Activities of Russian intelligence and security services present the largest threat to Latvia’s interests, according to the 2017 report of the Constitution Protection Bureau.
In it, the bureau mentions that Russian intelligence services work under cover of diplomatic services or from Russia’s territory. Interests of those services cover a wide range of matters: Latvia’s security policy, defensive capabilities and military sector are some of the priorities for Russian reconnaissance services, the bureau reports.
One positive aspect mentioned in the report states that the ability of western nations and Latvia’s society to recognize and critically assess Russian propaganda and influence from activities organized by pro-Russian organizations. This is important because Russia keeps developing complex influence operations, where cyber capabilities play a major role. One such practice is release of false news and use of cyber-attacks.
The report also mentions that Russia invests a great deal of resources in development of control over communication systems. Special services are able to tap into telephone conversations and control the flow of data if one of the callers is located in Russia or if both callers are outside of Russia, but the data stream is routed through Russia’s communication infrastructure.
Russia’s activities performed against Latvia in 2017 most often took the form of influence events in the information space, work with agents (including realization of policies associated with Russians living in Latvia), application of economic tools, and increased activities of special services in the cyber-space.
CPB mentions Russia’s created and controlled pseudo-academic and expert organizations as the most significant organizers of Russia’s influence in the Baltic region. One centre for such organizations, according to CPB, is Kaliningrad, where organizations like Russian Association of Baltic Research and Kaliningrad Blogpost were particularly active in 2017.