Russian Trace in the Catalonian Referendum: Is a ‘Spanish Spring’ Possible? | Jamestown

Indeed, it would be extremely difficult to prove that the “Russian trace” played any decisive factor in events in Catalonia. What is obvious, however (though utterly ignored by European elites), is that the “Russian World” is spreading its influence all across the EU. Despite its geographic remoteness from Russia, Spain should be seen as one of Moscow’s prime targets (see EDM, September 2, 2015; March 6, 2017). Pro-Russian/Soviet sentiments (usually confused) are quite strong in this Mediterranean country due to a frequent local misreading of the role of the Soviet Union in World War II. Additionally, Soviet symbols are widespread in Catalonia, especially in major universities permeated by leftist/anti-American sentiments. Thanks to the Russian World Foundation (and the Embassy of Russia), one of the largest European universities, the University of Granada (80,000 students), has opened a “Russian Center” to “spread ‘knowledge’ about Russia among Spaniards” (Russkiymir.ru, May 22, 2015). Similar centers are active in Madrid and Barcelona. Moreover, this year, the Russian diaspora in Spain organized massive May 9 commemorations (marking the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany) in Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia, Tenerife, the Canary Islands and Majorca (RIA Novosti, May 3).

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Russian Trace in the Catalonian Referendum: Is a ‘Spanish Spring’ Possible? | Jamestown