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1 1 C . RT S. P 115 TH ONGRESS " ! COMMITTEE PRINT 2d Session 115–21 PUTIN’S ASYMMETRIC ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA AND EUROPE: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY A MINORITY STAFF REPORT PREPARED FOR THE USE OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE IFTEENTH C ONGRESS O NE H UNDRED F S S ECOND ESSION J ANUARY 10, 2018 Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations Available via World Wide Web: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/index.html S . GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE . U : 28–110 PDF 2018 WASHINGTON For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800 Fax: (202) 512–2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20402–0001 VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 5012 Sfmt 5012 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T seneagle FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

2 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS BOB CORKER, Tennessee, Chairman JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland MARCO RUBIO, Florida ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire JEFF FLAKE, Arizona CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware CORY GARDNER, Colorado TOM UDALL, New Mexico TODD YOUNG, Indiana CHRISTOPHER MURPHY, Connecticut JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming TIM KAINE, Virginia JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts ROB PORTMAN, Ohio JEFF MERKLEY, Oregon RAND PAUL, Kentucky CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey ODD W OMACK , Staff Director T L EWIS , Democratic Staff Director ESSICA J Chief Clerk OHN D UTTON , J (II) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 5904 Sfmt 5904 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

3 CONTENTS Page Letter of Transmittal ... v Executive Summary ... 1 Chapter 1: Putin’s Rise and Motivations ... 7 Ascent to the Top ... 8 Return of the Security Services ... 10 The Kremlin’s Paranoid Pathology ... 13 Chapter 2: Manipulation and Repression Inside Russia ... 15 Influencing Ideology, Politics, and Culture ... 17 Controlling the Public Narrative ... 24 Corrupting Economic Activity ... 31 Chapter 3: Old Active Measures and Modern Malign Influence Operations ... 35 A Brief History of Soviet Active Measures ... 37 Modern Malign Influence Operations ... 37 The Kremlin’s Disinformation Platforms ... 40 Chapter 4: Weaponization of Civil Society, Ideology, Culture, Crime, and Energy ... 47 The Role of State Foundations, GONGOs, NGOs, and Think Tanks ... 47 The Kremlin’s Cultivation of Political Extremes ... 50 The Use of the Russian Orthodox Church ... 53 The Nationalization of Organized Crime ... 54 The Export of Corruption ... 57 The Leveraging of Energy Supplies for Influence ... 58 Chapter 5: Kremlin Interference in Semi-Consolidated Democracies and Tran- sitional Governments ... 65 Ukraine ... 67 Georgia ... 73 Montenegro ... 77 Serbia ... 81 Bulgaria ... 89 Hungary ... 94 Chapter 6: Kremlin Interference in Consolidated Democracies ... 99 Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia ... 100 Nordic States: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden ... 109 The Netherlands ... 113 United Kingdom ... 116 France ... 121 Germany ... 127 Spain ... 133 Italy ... 137 Chapter 7: Multilateral & U.S. Efforts to Counter the Kremlin’s Asymmetric Arsenal ... 141 Collective Defenses Against Disinformation and Cyber Attacks ... 141 European Energy Diversification and Integration ... 144 EU and U.S. Efforts to Sanction Malicious Actors ... 145 U.S. Efforts to Create Alternative and Accurate Quality Programming ... 148 Assessing the State Department’s Global Engagement Center ... 149 Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations ... 153 (IV) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 5905 Sfmt 5905 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

4 iv Page A PPENDICES Appendix A: 1999 Apartment Building Bombings ... 165 Appendix B: Alleged Political Assassinations ... 171 Appendix C: Russian Government’s Olympic Cheating Scheme ... 175 Appendix D: Russia’s Security Services and Cyber Hackers ... 181 Appendix E: Attacks and Harassment Against Human Rights Activists and Journalists in Russia ... 187 Appendix F: Flawed Elections in the Russian Federation Since 1999 ... 191 Appendix G: Harsh Treatment of LGBT Individuals and Women in the Rus- sian Federation ... 193 Appendix H: Disinformation Narratives, Themes, and Techniques ... 195 Appendix I: Letter from Senator Cardin to European Ambassadors ... 199 VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 5905 Sfmt 5905 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

5 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL U S TATES S ENATE , NITED OMMITTEE ON OREIGN R ELATIONS , C F Washington, DC, January 10, 2018 D C OLLEAGUES : For years, Vladimir Putin’s government has EAR engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the United States. Mr. Putin’s Kremlin employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions, cyberattacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponization of energy resources, organized crime, and corruption. The Kremlin has refined the use of these tools over time and these attacks have intensified in scale and complexity across Europe. If the United States fails to work with urgency to address this complex and growing threat, the regime in Moscow will become further emboldened. It will continue to develop and re- fine its arsenal to use on democracies around the world, including against U.S. elections in 2018 and 2020. Following attacks like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, U.S. presidents have rallied the country and the world to address the challenges facing the nation. Yet the current President of the United States has barely acknowledged the threat posed by Mr. Putin’s repeated attacks on democratic governments and institutions, let alone exer- cised the kind of leadership history has shown is necessary to effec- tively counter this kind of aggression. Never before in American history has so clear a threat to national security been so clearly ig- nored by a U.S. president. The threat posed by Mr. Putin’s meddling existed before the cur- rent U.S. Administration, and may well extend beyond it. Yet, as this report will demonstrate, the Russian government’s malign in- fluence operations can be deterred. Several countries in Europe took notice of the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and realized the danger posed to their democracies. They have taken steps to build resilience against Mr. Putin’s aggression and interference, and the range of effective measures implemented by European countries provide valuable lessons for the United States. To that end, this report recommends a series of actions that the United States should take across government, civil society, and the private sector—and in cooperation with our allies—to push back against the Kremlin’s aggression and establish a set of long-term norms that can neutralize such efforts to undermine democracy. Yet it must be noted that without leadership from the President, any attempt to marshal such a response will be inherently weak- ened at the outset. (IV) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 6602 Sfmt 6602 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

6 vi In addition, it is important to draw a distinction between Mr. Putin’s corrupt regime and the people of Russia. Many Russian citi- zens strive for a transparent, accountable government that oper- ates under the democratic rule of law, and we hold hope for better relations in the future with a Russian government that reflects these demands. In the meantime, the United States must work with our allies to build defenses against Mr. Putin’s asymmetric ar- senal, and strengthen international norms and values to deter such behavior by Russia or any other country. The events discussed in this report are illustrative, not exhaus- tive, and cover a period ending on December 31, 2017. There are several important geographic areas that remain beyond the scope of this report, including the Russian government’s role in the Syria conflict, its complicated relationship with Turkey, or its involve- ment in places like Central Asia and Latin America. The Russian government’s use of corruption and money laundering also merit additional examination by relevant committees in Congress, as well as the Executive Branch. Given the ongoing investigations by the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, this report does not delve into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Further- more, U.S. election infrastructure, electrical grids, and information systems are outside the jurisdiction of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and therefore beyond the scope of the recommendations in this report, but certainly warrant further study. Finally, there must be a bipartisan sense of urgency so the United States immediately begins taking the steps necessary to for- tify and protect our democracy from Mr. Putin’s malicious med- dling. There is a long bipartisan tradition in Congress in support of firm policies to counter Russian government aggression and abuse against its own citizens, our allies, and universal values. This report seeks to continue that tradition. Sincerely, B ENJAMIN L. C ARDIN , Ranking Member. (V) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 6602 Sfmt 6602 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

7 PUTIN’S ASYMMETRIC ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA AND EUROPE: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY Executive Summary Nearly 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin gained and solidified power by exploiting blackmail, fears of terrorism, and war. Since then, he has combined military adventurism and aggression abroad with propaganda and political repression at home, to persuade a domes- tic audience that he is restoring Russia to greatness and a re- spected position on the world stage. All the while, he has empow- ered the state security services and employed them to consolidate his hold on the levers of political, social, and economic power, which he has used to make himself and a circle of loyalists extraor- dinarily wealthy. Democracies like the United States and those in Europe present three distinct challenges to Mr. Putin. First, the sanctions they have collectively placed on his regime for its illegal occupation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine threaten the ill-gotten wealth of his loyalists and hamper their extravagant lifestyles. Sec- ond, Mr. Putin sees successful democracies, especially those along Russia’s periphery, as threats to his regime because they present an attractive alternative to his corrupt and criminal rule. Third, democracies with transparent governments, the rule of law, a free media, and engaged citizens are naturally more resilient to the spread of corruption beyond Russia’s borders, thereby limiting the opportunities for the further enrichment of Putin and his chosen elite. Mr. Putin has thus made it a priority of his regime to attack the democracies of Europe and the United States and undermine the transatlantic alliance upon which Europe’s peace and prosperity have depended upon for over 70 years. He has used the security services, the media, public and private companies, organized crimi- nal groups, and social and religious organizations to spread mali- cious disinformation, interfere in elections, fuel corruption, threat- en energy security, and more. At their most extreme, the Russian government’s security services have been used to harass and even assassinate political enemies at home and abroad; cheat at the Olympic Games; and protect and exploit cybercriminals in Russia who attack American businesses and steal the financial informa- tion of American consumers. Mr. Putin resorts to the use of these asymmetric tools to achieve his goals because he is operating from (1) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

