The maneuver from Russia of using fake news stories in the case of the Catalan crisis constitutes conclusive proof that the world is immersed in a new Cold War in which disinformation is the main weapon. Moscow and its satellites – other states and organizations – are trying to exploit by any means possible the domestic weaknesses and controversies within Western democracies with the aim of generating division and confusion in the attacked societies. In this respect, the Catalan crisis has presented an extraordinary opportunity.
The disinformation is related to a strategic concept of struggles between blocs that continues to dominate behind the walls of the Kremlin
We must not lose perspective when it comes to this problem. Russia does not have any particular animosities toward Spain. Rather, the disinformation is related to a strategic concept of struggles between blocs that continues to dominate behind the walls of the Kremlin and that affects all Western countries. To this we must add direct computer attacks.
There are plenty of examples that confirm this theory. In the Netherlands, the interior minister, Kasja Ollongren, has warned the parliament of the triple intent to influence public opinion carried out on the part of the Russian secret services that has been detected up until now. Estonia has been the target of large-scale cyberattacks. And the Danish government has confirmed that Russian hackers have infiltrated the defense system of the country over the course of two years. Poland is one of the countries with the highest number of computers infected in the Ransomware attack. We are, then, faced with a European problem that should be dealt with within the framework of the EU and NATO. Spain has to investigate thoroughly what has happened, and, while requesting help from its partners, contribute to improving common defense.
Our country is heading toward crucial elections in Catalonia on December 21 and it will be of fundamental importance for those polls to be held far from any external interference, whether it be related to disinformation or the technical side.
English version by Simon Hunter.