Russian agents bribed Czech public figures to spread propaganda.
Russia directly coordinated the spread of some disinformation in Czechia, and its agents bribed Czech personalities to spread the Russian narrative about the war in Ukraine, Michal Koudelka, head of the Czech Security Information Service (BIS), said.
Koudelka also revealed that pro-Russian entities attempted to establish direct contact with one of the organisers of anti-government demonstrations, which took place in the autumn of 2022.
“In the latest case, the BIS uncovered that one of the long-term Russian influence agents in the Czech Republic arranged for the dissemination of narratives supporting the interests of the Russian Federation in connection with the war in Ukraine in exchange for a bribe of several thousand euros. Public figures were also used,” Koudelka told the Czech parliament on Monday.
Direct Russian involvement was also uncovered by the BIS ahead of the Czech presidential elections in January 2023, when Russian news agency Sputnik’s cable channel released a fake edited video of then-candidate Petr Pavel saying that Czechia should get involved in the war in Ukraine.
BIS also tracked Russian interference in the media.
“Even before the war in Ukraine, the activities of a pro-Russian activist were detected, who used selected Czech journalists, financed several trips abroad and wanted journalists to create materials supporting the Russian side,” Koudelka said.
“Even before the war in Ukraine, the activities of a pro-Russian activist were detected, who used selected Czech journalists, financed several trips abroad and sought journalists to create materials to support the Russian side,” Koudelka said.
Despite the examples of direct Russian involvement, Koudelka said Russian narratives and disinformation are in the minority.
Most of the disinformation is created in the Czech Republic by local personalities.
(Aneta Zachová | Euractiv.cz)