Vladimir Putin's Russia increasingly poses a security risk to Europe as it has become more and more aggressive in recent years, especially since the annexation of Crimea and occupation of Donbas. Russia has also committed assassinations on European soil, including the attempted assassination of the Skripals and the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin. Most recently a Russian diplomat was suspected of bringing ricin to Prague to poison the mayor.

Putin also tries to disrupt and influence European politics by supporting far-right groups as well as individual politicians in various parties, and enticing former and current European politicians into top jobs in Russian companies. As a result, European governments are often reluctant to impose sanctions on Russia or take other tough measures to restrict the Kremlin because there are so many vested interests within Europe. 

A team of three journalists based in the UK, France and Austria, with decades of experience writing about Russia and international politics for major news outlets, conduct their investigation about the people in Europe who have promoted the Kremlin’s agenda, from supporting the breakup of the EU to pushing for the removal of sanctions on Russia. First articles for the project by Sarah Hurst are about a visit by British far right activist Tommy Robinson to Russia and a group of British academics who are “reframing Russia”. During the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing Putin and other authoritarian leaders try to strengthen their hand even further. 

Photocredit: Sarah Hurst, The Kremlin’s European Favourites

Team members

Sarah Hurst

Sarah Hurst is a freelance journalist based in the UK.

Sarah Hurst

Christo Grozev

Christo Grozev is an Austrian award-winning journalist and lead Russia investigator with Bellingcat

Tom Miles

Tom Miles is a freelance writer based in France and taking a break after 18 years with Reuters in Geneva, Beijing, Moscow, Hong Kong and Brussels. 

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.


support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.