Russia has sent at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates to gain influence in more than two dozen countries since 2014.
A senior administration official said: “US intelligence estimates that these are minimal figures and that Russia may have secretly transferred additional funds in possible cases.”
“We think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
US intelligence did not make information about specific countries public. Earlier US officials have pointed to Bosnia and Ecuador as countries where Russia has directly intervened through its financial power.
In one of the most serious cases cited in the new assessment, US intelligence said the Russian ambassador to an unnamed Asian country provided millions of dollars to the presidential candidate.
In Europe, Russia has used fictitious contracts and shell companies to fund parties, while its state-owned companies have secretly funded directly in Central America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, the valuation said. Is.
The valuation noted that Russia has sent cash multiple times, but also used crypto-currencies and “grand” gifts.
President Joe Biden’s administration requested the assessment after Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a major US effort to isolate Moscow and isolate Kyiv.
The administration official said US diplomats are sharing their findings with the governments of more than 100 countries.
The official described the effort as part of Biden’s “Summit of Democracies” initiative launched after defeating Donald Trump.
The new assessment did not cover domestic US politics, but previously said US intelligence had said Moscow had interfered in the 2016 election, specifically through manipulation of social media, to support Trump, who Russian President Vladimir Putin is praised.
“The United States is working hard to address our weaknesses and we are encouraging other countries to do the same,” the official said.
A demarcation or internal statement from the State Department to US missions around the world said Russia has conducted covert operations to shift the foreign environment to its side.
“For Russia, the benefits of ‘secret political financing’ are two-fold: to develop influence over for-profit individuals and parties, and to increase the likelihood that those parties do well in elections,” it said.
“The hidden ties between these parties and their Russian beneficiaries undermine the integrity of democratic institutions and public confidence,” it said.
Russian officials have long ridiculed allegations of US interference, noting that the CIA has a long history of coups in countries such as Iran and Chile.
Putin is said to have been furious in 2011 when the United States extended moral support to protesters around Russia who accused him of rigging the election.
The US official rejected any comparison between Russia’s alleged efforts to counter-contemporary US practices such as election trackers and funding non-governmental pro-democracy groups.
US aid is transparent and “we do not endorse any particular party or particular candidate,” the official said.
“It’s about democratic governance and trying to help our other democracies strengthen democratic governance.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)