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Baltic Sea pollution as a pretext: Russia plans fake system for greater influence in Europe


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Baltic Sea pollution as an excuse
Russia is planning a fake system to gain more influence in Europe

Politically, Russia is largely isolated from the West. The Kremlin now wants to put its propaganda through the back door. A “preferably non-political” project would then help solve the political problems – the polluted Baltic Sea should serve as an excuse.

Given the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Western sanctions severely limit Russia’s presence in Europe. However, the Kremlin has a plan to regain its influence. According to a statement, a mock organization with international participants is to be set up so that representatives of European research, cultural and NGO organizations can reconnect with Russia. It was reported by WDR, NDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, referring to the strategic statement of the Russian presidential administration. The authors of the document named the polluted ecology of the Baltic Sea as a possible topic. The group is to be called “Baltic Platform”.

According to the report, the strategy document directly states that a “preferably non-political” topic should be used for international experts to communicate with Russia. It continues: “Consequently, the ‘Baltic Platform’ should create a gradual transition from non-political issues to current political content in the debate.” In this way, Russia can attract Western experts to ultimately put political messages at the international level.

“Baltic Platform” intends to collect the first guests in autumn 2023. According to the name, participants must come from the Baltic states, but representatives from Scandinavian countries and Germany are also explicitly named. The Russian strategy document also names companies that can serve as partners. These include the Baltic Sea Center at Stockholm University and the Helsinki Commission established in 1974 to protect the Baltic Sea. Neither organization is known for its pro-Russian stance. According to the organizations, there has been no attempt to contact the Russian side so far.

Russia’s political influence through environmental issues is not a new approach. For example, 20 million euros were invested in the controversial Climate and Environment Foundation Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The foundation was established in 2021 by the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It was also intended to protect companies involved in the construction of the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline from upcoming US sanctions. Funding for the foundation came primarily from Gazprom, which was leading the way in building the pipeline.

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