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The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses

Headlines often don’t reflect the content of stories. Editors know that it’s the headlines that gather readers, and so they do their best to jazz them up so as to make the stories sound far more important or controversial than they really are. In the current frenzy of Russia-related fearmongering, this has meant that followers of the media have been subjected to a deluge of scary-sounding headlines making it seem as if Russians and their agents are spreading chaos everywhere, only to find on reading the stories that it’s a massive fuss about nothing and that substantive evidence supporting the headlines is almost entirely lacking.

So it is with the Atlantic Council latest report, The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3, which is the third in a series purporting to expose high-profile Europeans who are subverting democracy from within as witting or unwitting agents of the Russian government. The title implies that the report is going to be full of hard-hitting revelations of politicians and journalists taking the Kremlin’s money, acting on its orders, and saying or doing things which genuinely threaten the European way of life. And indeed, on its website, the Atlantic Council tempts you to read the report by saying that, ‘the Kremlin’s tentacles do not stop in Ukraine, Georgia, or East Central Europe. They reach far and deep in the core of western societies.’ But the result is a disappointment. For what the report actually tells you is that in Northern Europe there is next to nobody questioning the prevailing narrative about Russia. A better title might be something like The Almost Absolute Conformity of Northern European Elites and the Total Absence of Russian Tentacles. No doubt, however, nobody would read such a thing, and so we get a big scary title instead.

trojan horses

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Taking Ukraine’s carrot

Ukraine, we are often told, has made a choice – to become a ‘European’ country, and in this way to decisively cut its historical ties to ‘non-European’ Russia. But what if Europe (in the form of the European Union (EU)) turns Ukraine away?

This has always been more likely than supporters of Ukraine’s post-Maidan government have been willing to admit. Ukraine’s situation is somewhat analogous to that of Turkey – even if the country were to fulfill all the demands that the EU makes of it, there is a very good chance that the Union would deny it membership anyway. The same applies to membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). ‘Europe’ is like a carrot dangling always out of the reach of a Ukrainian donkey.

donkey-and-carrot
Ukraine & Europe

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