8 2 a position of weakness—hobbled by a faltering economy, a sub- standard military, and few followers on the world stage. The tactics that Putin has deployed to undermine democracies abroad were developed at home, and over nearly two decades he has used them against the Russian people with increased impunity. The result has been hundreds of billions of dollars stolen and spir- ited away abroad, all while independent media and civil society, elections, political parties, and cultural institutions have been ma- nipulated and suppressed, significantly hindering effective domestic opposition to Putin’s regime. While consolidating his grip on power at home, Mr. Putin oversaw an opportunistic expansion of malign influence operations abroad, targeting vulnerable states on Russia’s periphery, as well as countries in Western institutions like the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Kremlin has substantially increased its investments in propaganda outlets beyond Russia’s borders, funded and supported nongovernmental organizations and political parties that advanced Mr. Putin’s anti- EU and anti-NATO agenda, nationalized mafia groups to help launder money and commit other crimes for the state abroad, and used its near-monopoly over energy supplies in some countries to exert influence and spread corruption. In semi-consolidated democracies and transitional governments on Russia’s periphery, the Kremlin most aggressively targets states that seek to integrate with the EU and NATO or present an oppor- tunity to weaken those institutions from within. For example, as Georgia and Ukraine moved closer to these institutions, the Rus- sian government attacked them with cyberwarfare, disinformation campaigns, and military force. When the Kremlin’s attempt to po- litically influence Montenegro’s election failed, its security services allegedly tried to launch a coup. In Serbia, the Kremlin exploits cultural connections and leverages its near monopoly on energy supplies to attempt to slow down or derail the country’s Western integration efforts. And though they are in the EU and NATO, countries like Hungary and Bulgaria face acute challenges from the Russian government, which exerts significant influence in politics, business, and the energy sector. Despite some efforts to counter Russian malign influence, these countries remain significantly vul- nerable to the Kremlin’s corrupt agenda. In consolidated democracies within the EU and NATO, the Rus- sian government seeks to undermine support for sanctions against Russia, interfere in elections through overt or covert support of sympathetic political parties and the spread of disinformation, and sow discord and confusion by exacerbating existing social and polit- ical divisions through disinformation and cultivated ideological groups. This group of countries has developed several effective countermeasures that both deter Russian government behavior and build societal resilience. As it crafts its response, the United States should look to these lessons learned: • The United Kingdom has made a point to publicly chastise the Russian government for its meddling in democracies, and moved to strengthen cybersecurity and electoral processes. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

9 3 • Germany pre-empted Kremlin interference in its national elec- tion with a strong warning of consequences, an agreement among political parties not to use bots or paid trolls, and close cyber cooperation between the government and political cam- paigns. Spain has led Europe in cracking down on Russia-based orga- • nized crime groups that use the country as an operational base and node for money laundering and other crimes. France has fostered strong cooperation between government, • political, and media actors to blunt the impact of the Kremlin’s cyber-hacking and smear campaigns. The Nordic states have largely adopted a ‘‘whole of society’’ ap- • proach against Mr. Putin’s malign influence operations, involv- ing the government, civil society, the media, and the private sector, with an emphasis on teaching critical thinking and media literacy. The Baltic states have kept their publics well-informed of the • malicious activities of Russia’s security services, strengthened defenses against cyberattacks and disinformation, and diversi- fied energy supplies to reduce dependence on Russia. While the countries of Europe have each had unique responses to the Kremlin’s aggression, they have also begun to use regional institutions to knit together their efforts and develop best practices. NATO and the EU have launched centers focused on strategic com- munications and cyber defense, and Finland’s government hosts a joint EU/NATO center for countering hybrid threats. A number of independent think tanks and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also launched regional disinformation monitoring and fact-checking operations, and European governments are sup- porting regional programs to strengthen independent journalism and media literacy. Some of these initiatives are relatively new, but several have already begun to bear fruit and warrant continued in- vestment and broader expansion. Through the adoption of the Third Energy Package, which promotes energy diversification and integration, as well as a growing resistance to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, many European countries are reducing their dependence on Russian energy supplies, though much remains to be done. Despite the clear assaults on our democracy and our allies in Eu- rope, the U.S. government still does not have a coherent, com- prehensive, and coordinated approach to the Kremlin’s malign in- fluence operations, either abroad or at home. Although the U.S. government has for years had a patchwork of offices and programs supporting independent journalism, cyber security, and the coun- tering of disinformation, the lack of presidential leadership in ad- dressing the threat Putin poses has hampered a strong U.S. re- sponse. In early 2017, Congress provided the State Department’s Global Engagement Center the resources and mandate to address Kremlin disinformation campaigns, but operations have been sty- mied by the Department’s hiring freeze and unnecessarily long delays by its senior leadership in transferring authorized funds to the office. While many mid-level and some senior-level officials throughout the State Department and U.S. government are cog- nizant of the threat posed by Mr. Putin’s asymmetric arsenal, the VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

10 4 U.S. President continues to deny that any such threat exists, cre- ating a leadership vacuum in our own government and among our European partners and allies. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS The recommendations below are based on a review of Mr. Putin’s efforts to undermine democracy in Europe and effective responses to date. By implementing these recommendations, the United States can better defend against and deter the Kremlin’s malign in- fluence operations, and strengthen international norms and values to prevent such behavior by Russia and other states. A more com- prehensive list of recommendations can be found in Chapter Eight. 1. Assert Presidential Leadership and Launch a National Re- President Trump has been negligent in acknowledging sponse: and responding to the threat to U.S. national security posed by Mr. Putin’s meddling. The President should immediately de- clare that it is U.S. policy to counter and deter all forms of Russian hybrid threats against the United States and around the world. The President should establish a high-level inter- agency fusion cell, modeled on the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), to coordinate all elements of U.S. policy and programming in response to the Russian government’s malign influence operations. And the President should present to Con- gress a comprehensive national strategy to counter these grave national security threats and work with the Congress and our allies to get this strategy implemented and funded. 2. Support Democratic Institution Building and Values Abroad and with a Stronger Congressional Voice: Democracies with transparent governments, the rule of law, a free media, and engaged citizens are naturally more resilient to Mr. Putin’s asymmetric arsenal. The U.S. government should provide as- sistance, in concert with allies in Europe, to build democratic institutions within the European and Eurasian states most vulnerable to Russian government interference. Using the funding authorization outlined in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act as policy guidance, the U.S. government should increase this spending in Europe and Eurasia to at least $250 million over the next two fiscal years. To reinforce these efforts, the U.S. government should dem- onstrate clear and sustained diplomatic leadership in support of individual human rights that form the backbone of demo- cratic systems. Members in the U.S. Congress have a responsi- bility to show U.S. leadership on values by making democracy and human rights a central part of their agendas. They should conduct committee hearings and use other platforms and op- portunities to publicly advance these issues. 3. Expose and Freeze Kremlin-Linked Dirty Money: Corruption provides the motivation and the means for many of the Krem- lin’s malign influence operations. The U.S. Treasury Depart- ment should make public any intelligence related to Mr. Putin’s personal corruption and wealth stored abroad, and take steps with our European allies to cut off Mr. Putin and his inner circle from the international financial system. The U.S. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

11 5 government should also expose corrupt and criminal activities associated with Russia’s state-owned energy sector. Further- more, it should robustly implement the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the Countering Amer- ica’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which allow for sanc- tions against corrupt actors in Russia and abroad. In addition, the U.S. government should issue yearly reports that assign tiered classifications based on objective third-party corruption indicators, as well as governmental efforts to combat corrup- tion. 4. Subject State Hybrid Threat Actors to an Escalatory Sanctions The Kremlin and other regimes hostile to democracy Regime: must know that there will be consequences for their actions. The U.S. government should designate countries that employ malign influence operations to assault democracies as State Hybrid Threat Actors. Countries that are designated as such would fall under a preemptive and escalatory sanctions regime that would be applied whenever the state uses asymmetric weapons like cyberattacks to interfere with a democratic elec- tion or disrupt a country’s critical infrastructure. The U.S. gov- ernment should work with the EU to ensure that these sanc- tions are coordinated and effective. Publicize the Kremlin’s Global Malign Influence Efforts: 5. Expos- ing and publicizing the nature of the threat of Russian malign influence activities, as the U.S. intelligence community did in January 2017, can be an action-forcing event that not only boosts public awareness, but also drives effective responses from the private sector, especially social media platforms, as well as civil society and independent media, who can use the information to pursue their own investigations. The U.S. gov- ernment should produce yearly public reports that detail the Russian government’s malign influence operations in the United States and around the world. 6. Build an International Coalition to Counter Hybrid Threats: The United States is stronger and more effective when we work with our partners and allies abroad. The U.S. govern- ment should lead an international effort of like-minded democ- racies to build awareness of and resilience to the Kremlin’s malign influence operations. Specifically, the President should convene an annual global summit on hybrid threats, modeled on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL or the Countering Vio- lent Extremism (CVE) summits that have taken place since 2015. Civil society and the private sector should participate in the summits and follow-on activities. Uncover Foreign Funding that Erodes Democracy: Foreign il- 7. licit money corrupts the political, social, and economic systems of democracies. The United States and European countries must make it more difficult for foreign actors to use financial resources to interfere in democratic systems, specifically by passing legislation to require full disclosure of shell company owners and improve transparency for funding of political par- ties, campaigns, and advocacy groups. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

12 6 8. The United States Build Global Cyber Defenses and Norms: and our European allies remain woefully vulnerable to cyberattacks, which are a preferred asymmetric weapon of state hybrid threat actors. The U.S. government and NATO should lead a coalition of countries committed to mutual de- fense against cyberattacks, to include the establishment of rapid reaction teams to defend allies under attack. The U.S. government should also call a special meeting of the NATO heads of state to review the extent of Russian government- sponsored cyberattacks among member states and develop for- mal guidelines on how the Alliance will consider such attacks in the context of NATO’s Article 5 collective defense provision. Furthermore, the U.S. government should lead an effort to es- tablish an international treaty on the use of cyber tools in peace time, modeled on international arms control treaties. 9. Hold Social Media Companies Accountable: Social media plat- forms are a key conduit of disinformation campaigns that un- dermine democracies. U.S. and European governments should mandate that social media companies make public the sources of funding for political advertisements, along the same lines as TV channels and print media. Social media companies should conduct comprehensive audits on how their platforms may have been used by Kremlin-linked entities to influence elec- tions occurring over the past several years, and should estab- lish civil society advisory councils to provide input and warn- ings about emerging disinformation trends and government suppression. In addition, they should work with philan- thropies, governments, and civil society to promote media lit- eracy and reduce the presence of disinformation on their plat- forms. 10. Reduce European Dependence on Russian Energy Sources: Pay- ments to state-owned Russian energy companies fund the Kremlin’s military aggression abroad, as well as overt and cov- ert activities that undermine democratic institutions and social cohesion in Europe and the United States. The U.S. govern- ment should use its trade and development agencies to support strategically important energy diversification and integration projects in Europe. In addition, the U.S. government should continue to oppose the construction of Nord Stream 2, a project which significantly undermines the long-term energy security of Europe and the economic prospects of Ukraine. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 6633 Sfmt 6633 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

