European Commission plans to add Voice of Europe to the EU sanctions list

Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová has said that the EU executive body proposes to add Voice of Europe, a platform used to interfere in European elections, to the 14th sanctions package. On May 5, the EU commissioner said this on Czech television.

The Vice President of the European Commission commented on the Czech Republic’s efforts to impose EU sanctions on Voice of Europe and on Viktor Medvedchuk and his associate Artem Marchevsky, who coordinated the pro-Russian campaign to influence the European Parliament \ elections.

Yurova said she did not know whether Medvedchuk and Marchevsky would be on the sanctions list, but Voice of Europe would be there, adding that the EU considers the platform a tool of Putin’s propaganda.

She pointed out that the European Commission proposes to add 67 individuals and 23 legal entities to the new sanctions package, as well as impose restrictions on the import of Russian liquefied natural gas to Europe.

According to Czech intelligence services in March, Viktor Medvedchuk, against whom the Czech Republic also imposed sanctions, was running the Voice of Europe website to disseminate anti-Ukrainian propaganda and disinformation.

The Belgian prosecutor’s office is looking into potential Russian interference in the upcoming European Parliament elections, based on intelligence services’ reports.

In our research we have identified news websites in the EU and the US which reposted or quoted articles and interviews produced by the pro-Russian media platform “Voice of Europe” hit by a a recent scandal and sanctioned by the Czech government. The Voice of Europe website has recently resumed its operation, having migrated to hosting in Kazakhstan. 

The citations of this notorious platform helped us identify other news sites in Europe which promote pro-Kremlin narratives, and the politicians who support their efforts. Russian state propaganda media cite the EU-based website’s articles to confirm the ‘authoritativeness’  of the reporting and the information shared. 

During our previous research, we discovered a network of pro-Russian news websites, including those identified as quoting the Voice of Europe website.

In the Voice of Europe case we have seen that Moscow attempts using EU-registered news websites disguised as neutral or alternative to legitimize Russian propaganda narratives and increase the credibility of its statements, as almost no one in the world believes Russian state propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik anymore.

Anton Shekhovtsov, a visiting professor and researcher at Central European University and at the Research Center for the History of Transformations, published a list of European politicians who were promoted by the Russian agents of influence via its recently disclosed front organization “Voice of Europe” on YouTube, starting in August 2023.

The list includes politicians known for pushing pro-Kremlin agendas and making pro-Russian statements, such as German far-right leader Maximilian Krah, French nationalist Thierry Mariani, Slovak right radical Milan Uhrík, and the radical leader of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik.

The “Voice of Europe” case might be just a tip of an iceberg. In our recent research we have identified a large pro-Russian websites network in Europe spreading narratives that fit the Kremlin agenda.

Based on the website and search analytics revealed that a range of news websites are interconnected not only by similar topics and pro-Russian narratives but also by mutual citations and referral traffic from one site to another.

Pro-Russian websites network in Europe that serves Russia’s information warfare
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