Madrid believes Russian-based groups used online social media to heavily promote Catalonia’s independence referendum last month in an attempt to destabilize Spain, Spanish ministers said on Monday. Spain’s defense and foreign ministers said they had evidence that state and private-sector Russian groups, as well as groups in Venezuela, used Twitter, Facebook and other Internet sites to massively publicize the separatist cause and swing public opinion behind it in the run-up to the Oct. 1 referendum. Catalonia’s separatist leaders have denied that Russian interference helped them in the vote.
“What we know today is that much of this came from Russian territory,” Spanish Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal said of Russian-based internet support.
“These are groups that, public and private, are trying to influence the situation and create instability in Europe,” she told reporters at a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers in Brussels.
Asked if Madrid was certain of the accusations, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis, also at the meeting, said: “Yes, we have proof.”
Full Article: Spain sees Russian interference in Catalonia separatist vote.