In Washington, presented a study dedicated to the secret operations of Moscow in the last 20 years
Influential democratic Senator Ben Cardin introduced on Wednesday a report entitled “Asymmetric attack Putin on democracy in Russia and Europe: implications for U.S. national security”. The document of 200 pages, prepared by the staff of the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs, was the first major study of the strategies and tactics used by the Kremlin in the last two decades to intervene in the political processes in Europe and the United States.
“The threat emerged long before President trump came to power and will exist after, as his administration finishes its work, – said Senator Cardin when he introduced the report. – While President trump remains dormant, Mr. Putin has continued to improve its asymmetric Arsenal and to look for opportunities to…undermine democratic and international institutions created by the United States and Europe for the last 70 years.”
Ben Cardin was one of the sponsors of the Magnitsky Act, and last year achieved the approval in Congress of the “Act on counteracting Russian aggression through sanctions”. Under these legislative initiatives, the United States imposed visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials and officials involved in massive human rights violations, the dissemination of korruptsii and suppression of civil liberties.
The staff of the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs involved in the preparation of a new sanctions list, which the administration needs to be presented on 29 January this year: according to the requirements of the law, the so-called “Kremlin report” should include the names of the Russian oligarchs, members of the inner circle of Vladimir Putin, as well as the names of their family members and business partners that may be relevant to large-scale corrupt deals in Russia. On the same day should be declared on the introduction of new sanctions against Russian defense industry and security services.
In the last year, the US administration expanded sanctions lists that are associated with Russia approved the delivery of lethal weapons to Georgia and Ukraine, supporting NATO initiatives to strengthen European security. However, the authors of the new report believe that the United States can’t effectively counter “the Russian hybrid attack” due to the fact that the White house still has not officially formulated its position regarding Russia’s actions.
“Never before in American history such a clear threat to national security had not been so obviously ignored by the President of the United States, – stated in the preamble of the report. Without decisive US response (public) institutions and elections here and across Europe will remain vulnerable to aggressive and sophisticated… operations carried out by the Kremlin.”
“President trump should clearly be aware of the Russian threat, to organize a strong response of our government, and, as did other presidents in times of crises, to mobilize our country, acting together with the international coalition to address the threat and protect our values”, – said Senator Ben Cardin.
The authors of the report analyzed the actions of the government of Vladimir Putin, since 1999. The document mentioned the Second war in Chechnya and the apartment bombings in Russian cities, the remaining unsolved murders and attacks on journalists, human rights activists and the opposition, unprecedented pressure on nonprofits, the destruction of the free press and elections in Russia. Separate chapters are devoted to corruption, relations of the authorities with organized crime, the use of history, culture and religion to support the regime.
In this case, as believe the experts of the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs, the Kremlin continues to use techniques developed in the Soviet Union. The number is constantly used by the tools of Moscow – military intervention, cyber attacks, disinformation, support for radical political groups and parties, as well as the use of energy resources as a means of pressure.
“Mr. Putin prefers to use these asymmetric tools to achieve their goals because it acts with weak positions, burdened with a shattered economy, not the corresponding (global) standards of the army and a few allies on the world stage,” reads the report.
The authors of the study believe that in the post-Soviet States and some Eastern European countries, the Russian authorities tried to use the instruments of military pressure, as was the case in Georgia and Ukraine, to organize a coup, as in Montenegro, or acted by bribing politicians, as was the case in Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Everywhere a pretext for Russian intervention was the decision of the authorities of these countries to choose a Pro-Western path of development or to strengthen ties with NATO.
The report provides examples and hybrid attacks on the European countries, intervention in elections and referendums in the UK, Germany, Spain and France.
“Tactic used by Putin to undermine democracies abroad, was developed in Russia, and in the past two decades has been used against Russian citizens, the study says. – As a result – hundreds of billions of dollars have been stolen and gone abroad in that time, as an independent press, civil society, elections, political parties and the cultural field has podvergalis pressure and manipulation in order to suppress effective opposition to the regime of Putin.”
Some European countries, including the UK, Germany and France, managed to minimize Russian influence, the Kremlin officially warned about a possible hard response to the ongoing hybrid operation. So, believe the authors of the report, must act and the US administration.
The study contained more than 30 recommendations, which, according to democratic Senator Ben Cardin must be implemented immediately by the White house.
These include the establishment by the President of the United States interagency fire center, which would coordinate policy and production response to the Kremlin’s actions. The United States also needs to strengthen its assistance to allies in Europe and those countries that are not yet able to withstand the Russian financial, energy and information aggression. A model for the creation of a new international coalition would be the principles according to which was formed a global coalition to combat “Islamic state.”
One of the most effective tools the study’s authors believe disclosure of information about corruption in Russia.
“The U.S. Treasury Department must make public any data intelligence about corruption and personal condition of Mr. Putin’s hidden abroad, and together with our European allies to take steps in order to cut off Mr. Putin and members of his inner circle from accessing the global financial system”, – the document says.