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Dalla Russia 300 milioni a partiti stranieri in 20 Paesi
Russia spent millions in secret global political campaign, U.S. official says
Russia has funneled at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates since 2014 to shape political events beyond its borders, according to a U.S. review.
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.
The senior official said the U.S. government detected an uptick in Russian covert political financing in 2014. The review did not address Russian activities within the United States.
Assessments by both U.S. spy agencies and a bipartisan Senate investigation concluded that Russia under President Vladimir Putin launched a campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to assist then-candidate Donald Trump.
The publication of details about the Kremlin’s alleged political influence campaign comes as the United States expands its military support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, now in its seventh month.
Since early this year the White House has taken the unusual step of repeatedly releasing declassified intelligence related to Moscow’s intentions and actions related to Ukraine, part of an attempt to push back on Putin’s ambitions there and counteract what U.S. officials have described as Russian disinformation operations.
A State Department démarche Monday to 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 cable, which officials provided to reporters, said that Russian political financing was sometimes overseen by Russian government officials and legislators, and had been executed by bodies including Russia’s Federal Security Service.
The démarche also named Russian oligarchs it said were involved in “financing schemes,” including Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Aleksandr Babakov.
Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef” after making vast sums in Russian government catering contracts, was charged by U.S. officials in 2018 with attempting to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections. He has been linked to the private military firm Wagner and is wanted by the FBI.
Babakov is a Russian lawmaker allegedly involved in a financing a far-right party in France.
Moscow has used cryptocurrency, cash and gifts to shape political events in other countries, often employing accounts and resources of Russian embassies to do so, the cable said.
La Russia ha speso milioni per una campagna politica globale segreta, rileva l’intelligence statunitense