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Future Russian Influence Operations to Be Critical if Invasion Succeeds

February 24th, 2022 12:08

For­eign Pol­i­cy mag­a­zine has post­ed an arti­cle that cogent­ly high­lights the role that Russ­ian influ­ence oper­a­tions will like­ly play in the future, giv­en suc­cess in their cur­rent inva­sion of Ukraine. As the arti­cle points out, Rus­si­a’s most sig­nif­i­cant asset will be any domes­tic divi­sion either in Europe or the Unit­ed States:

Russia’s asset will be any source of domes­tic divi­sion or dis­rup­tion in Europe or in Europe’s transat­lantic part­ners. Here Rus­sia will be proac­tive and oppor­tunis­tic. If a pro-Russ­ian move­ment or can­di­date shows up, that can­di­date can be encour­aged direct­ly or indi­rect­ly. If an eco­nom­ic or polit­i­cal sore point dimin­ish­es the for­eign pol­i­cy effi­ca­cy of the Unit­ed States and its allies, it will be a weapon for Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da efforts and for Russ­ian espi­onage. Much of this is already hap­pen­ing. But a war in Ukraine will up the ante. Rus­sia will use more resources and be unchained in its choice of instru­ments. The mas­sive refugee flows arriv­ing in Europe will exac­er­bate the EU’s unre­solved refugee pol­i­cy and pro­vide fer­tile ground for pop­ulists. The holy grail of these infor­ma­tion­al, polit­i­cal, and cyber­bat­tles will be the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the Unit­ed States. Europe’s future will depend on this elec­tion. The elec­tion of Don­ald Trump or of a Trumpian can­di­date might destroy the transat­lantic rela­tion­ship at Europe’s hour of max­i­mum per­il, putting into ques­tion NATO’s posi­tion and its secu­ri­ty guar­an­tees for Europe.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed ear­li­er on Russ­ian influ­ence oper­a­tions cen­tered on Ukraine, which an EU dis­in­for­ma­tion watch­dog called “ever more detached from real­i­ty, and at times car­toon­ish­ly unhinged.”

In recent months, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions tar­get­ing Ukraine. We will con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor devel­op­ments as this extra­or­di­nary event unfolds.