WASHINGTON – Russia has secretly provided at least $300 million to political parties, officials and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014, and plans to transfer hundreds of millions more, with the aim of exerting political influence and influencing elections, according to one country. Department summary of the latest US intelligence review.
“The Kremlin and its proxies diverted these funds in an attempt to shape foreign political environments in favor of Moscow,” the document said. “The United States will use official channels of communication with targeted countries to exchange information that remains classified about Russian activities targeting their political environments,” she added.
The State Department document was sent in a telegram to US embassies around the world on Monday to summarize talking points for US diplomats in conversations with foreign officials.
State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed at a press conference on Tuesday that the findings regarding Russia were the result of the work of US intelligence agencies. He added that Russian interference in the elections was an “assault on sovereignty”, similar to Russia’s war on Ukraine. “In order to combat this, we have to shine a light on it in many ways,” he said.
The State Department cable and the release of some intelligence findings amount to an initial attempt by the Biden administration to use intelligence materials to expose the scope of Russian interference in global political processes and elections, and to rally other nations to help fight it.
US intelligence agencies have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald J. Trump, the Republican candidate who defeated Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Her methods included the use of electronic processes to spread misinformation over the Internet. US intelligence officials also found that Russian President Vladimir Putin campaign authorized For trying to damage the nomination of Joseph Biden Jr. when he ran for president against Trump in 2020.
Global operations are carried out by a group of Russian agencies and individuals, including the Federal Security Service and other security agencies, as well as business figures, the new document says.
The document is called two men, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Alexander Babakov, both close to Mr. Putin, are involved in influence or interference campaigns. In April, the Department of Justice charged Mr. Babakov, who is also a Russian lawmaker, and two other Russian nationals with conspiracy to violate US sanctions and conspiracy to commit visa fraud while running a “network of international foreign influence and disinformation to further Russia’s interests.”
The document said the Russians are paying with cash, cryptocurrency, electronic money transfers and generous gifts. They move funds through a wide variety of institutions to protect financing assets, a practice called the use of cut-outs. These include foundations, think tanks, organized crime groups, political consultancies, shell companies and Russian state-owned companies.
The document said the money was also secretly provided through the accounts and resources of the Russian embassy.
The document said that the Russian ambassador in one of the Asian countries provided millions of dollars in cash to a presidential candidate. US agencies have also found that Russia has used bogus contracts and bogus companies in several European countries in recent years to give money to political parties.
“Some of Russia’s secret political financing methods are particularly prevalent in certain parts of the world,” the document said. She added, “Russia has relied on state-owned enterprises and large corporations to secretly move money across a number of regions including Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and on particularly active think tanks and institutions across Europe.”
The document said that as of last year, a Russian businessman had been trying to use pro-Russian think tanks in Europe to support far-right nationalist parties. The document warned that in the coming months, Russia could use its “covert influence toolkit,” including covert political financing, across vast swathes of the world to try to undermine US-led sanctions on Russia and “maintain its influence in those sanctions.” regions amid its ongoing war in Ukraine.”
Although US intelligence agencies have been studying Russian interference and influence in global elections for years, the intelligence review was ordered by senior administration officials this summer, US officials said. Some of the findings were recently declassified so they can be shared widely. A US official said the review did not address Russian election interference, which intelligence agencies have been examining in other investigations.
Officials say one of the goals of the US campaign to reveal details about Russian political interference and influence is to… Strengthening Democratic Flexibility Around the world, a pillar of President Biden’s foreign policy. Administration officials focus on ensuring that countries that participated in last year’s Democracy Summit, which Biden held in Washington, can support their own democracies. The administration plans to hold a second summit soon.
The State Department summary listed actions the United States and partner countries could take to mitigate Russia’s political interference campaigns, including imposing economic sanctions and travel bans on known “financial enablers” and “influencers.”
The department also recommended countries to coordinate intelligence sharing, improve foreign investment screening, strengthen foreign funding investigation capabilities for political parties and campaigns, and enforce and expand foreign agent registration rules.
She said governments should also expel Russian intelligence officers found to be involved in related clandestine financing operations.
In the summary, the State Department said it urges governments to guard against clandestine political funding “not only by Russia, but also by China and other countries that imitate this behaviour.”
Julian E. Barnes Contribute to the preparation of reports.