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Open Letter of European security experts to Federica Mogheri

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  1. Open Letter of European security experts to Federica Mogheri:
  2. Please start taking the Russian disinformation threat seriously!
  3.  
  4. The aggressive actions of the Kremlin are unprecedented in the modern era. Invasion of neighbouring countries, massive bombings and killings of civilians, and the first annexation of a foreign land by force in Europe since World War II, constant violations of other states’ borders, kidnapping foreign citizens, harassment of foreign diplomats, or massive cyber attacks are all in Russia’s current regime toolkit.
  5.  
  6. All these offensive incidents are accompanied by a massive, persistent, ongoing, brutally aggressive disinformation campaign. A campaign that has been active in Europe for at least three years, establishing its channels, finding the right amplifiers and multipliers for its message – which is aimed at destabilising our societies, meddling in our elections and referendums, misleading our political leaders and breaking up the EU unity by supporting those who want to destroy it. It has been building a wide range of communication structures in most of the EU Member States, platforms that have already been functioning for a long time and have reached considerable results that cannot be erased without significant long-term counter-effort.
  7.  
  8. Yet, our reaction is irresponsibly weak. We see questioning and marginalizing of the issue on multiple levels, on claims such as that there is actually no disinformation campaign; that it is not happening in our countries; that it is not corrosive. We see blindness and refusal to admit that someone is actively working to undermine our societies and to destroy the world order that has been established after the World War II and has provided the Euroatlantic world with an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.
  9.  
  10. Despite the seriousness of this threat, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has spent the last two years trying to avoid naming Russia as the main creator of hostile disinformation. We as European security experts have seen her constantly appease the Russian aggression.
  11.  
  12. When European leaders called for an EU action against “ongoing Russian disinformation campaigns” in March 2015, they really meant it. If she keeps avoiding naming the Russian Federation and its proxies as the main source of hostile disinformation operations, she is systematically neglecting a clear threat perceived by many EU Member States that she represents. Moreover, the only real EU response to this threat—an eleven-man EEAS East STRATCOM Team (paid mainly by member states, not by the EU institution that barely tolerates it)—is absurdly understaffed. Regardless of the European Parliament’s calls for its reinforcement, it is reportedly not going to happen at all. This team has no budget whatsoever – despite being tasked by the European Council to counter the Kremlin disinformation machine, which is boosted by over 1 billion euro annually. Based on decision of the EEAS leadership run by Federica Mogherini, the EU spends literally nothing on countering one of the biggest challenges of our world today – a hostile disinformation campaign, which is successfully undermining our democratic societies. The right thing to do would be to triple capacity of the EEAS East STRATCOM Team and give it a budget in single millions EUR, so it can start fulfilling its mandate.
  13.  
  14. Based on an enormous and conclusive mass of evidence, it is clear that Mr. Putin wants to destroy the liberal world order, which the EU stands to defend, and he does everything possible to achieve this goal. And yet he still finds many conscious and unconscious allies in Europe.
  15.  
  16. We as European security experts call on our leaders to face this malign threat. We call on our democratic leaders to finally start taking this threat seriously and making it a top priority security issue. Our leaders need to publicly name it and expose its aims, such as weakening the EU, destabilising its societies, misleading its political leaders, and interfering in its elections. We need our leaders to order our security institutions to publicly expose Kremlin actions and actors. Europeans need to know by who and how they are being manipulated.
  17.  
  18. Mrs. Mogherini, if you continue to do nothing in order to face this threat, the enemies of democracy will keep winning, and the damage to our societies might become beyond repair. The time is now.
  19.  
  20. This Open Call is coordinated by the Kremlin Watch Program at the European Values Think-Tank.
  21.  
  22. Coordinator of this Call:
  23. Jakub Janda, Head of Kremlin Watch Program, Deputy Director of the European Values Think-Tank, janda@evropskehodnoty.cz
  24.  
