Central Europe Rejects Russia’s Open Disregard for Justice

Weak Spots in Russia’s Image Projection

8 June 2021

The Kremlin has been systematically building an image of Russia that suits its strategic, political and economic goals. This self-projected image combines the military might with victimhood, historical events with contemporary geopolitical developments, modernity with traditional values. 

  • Above all, while Russia’s projected image is slightly different in every country, it always aims for weak spots and fissures in a given society to score political or geopolitical goals. 
  • Yet Kremlin operators are not omnipotent and their efforts sometimes backfire. So, what is the image Russia tries to project and what are the weak spots in such efforts?

The former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe largely disappeared from Russia’s strategic map in the turbulent 1990s when Russia was preoccupied with the breakup and the resulting turmoil in the former Soviet Union countries.

Yet, with the more assertive and even aggressive posture of the Kremlin in recent years marked by the annexation of Crimea and military adventures in the Middle East and Africa, the outer edge of EU and NATO has become a subject of intensive influence operations.

The recently released the GLOBSEC Trends 2021 and the Image of Russia reports provide a stark account of the successes and failures of this Russian endeavour.

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Daniel Milo

Daniel Milo, JUDr. is a Senior Adviser at the GLOBSEC Policy Institute. Daniel Milo studied law at the Comenius University in Bratislava and holds a Doctor of Law degree in criminal law. His main fields of expertise are hybrid threats, extremism, paramilitary groups and use of disinformation by foreign actors. He published or co-authored several publications on these issues including a study on the vulnerability of CEE countries to Russian influence, GLOBSEC Trends, analytical reports mapping the connections between Kremlin and far-right political actors.

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