International

Russia spent over $300M in effort to influence world politics, US officials say

Vladimir Smirnov/TASS News Agency Host Pool Photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 7, 2022.

Russia has provided at least $300 million to political parties and political leaders since 2014 in a covert attempt to influence foreign politics, the U.S. State Department alleges. 

Multiple news outlets reported that a cable released by the State Department reveals that Russia has likely spent at least hundreds of millions more on parties and officials who are sympathetic to Russia. 

The cable was sent to American embassies internationally on Monday to summarize talking points for U.S. diplomats when speaking to foreign officials, The New York Times reported. Many of the embassies are located in Europe, Africa and South Asia, according to The Associated Press. 

The AP reported that Russia used front organizations to send money to preferred causes or politicians. The organizations include think tanks in Europe and state-owned entities in Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. 

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing on Tuesday that Russia’s election meddling is an “assault on sovereignty.” 

“It is an effort to chip away at the ability of people around the world to choose the government that they see best fit to represent them, to represent their interests, to represent their values,” he said. 

Price said the department’s responsibility is to expose what it knows to put a spotlight on Russia’s efforts. He said officials are discussing Russia’s tactics privately in diplomatic and intelligence circles and sharing practices for how to end Russia’s meddling. 

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that their concern is not regarding any single country but the entire world as “we continue to face challenges against democratic societies.” 

The spokesperson said the U.S. will continue to work with its allies to expose Russia’s influence efforts and help other countries defend themselves against the influencing. 

The spokesperson declined to provide the cable, saying that the department will not get into specific intelligence information. 

Intelligence assessments have determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in spreading disinformation online that was designed to help then-candidate Donald Trump over his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Russia also tried to help Trump in his reelection battle against President Biden in 2020.

Tags Donald Trump Ned Price russia Russia foreign influence Russian election interference Russian interference state department
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