13 Chapter 1: Putin’s Rise and Motivations A Russian interior minister once remarked that ‘‘we are on the eve of a revolution’’ and ‘‘to avert a revolution, we need a small vic- 1 torious war’’ to ‘‘distract the attention of the masses.’’ While he made the comment in 1903, the year before the Russian Empire en- tered a disastrous war with Imperial Japan, he could also have been speaking before Russian forces invaded Chechnya in 1999, Georgia in 2008, Ukraine in 2014, or Syria in 2015. Those conflicts reflect a nearly twenty-year pattern of the Kremlin prosecuting similar ‘’small’’ wars to achieve internal political objectives, reveal- ing a direct link between the Russian government’s external ag- 2 gression and its internal oppression. President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has used a sophisticated combination of propaganda and suppression to keep the Russian public supportive of wars abroad and distracted from the regime’s criminality and corruption at home. Putin’s overarching domestic objectives are to preserve his power and increase his net worth, and he appears to have calculated that his regime can best do so 3 by inflating his approval ratings with aggressive behavior abroad. While the first-order effect of Putin’s survival methodology poses a serious threat to global peace and stability, it has also created a profound series of second-order effects that threaten to corrode democratic institutions and open economies around the world, in- cluding here in the United States. It is not enough to sell the ne- cessity of Russia’s foreign interventions to only a domestic audience and to delegitimize or silence any Russian voices that rise in oppo- sition. For Putin to succeed, he also requires a divided opposition abroad. To that end, the Kremlin has honed its arsenal of malign influ- ence operations at home and taken it global. And while the meth- ods used may differ across countries, the goals are the same: sow distrust and confusion, promote radical voices on divisive political 1 The Romanovs, Simon Montefiore, Alfred A. Knopf, at 514 (2016). When he made the re- mark, Vyacheslav Plehve, Tsar Nicholas’s interior minister, had just put down a strike in Odes- sa. He had also turned the Ohkrana, the nickname for the Security Bureau, into ‘‘the world’s Ibid. at 510. Lenin adopted the Ohkrana’s methods when he most sophisticated secret police.’’ formed the Cheka, predecessor of Stalin’s NKVD, which became the KGB and, in its current incarnation, the FSB. Ben Fischer, Okhrana: The Paris Operations of the Russian Imperial Po- lice, Diane Publishing, at 10 (1999). 2 The European Union as a Partner Against Russian Aggres- Statement of Daniel B. Baer, See sion: Sanctions, Security, Democratic Institutions and the Way Forward, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Apr. 4, 2017. 3 Putin’s net worth is estimated at between $40 billion and $200 billion (at the low end, mak- ing him the wealthiest person in Europe and, at the high end, in the world) and, as some be- lieve, is held partly by a group of proxies. Samantha Karas, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Net Worth 2017: Russia’s Leader May Be One of the Richest Men in the World,’’ International Business Times, Feb. 15, 2017; Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and Novaya Gazeta, Putin and the Proxies, https://www.occrp.org/en/putinandtheproxies, Oct. 24, 2017. (7) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

14 8 issues, and gain economic leverage, all while eroding support for the democratic process and rules-based institutions created in the aftermath of the Second World War. These efforts are largely led by the government’s security services and buttressed by state- owned enterprises, Kremlin-aligned oligarchs, and Russian crimi- nal groups that have effectively been nationalized by the state. The length and intensity of these operations emanate out in geographic concentric circles: they began in Russia, expanded to its periphery, then into the rest of Europe, and finally to the United States. The United States must now assume that the Kremlin will deploy in America the more dangerous tactics used successfully in Russia’s periphery and the rest of Europe. This includes, for example, sup- port for extremist and far-right groups that oppose democratic ideals, as well as attempts to co-opt politicians through economic corruption. Putin’s regime appears intent on using almost any means pos- sible to undermine the democratic institutions and transatlantic al- liances that have underwritten peace and prosperity in Europe for the past 70-plus years. To understand the nature of this threat, it is important to first look at who is responsible for it, their motiva- tions, and what they are willing and capable of doing to achieve their objectives. To that end, the rest of this chapter will detail how Putin rose to power by exploiting blackmail, the fear of terrorism, and war, and subsequently used the security services to consolidate political and economic power. The motivations and methods behind Putin’s rise help explain how he views the role of the security serv- ices and his willingness to use them to do the regime’s dirty work, including assaulting democratic institutions and values in Europe and the United States. ASCENT TO THE TOP In 1999, Russian president Boris Yeltsin faced a problem. His second presidential term would end the following year, and his po- litical rivals appeared positioned to take power. Russians at the time were not happy with Yeltsin’s tenure: hyperinflation, aus- terity, debt, and a disastrous privatization scheme combined to de- crease GDP by over 40 percent between 1990 and 1998, a collapse that was twice as large and lasted three times longer than the 4 The health and mortality Great Depression in the United States. crises that resulted from this economic disaster are estimated to 5 have caused at least three million ‘‘excess deaths.’’ Yeltsin’s ap- proval ratings had also cratered amid allegations of rampant cor- ruption, which also touched his family members. He needed a suc- cessor who could protect him and his family after he left office, but no one in his inner circle was nearly popular enough to secure vic- 6 tory. He finally settled on a relatively unknown bureaucrat to serve as his sixth prime minister in less than a year and a half: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who was then director of the Federal Security Service (or FSB, the KGB’s successor). Why Putin? In the 4 Robert English, ‘‘Russia, Trump, and a New Detente,’’ Mar. 10, 2017. Foreign Affairs, 5 Ibid. 6 All the Kremlin’s Men, Mikhail Zygar, PublicAffairs, at 9 (2016). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

15 9 words of one Russia expert, ‘‘it was like spin the bottle, and the 7 bottle stopped spinning at Putin.’’ Putin had also shown that he was willing to protect Yeltsin and his family. In 1999, Russia’s prosecutor general, Yury Skuratov, was conducting an investigation into high-level corruption in the 8 Kremlin, including among Yeltsin’s family members. As Skuratov was pursuing his investigation, Yeltsin’s chief of staff summoned him to the Kremlin and showed him a grainy videotape that pur- ported to show him with two prostitutes in a hotel room. Skuratov submitted his resignation, though he later insisted that the tape 9 was a fabrication. But the resignation had to be approved by the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, which insisted that Skuratov testify first. The day before his sched- uled testimony, the sex tape was played on a television station 10 after reportedly being personally delivered by Putin. When show- ing the tape on TV did not prove enough to push the Federation Council into action, Putin went on TV himself and told the Russian 11 public that the man in the tape was indeed Skuratov. A former KGB general, Oleg Kalugin, maintains that the whole episode ‘‘was a special FSB operation to discredit an official with the help of a 12 video featuring a person who resembled the prosecutor-general.’’ The ‘’special operation’’ succeeded, and Yeltsin chose Putin to suc- 13 ceed him. Putin’s confirmation vote for prime minister was called during Parliament’s August recess, when legislators were distracted by up- 14 coming parliamentary elections in four months. There was not much debate about Putin’s promise to ‘’strengthen the executive vertical of power’’ or to do away with direct elections of regional 15 governors. The leader of the centrist group Regions of Russia, Oleg Morozov, reflected the overall mood of the legislature when he said, ‘‘I don’t think we should torment ourselves with this decision . . . . We should vote, forget about it, and get on with business. We 16 all have things to do.’’ Some in parliament were said to have sup- ported Putin ‘‘mainly because he will be yet another ‘technical’ 17 prime minister’’ and would have ‘‘no real political role.’’ 7 Eleanor Clift, ‘‘Blame This Drunken Bear for Vladimir Putin,’’ Apr. 22, 2014 The Daily Beast, (quoting Russian expert Strobe Talbott). 8 Sharon LaFraniere, ‘‘Yeltsin Linked to Bribe Scheme,’’ The Washington Post, Sept. 8, 1999. A Swiss construction company, Mabetex, which had won renovation contracts at the Kremlin, was found to have spent between $10-15 million on bribes for Russian officials, including Presi- dent Yeltsin and his two daughters. Ibid. 9 Julia Ioffe, ‘‘How State-Sponsored Blackmail Works in Russia,’’ The Atlantic, Jan. 11, 2017; ‘‘World: Europe Kremlin Corruption Battle,’’ BBC News, Apr. 2, 1999. 10 Julia Ioffe, ‘‘How State-Sponsored Blackmail Works in Russia,’’ The Atlantic, Jan. 11, 2017. The tape was ‘‘rumored to have been delivered personally to the head of RTR by ‘a man who looked like the head of the FSB,’ who at the time was none other than Vladimir Putin.’’ Ibid. 11 The tape was also reportedly authenticated by Yuri Chaika, who succeeded Skuratov Ibid. as Russia’s prosecutor general. Andrew E. Kramer, ‘‘The Master of ‘Kompromat’ Believed to Be Behind Trump Jr.’s Meeting,’’ July 17, 2017. The New York Times, 12 Anastasia Kirilenk & Claire Bigg, ‘‘Ex-KGB Agent Kalugin: Putin Was ‘Only a Major,’ ’’ Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty, Mar. 31 2015. 13 Celestine Bohlen, ‘‘Yeltsin Resigns, Naming Putin as Acting President To Run in March Election,’’ The New York Times, Jan. 1, 2000. 14 Vladimir Kura-Murza, ‘‘The August Vote That Changed Russia’s History,’’ World Affairs, Aug. 16, 2017. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Floriana Fossato, ‘‘Russia: Duma Approves Putin as Prime Minister,’’ Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Aug. 9, 1999. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

