New Strategy Center publishes a new study entitled „The Clash of Tactical Narratives: Russia’s Malign Influence and the Discourses of Populist Parties on the Russia-Ukraine War in Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Germany, and France”, focusing on the non-military dimension of the hybrid war launched by the Russian Federation against the West. The research looks at the narratives promoted by several populist parties in five EU Member States – Austria, France, Germany, Romania, Slovakia – in the context of the 2024 European parliamentary elections and the 2023-2025 national elections. The author of the study is Răzvan Ceuca, external relations expert at the New Strategy Center, with a substantial contribution from Dr Ileana Rotaru, senior associate expert at the New Strategy Center, professor at the West University of Timisoara. The study benefits from recommendations from Prof. Dr. Alina Bârgăoanu, senior associate expert of the New Strategy Center, Dean of the Faculty of Communication at SNSPA, Ion Ioniță, senior editor of Adevărul and director of Historia magazine and Emmanuel Dupuy, director of the Institute for European Perspective & Security (IPSE) in France and member of the International Advisory Board of the New Strategy Center.
The study starts from the three forms of manifestation of the Putin regime’s malign influence in Europe (sharp power, mimetic power, dark power) and the conceptual difference between long-range strategic and short-range tactical narratives to highlight the different ways in which populist, illiberal and Euro-sceptic parties report on Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The study’s findings show that the upcoming European parliamentary and national elections, which will take place soon, are key to Russia’s goal of winning the war by undermining Western support for Ukraine. It also points out that there are differences between the animosities exploited by Moscow in Slovakia and Romania, on the one hand, and those in Austria, Germany and France, on the other, as well as similarities based on speculation about the economic problems generated by the war and the social impact.