HomeWestern Balkans Anti-Disinformation HUBAnti-NATO Russian Narrative Targets Albania

Anti-NATO Russian Narrative Targets Albania

The opening of a new Center for Security and Defense Innovation in Albania has prompted a narrative from Russia, labeling this NATO investment as a ‘source of hybrid threats,’ as stated by Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Experts consulted by Faktoje reject Russia’s claims, arguing that such centers are necessary to counter Russian destabilizing activities and to ensure European security architecture.

Jona Plumbi

Following the opening of the NATO military base in Kuçovë, a 50-million-euro investment expected to be operational by spring, Albania also launched a new center for security and defense innovation.

‘This center, associated with the Cyber Security Military Unit, another major project for defense in the digital world, plays a crucial role in combating cyber threats and defending our information systems, established with the support of the United States.’– reads the announcement from the Albanian Prime Minister’s Office.

On the day of the inauguration of this center by the Albanian government, an anti-NATO narrative emanated from the Kremlin. In a press release to the media on April 3, Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mentioned NATO’s investments in Albania.

Expansion of cyber centers in various regions is ongoing. NATO is currently planning to establish a similar structure in Albania. This move signals the possible emergence of another source of hybrid threats in the Balkans, an area known for facing numerous challenges created by Western influence.’ – stated Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, similar centers will also be established in Moldova and Georgia, while in Finland, such a center already exists, which, according to them, ‘aims to damage Russia’s image’. The narrative also resonated in Tirana. Albanian media disseminated Zakharova’s news in Albanian and English, quoting her statement to Russian media, without providing context or analysis of the claim of possible attacks against Russia.

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Agim Nesho, former ambassador of Albania to the UN, explains to Faktoje that Russia’s threats through disinformation have increased, especially since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.

‘Russia is now openly acting as a revisionist power, actively seeking to disrupt the European security architecture and expand its influence in Europe. Its threats are evident, as seen in the invasion of Ukraine, but also in its growing use of disinformation, support for pro-Russian regimes, and the proliferation of propaganda.’ – Nesho argues.

He further explains that NATO’s preventive measures are necessary in response to the current situation.

‘Amid Russia’s hybrid warfare, the West is actively taking measures to prevent this subversive activity by establishing specialized centers to counter it. The recently opened center in Finland, as well as those in Albania, Georgia, and other locations, are critical steps to block Russia’s subversive activities and to ensure the stability of the European security architecture.’– stated Agim Nesho, Albania’s former ambassador to the United Nations (1996-2005).

False allegations by Russia against the North Atlantic Alliance, aimed at disseminating Russian propaganda and fostering anti-NATO sentiments, continue unabated. These claims have escalated since Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Some of these narratives, distorted by factual inaccuracies, are also reiterated in Zakharova’s statement, such as the assertion that NATO is exhibiting aggression towards Russia, its actions pose a threat to Russia, or that its operations indicate the Alliance is not purely defensive.


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