A rather timely coincidence, in my last blog I remarked that Russia’s investment in a modern soft power infrastructure is starting to pay off. Slow but sure, Moscow’s counter-narrative is gaining ground among western audiences. Browsing online today, I stumble into something that makes me wince. “EU needs to earmark money to withstand Russia, say Foreign Affairs MEPs”. If some titles are stronger than others, this one really, really does the trick.
As it turns out, two days after I published my post, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament approved a resolution called for “the EU …(to) re-assess its relations with Russia and come up with a “soft-power contingency plan” to counter its “aggressive and divisive policies”.
Among other measures, the MEPs strongly ask for “funding … or specific projects to counter Russian propaganda and misinformation in the EU and abroad” and even suggest to “develop Russian-language alternatives to Russia’s state-controlled media”.
I am not surprised. These are observations widely shared by analysts and policy makers on the continent, and governments have long looked at ways to combat the Kremlin’s tight grip on media and its aggressive campaigns abroad. Besides, since the crisis in Ukraine, tensions between Russia and the West have ratcheted up almost to cold war levels and there is no sign of a solution in sight.
May we all live in not too interesting times.
Written by Arvea Marieni.