The State Department claims in a recently disclosed cable that Russia has secretly spent more than $300 million since 2014 to attempt to influence lawmakers and other authorities in more than two dozen nations.
The cable made public on Tuesday references a fresh intelligence assessment of Russia’s clandestine activities throughout the world supporting regimes and political groups that favour Moscow.
While the cable does not specifically mention any Russian objectives, it does state that some nations are receiving sensitive material from the United States.
The Biden administration has been working to declassify information regarding Moscow’s military and political objectives since initial, accurate predictions that Russia would start a new war against Ukraine.
Many of President Joe Biden’s top national security advisers had been in government when Russian President Vladimir Putin started massive attempts to influence the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections, and they have a wealth of expertise fending against Moscow.
When asked how much money Russia is thought to have invested in Ukraine—where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top lieutenants have long accused Putin of interfering in internal politics—a senior government official refused to comment.
The official brought up claims of Russian interference in recent elections in Bosnia, Montenegro, and Albania—all nations in Eastern Europe that have historically been subject to Moscow’s sway.
The cable claims that Russia’s covert influence includes utilising front groups to send money to desired causes or politicians, in contrast to foreign governments’ open attempts to push for favoured policies.
That includes state-owned businesses throughout Central America, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa as well as think tanks in Europe.
In the past, the U.S. has also secretly supported political organisations and been involved in initiatives to overthrow or weaken other governments.
According to administration guidelines, the person briefed reporters under the condition of anonymity and denied attempts to draw similarities between Russian actions and recent U.S. funding of political and media campaigns.
The person said that Putin was investing enormous money “in an effort to control democracies from the inside.”
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, described Russia’s secret financing as “an attack on sovereignty.”
The capacity of individuals to choose the governments they believe are most suited to serve them, their interests, and their beliefs is being undermined, he said.
An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by the Russian embassy in Washington.
The State Department took the rare step of making public a diplomatic cable that was issued on Monday outlining the concerns to several American embassies and consulates overseas, many of which were in Europe, Africa, and South Asia.
The cable, which was not classified but was designated “sensitive” and not meant for foreign audiences, featured a list of talking points that U.S. ambassadors were told to bring up with their host countries in relation to potential Russian meddling.
Sanctions, travel restrictions, and the disclosure of covert funding are among the actions that ambassadors were instructed to advocate.
The document states that intelligence authorities think Russia intended to send “at least hundreds of millions more” funds to politicians and groups throughout the globe who support it.
The $300 million sum wasn’t determined by intelligence authorities, according to the cable. Additionally, it doesn’t address worries that Russia or other enemies would attempt to meddle in American politics once again.
Biden recently extended a national emergency declaration addressing the ongoing danger of foreign electoral influence, according to the official briefing reporters.
The official said, “We’re encouraging collaboration with our democratic colleagues. In order to improve both our domestic election security and our collective election security, we will also be discussing experiences learned.