WASHINGTON (Realist English). Russia has secretly funneled at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates in more than two dozen countries since 2014 in an attempt to shape political events beyond its borders, writes The Washington Post alluding to US intelligence data.
Moscow planned to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more as part of its covert campaign to weaken democratic systems and promote global political forces seen as aligned with Kremlin interests, according to the review, which the Biden administration commissioned this summer.
A senior U.S. official, who like other officials spoke to reporters Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, said the administration decided to declassify some of the review’s findings in an attempt to counter Russia’s ability to sway political systems in countries in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.
“By shining this light on Russian covert political financing and Russian attempts to undermine democratic processes, we’re putting these foreign parties and candidates on notice that if they accept Russian money secretly we can and we will expose it,” the official said.
Countries where such activities were identified included Albania, Montenegro, Madagascar and, potentially, Ecuador, according to an administration source familiar with the matter.
Officials pointed to one Asian country, which they declined to name, where they said the Russian ambassador gave millions of dollars in cash to a presidential candidate.
They said that Kremlin-linked forces have also used shell companies, think tanks and other means to influence political events, sometimes to the benefit of far-right groups.
A State Department démarche Mondayto U.S. embassies in more than 100 countries described the alleged Russian activities and suggested steps the United States and its allies can take to push back, including sanctions, travel bans or the expulsion of suspected Russian spies involved in political financing activities.
The report says that Moscow used cryptocurrency, cash and gifts to shape political events in other countries.