  25. Signatories (in alphabetical order):
  26. Willem Aldershoff, Former Head of Unit, European Commission, Analyst international Affairs
  27. Lawrence Alexander, Volunteer Contributor, Bellingcat
  28. Ivar Amundsen, Chechnya Peace Forum, director
  29. Laima Andrikienė, MEP
  30. Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  31. Antoine Arjakovsky, Founder Director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Lviv, Ukraine
  32. Petras Auštrevičius, MEP
  33. Eitvydas Bajarunas, Ambassador-at-Large for Hybrid Threats, MFA of Lithuania
  34. Jars Balan, Coordinator of the Kule Ukrainain Canadian Studies Centre, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
  35. Mykolas Bazaras, LMTA, doctorate
  36. Marieluise Beck, Member of the German Parliament
  37. Petr Boháček, Director, European Security Journal
  38. Anda Burger-Rozite, Journalist, irir.lv
  39. Erno Buzas, Atlatszo Erdely,
  40. Eto Buziashvili, Programs Director, Georgian Strategic Analysis Center
  41. Arnaud Castaignet, Vice President, Open Diplomacy
  42. Boris Chykulay, The Forum of Ukrainians of the Czech Republic
  43. Iurie Condrea, ONG Moldova Chisinau
  44. Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
  45. Maks Czuperski, Director, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council
  46. Tomáš Čižik, Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs, Director
  47. Sławomir Dębski, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Director
  48. Jaba Devdariani, Chief Editor, The Clarion
  49. Steffen Dobbert, Political Editor, ZEIT ONLINE
  50. Adam Eberhardt, Director, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW)
  51. Kestutis Eidukonis, LR Seimo/PLB commission member
  52. Jonathan Eyal, Associate Director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies
  53. Yevhen Fedchenko, Co-founfer, StopFake.org
  54. Andrej Ferdinand, Novak European Cosmopolitan Consulting, Senior Consultant
  55. Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
  56. Iulian Fota, Director, National Intelligence College, Romania
  57. Nicole Gallina, political scientist, osteuropastudien.wordpress.com
  58. Penelope Gate, Teacher, Universita’ Popolare Rome
  59. Paata Gaprindashvili, Director, Georgia’s Reforms Associates
  60. Anna Garmash, Chairwoman of the Ukraine Action
  61. Simon Gerber, swissukraine.org
  62. Andrea Giacobino, Editor-in-chief, BLUERATING
  63. Ariana Gic, Chair, Direct Initiaitive
  64. Rob Gill, Chair, Irish-Ukrainian Solidarity Group
  65. Gustav Gressel, ECFR – European Council on Foreign Relations
  66. Stepan Grigoryan, Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation
  67. Oleg Chabala, The Civil Committee of National Security of Ukraine, Senior Policy Analyst
  68. Pavel Havlicek, Associate Fellow at the Association for International Affairs (AMO) in Prague
  69. Mall Hellam, Open Estonia Foundation, Executive Director
  70. Thomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia (2006-2016) and Liautaud visiting fellow, at CISAC, Center for Security and Co-operation, Stanford University
  71. Eliot Higgins, Founder and Director, Bellingcat
  72. Marina Iaroshevych, Ukrainian World Congres
  73. John Jacobs, Youth, Atlantic Treaty Association – President
  74. Nina Jankowicz, Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow, Ukraine
  75. John (Ivan) Jaworsky, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Waterloo, Canada
  76. Mats Johansson, Chairman of the Stockholm Free World Forum
  77. Mark Jordan, University of Georgia, Advisor (retired)
  78. Laurynas Kasciunas, Member of Lithuanian Parliament, National security and defence committee
  79. Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation
  80. Krišjānis  Kariņš, Member of the European Parliament
  81. Tunne Kelam, MEP
  82. Zoltán Kész, MP in Hungary
  83. Sam King, RHWDS Russian Hybrid Warfare Defense System NZ (Director)
  84. Maksym Khylko, Chairman of the Board, East European Security Research Initiative Foundation
  85. Marcus Kolga, Editor, UpNorth.eu, Senior Fellow Macdonald-Laurier Foreign Policy Centre
  86. Peter Kreko, Senior Associate, Political Capital Institute
  87. Eerik-Niiles Kross, Member of Parliament, former National Security Co-ordinator, Estonia
  88. Andis Kudors, Executive director of the Centre for East European Policy Studies
  89. Andrii Lavreniuk, UKRINFORM Staff Correspondent in Brussels
