine Le Pen has gained a spotlight that is not benefiting her in public scrutiny, her attempts to portray her agenda as less extremist are crumbling as the entire country analyzes her and Emmanuel Macron's agendas.

U.S. Developments

Biden announces $800M in new military aid for Ukraine

The Biden administration authorized an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine to bolster its defence capabilities as Russia took on a new offensive in the country's eastern part. The decision was taken after the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy had agreed with the US and European leaders to receive a supply of heavier weapons necessary to face the Russian aggression. According to Joe Biden, the military aid comprises weapon systems that are highly effective and tailored to the wider assault launched by Russia in the east of Ukraine a few days ago. The military aid contains artillery systems, artillery rounds, armoured personnel carriers, and helicopters. As Pentagon spokesmen, John Kirby detailed the weapon package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters, commonly used by the US in Afghanistan,18 Howitzers, 40 000 artillery rounds, 500 Javelin missiles, 300 armoured vehicles, and 300 Switchblade drones. 


Furthermore, the American soldiers will directly train the Ukrainian soldiers on how to use the weapons such as the AN/TPO-36 counter artillery radars and AN/MPO-64 Sentinel air surveillance radars. It is noteworthy that the Pentagon launched around-the clock-supply missions, which means that each day eight to ten planeloads of anti-aircraft and anti-armoured missiles, remote-controlled drones, rounds of ammunition, and laser-guided rockets are provided to Ukraine. This military package is delivered to Ukraine under the so-called "presidential drawdown authority" which enables Biden to send the hardware from the US stocks without Congressional approval to accelerate the delivery of the weapons. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the US has sent Ukraine security assistance worth more than $3 billion.

US officials preparing for potential Russian cyberattacks

The Biden administration issued a warning about the new dangerous malware that might be used by Russia to launch a new generation of cyberattacks on American soil. In particular, the new malware can cripple industrial systems worldwide. Jean Easterly, who is the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responsible for securing the computer networks in 16 sectors, warned the industry representatives about a potential new generation of cyberattacks and call on them to share the information with the US government to crack down on them. According to her, the major targets of the Russian cyberattacks could be the energy and financial sector. The US might face a cyberattack like an attack on Colonial Pipeline last year when the delivery of the fuel was cut to the East Coast. The Biden administration warned about the potential Russian cyberattacks on American soil in response to the US sanctions for months. It is noteworthy that many operators of critical infrastructure in the US invested a lot over the years in studying the high-profile Russian cyberattacks and bolstering their defence networks. 


But, as Joe Biden stated, “the magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential”. The US President called on the companies to enhance their technological capacity to protect themselves against cyberattacks. Moreover, recently the Biden administration adopted the law according to which the companies have to inform the CISA about the hacking within 72 hours and payment of the ransom to the attackers within 24 hours. The law aims at facilitating the distribution of information about the attack throughout the government and improving the investigation and prevention of similar attacks. Besides, Joe Biden warned Russia that in case of disruptive cyberattacks on critical infrastructure on American soil, the US would be prepared to respond.

Kremlin's Current Narrative

Kremlin: Europe is double striking Russia. What will be the response?

Kremlin claims that it is not surprising that the Anglo-Saxons – the United States and Great Britain – want the war in Ukraine to go on as long as possible. “They were initially interested in arranging a "second Afghanistan" for Russia, preventing us from tearing Ukraine out of the Western chain or at least forcing us to pay the maximum price for it,” claimed RussiaRussia adds that along the way, the US and the UK are solving the second task – strengthening their influence on Europe, geopolitically (by military and economic measures, including through the supply of American gas) putting the Old World in an even more dependent position. 


Moreover, Kremlin is ridiculously confident that Europe in this situation is a victim – but not of “the mythical Russian threat”, but of “a very specific Anglo-Saxon game.” In addition to this, Russia also relies on the political and moral support of China in this war, constantly citing and portraying China as a country that is against the USA and Europe. According to Russia, "China demands that the United States stop military provocations at sea and not use the Ukrainian issue to denigrate and threaten China," Ria Novosti reported.

Ukraine reports Russian strikes on military infrastructures in Lviv left Ukrainian civilians dead

Russia continues aggressively attacking Ukraine killing innocent Ukrainian civilians including children in every part of Ukraine that Russia intentionally strikes. The recent attack committed by Russia in Lviv left seven people dead and injured a further 11. Monday's attacks came after Russia stepped up its strikes on Kyiv and its environs further to the east, hitting several military infrastructures over several days.


According to Kremlin, these bombings came after Moscow promised to step up strikes on the capital in response to what the Russian military officials stressed were Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil and the sinking of the cruiser “Moskva”. At the same time, an initial plan of Russia’s so-called "special operation" of taking over Kyiv in several days failed. Therefore, Russia shifted its focus to the eastern part of Ukraine, Donbas, and attempt to destroy the Ukrainian army in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Taipei News

Amid Taiwan’s quest to pursue membership in the United States' forthcoming Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), Taiwan’s Trade Representative and Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) and his US counterpart Katherine Tai, held a high-level online talk on bilateral trade issues on April 19. While the official readout provided by the Office of the United States Trade Representative did not mention whether the two officials discussed Taiwan’s inclusion in IPEF, James Hsiao (蕭振榮), Chief of Staff in the Office of Trade Negotiations, told Reuters that, “Deng reiterated to Tai that the [country] supports the framework and wishes to join it.” Taiwan and the US resumed the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks in June 2021 following a five-year hiatus. This marked an important event in the development of economic relations between Taiwan and the United States under the Biden presidency. 


The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine thanked Taiwan for its donations of funds and material goods amid the Russian invasion. "The struggle for the future of Ukraine continues, and we are grateful for the support from around the world. The world is with us because the truth is behind us," the post said. During a collection drive held from March 7 to 18, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs collected 650 tonnes of medical supplies and other goods donated by 8,474 people in Taiwan. Moreover, a special bank account established by the government collected NT$930 million (US$31.82 million). Individual members of the Verkhovna Rada, incl. Inna Sovsun of the Holos party also thanked Taiwan for its support. 


Elita Khmelidze

Eleonora Sobrero    

Aidana Zhakypbekova

Marcin Jerzewski

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Kremlin Watch is a strategic program of the European Values Center for Security Policy, which aims to expose and confront instruments of Russian influence and disinformation operations focused against the liberal-democratic system.

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