“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” Mr Rasmussen, former Danish prime minister, told an audience at Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank.
This is a classic KGB MO. One that was employed throughout the Cold War. Then peace and disarmament groups were the primary targets. No doubt the Russians have also covertly supported anti-fracking efforts here in the US, but Europe is the focus of their efforts because increased gas production on that continent competes directly with Russian gas, whereas US production is a very indirect, and somewhat distant, threat.
Europe is totally compromised by Russian influence operations, propaganda, and money. With a few exceptions (e.g., the antitrust action against Gazprom) Europe has been completely feckless in its dealings with Russia. Its energy policies have been particularly self-destructive, putting the EU at the mercy of Russia for the foreseeable future. Some of these self-inflicted wounds would have been suffered even without direct Russian influence (energiewende, for instance, is largely the product of dreamy German romanticism about energy), but by co-opting European energy companies and manipulating European environmental sensitivities Russia has tightened its grip on European energy markets. It exploits this grip for both economic and political gain, with Ukraine being a prominent example of the latter.
I can only imagine the flack that Rasmussen is going to catch for this. For he has committed a mortal sin: speaking a very embarrassing truth. Killing the messenger is the usual remedy.