Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)

Profile: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI; English French Institute of International Relations)

1- Name of NGO:

Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI; English French Institute of International Relations)

2- Brief & Mission:

The French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) is a renowned think tank located in Paris, France, specializing in international affairs. Founded in 1979 by Thierry de Montbrial, IFRI serves as a platform for decision-makers and researchers to engage in research and discourse on significant global issues. While IFRI’s objective is to address a wide range of international topics, there have been claims that it seeks to influence European public opinion by fostering a positive perception of Russian politics and policies, as well as promoting respect for Russia’s aspirations as a major power. It is worth noting that IFRI is recognized as one of the most influential think tanks in Western Europe. However, despite reports of financial support from Gazprom, the annual reports of IFRI do not explicitly mention Gazprom as a member organization or a partner.

IFRI’s goal is to shift European public opinion towards a positive view of Russian politics and policies and towards respect for its great power ambitions. . In light of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine and concerns over the militarisation of the country under President Vladimir Putin, the overt or covert support for GONGOs, NGOs and think tanks in the EU must become a matter of concern to the EU.

They tend to focus on Russian speakers abroad; some of them provide grants to promote the spread of Russian culture and political ideas. 

The Kremlin wanted its own narrative that sat in opposition to democratic values and human rights, and its model of the ‘Russian world’ played its role as an ideological tool to counter the Western narrative.

These NGOs undermine the national security of the EU member states, have a negative effect on the integration of society, and damage political transitions and civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

For over 40 years, Ifri has been a prominent actor in analyzing and anticipating international matters. The chair of IFRI, Thierry de Montbrial, is well known for his support of Putin’s Russia. It has been observed that the Kremlin has sought to establish an alternative narrative that opposes democratic values and human rights, using its concept of the ‘Russian world’ as an ideological tool to counter the Western narrative. There are claims that Ifri promotes Russian policies and safeguards Russian interests, with approximately fifty permanent or associated researchers addressing various cross-cutting or regional issues. Moreover, there is a tendency within Ifri to concentrate on matters related to Russian speakers abroad, and some researchers associated with Ifri reportedly offer grants to support the dissemination of Russian culture and political ideas.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

There have been claims from various sources asserting that the Institute actively promotes the foreign policy objectives of Russia, as its agenda closely corresponds to the policies of the Russian government. 

5- Sources of Funding:

IFRI is financed by Gazprom despite not being mentioned as a member organization or a partner in its annual reports. 

6- Activities:

There have been reports that the think tank organizes conferences that cater to the interests of Gazprom. These conferences have seen the attendance of notable figures such as Putin, Medvedev, and former Ukrainian President Yanukovych, alongside other VIPs who have pro-Russian affiliations. It is worth noting that Thierry de Montbrial, the chair of IFRI, has been known for his support of Putin’s Russia.

7- NGO Leadership:

Thomas Gomart is the Director of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI). He is recognized as an expert in Russian affairs.

8- Controversy:

There are concerns raised about IFRI’s impact on the national security of EU member states, as well as its potential negative influence on societal integration and political transitions in Eastern Partnership countries. The attendance of notable figures such as Putin, Medvedev, and former Ukrainian President Yanukovych, alongside other individuals with pro-Russian affiliations, at IFRI conferences has been noted. It is suggested that NGOs and think tanks in the EU should be a matter of concern for the European Union.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:www-ifri-org
  • Address:France
  • Email: accueil@ifri.org

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The institution has been labeled as blacklisted because of its associations with Russian governments.

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