16 10 A poll taken at the same time of the confirmation vote showed that just two percent of Russia’s population favored Putin for the 18 But it did not take long for Putin to seize on an op- presidency. portunity—though a tragic one—to increase his public profile and strengthen his position to succeed Yeltsin. In early September 1999, less than three weeks after Putin was installed as prime minister, a series of large bombs destroyed apartment buildings in Dagestan, Volgodonsk, and Moscow, killing hundreds of people as they slept. Prime Minister Putin reacted fiercely and promised to hunt down the terrorists and even ‘‘wipe them out in the outhouse,’’ if that 19 was where they chose to hide. Despite no clear evidence or claims of responsibility linking the bombings to ‘‘Chechen terrorists,’’ with- in days of the last explosion, Russian warplanes started a bombing campaign in Chechnya that the Russian defense minister claimed would ‘‘eliminate the bandits,’’ and within a week, Russian troops 20 As the war progressed, so did Putin’s crossed Chechnya’s border. popularity, and the number of voters who said they would choose him for president increased sharply: from just two percent in Au- gust 1999 (before the bombings), to 21 percent in October, then nearly doubling to 40 percent in November, and reaching 55 per- 21 cent in December. Yet even though Russian authorities said that there was a ‘‘Chechen trail’’ leading to the bombings, no Chechen claimed re- 22 sponsibility. In February 2000, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright if she believed that ‘‘the Russian government is justified when it accuses Chechen groups as responsible for the bombings.’’ Secretary Albright responded: ‘‘We have not seen evidence that ties the bomb- 23 ings to Chechnya.’’ To this day, no credible source has ever claimed credit for the bombings and no credible evidence has been presented by the Russian authorities linking Chechen terrorists, or anyone else, to the Moscow bombings (for more information on the 1999 apartment building bombings, see Appendix A). RETURN OF THE SECURITY SERVICES On December 31, 1999, President Yeltsin resigned, making Putin acting president and pushing forward the date of the presidential election from June to March—effectively cutting the remaining campaign period in half. With the advantage of incumbency, a short campaign period, a large amount of monetary support from business interests (the average check from oligarchs to the cam- 18 International Republican Institute, Russia Presidential Pre-Election Assessment Report, at 7 (Mar. 20, 2000). 19 Reuters, Sergei Karpov, ‘‘Putin Vows to Annihilate ‘Terrorists’ after Suicide Bombings,’’ Dec. 31, 2013. 20 The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dicta- David Satter, torship under Yeltsin and Putin, Yale University Press, at 11 (2016); Ruslan Musayev, ‘‘Russia Prepared for Ground War Against Chechnya,’’ Associated Press, Sept. 27, 1999. 21 International Republican Institute, Russia Presidential Pre-Election Assessment Report, at 7 (Mar. 20, 2000). 22 The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, Satter, at 2 (citing Ilyas Akhmadov & Miriam Lansky, Palgrave Macmillan, at 162 (2010)). The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost, 23 Responses of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright to Additional Questions Submitted by Senator Jesse Helms, 2000 Foreign Policy Overview and the President’s Fiscal Year 2001 For- Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, eign Affairs Budget Request, Feb. 8, 2000, S. Hrg. 106-599 at 70. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

17 11 paign was about $10 million), and rising popularity from the pros- ecution of the war in Chechnya, Putin won the presidency at the 24 For his first act as presi- ballot box with 53 percent of the vote. 25 He was dent, he guaranteed Yeltsin immunity from prosecution. now the most powerful man in Russia; yet even before his election, he had already been hard at work extending his influence through- out the government. Yeltsin would recall later in his memoirs that, after he appointed Putin as prime minister, ‘‘[he] turned to me and 26 requested absolute power . . . to coordinate all power structures.’’ And so he did. Putin eliminated independent centers of power by redistributing resources from oligarchs to security officers, absorb- ing oligarch-controlled media empires, and neutering regional 27 He began to power centers that did not respect Moscow’s orders. install former colleagues into positions of power, drawing from his contacts both in the security services and from his time working in 28 the mayor’s office in St. Petersburg in the 1990s. By 2004, former security services personnel reportedly occupied all of the top federal 29 A 2006 ministerial posts and 70 percent of senior regional posts. analysis by the director of the Center for the Study of Elites at the Russian Academy of Sciences estimated that those with back- grounds affiliated with the military or security services composed 30 78 percent of Russia’s leading political figures. Some experts maintain that there is no precise ‘‘vertical of power’’ in the Russian government, with everything controlled by one man. Rather, they describe Russian power as ‘‘a conglomerate of clans and groups that compete with one another over resources,’’ with Putin acting as a powerful arbiter and moderator who has the 31 His power comes from his office, his relations with the last word. elites, his high approval ratings among the public, as well as his control over much of the energy sector and major state-owned 32 banks and, especially, the security services. As Putin’s power increased, so did that of the security services, which, according to independent journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, Putin invited ‘‘to take their place at the head table of power and prestige in Russia’’ as he ‘‘opened the door to many dozens of security service agents to move up in the main institu- 33 Russia’s security services are aggressive, tions of the country.’’ well-funded by the state, and operate without any legislative over- sight. They conduct not just espionage, but also ‘‘active measures aimed at subverting and destabilizing European governments, op- erations in support of Russian economic interests, and attacks on 24 All the Kremlin’s Men, at 11; Michael Wines, ‘‘Putin Wins Russia Vote in First Zygar, The New York Times, Round, But His Majority Is Less Than Expected,’’ Mar. 27, 2000. 25 Statement of David Satter, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Russia: Rebuilding the Iron Curtain, Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, May 17, 2007. 26 Amy Knight, ‘‘Finally, We Know About the Moscow Bombings,’’ The New York Review of Books, Nov. 22, 2012. 27 Minchenko Consulting Communication Group (Russia), Vladimir Putin’s Big Government and the ‘‘Politburo 2.0.,’’ Jan. 14, 2016. 28 Satter, The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep, at 79; Damien Sharkov, ‘‘ ‘Putin Involved Newsweek, in Drug Smuggling Ring’, Says Ex-KGB Officer,’’ Mar. 3, 2015. 29 Satter, The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep, at 79. 30 Peter Finn, ‘‘In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens,’’ The Washington Post, Dec. 12, 2006. 31 Vladimir Putin’s Big Government and the ‘‘Politburo 2.0.’’ Minchenko Consulting, 32 Ibid. 33 The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, , PublicAffairs, at 241 (2010). State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

18 12 34 political enemies.’’ Some analysts assert that the security serv- ices are divided internally, compete in bureaucratic turf wars, and make intelligence products of questionable quality. Nonetheless, they are extremely active and, since returning to the presidency in 2012, Putin has ‘‘unleashed increasingly powerful intelligence agen- cies in campaigns of domestic repression and external destabiliza- 35 Similar to his predecessors, Putin believes that he can best tion.’’ hold together Russia, with its variety of ethnicities and disparate regions, by using the security services to concentrate economic re- 36 sources and political power. The most powerful of Russia’s four main intelligence agencies is the FSB, which reports to Putin indirectly through the head of the Presidential Administration (the executive office of the president) and directly through informal channels built on long-standing rela- 37 tionships. The FSB’s mindset is described as ‘’shaped by Soviet and Tsarist history: it is suspicious, inward looking, and clan- 38 nish.’’ While its predecessor, the KGB, was controlled by the So- viet Politburo, the FSB is a ‘’self-contained, closed system’’ that is 39 ‘‘personally overseen by Putin.’’ The FSB also controls the Inves- tigative Committee, Russia’s equivalent to the FBI, meaning that no prosecutor’s office has independent oversight over it and the courts defer to it when making judgements. To monitor the private and public sector, all large Russian firms and institutions report- edly have FSB officers assigned to them, a practice carried over 40 from the Soviet Union. According to scholars of the FSB, ‘‘Putin’s offer to the generation of security service veterans was a chance to move to the top echelons of power. Their reach now extends from television to university faculties, from banks to government min- istries, but they are not always visible as men in epaulets . . . . Many officers, supposedly retired, were put in place as active agents in business, media, and the public sector while still subordi- 41 nated to the FSB.’’ And, according to Vladimir Kara-Murza, the twice-poisoned Russian opposition activist, the FSB ‘‘doesn’t just 42 rule Russia, it owns it.’’ The security services have grown accustomed to operating with impunity inside Russia’s borders. More alarmingly, over the past decade they have applied this mentality beyond Russia’s borders with measurable success. They have been accused of assassinating Putin’s political opponents abroad (see Appendix B), conspiring to cheat doping standards to win more Olympic medals (see Appendix C), and protecting cybercriminals who steal credit card and online account information from U.S. consumers (see Appendix D). 34 European Council on Mark Galeotti, ‘‘Putin’s Hydra: Inside Russia’s Intelligence Services,’’ Foreign Relations, at 1 (May 2016). 35 Ibid. 36 The Economist, Oct. 22, 2016. ‘‘Take Care of Russia,’’ 37 Galeotti, ‘‘Putin’s Hydra: Inside Russia’s Intelligence Services,’’ at 12. 38 Soldatov & Borogan, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the at 242. Enduring Legacy of the KGB, 39 ‘‘Wheels Within Wheels: How Mr. Putin Keeps the Country Under Control,’’ The Economist, 22 Oct. 2016. 40 Ibid. 41 Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security PublicAffairs, at 27, 28 (2010). State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB, 42 Committee Staff Discussion with Vladimir Kara-Murza. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

19 13 ’ S PARANOID PATHOLOGY THE KREMLIN Despite the Kremlin’s increasingly aggressive tactics beyond Rus- sia’s borders, the United States and its partners and allies should not conflate the Russian people with the Russian regime. The Rus- sian people have the same hopes and aspirations as any other country’s citizens: a government that is accountable to the people for providing safe streets and good jobs, schools, and hospitals. But they are ruled by a regime that has a very different set of prior- ities, focused primarily on the maintenance of Putin’s power and wealth. Free, fair, and open elections are a threat to his grip on power and to the enormous wealth he has stolen from Russia’s peo- ple. If Putin can demonstrate to the Russian people that elections everywhere are tainted and fraudulent, that liberal democracy is a dysfunctional and dying form of government, then their own sys- tem of ‘’sovereign democracy’’—authoritarianism secured by corrup- tion, apathy, and an iron fist—does not look so bad after all. As the National Intelligence Council put it, Putin’s ‘‘amalgam of authoritarianism, corruption, and nationalism represents an alter- native to Western liberalism . . . [which] is synonymous with dis- order and moral decay, and pro-democracy movements and elec- toral experiments are Western plots to weaken traditional bul- 43 warks of order and the Russian state.’’ In dealing with Putin and his regime, the United States and its partners and allies should not assume that they are working with a government that is operating with the best interests of its coun- try in mind. Rather, according to a former British ambassador to Moscow, Putin’s ‘‘overriding aim appears to be to retain power for 44 himself and his associates. He has no perceptible exit strategy.’’ Furthermore, Putin’s regime and most of the Russian people view the history of the late 20th century and early 21st century in a starkly different light than most of the West does. The historical narrative popular in Russia paints this period as one of repeated attempts by the West to undermine and humiliate Russia. In re- ality, the perceived aggression of the United States and the West against Russia allows Putin to ignore his domestic failures and present himself as the leader of a wartime nation: a ‘‘Fortress Rus- sia.’’ This narrative repeatedly flogs core themes like enemy encir- clement, conspiracy, and struggle, and portrays the United States, NATO, and Europe as conspiring to encircle Russia and make it subservient to the West. As part of this supposed conspiracy, the EU goes after former So- viet lands like Ukraine, and Western spies use civil society groups 45 to meddle in and interfere with Russian affairs. A good example of this narrative at work was Putin’s remarks after terrorists at- tacked a school in Beslan, Russia, in 2004, killing hundreds, many of whom were children. Putin’s response ignored the failure of his own security services, and pointed the finger outward, declaring ‘‘we live in a time that follows the collapse of a vast and great state, a state that, unfortunately, proved unable to survive in a 43 National Intelligence Council, at 125 (Jan. 2017). Global Trends: Paradox of Progress 44 Sir Roderic Lyne, Former British Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Memorandum to the UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Nov. 22, 2016. 45 (Feb. 2012). Master Narrative Country Report: Russia Monitor 360, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

