The Russian military team deployed in Italy, whose goal is far from rescuing the Italians, is already starting to bring its first malignant fruit. That's the fruit that brings the same kind of threat to Italy as any Russian presence in the EU does to the European community in general.
A few days ago, in my piece "Italian Holiday for Russian military intelligence" I tried to elaborate on the set of goals and tasks of the Russian "rescue convoy" sent by the defense ministry rather than the health agency. Besides a wide range of goals related to media, PR, intelligence, political pressure, and shifting own public's focus from internal problems, including the coronavirus epidemic in Russia itself, they are set to resolve the task of further destabilizing the EU. To be more precise, it's about preparing the foundation for Italy's withdrawal from the EU in line with the scenario so brilliantly played in the UK. As I've already mentioned, the first malignant fruit of this wicked game is already ripening.
It was for a specific reason that the Russian "rescue team" in Italy, which certainly couldn't fundamentally reverse the epidemiological situation in this country, included not so much medics but military journalists, makeup artists, and other personas completely unrelated to healthcare whatsoever, while being directly related to intelligence and spec-ops forces.
It's been less than a week since the Russian convoy has driven 600 km across Italy, and we're already seeing on social networks loads of negative remarks targeting the European Union, which "failed to help" Italy in difficult times, although it was actually German doctors who first responded and threw a helping hand to Italians . But after all, the Germans didn't drive along the Italian highways waving German flags to the tune of "Lore Lore Lore". So it doesn't count!..
Videos shot by Italian motorists praising the Russians as they pass the convoy are now going viral – that's despite of the fact that 80% of the Russian rescue package is "absolutely useless" in fighting coronavirus. Some bums are filmed taking EU banners from flagpoles and putting Russian tricolors there instead. And all these videos are liked and shared like crazy – mostly with the help of accounts from the internet's Russian segment.
In parallel lines, groups are being created on the Telegram messenger platform, spinning narratives of "collapse" in Italy and other EU member states home to socially-explosive regions. For example, the "Catalan Quarantine" group broadcasting messages about the "hopeless" and "deplorable" situation in Spain, against the background of EU "indifference".
In my previous piece, I noted that European intelligence agencies should keep in mind that among those military "rescuers" from Russia there are experts in "hybrid operations" who, together with Russia adepts in Italy, could activate their network of supporters, as well as experts on information and psychological warfare. Taking into account how unstable the minds of Italians are under the influence of the tragedy that's unfolding, it's rather easy for professionals to ignite a huge fire. And this process has obviously already started.
By discrediting the European Union in the information space, Russia's goal is to tear another piece off of the EU body, and if they're lucky, it'll be two pieces. Exploiting the coronavirus theme, the Kremlin will attempt to destabilize Europe through Italy and Spain, either by arranging another #EXIT extravaganza, or by destabilizing Catalonia, Bergamo, or Lombardy to help set up "people's republics" there.
Of course, sooner or later, Russian military will leave Italy. But this doesn't mean that the country will be safe then. After all, after the group's departure, Italian secret services will need to kep in focus both the Italian MPs who contributed to this contingent being deployed into the very heart of the EU, but also those who have been in contact with them throughout this time.
Indeed, besides gathering intelligence, these "rescuers" carried out some deep recruitment operations, , of which I'm more than sure. Moreover, at times those recruited could be oblivious of the fact that they were being targeted and psychologically processed. After all, you can't destabilize a country without having your agents of influence there, only relying on the media potential. By the way, Catalonia is a prime example, proving the suggestion. And the more the Kremlin recruits and convinces, the easier it will be for Russia to destabilize and destroy.