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The Cyprus Connection: Uncovering Russia's Media Strategy in the EU

Date

15 Apr 2024 18:00

Address

FNF Europe, Av. De Cortenbergh 71
1000  Brussels
Belgium

Section

InfoSociety

Event Location

Brussels

Event Description

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About the Event

The fight against disinformation is a long-term challenge for European democracies, undermining citizens' trust in democracy and its institutions, and contributing to the polarization of public opinion and disruption of democratic processes. Addressing disinformation has become critically important in the context of Russia's war in Ukraine, with Russia conducting an unprecedented disinformation campaign since 2022. Ukraine is targeted by propaganda and disinformation as part of the Kremlin's hybrid warfare tactics.

Cyprus is as a prime example of a European country heavily influenced by Moscow, with Russian officials and businessmen having enjoyed considerable economic and political sway on the island over the years. Their efforts aimed to win over allies within the country and maintain Kremlin's control over emigrants, contributing to a pro-Russian sentiment. Many Cypriot politicians and influential individuals acted in Russia's interests, harming their own country and the EU. Although Cyprus officially adheres to EU sanctions against Russia, Cyprus shows little interest in targeting Russian assets or tackling money laundering, instead they amplify travel arrangements through increased flights to Yerevan. Over 51% of the Cypriot population doubts Russia's primary responsibility for the war in Ukraine, reflecting a high acceptance of Russian propaganda, underscoring the extent of Russia's influence in Cyprus.

Given that Russian interference is a threat to democracy, it is urgent to enhance the EU's security framework by reforming rules on transparency, integrity, accountability, and combating corruption. Understanding how important these issues are, we want to set up a panel talk and bring together experts to explore and discuss vital concerns such as press freedom and the battle against disinformation.

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