US: Russia spent $300 million to covertly influence world politics

WASHINGTON: Russia has secretly spent more than $300 million since 2014 trying to influence politicians and other officials in more than two dozen countries, the US State Department alleges in a telegram. newly announced.
The cable released on Tuesday cited a new intelligence assessment of Russia’s covert global efforts to support policies and parties sympathetic to Moscow. The cable did not name specific Russian targets but said the US was providing classified information to select individual countries.
This is the latest attempt by the Biden administration to declassify intelligence on Moscow’s political and military goals, thereby providing an accurate final assessment of whether Russia will launch a new war. against Ukraine. Many Presidents Joe BidenTop national security officials have extensive experience against Moscow and served in the government when the President of Russia Vladimir Putin launched wide-ranging campaigns to influence the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections.
A senior administration official declined to say how much money Russia is believed to have spent in Ukraine, which President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top deputies have long accused. Putin interfere in domestic politics. The official noted allegations of Russian influence in recent elections in Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro, all Eastern European countries that have faced historic pressure from Moscow.
Unlike the claimed efforts of foreign governments to lobby for priority initiatives, Russia’s covert influence involves the use of front organizations to transfer money to political leaders. politicians or politicians take precedence, the cable alleges. That includes consulting organizations in Europe and state-owned enterprises in Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
Throughout its history, the United States has also secretly funded political groups and been responsible for efforts to overthrow or undermine foreign governments. The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under rules set by the administration, rejected comparisons between Russia’s activities and US funding of the media. communication and current political initiatives.
Putin spent huge sums “in an attempt to manipulate democracies from within,” the official said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price called Russia’s covert funding an “attack on sovereignty.”
“It is an attempt to eliminate the ability of people around the world to choose the governments they see best fit to represent them, represent their interests, and represent them,” he said. for their values.
The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The State Department took the unusual step of releasing a diplomatic cable sent Monday to multiple U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, including many in Europe, Africa and South Asia, causing concern.
The cable, marked “sensitive” and not intended for foreign audiences but unclassified, contains a series of points that US diplomats have been instructed to raise with host governments about alleged Russian interference. Among the steps the diplomats are said to be proposing include sanctions, travel bans and exposure to secret financing.
According to the cable, intelligence officials believe Russia planned to transfer “at least hundreds of millions of dollars more” in funding to sympathetic parties and officials around the world.
The statement did not say how intelligence officials came up with the $300 million total. It also does not address concerns that Russia or other adversaries might try to meddle in US politics again.
Reporters reporting the official briefing note that Biden recently extended a national emergency declaration addressing the continued threat of foreign election interference.
“We are promoting coordination with our democratic colleagues,” the official said. “And we will exchange lessons learned, all to improve our collective election security, as well as our election security at home.”
Josh Rudolph, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, who studies the financial influence of Russia and China, compared the White House’s decision to publish the new findings to the resolution of the two countries. secret Russian plans and intentions in the war in Ukraine.
“It makes a lot of sense because it helps Ukrainians to be ready to defend themselves and helps bring together Europeans to build an international coalition,” Rudolph said. “This can have all the same benefits but also negates the operation itself. If the target is voters, then what you essentially have to do is reach those voters and let them know what’s going on with them.”

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