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


Opening remarks  

  1. Don’t miss out on our latest publication!
  2. INTERNSHIP offer!
  3. The last EVC Talk!
  4. Soviet Joke

Policy & Research  

  1. P5 agree to avoid nuclear war
  2. Russia's military influence into Serbia 

U.S. Developments  

  1. The U.S. committed to helping Ukraine to strengthen its border with Russia, Belarus
  2. China and Russia Military Cooperation Raises Prospect of New Challenge to American Power

Kremlin’s Current Narrative 

  1. 12th January will see a NATO-Russia Council meeting
  2. Russian ultimatum towards NATO

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Orban’s Hungary: A Russia and China Proxy Weakening Europe 

Today’s Hungary is adversarial to transatlantic interests and democratic values. Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s leadership, Hungary has embraced the efforts of authoritarian Russia and China to broaden and deepen their politico-economic influence throughout Central Europe.

Read the whole article




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EVC Talk

The last EVC Talk was joined by great speakers such as Maria Sahaydak (Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, Ukraine), Jakub Goda (Ministry of Health, Slovakia), Yan Auseyushkin (iSans, Belarus) and Zurab Tchiaberashvili (former Minister of Health of Georgia, Georgia).

The topic of the week

It is expected that no country can be fully prepared for any crisis. COVID-19 has challenged all governments, including those which have tried to ignore or even refuse it from the beginning.

How were the strategies changing in time and why?

In which case do the global informational narratives overcome local efforts?

What was the role of outside disinformation and how it pressed national governments in COVID-19 issues?


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Good Old Soviet Joke

Three men are in Soviet Prison:

They ask each other why they are in prison.
The first says "I was always 5 minutes late for work, so I was accused of sabotage".
The second says "I was always 5 minutes early for work, so I was accused of espionage".
But the third says "I was always on time for work, so I was accused of having a Western watch".


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Policy & Research

P5 agree to avoid nuclear war

China, Russia, Britain, the United States, and France have agreed in a joint statement that a further spread of nuclear weapons should be avoided, given the potential of war and that they should only be used as a deterrent. The statement emphasized the global need for the countries to prevent the possibility of nuclear war and strategic risks to work together to ensure security and stability. Although this is aspirational, the statement contrasts the recent developments between Russia and the West, showing a more negative image. In reality, Russian and American relations have fallen to their lowest point since the Cold War and only worsened, given the military situation in Ukraine. Russia agrees to implement agreements on paper but acts accordingly to their political interests to show their military strength. 

Russia's military influence into Serbia

On Monday, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic praised another shipment of arms from Russia, thanking Russia for its support. Serbia has frequently been accused of working with Russia to destabilize neighbouring states like Bosnia and Kosovo through political and military means. Given the political developments in Bosnia, Russia and Serbia could seek to benefit strategically by supporting the escalating pro-Serb nationalist sentiment from political leader Milorad Dodik, who has made threats about Serbian secession. Whether or not the threats are accurate, the Kremlin benefits from the situation in Bosnia, given that the "West once championed Bosnia as a showcase of successful nation-building. Russia can already influence Serbia in the Balkans successfully through ideological means. Any developments can lead to a shift in Russian influence within the region, and more states could choose to align with Russian policy over the West. 


U.S. Developments

The U.S. committed to helping Ukraine to strengthen its border with Russia, Belarus

The United States will help purchase equipment including surveillance and monitoring equipment to strengthen Ukraine’s borders with Russia and Belarus the Ukrainian border service said last Tuesday. In a statement, the border service said that the project was worth $20 million and involved the purchase of video recording systems, drones, and personal protective equipment for its border guards. The financial aid comes amid escalation with Moscow. Ukraine has accused Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops near its borders in preparation for a possible offensive. US intelligence in early December suggested that a military offensive involving nearly 175,000 troops could occur in early 2022. 

Russia has continually denied that it is planning an attack, and has accused the United States of “stoking” the war in eastern Ukraine. It has also demanded that NATO halt its eastward expansion into and block US military ties with former Soviet states like Georgia. Increased security along Ukraine’s border with Belarus also comes amid a migrant crisis on the EU-Belarus border. In November, Ukraine held military drills near the Polish and Belarusian borders to combat a “potential migrant crisis” in Ukraine. The U.S. and Russian officials will hold another round of security talks on January 10, which will focus on Ukraine and nuclear arms control. 


China and Russia Military Cooperation Raises Prospect of New Challenge to American Power

Earlier in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping affirmed their commitment to counter western pressure and strengthen their nations’ security interests. This affirmation, along with reports of large-scale joint military exercises has pointed to a "solidifying defence alignment" according to military analysts. US officials and military experts say it is difficult to determine the exact level of cooperation between the two nations due to their policy of tightly controlling information, making the real scale of their actions unknown to outsiders. While US officials have been sceptical of a unified threat, some officials are warning otherwise. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported that Russia and China are more aligned “than at any point in the past 60 years.” 

Yet the Biden administration has still cautioned about reading too much into these actions. China and Russia have competing interests in Central Asia, the Arctic, and the Russian Far East that prevent a complete alignment. The problem, according to analysts and experts, is that as the US moves to engage the two countries on issues like human rights and regional security concerns, Russia and China have become allied into a "marriage of convenience" against the US. This has provided them with a common adversary to gather resources and intelligence against. These nations are keen to control US influence, which they see as more likely if they work together. 


Kremlin's Current Narrative

12th January will see a NATO-Russia Council meeting

TASS reports, that NATO has confirmed, the NATO-Russia Council meeting will take place on January 12th, calling on Moscow to consider "NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions.” According to the NATO official, "any dialogue with Russia would have to proceed on the basis of reciprocity, address NATO’s concerns about Russia’s actions, be based on the core principles and foundational documents of European security and take place in consultation with NATO’s European Partners." Moscow expects to ensure legal security guarantees, which will prevent NATO from eastward advancement and deploying weapons near Russian borders. As the Kremlin aide noted, the US president agreed with this position. Putin warned that possible new sanctions against Moscow could result in the severance of ties with the US and seriously damage its relations with the West in general.

This move effectively shifted the focus from the actual crisis in eastern Ukraine toward the Russian-American and Russian-NATO relationships. While Russia is escalating tension with threats of open conflict, it seems that the USA and European Union want a diplomatic solution involving sanctions at most. On some level, Biden seems to understand that this might not be possible, as he promised Ukraine aid by providing arms and equipment into the eastern NATO states if necessary. The Russian-US consultations on security guarantees are likely to kick off in Geneva on January 12th

Russian ultimatum towards NATO

On December 17th, the Russian Foreign Ministry unveiled two draft texts, which have a goal of obtaining "legal security guarantees from the United States and NATO." The Russian manoeuvre is to bind NATO through the United States and the United States through NATO. If the West does not accept the Russian ultimatum, which includes withdrawing NATO presence from the fourteen Eastern European and Balkan states that have become members of NATO in the last twenty-four years, they will have to face “a military and technical alternative”. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko: “The Europeans must also think about whether they want to avoid making their continent the scene of a military confrontation.”

 In return, Russia makes zero withdrawals of its own. To make things crystal clear, Russia fired a “salvo” of Zircon hypersonic missiles on December 24th. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, commented on this event: “Well, I hope that the notes [of December 17] will be more convincing”. This way, Russia is applying pressure in the context of Western withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Western attempts to engage in dialogue. Russia is essentially demanding NATO to commit political suicide, reducing the United States to the role of regional power.

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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.

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

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