Russia has managed to recruit MEPs as "influence agents" in the hopes of disrupting democracy, the European Parliament has claimed. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)


European Parliament claims Russia has MEP ‘influence agents’ in Brussels


Russia has managed to recruit a number of MEPs as “influence agents” in the hope of disrupting democracy, the European Parliament has claimed.

In a resolution passed on February 8, the Parliament claimed “numerous” anti-establishment efforts across the continent were connected to the Russian Federation, with Moscow apparently aiming to “destabilise” the bloc.

One of the principal ways Russia was allegedly doing this was by backing individual European Union politicians – and some parties – in a bid to get them to push talking points that were favourable towards Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“With the Kremlin attempting to sow divisions between European citizens, the text highlights how Moscow is recruiting some MEPs as ‘influence agents’ and has created a dependent relationship with certain European political parties, including through funding, which then act as amplifiers of Russian propaganda and serve Russia’s interest,” the Parliament claimed in a press release.

It goes on to link movements ranging from German populism, Catalan nationalism and Slovakian socialism to Putin’s Government, suggesting each of these had been co-opted by Russia to “hurt” Brussels.

The Parliament also voted to condemn US X-owner Elon Musk’s platform for “deciding to bow out” of the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation, accusing the social media site of harbouring ” widespread disinformation and illegal content”.

Although the charge was included in a resolution condemning Russian election “interference”, MEPs stopped short of explicitly accusing the platform or Musk of any links to Moscow.

The vote to condemn what it claimed was Russian interference in European democracy came after one MEP was allegedly exposed as a Kremlin agent.

Tatjana Ždanoka, a Latvian representative, was reportedly uncovered as being an informant for Russia’s FSB security service, although she has denied the charge.

The resolution explicitly referenced the allegations, with the Parliament stating it was “deeply concerned” by what it alleged were the “revelations”.

“An FSB informant having access to benefits and information as a Member of the European Parliament would be a severe threat to our Union’s security and democracy,” the resolution read.

“The vast majority of MEPs do not share her views and have overwhelmingly condemned Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, its use of hybrid warfare tactics against European democracy and other aggressive and anti-democratic policy choices in recent years.”

It goes on to skewer unnamed MEPs whom, it argued, “have participated in actions jointly” with Ždanoka, apparently expressing “similar viewpoints” to the ostracised politician.

These unnamed MEPs are accused of “siding overtly with Russia”.