The “Russia” report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament provides an in-depth analysis of the perceived threats and challenges posed by Russia to the UK. Here are the key points:
- Introduction and Russia’s Intentions: The report highlights that Russia, despite its economic weakness, heavily resources its intelligence services and armed forces, which are disproportionately large and powerful. Russia is seen as a threat, using its apparent weaknesses to its advantage. Its substantive aims are relatively limited: it wishes to be seen as a resurgent ‘great power’ and to ensure that the privileged position of its leadership clique is not damaged. The UK is considered one of Russia’s top Western intelligence targets, likely due to the UK’s close relationship with the US and its central role in the Western anti-Russian lobby (Pages 1-2).
- Cyber Threats: Russia is identified as a sophisticated player in cyber warfare. The UK has led the response to these threats, with a new approach to attribution and the development of offensive cyber capabilities. The report also discusses international actions against cyber threats (Pages 5-7).
- Disinformation and Influence: The report discusses Russia’s use of disinformation and influence as a ‘hot potato’. It also covers the UK’s Defending Democracy programme and the use of political advertising on social media. A case study on the EU referendum is also included (Pages 9-12).
- Russian Expatriates: The report discusses the UK’s relationship with Russian oligarchs and the risks faced by Russians in the UK (Pages 15-17).
- Allocation of Effort: The report examines the coverage of the Russian threat in the UK’s intelligence community and questions whether the UK government took its eye off the ball in terms of the Russian threat. It also discusses future resourcing (Pages 19-23).
- Strategy, Co-ordination and Tasking: The report discusses the cross-Whitehall Russia Strategy, ministerial responsibility, the Fusion Doctrine and joint working, and the intelligence contributions to the Russia Strategy (Pages 25-27).
- A Hard Target: The report discusses the unique challenges posed by Russia and how the UK is rising to meet these challenges (Pages 29-30).
- Legislation: The report discusses counter-espionage, tackling crime, and protecting democracy (Pages 33-36).
- International Partnerships: The report discusses the UK’s work with international partners, the international response to the Salisbury attack, and Russia’s attempts to seek alliances (Pages 37-39).
- Engagement with Russia: The report discusses Russian disengagement and the purpose of communication with Russia (Page 41).
The report also includes an annex with greater detail on the points raised and further rationale for the judgements reached, which is not published due to the current Russian threat (Page 2).