Eric Denece – leader of the “independent” French think tank that sings along to Russian narratives

The project Shady Horses delves into investigating Russian propaganda dissemination within Western countries through prominent individuals, often referred to as “talking heads.” By analysing the influence and messaging of these figures, the project seeks to shed light on the tactics employed to spread Russian narratives, their impact on public opinion, and their potential connections to foreign organisations.

Who is this Shady Horse?

Eric Denece, Director of the French Centre for Intelligence Research

Where are they from?


At the beginning of Eric Denece’s career (Ph.D. in political science), he worked as an officer-analyst in the assessment and strategic documentation department at the General Secretariat of the French Ministry of Defence. Later, he held key positions in defence enterprises, founded and led the economic intelligence agency ARGOS, and headed a specialised department at the GEOS group, which specialises in security services.

Denece is the founder and director of the economic intelligence department of the GEOS group and was the director of research at the Centre for Strategic Studies and Prospects (CEPS), an independent think tank. He is also the director of the French Centre for Intelligence Research (CF2R), a private think tank he founded in 2000.

In January 2022, Denece refuted accusations against Russia for preparing a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. At that time, he claimed that Russia’s aggressive actions were a fabrication used by NATO to deploy more equipment along the Ukrainian-Russian border. He claimed in March 2022 that the “Zelensky-led” Ukrainian government bore a degree of accountability at least equal to that of the Russians in the ongoing war for the problems the Ukrainian people were experiencing.

Eric Denece leads an analytical centre with influence in French political circles. However, the operations of this centre are focused not on genuine analysis but rather on echoing Kremlin narratives to the French audience.

The dissemination of “alternative truths” under the guise of “objective analysis” is a dangerous tactic supported by puppet think tanks like CF2R, spreading Russian disinformation to Western audiences.

What have they been saying?

We are provided with very incomplete information about the conflict. What is even more dangerous is that the two main instigators—the Ukrainian regime and the United States – are being absolved of genuine high responsibility.

Today, the facts are presented so that one might think that Putin is to blame for everything. In reality, the responsibility lies with the U.S., pushing the Ukrainian regime to provoke Russia, and with the Ukrainian regime, enticing Putin into this trap to discredit him.

Before “re-establishing ties,” as the Ukrainian leader is doing, the people have the right to expect apologies from him for the Ukrainian regime becoming one of the sources of this conflict and ultimately subjecting its people to what it is exposed to.

Similarly, if Russia clearly attacked Ukraine at the beginning of 2022, it did so following a long process of American provocations (refusal to suspend the extension of NATO to the East, refusal to negotiate with Moscow a new security architecture in Europe) and Ukrainian provocations (launching of the offensive in the Donbas on 17 February). Washington knew that Ukraine was a “red line” for the Russians and that they would react. The United States is therefore just as responsible for this conflict as Moscow.

Therefore, to say that today Russian propaganda is raging is to smile. While it is undeniable that Moscow seeks to present the facts to its advantage, its actions have nothing in common with the real information war machine implemented by the Americans and the Ukrainians. For the first time in history, “democracies” lie and misinform more than authoritarian regimes, whether we like it or not. 

Ukraine plays the role of a breeding ground for right-wing radicals in Europe. Those eager to see a democratic revolution in Maidan were deeply mistaken. In the desire to blame Russia for all sins, we failed to notice the actual state of affairs.

Today, the Islamic State has become a hotbed of radical Islamism, while Ukraine serves as a magnet for European right-wing radicals after Maidan.

The West encouraged and supported this government overthrow, disregarding the values and rules it claims to uphold worldwide. The regime that established itself in Kyiv immediately began to oppress the Russian-speaking population of Donbas, while Americans and Europeans turned a blind eye.

Not all the aid allocated by the United States reaches Ukraine. The Kyiv authorities redirect a significant portion of what arrives in Ukraine to mafia networks, and this weaponry then finds its way to various theatres of military operations, notably in Central Africa.