Inside Russia’s environmental influence operation targeting the Baltic Sea

Inside Russia’s environmental influence operation targeting the Baltic Sea

Michael Weiss and Holger Roonemaa report:

In the first few days of October 2022, a group of Russians and Belarusians gathered in the Kaliningrad resort town of Svetlogorsk. The politicians, academics and activists discussed how the two countries, “truly striving for stability across the planet,” might resist the suite of international sanctions hitting both Russia and Belarus after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

One of the Svetlogorsk event’s most authoritative speakers was Alexander Dynkin, president of the prestigious Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), based in Moscow. Dynkin debated how, in the face of Finland’s and Sweden’s prospective NATO accession, the Baltic Sea would be dominated by Russia’s foes. Dynkin proposed the creation of a new discussion forum under the “conditional name” of the Baltic Platform.

Three months later, IMEMO, together with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), a prestigious Russian university, produced a detailed action plan for the Baltic Platform and presented it to the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin’s executive office. Yahoo News obtained a copy of the plan.

On Tuesday, Yahoo News revealed the Russian Presidential Administration’s separate agenda, drafted in 2021, for undermining the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all NATO and EU members. But that strategy appears largely toothless and impractical after Russia’s Ukraine invasion, which has united Europe against Moscow’s influence.

The new documents’ operation, with a focus on the environment, would appear to be another route for Russia to counter NATO in the Baltic Sea, a militarily strategic region for both sides. [Continue reading…]

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