The United States on Friday released a US intelligence report sent to more than 100 countries that says Moscow is using spies, social media and Russian state media to undermine public confidence in the integrity of democratic elections in countries around the world.
“This is a worldwide phenomenon,” the report says. “Our information indicates that senior Russian government officials, including the Kremlin, see great potential in this type of operation and perceive it to be effective.”
A senior US State Department official, who spoke to Reuters reporters on condition of anonymity, said Russia had stepped up its election-influence operations after it managed to spread disinformation about the 2020 US election, and had similarly operated during the coronavirus pandemic. . “We see the American election as a catalyst,” he said.
Russian influence in Niger
After the July coup in Niger, the country continues to struggle with an unstable political situation. Meanwhile, Moscow is consolidating its influence here – among other things, by spreading disinformation. According to The Guardian, the activity of pro-Russian accounts has increased significantly.
That’s why Washington “recognizes its own vulnerability to this threat,” as the report says, adding that U.S. intelligence agencies have found that “Russian agents have disseminated information to undermine public confidence in the 2020 U.S. election.”
Russia is said to be using both overt and covert mechanisms, including influence networks and proxy servers controlled by Russian spy services.
The document was sent Wednesday via State Department cable to more than 100 US embassies in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, where it will be made available to host governments.
The report also mentions disinformation activities between 2020 and 2022, when Russia engaged in a “concerted effort” to undermine public confidence in at least 11 electoral contests in nine democratic states, including the US, according to The Guardian.
Another 17 democracies were reportedly targeted for “lighter” manipulation through less prominent methods, such as messaging and social media activity, that sought to spread the relevant narrative related to the integrity of the election.
The US government has reportedly already warned the countries affected by the cases, but the report does not mention specific countries.
The document represents Washington’s latest move to counter Moscow’s efforts to “sow instability” in democratic countries by portraying the elections as “dysfunctional and the resulting governments as illegitimate.”
The report recommends that countries work to mitigate Russian interference in elections through sanctions, information sharing, or the exposure and expulsion of Russian spies.
The Russian government has not yet responded to the report.