From the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation in 2014 and during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, French Center for Intelligence Research (CF2R), headed by Éric Denécé, was very favorable to Moscow. These statements led Christophe Gomart, former director of French military intelligence, to leave the CF2R strategic committee.
CF2R – Intelligence research center
French Center for Intelligence Studies (CF2R) – was founded in 2000 by Éric Denécé. The Center positions itself as an independent think tank governed by the 1901 law and specializing in intelligence studies and international security.
The Center’s website states that the main goals of the organization are:
- development of scientific research and publications on intelligence and international security;
- contribution of expert knowledge for the benefit of stakeholders in public policy (decision-makers, administration, parliamentarians, media, etc);
- demystifying intelligence and explaining its role to the general public.
Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the French Center for Intelligence Studies (CF2R), headed by Éric Denécé, has been distinguished by its favorable tone toward Moscow and the dissemination of pro-Russian narratives and statements. This positioning prompted Christophe Gomart, the former director of military intelligence, to leave the CF2R’s strategic committee.
Éric Denécé – intelligence specialist, founder, and director of CF2R
Éric Denécé began his career as an intelligence officer in the French Navy between 1986 and 1989. In the late 1980s, he was sent on a mission to Cambodia to support the anti-communist resistance and then to Burma to protect Total’s interests from local guerrillas.
He then worked in the private sector, first for the automotive and aviation export group Matra Défense, where he was an export sales engineer and then specialized in economic intelligence. He went on to become Head of Communications at NAVFCO, a subsidiary of the DCI group (Défense Conseil International), and then became the founder and Managing Director of the economic intelligence firm ARGOS.
Within ARGOS, he was recruited in 2000 by HEC Paris to carry out a media destabilization campaign against ESSEC, which was uncovered by his former partner Ali Laidi.
He is the founder and director of the economic intelligence department of the GEOS group and was director of research at the Center for Strategic Studies and Prospects (CEPS), an independent think tank.
He is the Director of the French Center for Intelligence Studies, a private think tank he founded in 2000.
In 2020, Denécé argued that the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny could not have been caused by Russian services.
“Russian services do not make such mistakes. You have to look more at the traces of the mafia.”
During Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, he stood out for his pro-Russian stance, as did the think tank he headed. In February 2022, a few days before the invasion began, Denécé claimed that “American technologists” were “staging a Russian threat and aggression that does not exist.”
On March 25, 2022, he accused the Zelenskyy government in Ukraine of having “caused the situation in which the Ukrainian people found themselves” and of bearing responsibility “at least as important as the Russians'” in the war. Denécé responded to a question from Challenges on this issue in April 2022.
“I suppose to say that we are not crying with the wolves, because looking at history, it is obvious that we pushed the Russians into a trap.”
Principled opinion of the former director of French military intelligence
This position of Éric Denécé on Russia forced Christophe Gomart, former director of military intelligence, to leave the CF2R strategic committee in April 2022.
Christophe Gomart, former director of DRM (French military intelligence)
“I do not support this position,” he said. “In this war, there is an aggressor and a victim. I am not going to defend the aggressor and support Putin.”
In 2022, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine officially recognized Éric Denécé as an “author who promotes narratives that are in line with Russian propaganda” along with other members or authors associated with CF2R.
Denécé’s message was also tweeted by the Russian Embassy in France, shortly after he told CNews on the set “that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should apologize for provoking the war in Ukraine.”