According to US intelligence services, Russia has poured huge sums of money into influencing foreign elections in recent years.
Several US media outlets, including the Washington Post and CNN, reported on Tuesday, citing a senior US government official, that Russia had been undercover since 2014. More than $300 million Foreign political parties and candidates in two dozen countries were paid to influence local politics.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by the Secret Service. The government decided to make parts of the investigation public against Russia’s conduct.
A senior US government official told the AFP news agency that the more than 300 million was “the tip of the iceberg”. A government representative said Russia probably “secretly transferred a large amount of money that was never traced.”
Concerned countries should now be notified
The countries are not specified. Concerned countries will be informed.
Among other things, the Russian ambassador allegedly made several million dollars available to a presidential candidate in an unspecified Asian country. A source familiar with the report’s findings also said Russia spent about half a million dollars to support the Albanian Democratic Party in the 2017 election.
Accordingly, funding was allegedly given to parties or candidates in Bosnia, Montenegro and Madagascar. According to the source, Russia has used Brussels, the Belgian capital and EU headquarters, as a hub for foundations supporting far-right candidates.
This is how the flow of money is said to be hidden
The country is accused of sending large sums of money to the Russian embassy in Ecuador from 2014 to 2017 – apparently with the intention of influencing elections. Russia used fictitious contracts and shell companies in Europe and channeled secret funds directly into Central America, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
At times, Russia has sent cash, but also cryptocurrencies and “luxurious” gifts, it said.
The US official was quoted as saying: “With Russian covert political funding and efforts to subvert democratic processes, we are making it clear to these foreign parties and candidates that we will expose them when they secretly accept Russian money.”
According to an internal report from the US State Department to US embassies around the world, Russia is pursuing a dual strategy: on the one hand it wants to promote the victory of preferred candidates, but on the other hand it wants to gain influence inside. Political parties.
“The hidden ties between these parties and their Russian backers undermine the integrity of democratic institutions and public trust in those institutions,” it said.
After Russia began invading Ukraine on February 24, US President Joe Biden’s administration requested a report on Russian influence on the policies of other countries.
A US official said it was part of Biden’s “democracy summit”, which he launched after his election victory over his predecessor Donald Trump. This report does not deal with the situation in the United States.
Allegations of interference are not new
The United States has long accused Russia of meddling in US elections: According to the US Secret Service, Russia supported then-US President Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential election and sought to undermine his challenger, Joe Biden.
Russia descends Wrong information It focused on, but unlike the 2016 election, did not directly attempt to undermine the electoral infrastructure in the United States. U.S. security officials believed Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in favor of candidate Trump to slow Democrat Hillary Clinton’s momentum.
In recent months, the U.S. government has repeatedly made public secret service information about Russia to increase pressure on Moscow — particularly with regard to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
Fierce in Italy ahead of parliamentary elections: A quick explanation is needed
A US intelligence report on Russia’s attempts to use large sums of money to influence foreign elections has caused a stir in Italy. A week and a half before parliamentary elections, many politicians on Wednesday called for a swift clarification of the cause.
In the Mediterranean country, some parties and politicians have had good relations with Moscow in recent years. An estimate by the U.S. Secret Service that Russia has secretly paid more than $300 million to foreign parties and candidates since 2014 has alarmed some officials in Rome.
Italy is currently not known to be affected
“At the moment there are no reports that Italy has been affected,” Adolfo Urso, head of the Parliament’s investigative committee (Copacir), told Rai3. However, all parties asked Gobasir and the government to seek further intelligence in the case.
“We must have clarity before the elections,” said Enrico Letta, leader of the Social Democratic Party. If the involvement of Italian parties or politicians is revealed, this will have a major impact on the election.
The right-wing populist Lega has maintained close ties to Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin for years, and key politicians from the Five Star Movement have repeatedly shown their close ties to Moscow. Lega boss Matteo Salvini immediately dismissed the reports when they became known.
“I have not asked or received any money, rubles, euros, dinars or dollars from Russia,” he said in a radio interview: “Every time, ten days before the elections, it’s funny to see such fake news.”
More recently, the center-right camp was clearly ahead in the polls. The post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia was clearly the strongest party in this coalition; Their boss Georgia Maloney has the best chance of becoming the new Prime Minister.
Unlike Lega boss Salvini, Meloni has always been clearly anti-Russia in recent months. “I am convinced that Fratelli d’Italia does not take funds from abroad,” he said on Wednesday. (dpa/AFP)
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