Russian Interference in the United Kingdom
Willemijn Aerdts, lecturer at ISGA, discussed the Russian interference in the domestic affairs of Western countries on Dutch radio BNR.
The United Kingdom is one of the main targets for Russian interference in the West. Something the British government has tried to ignore. The conclusions of a large investigation show that the Russians were mainly interested in influencing the Brexit referendum. This tactic used by Russia to sow discord is known to Aerdts and she explains that in this situation, regarding the Brexit referendum, a more divided Europe would benefit Russia immensely. Yet the question remains why the British government chose to ignore the problem. This could have been as a result of internal affairs but could also simply have been rather naïve, says Aerdts.
The British parliamentary committee has not been able to proof this conclusively, despite this large investigation. Aerdts explains that the only way to prove this would be to have access to all available intelligence. But she can well imagine that this has not been possible in this case. Despite that Aerdts also believes that this is exactly what happened, 'if you look at the recent developments: the interference with the Democratic Party in the US, but also in the Netherlands. It is not for nothing that the annual report of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD explicitly states that Russia is interfering with domestic affairs.'
Visit the BNR website to listen to/read the full article (in Dutch).
Willemijn Aerdts is an expert in the field of intelligence and security agencies. She is a lecturer for the minor Intelligence Studies. Her research focusses on the oversight of intelligence and security agencies and the development of methodologies in the field of intelligence.