Russian president Vladimir #Putin responded in anger to the #European Parliament passing a motion to do something about #Russia's “disinformation and propaganda warfare,” which was passed by 304 votes over 179. Putin gave his response to reporters in Moscow saying that after Europe had "lectured" them on democracy, they were now trying to silence dissenting opinions. It's been reported that most of those in parliament representing the far right and far left were opposed to the motion, but that many from the center-left abstained.
The motion calls on the European Union (EU) and its member states to put a stop to Russian propaganda, which they say has penetrated Europe since their involvement in the Ukraine when Russia annexed Crimea during the uprising in 2014. At the time the United States was also targeted by pro-Putin loyalists with accusations that they used protesters to stage a coup to overthrow the then president Yanukovych. Reports of those opposed to the motion might indicate that there are at least some dissenting voices within the European Parliament that already accept Russia's anti-West views.
Putin infiltrates European society with Russian state media
Two Ukrainian think-tanks and “EU Today” organized a conference in January called "Russian Hybrid War and Politics in Europe" where Jakub Kalenski -- who studies Russian propaganda for the European External Action Service task force, said that Russian propaganda was already active in every European country. The rise of right wing populism in Europe was jolted with the Syrian refugee crisis and more notably with Brexit, which has helped to view the EU negatively, even with many who were not familiar with them before such as those in the U.S., who now hold a similar view with the rise of Donald Trump.
Kalenski explained during the conference that because Russia has more “privileged relations” with the West through WTO, NATO and the G8 and that there are many leaders throughout Europe who have taken to the view delivered by Russian and Putin endorsed sources. Donald Trump's affiliation with Russia and with mainstream news sources prioritizing fact-checking with everything he said during his campaign shows that Russian propaganda could be seen as spreading even further throughout the United States.
European Parliament's determination to fight Russian/ISIS propaganda
Anna Fotyga who authored the report submitted by the European Commission also confirmed in a brief interview with “European Parliament News” that the U.S. is also the target of Russian propaganda with services such as Russia Today. Eugen Freund who is an MEP representing the Austrian Centre-Left spoke with “Euronews” where he also referred to the Russian news service “Sputnik” as another source that is trying to divide Europe and the U.S. But the report also points to the terrorist group ISIS as creating propaganda which was contested by Javier Couso Permuy, an MEP with Spain's Izquierda Unida coalition, saying that to equate threats of ISIS propaganda with Russia was unacceptable.
During the conference referred to earlier, Jakub Kalenski stated that 50-percent of the people in Spain believed the information coming from Putin-endorsed Russian media. This has a lot to do with the fact that both Spain and Russia are trade partners. Last month it was reported that Russian war ships traveling to the Mediterranean were forced by NATO to cancel their scheduled dock with Spain to refuel. Spain is a member of the European Union and NATO, who felt that by Spain aiding a nation that is accused of committing war crimes against women and children in Aleppo, would be unacceptable. NATO also vowed to increase their military presence along the Russian border with member states in case Vladimir Putin decides to destabilize the region with another invasion similar to that in the Ukraine. The European Parliament and the EU say that they will be using various media and investigative journalism to combat Russia's propaganda machine.