Russian agents are redoubling their movements in Western countries, combining traditional espionage, assassinations, piracy, interference in state affairs and misinformation, in accordance with the will of the Kremlin, who claims to defend himself against attacks by his enemies.

In this sentence, Le Figaro summarized what Russian spies are doing in the West, saying former Russian spy Anna Chapman said: "What they were doing during the Cold War of the twentieth century are just toys" when compared to their work today.

In a lengthy investigation of the paper by Vincent Nozel, the author welcomed the return of the Cold War, proceeding from the assassination attempt on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Scribal and the double agent who was expelled from Moscow to London in 2010, where the UK and 15 other Western countries returned to Russia more than a hundred. Russian diplomat "suspected of spying.

The writer listed a series of arrests of Russian spies from the Military Intelligence Unit, including four arrested in the Netherlands trying to penetrate computers at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, and two in the United States and Switzerland for the penetration of other computers of international sports organizations and the World Anti-Doping Agency in Lausanne.

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Three ways to influence

The Russian military intelligence cases show the growing activity of President Vladimir Putin's spies and their enthusiasm that could expose them, especially since Moscow has been accused for several years of espionage, infiltration, piracy, interference in affairs and widespread disinformation.

In addition to the files mentioned, the author attributed to Moscow a long and inclusive list of assassinations of dissidents and cyber attacks against Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine, interference in elections in America, Britain and France, the mysterious funding of populist parties in Europe, and the hacking of government sites and satellites.

The new Cold War in Moscow is run by one of the people, Putin himself, a former Soviet intelligence officer who was chosen in 1999 to succeed Boris Yeltsin.

Once in power, Putin is determined to restore his country's greatness, says Francoise Thome, a professor of history at the Sorbonne and author of "For Understanding Putinism."

She believes that Putin "still works in the Soviet intelligence service, and uses force and brutal methods to achieve its ends," quoting Putin himself said that "there are three ways to influence the men, namely extortion, vodka (alcohol) and the threat of death."

Putin, who believes Russia has been "insulted" by the West since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 and threatened by NATO's progress, has been instructed to take all possible "effective measures" to weaken Western countries.

The writer commented on Putin's re-election several times, and on his entourage close to the hawks of the security services, where Putin put his hand on the three main intelligence services (internal and external intelligence and military intelligence) headed by figures from the former Soviet intelligence (KGB).

Researcher Mark Galotti says that the intelligence agents who serve Putin's policy also influence him, as he reads their observations every morning and is often sufficient to form his opinion, pointing out that they are united in their belief that the West wants Russia to disappear, so all means are good to defend themselves.

Chapman: What they were doing during the Cold War of the 20th century is just toys when compared to their work today (Getty Images)

Multiple fronts

In the context of this war, the writer says that Russia began in the vicinity of the former Soviet Union countries such as Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia, which targeted unprecedented computer attacks, and even the latter was the target of a Russian military attack, such as Ukraine, which has turned to a hot front and still divided.

These and other events, such as the shooting down of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine, have been accompanied by a campaign on social networks, fueled by calculations created especially by a group called CyberParkot, possibly belonging to Russian military intelligence.

The accounts were published by 111,000 tweets from a building in St. Petersburg during the three days after the crash of the Malaysian flight, with the aim of removing Moscow's responsibility for the incident.

According to the author, the building belongs to the Internet Research Agency, established in 2013.It is a kind of digital marketing agency that employs thousands of Internet professionals who monitor the Web, spread false news, distort Putin's opponents and create fake accounts on social networks, according to a recent study by the New Noledge for Cyber ​​Security. .

This agency has gained tremendous momentum, reaching 126 million users on Facebook, about 20 million on Instagram and 1.4 million on Twitter. Camille Francois, a Harvard researcher, says he has "no details about the links between this agency and Russian services, but the chronology of their interventions suggests they are coordinating their operations, whether in Ukraine, Syria or elsewhere."

The link began to appear more clearly than in 2016 when Russian spies and trolls opened their third front by targeting the United States, the writer said.

Kevin Lemonier, a lecturer at the University of Paris VIII, says the Russians' goal is to influence US policy by fueling internal tensions after "opportunistically learning to use electronic tools that cost less than a missile."

US special prosecutor Robert Muller accused Russia of "misleading social disagreement with the aim of interfering in the elections" by creating fake US accounts collectively by the Internet Research Agency to attract audiences in all circles, with some representing black activists, shepherds or others. .

Divide and conquer

Russian agents have opened a parallel front in Europe, armed with their American success, this time aiming to "divide and rule". "The Russians want to destroy the EU to expand and exploit crises and support all extremism," said Cecil Fassi, professor of Russian studies at the French University of Rennes 2. At the same time, the Internet and phishers are attacking all European countries.

According to data disclosed by Twitter, nearly 4,000 fake Russian accounts run by the Internet research agency supported Brexit on the referendum day on June 23, 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, Russian trolls were active during the Catalan secession crisis and before the general elections in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, and they published much poisoning, according to the Digital Research Laboratory of the American Thought Center Atlantic.

"Russia is interfering in your brains and changing your conscience and you can't do anything against it," Putin's adviser Vladislav Surkov told Westerners in February.

In France, the Russians tried to inflate the black jackets and highlight the climate of fear in the wake of the terrorist attacks, and tried to weaken the candidate at the time Emmanuel Macron, who they consider very Atlantic and pro-European.

Nevertheless, the writer believes that Russia's destabilization campaign to "test its future political use" may seem benign, especially since it has called for Western caution toward cooperation with the Russians on terrorism, space and others.