US media is reporting that according to a US intelligence community assessment, the Russian government is providing “indirect and passive support” to neofascist groups operating in the U. S. and elsewhere. According to a Yahoo news report:
A U. S. intelligence community assessment obtained by Yahoo News concluded that the Russian government is providing “indirect and passive support” to neofascist groups operating in the U. S. and elsewhere, but stops short of accusing the Kremlin of supplying financial or material assistance to Western extremist groups. The Kremlin “probably tolerates some private Russian entities’ support” for U. S. and European white nationalist groups “because it aligns with Kremlin efforts to aggravate societal fissures in the West,” states the report. Russian neofascist groups have attempted to recruit and provide paramilitary training to North American and European extremists in order to “expand their reach into the West, increase membership, and raise money,” according to the unclassified July 2021 intelligence report. The support of Western neofascists by Russian extremists “poses a potential threat to Western security by encouraging and enabling attacks on ethnic minorities and government facilities,” states the report, which is titled “Russian Federation Support of Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists.” But the report, which was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with input from the CIA and the FBI, also says the U. S. government lacks “indications of direct Russian government support” for foreign white nationalist groups. Russian state-backed online influence operations do, however, “amplify politically divisive issues” that likely help in “the radicalization and recruitment efforts worldwide” of white nationalist groups, the report states. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. Russian extremist groups are actively training foreign white nationalists, the report states. One Russian neofascist group, the Russian Imperial Movement, has overseen paramilitary instruction for European extremists at its Russia-based camps, and has tried to recruit Americans to train there, according to the report.
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In late February, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported how pro-Russian sentiment is spreading online as an extension of US culture war politics and that influential US conservative voices are playing an increasing role in amplifying pro-Russian messaging.
GIOR has recently published a report on a new and developing alliance between US conservatives and European nationalists, seen as a means for Russia to exert covert influence in Europe and the US. According to that report, culture war issues play a prominent role in that alliance:
Russia is a prolific actor in the influence operations arena, both in the US and Europe. Russian President PUTIN has expressed an interest in Russia becoming the ideological center of a new global conservative alliance, and European far-right leaders have taken pro-Russian positions based on a similar ideology. Hungary is at the center of a developing alliance between European far-right nationalists and American conservatives that Russia could potentially exploit for use in information warfare. This alliance operates under the rubric of “National Conservatism,” centered on national sovereignty, cultural identity, and opposition to global institutions and representing a potentially radical change for the US conservative movement away from long-held Reagan-era philosophies.
Dowload the full report here.
In September 2021, GIOR reported that Russia was cultivating and supporting far-right groups in Bosnia and Serbia operating under the guise of humanitarian aid.