  90. Niels Ivar Larsen, The independent Danish Daily Information, editor
  91. Aleksejs Loskutovs, Member of Parliament of Latvia, Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee
  92. Radu Magdin, analyst, former advisor to the Romanian Prime Minister
  93. Rey Marcin, Blogger, Rosyjska V Kolumna w Polsce, Poland
  94. Athanasius McVay, Historian, archival reserarcher, Fellow of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto
  95. Grigorij Mesežnikov, President of the Institute for Public Affairs
  96. Violeta Moskalu, Founder of Global Ukraine Foundation  
  97. Ben Nimmo, information defense fellow, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council
  98. Jelena Milic, Director, Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies
  99. Nerijus Maliukevičius, Scientific researcher at Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science
  100. Mantas Martišius, Scientific researcher at Vilnius University Communication faculty
  101. Rita Miliute, Lithuanian Radio and Television, journalist
  102. Daniel Milo, Head of STRATCOM Program, GLOBSEC Policy Institute
  103. Jaroslav Nad, Director, Slovak Security Policy Institute
  104. Gintarė Narkevičiūtė, Director for Foreign Affairs, The Ronald Reagan House
  105. Mário Nicolini, Founder & Honorary President, Euro-Atlantic Center
  106. Konrad Niklewicz, Civic Institute, managing deputy director
  107. Paul Niland, Writer and commentator on Ukrainian affairs
  108. James Nixey, Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
  109. Renatas Norkus, Director of the Transatlantic Cooperation & Security Policy Department, MFA of Lithuania
  110. Vít Novotný, Senior Research Officer, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
  111. Evan O’Connell, Senior Consultant, Aspect Consulting
  112. Patrik Oksanen, editorial writer on security, defence and EU for MittMedia Newsgroup Sweden
  113. Oleg Panfilov, Ilia State University, Professor
  114. Jane Pannell, Former RN, project Director, University of California San Francisco, USA
  115. Bjarne Kim Pedersen, Author
  116. Marco Pelliccia, Bangor Business School, Assistant Professor
  117. Amanda Paul, European Policy Centre, Senior Policy Analyst
  118. Szabolcs Panyi, Journalist, Index.hu
  119. Zygimahtas Pavilionis, Chair of Transatlantic and Democracy Subcommittee at the Lithuanian Parliament
  120. Nataliia Popovych, Co-Founder, Ukraine Crisis Media Center
  121. Dmytro Potekhin, Nonviolent Solutions Agency
  122. Oleksandr Potiekhin, Director of the Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy of Ukraine
  123. Wojciech Przybylski, Res Publica Nowa
  124. Tudor Radu, Pol & Mil Analyst, Antena 3 TV Romania
  125. Adam Reichardt, New Eastern Europe
  126. Julian Röpcke, Political Editor, BILD
  127. Sven Salumets, NGO Vaba Ukraina, Member of the Board, Estonia
  128. Peter H. Sandin, Founder and Director, VerbalLitteratur
  129. Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, MEP
  130. Alya Shandra, Euromaidan Press, managing editor
  131. Anton Shekhovtsov, Research Associate, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
  132. Eugeniusz Smolar, Centre for International Relations
  133. Ivana Smolenova, Prague Security Studies Institute
  134. Ruslan Stefanov, Director, Economic Program, Center for the Study of Democracy
  135. Jaromír Štětina, MEP, Vice-Chair of Subcommittee on Security and Defence
  136. Jana Streleca, NGO “Ukrainas konfliktā cietušo atbalsta fonds”, Chairlady
  137. Pavel Svoboda, EP Committee on Legal Affairs Chair
  138. János Széky, Journalist, Élet és Irodalom
  139. Justas Šireika, Director, Information Security and Analysis Centre
  140. Nicolas Tenzer, Chairman, CERAP (Centre d’étude et de réflexion pour l’Action politique)
  141. Haris Trgo, Commentator on European foreign affairs and EU politics
  142. Andreas Umland,  Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation
  143. Artjoms Ursulskis, Adviser of the European Affairs Committee, Saeima of the Republic of Latvia
  144. Ludmila Verbicka, Co-Founder, Head of the Ukrainian-Slovak initiative
  145. Fredrik Wesslau, ECFR, Director of the Wider Europe Programme
  146. Kataryna Wolczuk, Professor, University of Birmingham
  147. Ernest Wyciszkiewicz, Director, Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding
  148. Tornike Zurabashvili, Editor-in-Chief, Civil.ge
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