Intelligence and Security Committee Russia report

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The redacted Russia report was publicly released on 21 July 2020 by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

"The Russia report" is the report of the British Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) into allegations of Russian interference in British politics, including alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.[1] The committee completed the report in March 2019 and it was published in July 2020, after claims were made that delays to its publication were due to government machinations.


The inquiry began in November 2017, and a 50-page report was completed in March 2019.[2] The report thereafter went through a process of redaction by intelligence and security agencies and was sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 17 October 2019.[2]

Expert witnesses[edit]

The committee used the following external expert witnesses.[3]

Publication delay[edit]

Johnson's government refused to release the report to the public before the general election in December 2019.[4] In November, Christopher Pincher, a junior minister at the Foreign Office, said "it is not unusual for a review of ISC reports to take some time" after Emily Thornberry, opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, said the decision not to publish was unjustifiable.[5] A number of legal actions were begun to try to force the government to publish the report: one brought by the widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and another by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.[6][7]

The Prime Minister approved its release on 13 December 2019, the day after the general election.[8] Johnson pledged in Prime Minister's Questions in February 2020 that the report would be released, but said it could not be released until the Intelligence and Security Committee (which disbanded following the dissolution of parliament ahead of the election) was reconstituted; a former chair of the committee, Dominic Grieve, said that this was an "entirely bogus" reason for delaying publication.[2] Grieve had earlier said that the time between approval of release and publication was typically 10 days.[9]

By June 2020, the report had still not been released, and the Intelligence and Security Committee had not been convened, the longest gap since the committee's creation in 1994.[10] This prompted a cross-party group of 30 MPs to urge the committee to be reconstituted and the report to be published, writing that serious issues of "transparency and integrity" of the democratic process were raised by the withholding of the report.[10]

Publication and content[edit]

The report was published on 21 July 2020 and was not expected to name individuals and parts of the report were classified due to their sensitive intelligence material and subsequently censored. An uncensored report was available on an "eyes only" basis.[11]


According to the report, there is substantial evidence that Russian interference in British politics is commonplace.[12][13]

The report describes the United Kingdom as one of Russia's "top targets" and said it is "seen as central to the Western anti-Russian lobby".[14]

The committee found no evidence that Russian interference had affected the Brexit referendum, since the government had not authorised any investigation into that matter, due to the fact that any such attempt was not within the purview of British intelligence services; any such actions by the security services themselves could be seen as interference, itself undermining democracy.[citation needed] However, the report did discover evidence that the 2014 Scottish independence referendum had been interfered with, to influence the vote in favour of Scottish independence.[15][16][17]


The content of the report was described by the Russian government as "fake-shaped Russophobia".[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harper, Caroline; Kerbaj, Richard; Wheeler, Tom (17 November 2019). "Revealed: the Russia report". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Russia report: When can we expect it to be published?". BBC News. 7 February 2020.
  3. ^ Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (21 July 2020). Report on 'Russia'. p. 44.
  4. ^ "U.K. Delays Russian Interference Report Until After Election". Time. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  5. ^ "UK accused of withholding report on Russian meddling to spare embarrassment". Reuters. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  6. ^ Reuters (15 November 2019). "Russian meddling report – dissident's widow goes to law". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Bureau of Investigative Journalism fundraises to take the UK Government to court over Russian Report". Mousetrap Media. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Notice on 17 December 2019". Intelligence and Security Committee. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  9. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (6 November 2019). "Boris Johnson 'blocked release of Russia report against advice of intelligence agencies'". The Independent. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b Mattha Busby (20 June 2020). "Russia report: UK MPs condemn 'utterly reprehensible' delay". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Corera, Gordon (21 July 2020). "Long-awaited report to detail Russian threat to UK". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  12. ^ Castle, Stephen; Landler, Mark (21 July 2020). "'No One' Protected British Democracy From Russia, U.K. Report Concludes". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  13. ^ Neilan, Cat (21 July 2020). "Politics latest news: Russian attempts to influence UK politics are the 'new normal', report claims". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  14. ^ "UK 'top target' for Russia, says report". BBC News. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Russia report: Call for inquiry after ISC finds 'credible' evidence of attempt to influence 2014 Scottish independence referendum". 21 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Russia Report Reveals Interference in Scottish Independence Referendum". 21 July 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Russia report LIVE: Downing Street rejects call to examine Brexit referendum claims". Sky News. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  18. ^ "UK 'actively avoided' investigating Russian threat". BBC News. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Russian influence in the UK is the 'new normal,' widely anticipated report claims". ABC News. Retrieved 21 July 2020.

External links[edit]