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Chinese And Russian Influence In Austria

September 8th, 2021 15:58

The Roy­al Unit­ed Ser­vices Insti­tute (RUSI), a UK think tank, pub­lished a study last year exam­in­ing China’s and Russia’s influ­ence oper­a­tions in Aus­tria. The study details polit­i­cal influ­ence attempts, com­mon finan­cial inter­ests, media influ­ence attempts, eco­nom­ic coop­er­a­tion, cul­tur­al coop­er­a­tion, intel­li­gence activ­i­ties, and the role of orga­nized crime. Accord­ing to the study:

July 21, 2020 This paper looks at the influ­ence Chi­na and Rus­sia are exert­ing in Aus­tria to facil­i­tate their eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal inter­ests. Polit­i­cal and media influ­ence attempts, as well as com­mon finan­cial inter­ests, are assessed, along­side an eval­u­a­tion of how cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions are used to make inroads into Aus­tri­an soci­ety. Alleged Chi­nese and Russ­ian activ­i­ty with regards to secret ser­vices and organ­ised crime are also scru­ti­nised. On a polit­i­cal lev­el, Aus­tria usu­al­ly tries to act in tune with EU Com­mon For­eign and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy deci­sions. But not always. In terms of Rus­sia, Aus­tria shows more pro-Krem­lin ten­den­cies than most oth­er EU states. This works to Russia’s advan­tage, because if it wants to influ­ence the EU to lift the sanc­tions intro­duced after the ille­gal annex­a­tion of Crimea in 2014, it might be eas­i­er to start with a small mem­ber state.   Eco­nom­ic deci­sions are made using a case-by-case approach. Chi­na has invest­ed strate­gi­cal­ly in sec­tors of the Aus­tri­an econ­o­my, such as avi­a­tion. Rus­sia has a long­stand­ing inter­est in Austria’s ener­gy infra­struc­ture sec­tor. How­ev­er, due to the coro­n­avirus cri­sis, all eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty has slowed in the first half of 2020.

Read the full study here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered both China’s and Russia’s influ­ence oper­a­tions in Europe. Recent report­ing has included:

  • In Sep­tem­ber, we report­ed that Rus­sia is cul­ti­vat­ing and sup­port­ing far-right groups in Bosnia and Ser­bia that oper­ate under the guise of human­i­tar­i­an aid.
  • In August, we rec­om­mend­ed a report exam­in­ing China’s and Russia’s influ­ence on the upcom­ing Ger­man par­lia­men­tary elections.
  • In August, we pub­lished a GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion expos­ing how Chi­na uses busi­ness coun­cils, lob­by groups, and friend­ship asso­ci­a­tions in Europe to fos­ter Euro­pean elites sym­pa­thet­ic to China.