20 14 rapidly changing world . . . . Some would like to tear from us a 46 ‘juicy piece of pie.’ Others help them.’’ Putin’s reaction to that tragic event demonstrates the reasoning behind analysts’ observa- tions that he embodies a ‘‘combustible combination of grievance and insecurity’’ and that ‘‘Russian belligerence is not a sign of re- 47 surgence, but of a chronic, debilitating weakness.’’ Despite Russia’s weakness, however, Putin’s regime has devel- oped a formidable set of tools to exert influence abroad. According to a study by The Jamestown Foundation, these tools include ‘‘cap- turing important sectors of local economies, subverting vulnerable political systems, corrupting national leaders, penetrating key secu- rity institutions, undermining national and territorial unity, con- ducting propaganda offensives through a spectrum of media and so- cial outlets, and deploying a host of other tools to weaken obstinate 48 governments that resist Moscow.’’ On the foreign policy front, Vladimir Putin’s fortunes improved in 2015. His military intervention in Syria reestablished Russia as a geopolitical player in the Middle East. In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union and the United States elected Donald Trump, who had warmly praised Putin’s leadership. Pro-Russia candidates won elections in Bulgaria and Moldova. But as Western democracies woke up to the Kremlin’s interference efforts to desta- bilize democratic processes and international institutions, the pen- dulum has begun to swing back in defense of democracy. Emman- uel Macron won a resounding victory in France’s presidential elec- tions last spring against a field of candidates with pro-Russian sympathies. In Germany, Putin’s critic Angela Merkel won a plu- rality of votes in the September elections. And countries through- out Europe, increasingly vigilant, are dedicating increased re- sources and coordinating efforts to counter Russian malign influ- ence. Nonetheless, the United States and Europe can and should ex- pect Putin to continue to use all the tools at his disposal to assault democratic institutions and progress around the world, just as he has done so successfully inside Russia over nearly two decades. 46 PublicAffairs, at 79 (2016). All the Kremlin’s Men, Mikhail Zygar, 47 William Burns, ‘‘How We Fool Ourselves on Russia,’’ The New York Times, Jan. 7, 2017; ‘‘The Threat from Russia,’’ The Economist, Oct. 22, 2016. 48 Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks, Janusz Bugajski & Margarita Assenova, The Jamestown Foundation, at 6 (June 2016). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

21 Chapter 2: Manipulation and Repression Inside Russia Many of the tactics that Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has deployed abroad to undermine democracy were first used domestically, and their brazenness and brutality have grown over time. To effectively understand and respond to the Russian government’s malign influ- ence operations around the world, then, requires starting at the Kremlin’s own gates. Within Russia, Putin’s regime has harassed and killed whistleblowers and human rights activists; crafted laws to hamstring democratic institutions; honed and amplified anti- Western propaganda; curbed media that deviate from a pro-govern- ment line; beefed up internal security agencies to surveil and har- ass human rights activists and journalists; directed judicial pros- ecutions and verdicts; cultivated the loyalties of oligarchs through corrupt handouts; and ordered violent crackdowns against pro- testers and purported enemies. This laundry list reflects not just governance tactics in the abstract, but tangible, regrettable impacts on lives and prosperity. Some cases in point: an estimated $24 bil- lion dollars has been amassed by Putin’s inner circle through the 49 pilfering of state resources. At least 28 journalists have been killed for their reporting inside Russia since Putin took office in 50 December 1999. The pro-Putin United Russia party’s hold on seats in the Russian Duma grew to 76 percent in the 2016 elec- tions, and the number of seats currently held by liberal opposition 51 has been reduced to zero. This chapter illustrates in more detail the Kremlin’s manipulation and repression within its own borders, later deployed or mimicked abroad, in three areas: ideological, po- litical, and cultural influence; controlling the public narrative; and corrupting economic activity. In October 2014, Putin’s then-first deputy chief of staff, Vyacheslav Volodin, famously quipped that ‘‘there is no Russia 52 today if there is no Putin.’’ The statement encapsulated a consoli- dation of power in Russia over nearly 15 years into a ‘‘highly cen- tralized, authoritarian political system dominated by President 53 By equating Putin with the Russian state, Vladimir Putin.’’ 49 Putin and the Proxies, https:// The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, www.occrp.org/en/putinandtheproxies, Oct. 24, 2017. 50 Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘58 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed,’’ https://cpj.org/killed/europe/russia (visited Dec. 5, 2017). 51 Andrew Osborn & Maria Tsvetkova, ‘‘Putin Firms Control With Big Win For Russia’s Rul- ing Party,’’ Reuters, Sept. 17, 2016. 52 Oct. 23, The Moscow Times, ‘‘ ‘No Putin, No Russia,’ Says Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff,’’ 2014. 53 at Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015: Russia, U.S. Department of State, 1. (15) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

22 16 Volodin’s assertion—just months after Russia’s invasion of Crimea that brought on international sanctions—linked the fate of the Rus- sian people with Putin’s own. For Putin and his advisors, the move to co-opt the identity of an entire nation was no doubt fueled by his soaring popularity among Russians—from a ‘’slumping’’ 61 per- cent prior to the Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2014 to above 54 80 percent in the months after. Yet Volodin’s statement also marked a break from the Kremlin’s attempts to maintain a sem- blance of democratic institutions and processes—it revealed that these institutions and processes, which became increasingly subor- dinated to the needs and interests of Putin’s ruling clique, now ex- isted only to prop it up. Volodin’s predecessor as first deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov, had been credited with developing a policy of ‘’sovereign democracy,’’ an oxymoronic term explained by writer Masha Lipman as a ‘‘Kremlin coinage that conveys two messages: first, that Russia’s regime is democratic and, second, that this claim must be accepted, period. Any attempt at verification will be re- garded as unfriendly and as meddling in Russia’s domestic af- 55 fairs.’’ As described in a 2016 profile, Surkov maneuvered through a complex Russian political system to implement this vi- sion, ‘‘cultivating fake opposition parties and funding pro-Kremlin youth groups. He personally curated what was allowed on to Rus- sia’s television screens, and was seen as the architect of ‘post-truth politics’ where facts are relative, a version of which some have sug- 56 gested has now taken hold in the west.’’ The Kremlin’s concept of a ‘’sovereign democracy’’ was intended to serve not just as a mechanism for domestic governance in Rus- sia, but also as a model to other countries. The more that Russia’s sovereign democratic model could appeal to and be replicated else- where as ‘‘a style of government that corresponds with the needs and interests of the power elites,’’ the more Russia would be able to extend its diplomatic reach and provide a counterpoint to the democratic principles that the United States has long cham- 57 pioned. The trajectory of Russia’s ‘’sovereign democracy’’ experiment has unfolded along a spectrum ranging from deft manipulation to out- right oppression of the media, civil society, elections, political par- ties, and cultural activities. All the while, the Kremlin’s sustained and global effort to undermine human rights and the governments, alliances, and multilateral institutions that champion them has sought to reduce outside scrutiny of the anti-democratic abuses that are core to its ‘’sovereign democratic’’ system. And similar to Putin’s capitalizing on the 1999 apartment bombings to galvanize his own standing (see Chapter 1 and Appendix A), he has used other hardships befalling the Russian people as justification for tightening his grip on power. Such punctuating moments include the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000, which prefaced a crackdown 54 Michael Birnbaum, ‘‘How to Understand Putin’s Jaw-droppingly High Approval Ratings,’’ Mar. 6, 2016. The Washington Post, 55 Masha Lipman, ‘‘Putin’s ‘Sovereign Democracy,’ ’’ The Washington Post, July 15, 2006. 56 Shaun Walker, ‘‘Kremlin Puppet Master’s Leaked Emails Are Price of Return to Political Frontline,’’ The Guardian, Oct. 26, 2016. 57 David Clark, ‘‘Putin Is Exporting ‘Sovereign Democracy’ To New EM Allies,’’ The Financial Dec. 20, 2016. Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

23 17 on media critical of the government’s response; the 2004 terrorist siege of a school in Beslan, after which Putin moved to replace a system of popularly-elected regional governors with centrally-ap- pointed ones; and international sanctions resulting from the 2014 Russian military invasion of Ukraine, upon which Putin has ampli- fied the narrative of Russia as a besieged fortress requiring his 58 strong hand to defend. Another key opportunity he seized was to bring a face-saving close to the conflict in Chechnya—a major element of the Putin founding narrative, as discussed in Chapter 1—by supporting strongman Ramzan Kadyrov’s effort to stamp out rivals in Chechnya who were fueling the insurgency against Moscow and ef- 59 Ob- fectively establish his own fiefdom in the Chechen republic. servers have noted that the brutal Kadyrov is ‘‘essentially em- ployed by Putin to stop Chechens from killing Russians, but he has also been linked to a long list of killings’’ and human rights abuses 60 in the North Caucasus region and elsewhere in the country. Mos- cow has provided subsidies to cover an estimated 81 percent of the 61 Chechen Republic’s budget. In exchange, Putin relies on Kadyrov and his security services to keep a lid on the Chechen conflict, de- ploys them as needed for hybrid operations in Ukraine and Syria, and uses the threat of terrorism in Chechnya as justification for re- 62 The outsized stricting civic freedoms throughout the country. power Putin has afforded to internal security services (in both Mos- cow and Grozny) has proven useful to him, but has also placed the Kremlin atop a figurative tiger that it must ride in an inherently corrupt, brittle system fraught with risk. INFLUENCING IDEOLOGY , POLITICS , AND CULTURE Independent Civil Society Soviet-era dissidents who monitored and exposed state repression provided the main blueprint for a modern-day independent and ac- tivist civil society in Russia. And much like their Soviet prede- 58 The Russian navy submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000 after mul- tiple explosions onboard, resulting in the deaths of 118 Russian seamen. In the aftermath of the disaster, reports revealed that 23 crewmen had survived the initial explosion, but likely died several hours later in an escape compartment that filled with water, raising questions of wheth- er the individuals could have been rescued in the interim. Government officials first claimed that the sinking was caused by a collision with a Western submarine, disputing assertions that faulty onboard equipment led to the disaster, and initially rejected foreign offers of assistance with the rescue effort. See ‘‘What Really Happened to Russia’s ‘Unsinkable’ Sub,’’ The Guardian, Aug. 4, 2001. In 2004, a group of Chechen rebels besieged a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, taking more than 1,000 individuals hostage, many of whom were children. Russian security services stormed the facility in an operation to end the standoff, during which approximately 330 individuals were killed. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled in a complaint case brought by 409 Russian nationals that their government failed to prevent, and then over- reacted in responding to, the attack, leading to inordinate loss of life. See European Court of Human Rights, ‘‘Serious Failings in the Response of the Russian Authorities to the Beslan At- tack,’’ Apr. 13, 2017. 59 Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, ‘‘Is Chechnya Taking Over Russia?’’ Aug. The New York Times, 17, 2017. 60 Oliver Bullough, ‘‘Putin’s Closest Ally—And His Biggest Liability,’’ The Guardian, Sept. 23, 2015. In December 2017, Kadyrov was sanctioned by the U.S. government for gross violations of human rights under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Publication of Magnitsky Act Sanctions Regu- lations; Magnitsky Act-Related Designations,’’ Dec. 20, 2017. 61 Anna Arutunyan, ‘‘Why Putin Won’t Get Tough on Kadyrov,’’ European Council on Foreign Relations, Apr. 25, 2017. 62 Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, ‘‘Is Chechnya Taking Over Russia?’’ The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

