Cristin-resultat-ID: 1676551
Sist endret: 18. juni 2019 11:18
NVI-rapporteringsår: 2019
Vitenskapelig artikkel

Divide and rule: ten lessons about Russian political influence activities in Europe

  • Geir Hågen Karlsen


Palgrave Communications
ISSN 2055-1045
e-ISSN 2055-1045
NVI-nivå 1

Om resultatet

Vitenskapelig artikkel
Publiseringsår: 2019
Publisert online: 2019
Volum: 5
Hefte: 1
Sider: 1 - 14
Artikkelnummer: 19
Open Access


Scopus-ID: 2-s2.0-85064918700

Beskrivelse Beskrivelse


Divide and rule: ten lessons about Russian political influence activities in Europe


The purpose of this study is to improve understanding of how Russia is conducting political influence activities against Europe. It examines current thinking and perceptions on this topic among Western secret services and is based on an analysis of approximately 40 annual reports from 15 secret services in 11 Western countries, covering the period 2014–2018. This activity is by nature covert, and the analysis given in these reports from Western secret services complements other research and shows the broad range of tools and techniques employed for political influence, and much detail on the execution of these activities. According to these secret services, Russia is the foreign state that tries to influence European politics and decision-making most, and more so than China and other states. These influence activities support three main Russian strategic objectives: regime security, predominance in Russia’s near abroad, and world-power status for Russia. The long-term objective of Russian influence activities is to weaken NATO and the EU. In the shorter term, it is to lift the sanctions imposed after the Russian intervention in Ukraine in 2014. Russia also has more specific objectives related to each individual country. Russia is targeting the West through a divide and rule approach, using multiple tools of influence. The population is mainly reached through media and social media, exploiting divisive issues. Minorities, refugees, and extremists are used to further this divide and rule approach. Human intelligence and cyber operations are important covert tools of influence. Russia also uses the energy sector, business, and corruption as venues for influence. It has an extensive network of allies and front organizations, and reconstructs reality and rewrites history to legitimize itself and undermine others. Finally, military force is Russia’s ultimate tool of influence. These influence activities are of large-scale, and the threat should be taken seriously, but the reports studied also indicate that the effects of these activities are limited.


Geir Hågen Karlsen

  • Tilknyttet:
    ved Stabsskolen ved Forsvarets høgskole
1 - 1 av 1