Spain says it has evidence of Russian interference in the Catalan referendum

The authorities of Spain have reported intervention by groups from Russia during the referendum on Catalan independence in order to destabilize the Spanish state. Deutsche Welle reports that the country’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers made a statement on this topic on Monday, November 13 in Brussels.

They stressed that Spain has evidence that public and private groups in Russia and Venezuela, used Twitter, Facebook and other social networks and websites as part of a large-scale campaign to promote separatist ideas and influence public opinion on the eve of the October 1 referendum organized by the Catalan authorities.

In particular, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis pointed out that Madrid had discovered fake profiles on social networks, half of which were created in Russia, and 30 percent in Venezuela. According to Dastis, these accounts were created to disseminate information that exaggerated the advantages of Catalonia's separation from Spain. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that he raised this issue in a dialogue with the Russian authorities. The head of the Spanish Defense Ministry, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, stressed that the groups in question are trying to achieve instability in Europe, and that Spaniards' duty is to make this information public.

While attending the meeting in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said that according to various reports, Russia has made attempts to interfere in the domestic political processes in several countries. The Alliance accuses Moscow of using information warfare and disinformation strategies to divide the West and disrupt its unity in the matter of economic sanctions against the Kremlin.

The leaders of the separatist movement of Catalonia have denied Russian influence on the outcome of the vote. Moscow also does not recognize any involvement in intervention in the democratic processes in Spain.

  Catalonia, Spain, Russia