24 18 cessors, Putin’s Kremlin has suppressed independent civil society and human rights activists through a variety of means, including legal restrictions and administrative burdens, the creation of gov- ernment-sponsored civil society groups to counter independent or- ganizations, and violent attacks. Russia’s restrictive legal framework for civil society was designed and refined over many years. In December 2005, the Duma passed amendments that increased scrutiny and bureaucratic reporting re- quirements of NGO finances and operations, used vaguely defined provisions to prohibit foreign NGO programming, barred foreign nationals or those deemed ‘‘undesirable’’ from founding NGOs in- side the country, and prohibited any NGO deemed a threat to Rus- 63 sian national interests. Surkov argued that the amendments were a needed defense against the specter of Western countries and organizations set on fomenting regime change in Russia. In 2012, after Putin’s re-election to the presidency, the Kremlin shepherded through new legislation that further tightened the operating cli- mate for NGOs: any group receiving foreign funding and engaged in political activities had to self-report as a ‘‘foreign agent’’—a So- 64 Observers wide- viet-era term used to describe spies and traitors. ly saw the foreign agent law as an attempt to stigmatize and deny 65 funding to NGOs working on human rights and democracy. In May 2014, the law was amended to enable Russia’s Justice Min- istry to directly register groups as foreign agents without their con- sent, and authorities have since expanded the definition of ‘‘polit- ical activities’’ to include possible aspects of NGO work and fined 66 or closed organizations for violations of the law. Russia’s restrictive NGO laws have had a significant effect. Human Rights Watch reported in September 2017 that ‘‘Russia’s Justice Ministry has designated 158 groups as ‘foreign agents,’ courts have levied staggering fines on many groups for failing to comply with the law, and about 30 groups have shut down rather 67 Other laws—relating to ex- than wear the ‘foreign agent’ label.’’ tremism, anti-terrorism, libel, and public gatherings—have also been selectively utilized by Russian officials to repress independent NGOs and human rights activists, among other targets. The hostile environment for domestic NGOs also fueled a blowback against for- eign entities who sought to support them. The United States Agen- cy for International Development (USAID), which for two decades had supported democracy and rule of law promotion in Russia, as well as health and education, announced in October 2012 that it 63 Katherin Machalek, ‘‘Factsheet: Russia’s NGO Laws’’ in Contending With Putin’s Russia: A , at 10-13, Freedom House, Feb. 6, 2013; ‘‘Russian Duma Passes Con- Call for U.S. Leadership Dec. 23, 2005. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, troversial NGO Bill,’’ 64 This term connotes a different meaning than the Foreign Agents Registration Act in Ibid. U.S. law, in which it is defined in part as ‘‘any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant, or any person who acts in any other capacity at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal’’ and which, most significantly, does not constrain activities of the agent but merely requires registration. 22 U.S.C. § 611(c). 65 at U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012: Russia, 25. 66 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Russia, at 2. 67 Human Rights Watch, ‘‘Russia: Government vs. Rights Groups,’’ Sept. 8, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

25 19 68 would shut down its mission amidst pressure from the Kremlin. USAID was not alone: by December of that year, the International Republican Institute (IRI) announced it was closing its office on or- ders from the Russian government, and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) closed its office in Russia and moved its staff out 69 In January 2015, the Chicago-based MacArthur of the country. Foundation announced it was closing its Moscow office after the Duma asked the Justice Ministry to investigate whether a select group of organizations, including MacArthur as well as the U.S.- based Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Freedom House, should 70 be declared ‘‘undesirable’’ and banned from the country. By June 2017, the Russian government had listed OSF, NDI, IRI, and eight 71 other organizations as ‘‘undesirable.’’ Legal and administrative tactics used during Putin’s tenure to create headwinds against the work of independent civil society or- ganizations have not only muted criticism of his own regime at home and abroad, but have afforded other governments a roadmap to similarly deflect criticism. Research by Human Rights First pub- lished in February 2016 cites at least fourteen countries where Russia has provided a ‘‘bad example’’ that may have inspired other governments to introduce or pass restrictive NGO laws; this in- cludes countries like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan traditionally viewed by Russia as within its geographic sphere of influence, as well as countries further afield such as Ethiopia, Cambodia, Egypt, 72 and Ecuador. The Kremlin has also sought to co-opt civil society by ‘‘devot[ing] massive resources to the creation and activities of state-sponsored 73 and state-controlled NGOs.’’ Commonly referred to as ‘‘GONGOs’’ (Government Organized Non-Governmental Organizations), such groups are used to toe a government-friendly line or to promote al- ternative narratives to counter the work of legitimate Russian and international human rights NGOs. As one former U.S. ambassador to the OSCE described it, ‘‘GONGOs are nothing more than the real-world equivalent of the Internet troll armies that insecure, au- thoritarian, repressive regimes have unleashed on Twitter. They use essentially the same tactics as their online counterparts—cre- ating noise and confusion, flooding the space, using vulgarity, in- timidating those with dissenting views, and crowding out legiti- 74 mate voices.’’ An expert from the National Endowment for De- mocracy has noted that ‘‘Russia sinks extensive resources into 68 Arshad Mohammed, ‘‘USAID Mission In Russia To Close Following Moscow Decision,’’ Reu- ters, Sept. 18, 2012. 69 ‘‘U.S. Pro-Democracy Groups Pulling Out Of Russia,’’ Reuters, Dec. 14, 2012; National Democratic Institute, Russia: Overview, https://www.ndi.org/eurasia/russia (visited Dec. 11, 2017). 70 Alec Luhn, ‘‘American Ngo to Withdraw From Russia After Being Put on ‘Patriotic Stop List,’ ’’ The Guardian, Jul 22, 2015. 71 The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Civic Freedom Monitor: Russia, http:// www.icnl.org/research/monitor/russia.html, (updated Sept. 8, 2017). 72 Russia’s Bad Example, Melissa Hooper & Grigory Frolov, Free Russia Foundation, Human Rights First, Feb. 2016. 73 Statement of Michael McFaul, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia: Rebuilding the Iron Curtain, Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on For- eign Affairs, May 17, 2007. McFaul became U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation in 2012. 74 Ambassador Daniel B. Baer, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE, ‘‘Mind the GONGOs: How Government Organized NGOs Troll Europe’s Largest Human Rights Con- ference,’’ U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Sept. 30, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

26 20 GONGOs in countries on its periphery and beyond,’’ where it can ‘‘eagerly exploit’’ the relatively free operating space for civil society 75 to maximize their impact. He also notes that, similar to Russia, ‘‘leading authoritarian governments have established a wide con- stellation of regime-friendly GONGOs, including think tanks and 76 policy institutes, that operate at home and abroad.’’ The Kremlin has also focused on cultivating youth activism to serve its own purposes. In 2005, after youth activists fueled pro- tests in Ukraine that ultimately toppled the government, Surkov sought a buffer against such upheaval in Russia. Seizing on the anxieties of a nascent youth group in St. Petersburg, he helped de- velop it into the Nashi (‘‘Ours’’) youth organization and recruited participants, particularly from Russia’s poorer regions, who could be readily mobilized as a counter-force to pro-democracy dem- 77 onstrations. The group’s first summit was held at a Kremlin- owned facility outside Moscow and included pro-Kremlin activ- 78 ists. Within months, Nashi held a rally in Moscow in which thou- sands of activists were bussed in to celebrate Russia’s World War 79 Nashi and its projects were funded by II victory over Germany. both the state and pro-Kremlin oligarchs and focused on pro-Putin gatherings and the political ‘‘training’’ of youth in summer camp- style gatherings, which included posters demeaning Kremlin critics 80 More recently, a and human rights activists as liars and Nazis. ‘‘military-patriotic movement’’ of 11- to 18-year-olds known as Yunarmiya (‘‘Youth Army’’) has been promulgated in schools across Russia, a project of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu en- dorsed by Putin and enjoying sponsorship from four state-owned 81 Its ranks swelled from 100 members in 2016 to more than banks. 30,000 a year later, and Yunarmiya was prominently featured in the Kremlin’s annual World War II Victory Day parade in May 2017—just weeks after a large number of Russian youth turned out at opposition-organized anti-corruption protests around the coun- 82 try. Finally, the Kremlin has created a climate where physical at- tacks against civil society activists, as well as political opponents and independent journalists, occur regularly and often with impu- nity (see Appendix E). While such attacks are not exclusively part of the Russian ‘’sovereign democracy’’ toolkit, the impunity with which they have been perpetrated in Russia has provided com- forting company to other authoritarian governments who use simi- lar tactics. Political Processes, Parties, and Opposition Russia’s ‘’sovereign democracy’’ relies on democratic structures, albeit largely hollow ones, to give a sheen of legitimacy to a regime 75 Christopher Walker, ‘‘Dealing with the Authoritarian Resurgence,’’ Authoritarianism Goes Global, Larry Diamond et al. eds. at 226 (2016). 76 at 218. Ibid. 77 Apr. 8, 2016. The Moscow Times, Eva Hartog, ‘‘A Kremlin Youth Movement Goes Rogue,’’ 78 PublicAffairs at 98 (2016). All the Kremlin’s Men, Mikhail Zygar, 79 Ibid. at 99. 80 Julia Ioffe, ‘‘Russia’s Nationalist Summer Camp,’’ The New Yorker, Aug. 16, 2010; Eva The Moscow Times, Hartog, ‘‘A Kremlin Youth Movement Goes Rogue,’’ Apr. 8, 2016. 81 Ilnur Sharafiyev, ‘‘Making Real Men Out of Schoolchildren,’’ Meduza, Oct. 6, 2017. 82 Daniel Schearf, ‘‘Putin’s Youth Army Debuts on Red Square for ‘Victory Day,’ ’’ Voice of May 8, 2017. America, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

