The world has not become a more secure place during these five years; if anything, the opposite is true. The main external threats to Estonia’s security remain the same. Russia will continue to strengthen its military power in the European direction. In the immediate region of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the balance of military power is tilted in favour of Russia. For example, not a single NATO member anywhere in Europe has missile systems comparable to the Iskander short range ballistic missiles, which Russia has placed close to the Estonian and Lithuanian borders.
Globally, there are many regions where Russia is seeking to establish its interests. In the Middle East, the Russian leadership’s willingness to take risks has met with success, and Russia wants to consolidate its position as a major power in the region.
The Kremlin has done nothing to put an end to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine; instead, it continues to control the conflict, supplying arms and using all available means to halt Ukraine’s European integration. Similarly, Russia is holding on to other countries in its “neighbouring region”, intervening forcefully in the internal affairs of Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
RUSSIAN INFLUENCE IN MOLDOVA GROWS
Russia has recently succeeded in its schemes for increasing its influence in Moldova and impeding the country’s move to the West. In 2019, Russia’s influence in Moldova significantly increased. Russia has used and continues to use a diverse arsenal of influence activities against Moldova: » the separatist enclave of Transnistria and the consequent military threat; » information operations and propaganda; » economic pressure and economic incentives.
The Kremlin’s most vital instrument in Moldova is, however, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PRSM), which has close ties to Russia. Although the official leader of the Socialists of Moldova is Speaker of Parliament Zinaida Greceanîi, the actual leader of the party is the officially nonpartisan president Igor Dodon. While the PSRM gained slightly more than a third of the seats in the 101-member parliament as a result of the parliamentary elections of February 2019, the formation of a functioning coalition was delayed for several months and a political stalemate ensued. ACUM, a pro-European and anti-corruption electoral alliance that reached the parliament as a new force,3 ruled out cooperation with the former ruling party, the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM).
INTERNET TROLLING IS PART OF RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES’ EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES.
The “trolling” changed between different countries and languages on a daily basis – posting in English on one day, in Spanish the other, and then in Russian forums. All the posts made under the different aliases were identical. They began with a short introductory text (the same text translated word-for-word), followed by a photo. The posts always ended with the same summary – Moldova is not ready for European integration and would damage the European economy. Links to posts published in internet forums were then circulated in other forums and in Russian and Western social media platforms, such as Odnoklassniki, MirTesen and Twitter.
Publishing an article in the form of a photo as part of a post should have caused suspicion among readers. Usually a web link to the referenced material would be published, but since there was no actual article referenced on Spiegel Online, it had to be published as a photo.
Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service’s annual report: https://www.valisluureamet.ee/pdf/raport-2020-en.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3Wfvv5twTvNUGGVNwATbk_A7PD4RkPItn0evYWt2sirCV_vdgUdCSI-WQ