Multiple media outlets report that Russian intelligence services are allegedly involved in infiltrating or orchestrating protests in major Western European cities, with the intention of fueling anti-Ukraine sentiment or impeding Sweden’s NATO membership aspirations.
Several news outlets reported on Sunday that Russian secret services have allegedly been involved in staging or infiltrating demonstrations in major European cities for propaganda purposes.
The research, conducted jointly by Süddeutsche Zeitung, German broadcasters NDR and WDR, French newspaper Le Monde, Swedish newspaper Expressen, and Scandinavian broadcasters DR, NRK, and SVT, is based on leaked strategy papers purportedly originating from the Kremlin’s security apparatus.
The leaked documents were provided to the Dossier Center, a research organization led by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. While the authenticity of the papers cannot be independently verified, the information and connections provided in the documents correspond to actual demonstrations that have taken place.
According to the news outlets, the alleged objective of these staged demonstrations is to generate anti-Ukraine sentiment and hinder Sweden’s NATO membership aspirations, among other goals.
Fake anti-Turkish protests in European cities
According to the leaked strategy papers, Moscow has allegedly recommended the organization of fake protests by small groups of Russian agents in major European cities. These orchestrated demonstrations have included anti-Turkish rallies where agents pose as Ukrainians and agitate against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The purpose behind such actions appears to be creating the perception of a widespread anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe.
Reported examples of these fake protests include a demonstration in Paris in early March, supposedly by members of a Ukrainian community, where participants used Hitler salutes and wore balaclavas while mocking the victims of the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. It is important to note that the authenticity of the leaked documents and the specific incidents mentioned cannot be independently verified.
Infiltration of Protests by Provocateurs
According to the findings, provocateurs have reportedly infiltrated demonstrations on various subjects, such as the nursing shortage, pension reform, and climate change, in multiple cities. Their objective appears to be spreading propaganda against support for Ukraine.
The reports suggest that the intention is to generate propaganda material for dissemination on Internet platforms. The Russian strategy paper identifies several target cities, including Paris, The Hague, Brussels, and Frankfurt.
Photographs of these fabricated demonstrators have circulated on social media, seemingly portraying a widespread anti-Ukraine sentiment in Western European countries, as reported by the outlets.
Investigative journalists have traced the origin of some of this content back to three social media accounts controlled from St. Petersburg, Russia.