27 21 that puts its own interests before those of its citizens. Under Putin’s leadership, the Russian government has undermined polit- ical processes, parties, and opposition that present a meaningful 83 check on the Kremlin’s power. Putin and his allies have neutered political competition by cre- ating rubber-stamp opposition parties and harassing legitimate op- position. For example, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the founder of the Russian oil company Yukos, was imprisoned for more than a dec- 84 ade on a spate of charges deemed to be politically motivated. His prosecution could be broadly interpreted as a signal to other power- ful oligarchs that supporting independent or anti-Putin parties car- ries great risk to one’s personal wealth and well-being. Genuine op- position party candidates have also been blocked from registering 85 At the same time, parties invented or participating in elections. by the Kremlin to take away votes from the real opposition have received resources and support from the state and the private sec- tor. Yet when these co-opted parties have asserted a degree of inde- 86 pendence, they have had their leadership and resources gutted. More recently, opposition activists attempting to join forces through the Khodorkovsky-supported Open Russia platform have been blocked from using hotels and conference facilities to hold gath- 87 erings, and some have even had their homes raided. And the Kremlin appears set on quashing the 2018 electoral aspirations of anti-corruption activist and presidential hopeful Alexey Navalny, as the Central Election Commission declared him ineligible to run because of an embezzlement conviction, which international observ- 88 ers and his supporters allege was politically motivated. Putin has also sought to centralize institutional power in Moscow and weaken the parliament as a check on presidential authority. Early in his first term, he undermined the authority of elected re- gional governors by creating seven supra-regional districts, to 89 By which he appointed mainly former generals and KGB officers. acquiring greater control over media resources, he achieved elec- toral victories for a growing swath of United Russia candidates and 90 In 2004, Putin ‘‘radi- thereby reduced parliamentary autonomy. cally restructured’’ the Russian political system by eliminating the election of regional governors by popular vote in favor of centrally- directed appointments, characterizing this significant power grab 83 Statement of Michael McFaul, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia: Rebuilding the Iron Curtain, Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on For- eign Affairs, May 17, 2007. 84 The Guardian, Dec. Tom Parfitt, ‘‘Mikhail Khodorkovsky Sentenced to 14 years in Prison,’’ 30, 2010; David M. Herszenhorn & Steven Lee Myers, ‘‘Freed Abruptly by Putin, Khodorkovsky The New York Times , Dec. 20, 2013. Arrives in Germany,’’ 85 Statement of Michael McFaul, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia: Rebuilding the Iron Curtain, Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on For- eign Affairs, May 17, 2007. 86 Ibid. 87 ‘‘Russian Law Enforcement Raid Homes of Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia Employees,’’ The Moscow Times, Oct. 5, 2017; Anna Liesowska, ‘‘Online Democracy Group Open Russia Refused The Siberian Times, Mar. 27, 2015. Entry to Major Hotels,’’ 88 Vladimir Soldatkin & Andrew Osborn, ‘‘Putin Critic Navalny Barred from Russian Presi- dential Election,’’ Reuters, Dec. 25, 2017. 89 Statement of Michael McFaul, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia: Rebuilding the Iron Curtain, Hearing before the U.S. House Committee on For- eign Affairs, May 17, 2007. 90 Sept. 14, 2004. Peter Baker, ‘‘Putin Moves to Centralize Authority,’’ The Washington Post, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

28 22 as an effort to forge ‘‘national cohesion’’ in the wake of the terrorist 91 attack at a school in Beslan in North Ossetia. The erosion of democratic processes in Russia’s elections has di- rectly corresponded to Putin’s efforts to secure a mandate and tighten his grip on power (see Appendix F for a summary of flawed elections in Russia since 1999). Around the most recent presi- dential election in 2012, in which Putin returned to power amidst credible allegations of fraud, tens of thousands of Russian citizens joined large-scale demonstrations in Moscow in late 2011 and early 92 2012, chanting ‘‘Russia without Putin!’’ The Kremlin’s response ranged from coalescing support to cracking down on criticism. Throngs of pro-government supporters were bussed in to partici- pate in campaign rallies expressing support for Putin in a ‘‘battle’’ 93 for Russia that painted any opposition as traitorous. Following the protests that tarnished Putin’s inauguration, the government fast-tracked passage of a law that increased administrative pen- alties by a factor of one hundred for unsanctioned protests and 94 other violations of the law on public assembly. Working through the Investigative Committee, a beefed-up internal security service that then-President Dmitry Medvedev established in 2011 and which reports directly to the president, the Kremlin carried out smear campaigns and discredited opposition figures through dubi- 95 ous charges and flawed legal proceedings. The backlash against political competition reached alarming levels in February 2015, when opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was murdered just steps 96 from the Kremlin. Nemtsov was to participate two days later in a protest he organized against the Kremlin’s economic mismanage- ment and interference in Ukraine. He was also planning to release 97 a report on Russia’s role in Ukraine. Observers alleged that the demonization in pro-government media of opposition figures as 98 traitors had contributed to his death. In June 2017, a Russian court convicted five Chechen men of Nemtsov’s killing. While the verdict was welcomed by the United States and other governments, Nemtsov’s supporters charged that the masterminds behind the killing remained at large, and Nemtsov’s family has called for 99 Ramzan Kadyrov to be interrogated in the case. Notably, despite this hostile climate, large-scale opposition pro- tests have continued each year on the anniversary of Nemtsov’s death. In addition, presidential hopeful Alexey Navalny spear- headed several anti-corruption protests in cities across Russia in 2017. Using social media, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund has broadly circulated the results of its investigative work into alleged 91 Ibid. 92 Ellen Barry & Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘After Election, Putin Faces Challenges to Legitimacy,’’ , Mar. 5, 2012. The New York Times 93 Newsweek, Marc Bennetts, ‘‘How Putin Tried and Failed To Crush Dissent in Russia,’’ Feb. 26, 2016. 94 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012: Russia, at 24. 95 Nastassia Astrasheuskaya & Steve Gutterman, ‘‘Putin Foe Charged, Russian Opposition Fear KGB Tactics,’’ Reuters, July 31, 2012. 96 ‘‘Russian Opposition Politician Boris Nemtsov Shot Dead,’’ BBC, Feb. 28, 2015. 97 Alec Lunh, ‘‘Boris Nemtsov Report on Ukraine to be Released by Dead Politician’s Allies,’’ May 12, 2015. The Guardian, 98 ‘‘Russian Opposition: Critics or Traitors?’’ Al Jazeera , Mar. 2, 2015. 99 Ivan Nechepurenko, ‘‘5 Who Killed Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Sentenced in Russia,’’ The Radio New York Times , July 13, 2017; ‘‘Nemtsov’s Daughter Requests Questioning Of Kadyrov,’’ Apr. 28, 2016. Free Europe/Radio Liberty, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

29 23 corruption by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other high- ranking officials. At least 1,750 Russian citizens were detained after June 2017 anti-corruption protests, according to the Russian 100 monitoring group OVD-Info. Cultural Forces and Religious Institutions Under Putin, the Kremlin has engaged and boosted cultural forces and religious institutions inside Russia to provide an addi- tional bulwark against the democratic values and actors it paints as anathema to the country’s interests. One prominent example is the strong ties that Putin and his inner circle have forged with the 101 The Russian Ortho- Russian Orthodox Church and its affiliates. dox Church enjoys special recognition under Russian law, while in contrast, laws such as the 2006 NGO laws and the 2016 ‘‘Yarovaya’’ package of counterterrorism laws have enabled pres- sure against non-Russian Orthodox religious entities through cum- bersome registration processes and administrative constraints, re- 102 strictions on proselytizing, and expanded surveillance. Addition- ally, the U.S. State Department has reported that the Russian state has provided security and official vehicles to the Russian Or- thodox patriarch (but not to other religious leaders) and noted re- ports that the Russian Orthodox Church has been a ‘‘primary bene- ficiary’’ of presidential grants ostensibly designed to reduce NGO 103 dependence on foreign funding. In return for the state’s favor, the Russian Orthodox Church has promoted Putin and the state’s policies at multiple turns. A former editor of the official journal of the Moscow Patriarchate (the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church and its affiliated churches outside The New York Times in 2016 that ‘‘The [Russian the country) told Orthodox] church has become an instrument of the Russian state. 104 It is used to extend and legitimize the interests of the Kremlin.’’ This is noteworthy given Putin’s roots in the KGB—the tip of the Soviet spear in restricting religious activity during the Communist era—and it reflects a careful cultivation of his identity as a man of faith and a defender of the Orthodox faithful. The image of Putin as defender of traditional religious and cultural values has also been leveraged by the Kremlin ‘‘as both an ideology and a source 105 of influence abroad.’’ In projecting itself as ‘‘the natural ally of those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tra- dition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights,’’ the Russian government has been able to mobilize 100 Marc Bennetts, ‘‘‘There Are Better Things Than Turnips:’ Navalny Plans Putin Birthday Protests,’’ Oct. 5, 2017. The Guardian, 101 See Chapter 4 for more information on the Russian Orthodox Church’s role in promoting Kremlin objectives abroad. 102 U.S. International Religious Freedom Report for 2006, Russia; U.S. Department of State, Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Russia, at 1. 103 U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report for 2016: Russia , at 23- 24; U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Russia, at 53 (citing report published in the . Moscow Times 104 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘In Expanding Russian Influence, Faith Combines With Firepower,’’ The New York Times , Sept. 13, 2016. 105 Simon Shuster, ‘‘Russia’s President Putin Casts Himself as Protector of the Faith,’’ TIME, Sept. 12, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

