At the time, the National Intelligence led by James Clapper was assigned the task of controlling Russian funding for the previous 10 years by the American Congress – an ongoing operation.
Even then, the parties involved were not leaked but political forces in France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy ended up in the crosshairs of the media, with Matteo Salvini’s League denying any involvement at the time.
The link between Russia and Eurosceptic movements has been a subject of study for some time: in 2013 the Eurasian Intelligence Center published a list of anti-European parties, with xenophobic and anti-liberal tendencies, which have relations with Moscow.
In the list are Ukip at the time of the Brexit referendum campaign, AfD and the National Democratic Party (Germany), Jobbik (Hungary), Golden Dawn (Greece) and the National Rally (France) of Marine Le Pen, who was forced in the last election campaign to throw away more than a million printed copies – but not yet distributed – of an election brochure that portrayed her shaking hands with the Russian leader.
A sensational case occurred in 2019 in Austria when the newspaper Der Spiegel published a video dating back to two years earlier, which reported the conversation between Heinz-Christian Strache – leader of the far-right party – and the granddaughter of a Russian oligarch, about financing and media support of the electoral campaign in exchange for public contracts: a scandal that led to the distrust of the government – of which Strache was deputy chancellor – and to new elections.
READ MORE: Russia could expose real strength army in next move, Lord Dannatt says