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


Germany and France are preparing for elections.

The U.S. to introduce more targeted sanctions against Putin.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister blames "Russo-phobic minority" for hindering Brussels-Moscow relations while Russian state channels claim the West wants to establish an EU and NATO loyalist government in Belarus.

Good Old Soviet Joke

An inspecting commission came to a lunatics asylum. To greet them, a choir of the patients sang a song from a popular movie that says "Oh, how good it is to live in the Soviet land!"

The commission noticed that one of the men did not sing.

"Why are you not singing?"

"I'm not crazy, I'm a nurse here."

Facebook Twitter

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

Policy & Research News

Germany and France are preparing for elections

Two European countries, Germany and France, are preparing for elections in which the threats of online manipulation, disinformation, and foreign influence are very high. On the EU level, there are measures such as the establishment of the agency East Stratcom Task Force or the Digital Services Act which is currently being negotiated. However, both Germany and France believe that they cannot wait until appropriate measures are implemented, and therefore, they are taking the steps to fight the challenges.  

Germany is expected to be an important target of foreign influence. According to the EUvsDisinfo report, Germany is the biggest target of foreign campaigns and disinformation. Besides, the German Ministry of Interior monitors increased cyberattacks from Russia on German parties ahead of elections.

Berlin adopted the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) which should crackdown on online hate speech and disinformation. According to the German government, it is an amendment that improves the 2017 law by expanding transparency obligations for online actors and regulates access to social media data. The adoption of NetzDG raised significant opposition, some say that it curbs freedom of expression, while others say that it is either going too far or not far enough. The European Commission highlighted the risks of unilateral approaches such as NetzDG and called upon EU states to focus more on the Digital Service Act. Furthermore, in Germany, large online platforms have to explain which tools and procedures are used to detect and delete disinformation. Similar obligations will be discussed in France later this month.  

Besides, as we informed you last week, France announced the establishment of an agency, which will combat foreign disinformation and fake news. According to French MP Laetitia Avia, the agency will focus on the origin of threats as well as on the ways to mitigate their consequences. On the other hand, it will not be able to directly detect and characterize attacks from abroad. France wants to prevent similar Russian disinformation and cyberattacks as in 2017 when the main target was Emmanuel Macron.


Facebook Twitter

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

US Developments

The U.S. to introduce more targeted sanctions against Putin

On June 20, Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s National Security Adviser, revealed a plan on Sunday to introduce further U.S. sanctions against Russia for the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. While the U.S. introduced sanctions in April against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the suspected group behind the poisoning, the package excluded targeted sanctions specifically aimed towards Putin and his oligarchs. The new package currently under development aims to remedy this with stringent targeted sanctions. 

Although the move comes just days after President Biden and President Putin’s first summit, the White House denies any significance in this timing; As press secretary Jen Psaki reported, “the law requires we keep looking at sanctions targets connected to chemical weapons use.” 

Kremlin's Current Narrative

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister blames “Russo-phobic minority” for hindering Brussels-Moscow relations

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko spoke at the international forum Primakov Readings in Moscow. Russian state-run media has actively covered his speech and numerous interviews he’d given to the key publications while promoting Kremlin’s main narratives.

Firstly, the EU-Russia relations have received a particular focus. A piece published by TASS quotes Grushko, who blames "the Russo-phobic minority" in the EU for hindering “the development of Russia-EU ties and for affecting the foreign policy of the EU in general.” Grushko also mentions that the EU-Russia relations have “become a hostage to a political decision of the EU to link them to the implementation of the Minsk accords”.

In another article published again by TASS Grushko is quoted saying that “[the energy sphere] turned out over-politicized” and denied that Russia is using energy as a tool for political or hybrid influence. While calling for more collaboration and showing a willingness to cooperate with the EU, Grushko also didn’t hesitate to question the EU’s strategic autonomy from the US saying that it “increasingly turns into a derivative of the Americans' strategic views on what military-political means are to be employed to operate this unsinkable aircraft carrier near Russia's shores”.

On the topic of the COVID-19 vaccines, quoting Grushko, TASS & RIA wrote that Russian “absolutely depoliticised” efforts to establish collaboration with the Western partners to fight the COVID-19 pandemic “still managed to be demonised and presented as another instrument of Russian influence”. Unexplicitly referencing several EU countries who have expressed interest in buying the Sputnik V vaccine, Grushko said that “the sprouts of reason make their way through this concrete soil”.

Russian state media has also actively reported on the new 4th wave of sanctions against Belarus and on the potential 5th wave of restrictive measures. Russian oligarch, the owner of SAFMAR & RussNeft Mikhail Gutseriyev has also been included in the new list of sanctioned individuals. Sputnik quotes political analyst Alexander Nosovich who claims that the West doesn’t “conceal the task of dismissing Lukashenko, installing a government loyal to Europe and the United States, which would lead the republic to withdraw from the CSTO and the Union State with Russia, towards NATO and the EU”. Meanwhile, TASS reports that during a phone conversation with the UK’s Foreign Secretary Domonic Raab, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “pointed out the indisputability of rejection of external intervention in Belarus’ internal affairs, and of use of the language of threats and sanctions in relations with Minsk”. 

Do you like our work?

Our effort to protect liberal democracy across Europe is dependent on private donations.

Support us

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.

For comments. suggestions or media inquiries, please contact the Head of the Kremlin Watch Program Veronika Víchová at 

Facebook Twitter
Facebook Twitter

European Values Center for Security Policy

Facebook Twitter Youtube