Czech Republic hasn't given names of Dutch politicans allegedly paid to back Russia

THE HAGUE - The Czech Republic gave no names of Dutch politicians allegedly involved in the Russian disinformation campaign exposed by its intelligence service, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said in a letter to parliament. The Tweede Kamer will debate the matter this evening. 

The Czech Republic revealed last week that Russia was using pro-Russian politicians in several European countries to try and question the “territorial integrity, sovereignty, and freedom” of Ukraine in the run-up to the European Elections. The news site Voice of Europe played a vital role in the disinformation campaign, the country said. 

The Czech newspaper Denik N wrote that Russia has paid politicians to add propaganda to their campaigns. Russia approached politicians in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, and Hungary and also paid some of them, the newspaper wrote based on sources from within the Czech intelligence service. 

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, demanded a debate on the matter and asked the government to request more information from the Czech Republic. De Jonge said in his letter that the country could not comment on the names of politicians circulating in response to its revelations. The Dutch government will also not do so. That “does not serve national security” and goes against “the legal obligation to maintain confidentiality” of the Dutch intelligence service AIVD’s working methods, he said. 

De Jonge said that the AIVD is in contact with the Czech secret service. The two services exchange information “in the forms of questions and answers” where “necessary,” the Minister said. “You can trust that the AIVD will act in accordance with its role and task if this is necessary,” he said. 

PVV leader Geert Wilders was the one to demand a parliamentary debate on the Czech Republic’s revelation on behalf of the Tweede Kamer last week. “If this is true, then I want to know: who are they? I want to hear the story. Which parties are involved?” he said at the time, according to NOS. 

In the past, Wilders has spoken positively about the Voice of Europe website. He said he did not know Russia was using the site for propaganda. “That can happen. But fortunately, we never received a cent from anyone, directly or indirectly, from that country.” 

The Netherlands’ other far-right party, FvD, is also positive about the site, and its politicians - including leader Thierry Baudet and MEP Marcel de Graaff - often give comments to the Voice of Europe. There is so far no evidence that Moscow is influencing or paying the FvD, but other parliamentarians have pointed out that the FvD’s financial accounts are far from transparent. Last week, Baudet threatened to punch GroenLinks-PvdA parliamentarian Jesse Klaver if he asked about the financial accounts again. 

On Monday, Baudet posted on X that allegations of him or his party being bribed are nonsense. “Just out of interest: is there anyone here who actually believes that I - or FvD - have received bribes from Russia?”