Reuters reports: Russia has mounted a campaign of covert economic and political measures to manipulate five countries in central and eastern Europe, discredit the West’s liberal democratic model, and undermine trans-Atlantic ties, a report by a private U.S. research group said.
The report released on Thursday said Moscow had co-opted sympathetic politicians, strived to dominate energy markets and other economic sectors, and undermined anti-corruption measures in an attempt to gain sway over governments in Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Serbia, and Slovakia.
“In certain countries, Russian influence has become so pervasive and endemic that it has challenged national stability as well as a country’s Western orientation and Euro-Atlantic stability,” said the report of a 16-month study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and the Sofia, Bulgaria-based Center for the Study of Democracy.
The publication of “The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Eastern and Central Europe” coincides with an unprecedented debate in the United States over whether Russia is attempting to interfere in the Nov. 8 presidential election with cyber attacks and the release of emails from the campaign of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. [Continue reading…]