Growing Russian Interference Calls for Coordinated Response
On Dec. 1, Defense Secretary Mattis became the first Trump administration official to publicly confirm that the Kremlin continues to interfere in U.S. democracy, including in last month's midterm elections. Mattis has described Putin as a “slow learner,” but a new tracking project shows him to be an operator who has spent nearly two decades sharpening and deploying a set of asymmetric tools across the Atlantic.
The big picture: Election interference is just one part of Russia’s strategy. The Alliance for Securing Democracy has catalogued Kremlin fingerprints on over 400 incidents of interference in 42 countries. Beyond bots and troll farms, the toolbox includes information operations, cyberattacks, political subversion, strategic economic coercion and malign finance.
Russia's interference in Macedonia’s NATO accession efforts may seem unrelated to its malign finance campaign in Moldova, but deeper analysis shows these activities are part of a coordinated Kremlin effort to undermine democratic institutions throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. Rather than falling off after President Trump’s election in 2016, such efforts have continued apace, in a slow-burn destabilization strategy.