Diplomatic Bridge but Hybrid Fist: Italy’s Possible Approach towards Russia
Italy has traditionally enjoyed excellent relations and strong ties with Russia, especially when compared to other EU Member States. This is due to strong mutual economic interests, but also longstanding cultural and in part political ties. While this close relationship is viewed with suspicion from some capitals in Europe, it gives Rome an edge that could actually benefit EU-Russia relations. Italy is well positioned to be a mediator in EU-Russia relations, to help restore necessary dialogue and raise the level of trust. While doing so, Rome should be more aware and bolder in protecting its domestic civil society in its countering of non-conventional security threats coming from Moscow.