Austria Deploys Crisis Anti-Propaganda Digital Team to Counter Coronavirus Fake News – What Should Other Governments Do?

Currently, a majority of nations around the globe are battling the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is another battle that needs rapid attention and response. It is the cyber battle around fake news and misinformation. Russia and China have been busy spreading misinformation such as the false statements from Chinese government representatives that the US brought coronavirus to Wuhan, China.

Austria is a Hot Bed for Spies

This week, the government of Austria announced an arrest warrant has been issued for Igor Egorovich Zaytsev.  Zaytsev was a GRU officer and an alleged handler of an Austrian Colonel. The recruitment allegedly had taken place 30 years ago. Zaytsev is currently 65 years old and the yet unnamed Austrian Colonel is in his 70s. The allegations against Zaytsev and his source are pertaining to payments being provided in exchange for sensitive information about Austrian military and weapons systems. Zaytsev’s military rank has yet to be disclosed, but given his 30 years of service, it could be opined that he would at least be a Colonel, and possibly a General.

European Roundup: News, Notes, and New National Elections

Austria:

The country’s youngest-ever Chancellor officially became it’s shortest-serving, and the first since the war to be brought down by a vote of no-confidence on Monday. Already headed for snap elections in the fall, the move was largely seen as necessary by the newly-enlarged opposition to avoid giving Sebastian Kurz an advantage. If Austrians were cross with Kurz, they sure didn’t show it on Sunday. His People’s Party (ÖVP) gained two seats, at the expense of his now-former coalition partners, the Freedom Party (FPÖ), and Greens.

Russia Scandal Brings Down Government in Austria

“Enough is enough!” Those were all the words necessary Saturday for Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to explain why he was taking the country to early elections. His center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) would be pulling out of a governing coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ). “I am not in politics to hold this office,” the Chancellor said in his announcement, “but to work for our beautiful country.” The President, Alexander Van der Bellen, has not yet set a date for the election, but condemned the “bold disrespect to the citizens of our country” which precipitated it.