While Russia uses "a range of measures" to interfere in the Nov. 3 election, the Kremlin spends covert foreign money to meddle in two elections a couple days before that on Russia's borders. One will be revealed later this week. In today’s thread: Georgia. codastory.com/disinformation…
The Georgian job is run by the Kremlin dept. for "Inter-Regional Relations and Cultural Contacts with Foreign Countries," headed by SVR Gen. Vladimir Chernov & staffed with FSB, GRU, & SVR officers. Its real aim is to prevent color revolutions near Russia. dossier.center/chernov/
.@dossier_center got a trove of internal Kremlin documents, from Russia's $8 million budget to fund Georgia's pro-Russian political party in the four months before the Oct 31 election to emails showing Kremlin control over the party's political consultants.dossier.center/georgia/
The Kremlin's hand in Georgian politics runs thru cut-out's: the pro-Russian party in Tbilisi gets consulting from a Moscow firm, which works with another consultant, who answers to an FSB colonel & his deputy (a GRU officer), who report to General Chernov.dossier.center/georgia2/
These "consultants" (who report to Russian intel services) bring expertise from "successful turnkey election campaigns in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine." They tell the Georgians what messages and events will help stir up animosities and drive wedges among opponents.
The Moscow-based "consultants" also create video ads to be placed on Georgian television, with ominous music and warnings about how the country will collapse into chaos of crime and unemployment under any leadership other than the pro-Russia party. Image
If these revelations had come to light before we published our report on covert foreign money on August 18, we would have included this case in our study, because the details are extensively and credibly reported with documents, amounts, names, dates, etc. securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/covert-foreign…
The $8 million budget set by the Kremlin for Georgia's election fits squarely within the $3 million to $15 million range we found is necessary to buy influence in a national election. Across our global study, the amounts add up to more than $300 million spanning 115 cases. Image
Many of the loopholes exploited in other democracies are also problematic in Georgia, where foreign donations are technically outlawed but enforcement is weak and there are no regulations around loans, third-party campaigning, or second-round elections. osce.org/files/f/docume… Image
The Georgian campaign finance oversight agency, the State Audit Office, doesn't have sufficient human resources, needs court approvals to launch investigations or impose sanctions, and lacks the authority to compel witness testimonies.
osce.org/files/f/docume… Image
More broadly, like in too many post-Soviet countries, "anti-corruption" work in Georgia involves prosecutors finding evidence of wrongdoing only to be called off by corrupt officials and/or bribed themselves to shut the investigation. That's what we hear is expected of this case.
Russian interference in democracies continues all over the world and it won't stop until people—voters & politicians—understand the central premise of democracy that must be above political interests: Authorities don't work for themselves or for foreign powers. They work for you.

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More from @JoshRudes

18 Aug
Authoritarians have spent more than $300 million interfering in politics more than 100 times in 33 countries over the past decade.

We bucketed the cases into the top 7 legal loopholes and consulted 90+ experts to craft targeted policy fixes.

New Report: securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/covert-foreign…
I told @ak_mack that covert foreign money is just as threatening as online interference and it would be comparatively easier to build resilience to these financial weapons by closing legal loopholes. foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/18/leg…
This interference tool, which we call "malign finance," is less studied but just as common as cyber and disinfo. In a typical case, a regime oligarch funnels $1 million to a favored political party (although buying influence in a national election costs more like $3-15 million).
Read 10 tweets
11 May
In this must-read piece, @FranklinFoer warns that 2016 was merely the Kremlin's opening salvo. Their goal wasn't limited to helping elect Trump. Their toolkit evolves and isn't limited to cyber or social media. They want to take down American democracy. theatlantic.com/magazine/archi…
Kudos to @FranklinFoer for highlighting a tool of foreign interference that doesn't get enough attention because it wasn't among the two main attack vectors in 2016 but Russia has actively deployed it since then: malign finance.
We learned from @etuckerAP a week ago that @DHSgov and @FBI warned the states of eight possible Russian tactics for the 2020 election, including three offline threat vectors: financial support, covert advice, and economic/business levers of influence. apnews.com/8e96b52c88d836…
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov 19
Key revelation today: The "fictional narrative" that it was Ukraine and not Russia that interfered in our 2016 election "has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves." [THREAD]
Immediately after making that unambiguous attribution in her prepared remarks today, former senior official Fiona Hill noted that "some of the underlying details [of the intel assessment that Russia was the foreign power that attacked us in 2016] must remain classified."
Not all of this is new. We learned from FBI interviews released earlier this month that Manafort was pushing this baseless conspiracy theory starting in 2016, and that it "parroted a narrative" supported by former GRU officer Konstantin Kilimnik.
Read 13 tweets
1 Nov 19
.@IgnatiusPost raises important questions. This year's quid pro quo could have been an encore performance of a similar 2017 effort by Trump & Giuliani to condition a White House visit & military assistance on (stopping) investigations as a favor for Trump. washingtonpost.com/opinions/did-t…
In 2017, the White House visit was for Zelensky's predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. In both cases, the Ukrainian gov't needed public US support as a signal to Russia. In both cases, Giuliani was in Kyiv beforehand seeking favors beneficial to Trump around investigations into 2016.
The main difference is that in 2017 Mueller was in the driver's seat of US investigations into 2016, so Trump's preference seems to have been that Ukraine NOT cooperate.

In 2019, with AG Bill Barr in charge, the favor sought by Trump was that Ukraine SHOULD cooperate with Barr.
Read 6 tweets
2 Aug 19
Monday's letter from the House successfully pressured the President to sign the long-awaited second round of CBW sanctions on Russia for the Skripal poisoning, but Trump seems to have chosen the weaker options and it could be diluted further with waivers. nytimes.com/2019/08/01/us/…
As background, because Moscow didn't promise and allow verification that it would stop using such weapons, the Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) Act requires the President to choose at least 3 of the 6 options below. It turns out that Trump chose to impose THE FIRST THREE:
(1) no multilateral loans, (2) no US bank loans nor credit provision to the Russian govt except for food, (3) no exports to Russia of goods/technology, (4) no imports from Russia of goods, (5) downgrade or suspend diplomatic relations, & (6) no Russian airlines to land in the US.
Read 19 tweets
15 Mar 19
Brexit delay brings an opportunity to get to the truth about who funded the 2016 referendum before implementing its results. My latest on dark Russian money with @AtlanticCouncil. atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atla…
The evidence revealed thus far raises the suggestion that the 2016 referendum was targeted by a foreign adversary violating British sovereignty to undermine its democracy.
At the center of the story is the biggest political donation in British political history, from Arron Banks, whose finances are obscured behind offshore shell companies and who was offered limited and lucrative business opportunities by Russia in the months before the referendum.
Read 8 tweets

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