Russian influence in the UK and threat to security is the new normal

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According to a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on Russia, Russians with very close links to Putin are well integrated into the UK businesses, political and social scene – in ‘Londongrad’ in particular. The Committee said

“Yet few, if any, questions have been asked regarding the provenance of their considerable wealth and this ‘open door’ approach provided ideal mechanisms by which illicit finance could be recycled through the London ‘laundromat’. It is not just the oligarchs either – the arrival of Russian money has resulted in a growth industry of ‘enablers’: lawyers, accountants, and estate agents have all played a role, wittingly or unwittingly, and formed a “buffer” of Westerners who are de facto agents of the Russian state.”

The committee described Russia as ‘a highly capable cyber actor, employing organised crime groups to supplement its cyber skills’. The Committee added:

“Russia carries out malicious cyber activity to assert itself aggressively – for example, attempting to interfere in other countries’ elections. It has also undertaken cyber pre-positioning on other countries’ Critical National Infrastructure.” Given the immediate threat to UK national security, the Committee raised concerns there is no clear coordination of the numerous organisations across the UK intelligence community working on the issue.