An independent French journalist has been in regular contact with a Russian intelligence agent in Paris for several years. In this way, he explored the shadowy world of Russian espionage, which has been well-established in the French capital for a long time.
Romain Mielcarek, a freelance journalist, specialist in defense and international relations, and the author of the book “Moujiks. France in the clutches of Russian spies” (available on Amazon), shared his experience in the podcast with Radio France International.
Moscow considered France the weak link of the Western bloc during the Cold War. Paris has remained over the years at the center of the Russian intelligence apparatus.
The Kremlin’s agents have a wide range of contacts, from students with bright futures to the political elite, Mr. Mielcarek writes in his book. They are particularly interested in the extreme right, sensitive to speeches on traditional values and the past grandeur of empires that should be restored.
Romain Mielcarek, the author of this investigation on Russian intelligence in France, also said that Moscow spies are trying to find weaknesses in French society and use them to manipulate people. He describes a Russian GRU (military intelligence) officer named Sergei, whom he met many times.
He said Russian spies always try to find customized approaches to people with interesting profiles, portfolios, or contacts. There are also undercover agents for more delicate missions, he claimed.
According to the author, the Russian agent approached and offered cash to a figure close to the leader of the French far-left, a presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Melanchon, trying to influence them. However, this gift was not accepted. Nevertheless, the political position of this politician is very close to Moscow’s vision of geopolitics; namely, he didn’t condemn the annexation of Crimea.
The author also calls young communists worldwide ‘useful idiots’ in the hands of Russia. They believed in a ‘Soviet idea’ of Moscow without understanding its colonialist and expansionist policy run by Putin. The Kremlin has built parallel realities – the one of a totalitarian regime and the one idealistic in which young activists believed. That’s how Russians influenced Western societies.