Russia's Influence in Europe: Russia 'not so strong' inside EU as feared - Germany's former intelligence chief

11:47 Nov. 4, 2016

Russia 'not so strong' inside EU as feared - Germany's former intelligence chief

Ukrainian activists protest against Russian propaganda in Kyiv (Getty Images)

"Russia is trying to influence public opinion in the EU, but is not very sophisticated in its aproach"

Germany's former intelligence chief has said Russian propaganda was failing to make an impact in Europe and that Russian intelligence services were weaker than imagined, EUobserver reports.

Augustus Henning, the former head of Germany's BND intelligence service, said Russia was "trying to influence public opinion" in the EU, but was "doing it in a not very sophisticated way. If we look at German media, they are not very successful in the mainstream media and political parties".

"We see that Russian TV is sometimes far away from the truth and that's a problem," he told EUobserver in an interview at the Tatra summit, a conference in Bratislava, last Saturday (29 October).

"The best way to respond is for our own media to give an objective picture of the situation", he said. "We live in open societies and the open society in Germany, in Europe, is our best weapon against all these attempts to influence public opinion", he added.

Read also Russia trying to divide Europe, outgoing Bulgarian president warns

Henning said that no matter how much Russia spent on media or other influence operations, it had an Achilles heel.

"The problem for Russia is that they don't offer a very attractive model of society or the economy", Henning said.

"If Russia was an attractive model for the Ukrainians, they wouldn't have these kinds of problems. Why don't the Ukrainians want to stick with Russia, why are they moving to the West? Because our model is far more attractive than the Russian model", he said.

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