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US report on Russia election interference shared with 100 nations to combat misinformation.

Russia Using Spies, Social Media, and State-Run Media to Undermine Elections Globally

Intelligence Assessment Reveals Moscow’s Efforts to Erode Public Faith in Democratic Elections

The United States has released a comprehensive intelligence assessment to over 100 countries, shedding light on Russia’s efforts to undermine the integrity of democratic elections worldwide. The report reveals that Moscow is employing a combination of spies, social media manipulation, and Russian state-run media to erode public confidence in democratic processes.

A Global Phenomenon with Senior Russian Government Involvement

The assessment states that this influence operation is a global phenomenon. It highlights that senior Russian government officials, including the Kremlin, perceive value in this type of operation and view it as effective. The report stresses that Russia’s success in amplifying disinformation during the 2020 U.S. election and the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged them to intensify their election influence operations.

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Success Breeds More

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that Russia’s success in manipulating the 2020 U.S. election has motivated them to escalate their efforts. The official emphasized that “success breeds more,” making it clear that the U.S. elections acted as a catalyst for Russia’s intensified election influence operations.

Combatting Moscow’s Influence

The release of this assessment comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Russia. The report acknowledges that Washington recognizes its own vulnerability to this threat, given that Russian actors spread disinformation during the 2020 U.S. election to undermine public confidence. To address this, the report recommends that countries take steps such as implementing sanctions, sharing information, expelling Russian spies, and imposing travel bans to mitigate Russian election interference.

Leading Culprit and Ongoing Operations

The report identifies Russia as the leading culprit conducting operations to undermine public faith in the conduct and results of elections. It highlights that between 2020 and 2022, Russia targeted at least 11 elections across nine democracies, including the United States, while also making “less pronounced” efforts in 17 other elections. The report provides examples of Russia’s tactics, such as the FSB security service secretly working to intimidate election workers and sabotage overseas voting in an unnamed European country’s 2020 election.

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China’s Involvement and Recommendations

While the report acknowledges that China has interfered in elections, it does not assess that China is currently using the same tactics as Russia. The report recommends that countries work together to counter Russian election interference through various means, including the implementation of sanctions, sharing information, and imposing travel bans on Russian actors.

It is crucial for democratic countries to address and counter these threats to ensure the integrity of their elections and the trust of their citizens.

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