30 24 some Orthodox actors in places like Moldova and Montenegro to 106 vigorously oppose integration with the West. The Kremlin’s cultivation of the Russian Orthodox Church inten- sified following the massive 2011-12 street protests opposing Putin’s return to the presidency. Patriarch Kirill, who assumed leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2009, endorsed Putin’s long rule as a ‘‘miracle of God’’ on February 8, 2012, weeks before the presidential election. He praised Putin for ‘‘correcting [the] crooked twist’’ of Russia’s tumultuous democratic transition in the 1990s, and derided Putin’s opponents as materialistic and a 107 Eleven days later, members of the rock group threat to Russia. Pussy Riot performed a protest song, ‘‘Virgin Mary, Redeem Us of Putin’’ in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In a high-profile and widely criticized prosecution, three Pussy Riot members were later sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for ‘‘hooliganism moti- 108 vated by religious hatred.’’ In a December 2012 speech, Putin in- voked traditional and spiritual values as the antidote to Russian decline and criticized foreign influences, defining Russia’s democ- racy as ‘‘the power of the Russian people with their traditions’’ and ‘‘absolutely not the realization of standards imposed on us from 109 outside.’’ And in January 2013, Putin signed a law criminalizing ‘‘insulting religious believers’ feelings’’ which enabled fines and 110 prison time of up to three years. The Kremlin’s fueling of culture wars has also provided context for the passage of laws criminal- izing ‘‘gay propaganda’’ and decriminalizing first instances of do- 111 mestic violence. The effects of these laws on the security of LGBT persons and women in Russia is discussed in more detail in Appendix G. CONTROLLING THE PUBLIC NARRATIVE Media Capture Throughout Putin’s tenure in Russia, the Kremlin has pressured independent media outlets to prevent them from being a meaning- ful check on his power. From the early days of Putin’s first term, the U.S. State Department noted the threats to editorial independ- ence posed by an increasing concentration of media ownership in Russia and news organizations’ heavy reliance on financial spon- 112 sors or federal and local government support to operate. Print media required the services of state-owned printing and distribu- tion companies, while broadcast media relied on the government for access to airwaves and accreditation to cover news. Kremlin favor- itism, then, played heavily in determining which outlets survived. 106 The Andrew Higgins, ‘‘In Expanding Russian Influence, Faith Combines With Firepower,’’ , Sept. 13, 2016. New York Times 107 Gleb Bryanski, ‘‘Russian Patriarch Calls Putin Era ‘Miracle Of God,’ ’’ Feb. 8, Reuters, 2012. 108 U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, Russia , at 9. 109 Ellen Barry, ‘‘Russia’s History Should Guide Its Future, Putin Says,’’ The New York Times , Dec. 12, 2012. 110 Carl Schreck, ‘‘Holy Slight: How Russia Prosecutes For ‘Insulting Religious Feelings,’ ’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Aug. 15, 2017. 111 Lucian Kim, ‘‘Russian President Signs Law to Decriminalize Domestic Violence,’’ National Public Radio, Feb. 16, 2017. 112 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001, Russia. U.S. Department of State, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

31 25 Conversely, media outlets that criticized President Putin or his ac- 113 tions risked retaliation. A seminal moment in the Kremlin’s efforts to capture the media in Russia came after the August 2000 Kursk submarine disaster that killed 118 Russian seamen. Questions swirled about how much the government knew about the accident and whether it had 114 done enough to mitigate it. Putin, who had been vacationing in Sochi when the Kursk disaster unfolded and did not speak about it until days later, held a town hall with families of the dead, in which several relatives excoriated him for incompetence. Despite Kremlin efforts to limit media access to one Russian state broad- caster and to heavily edit the footage that was aired, international and Russian print media released details of the meeting and inter- views with family members that cast Putin’s young government in 115 a harsh light. In a secretly taped record of the meeting by a journalist from Kommersant, a national Russian newspaper, Putin fumed that national television channels were lying about the Kursk events and accused them of destroying the Russian military 116 through their corruption and efforts to discredit the government. The independent channel NTV, founded by oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, had swiftly challenged the government’s explanation of the Kursk tragedy and criticized its refusal of foreign assistance for 117 (NTV had also the first five days following the initial explosion. aired a piece in 1999 asserting an FSB role in the failed apartment bombing in Ryazan, after which the Kremlin informed Gusinsky he had ‘‘crossed the line.’’ In 2000, Gusinsky was briefly jailed, exiled, and pressured to sell his stake in NTV to the state energy company 118 In October 2000, a critical one-hour TV special aired Gazprom.) about the Kursk disaster on ORT, a public television channel part- ly owned by oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who had helped to execute the smooth transfer of power from Yeltsin to Putin a year earlier but subsequently fell out of favor with the Kremlin and announced 119 his opposition. The Kremlin took steps thereafter to further rein in both NTV and ORT, and then other media outlets over which it lacked effec- tive or editorial control. Beyond targeting its patron Gusinsky, the Kremlin began after Kursk to target NTV’s investigative journal- ists and editorial infrastructure. A popular NTV presenter was questioned by prosecutors early in 2001, and the phone line of NTV 120 managing director Evgeniy Kiselev was reportedly tapped. Gazprom undertook a ‘‘corporate coup’’ of the channel in an early 113 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001, Russia. U.S. Department of State, 114 , Oct. The New York Times Michael Wines, ‘‘ ‘None of Us Can Get Out’ Kursk Sailor Wrote,’’ 27, 2000. 115 Ian Traynor, ‘‘Putin Faces Families’ Fury,’’ The Guardian, Aug. 22, 2000. 116 The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Arkady Ostrovsky, Putin’s War, Atlantic Books, at 277-78 (2015). 117 See Jonathan Steele, ‘‘Fury Over Putin’s Secrets and Lies,’’ The Guardian, Aug. 21, 2000. 118 Robert Coalson, ‘‘Ten Years Ago, Russia’s Independent NTV, The Talk Of The Nation, Fell , Apr. 14, 2011. NTV was founded by opposition oli- Silent,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty garch Vladimir Gusinsky and was known for its popular satirical puppet show called Kukly (‘‘Dolls’’) that lampooned Putin and other politicians. 119 Inna Denisova & Robert Coalson, ‘‘Kursk Anniversary: Submarine Disaster Was Putin’s ‘First Lie,’ ’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Aug. 12, 2015; ‘‘Oligarch Who Angered Putin: Rise and Fall of Boris Berezovsky,’’ CNN, Mar. 25, 2013. 120 Ostrovsky, at 281. The Invention of Russia, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

32 26 121 morning office raid in April 2001, installing a new editorial staff. NTV was subsequently transformed into largely an entertainment channel, focused on ‘‘pulp crime reporting and low-brow action se- 122 ries instead of critical political coverage.’’ Meanwhile, the Krem- lin reportedly delivered a message to Berezovsky after the Kursk disaster that he would no longer be permitted to control ORT’s edi- torial policy; Berezovsky subsequently sold his stake in ORT to oli- garch Roman Abramovich, who asserted years later in UK court proceedings that Putin and his chief of staff had directed him to 123 make the purchase. ORT was subsequently transformed into Perviy Kanal (‘‘Channel One’’), which has become Russia’s largest 124 state-controlled national television network. The Kremlin’s early efforts to neutralize independent or critical national media and consolidate state ownership of media outlets had a chilling effect on the development of independent journalism in the country, and both official and unofficial pressure have con- tinued against TV, print, and online media outlets that challenge the Kremlin line. Since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, a spate of firings, resignations, and closures among numerous media outlets suggest that the Kremlin under Putin has no inten- tion of reversing its longstanding trend of controlling the media space. For example, a high-ranking executive and editor of the Kommersant-Vlast news magazine was fired in late 2011 after pub- lishing allegations of fraud in the parliamentary elections that year and a photo of a ballot with an expletive regarding Putin written 125 RIA-Novosti, Russia’s state-run international news agency, on it. was liquidated in December 2013 on a decree from Putin and re- fashioned into Russiya Segodnya (‘‘Russia Today’’) under the helm 126 of an unabashedly pro-Kremlin commentator, Dmitry Kiselev. In 2014, opposition channel Dozhd (‘‘Rain’’) was dropped from several 127 The cable providers and evicted from its Moscow studio space. U.S. State Department has noted that ‘’significant government pressure’’ continues on Russian independent media, limiting cov- erage of Ukraine, Syria, elections, and other sensitive topics and 128 prompting ‘‘widespread’’ self-censorship. Meanwhile, state-con- trolled media regularly slander opposition views as traitorous or foreign, which has engendered ‘‘a climate intolerant of dissent’’ in which a spate of violent attacks and criminal prosecutions of jour- 129 nalists have occurred (see Appendix E). Most recently, on No- vember 25, 2017, Putin signed a bill enabling Russian authorities to list and scrutinize media outlets as ‘‘foreign agents’’and requir- 121 Ibid. at 280-81. 122 The Moscow Times, ‘‘Takeover Not Celebrated,’’ Apr. 14, 2011. 123 at 29. All the Kremlin’s Men, Zygar, 124 Joshua Yaffa, ‘‘Putin’s Master of Ceremonies,’’ Feb. 5, 2014. The New Yorker, 125 Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘2 Leaders in Russian Media Are Fired After Election Articles,’’ The New York Times , Dec. 13, 2011. 126 Daniel Sandford, ‘‘Russian News Agency RIA Novosti Closed Down,’’ BBC News , Dec. 9, 2013; Rossiya Segodnya, which translates to ‘‘Russia Today,’’ is distinct from RT, the inter- national television network supported by the Russian government. Dmitry Kiselev is unrelated to Evgeniy Kiselev, mentioned previously in this section. 127 Benyumov, ‘‘How Russia’s Independent Media Was Dismantled Piece by Piece,’’ The Guard- May 25, 2016. ian, 128 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Russia, at 23. 129 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

33 27 ing their content to be branded as such as well as their foreign 130 funding sources to be disclosed. Disinformation and Propaganda The use of disinformation and propaganda has long been a hall- mark of the Kremlin’s toolbox to manipulate its own citizens. The historical precedent for these tactics stem from the Soviet era, when the government routinely utilized propaganda to ‘’suppress any suggestion of the unpleasant and reassure the viewer that life 131 While in the communist empire was peaceful and optimistic.’’ propaganda inside Russia has long cast aspersions on the Western democratic model as a counterpoint to Russia’s own, the Kremlin’s use of disinformation and propaganda under Putin has not sought simply to keep a lid on unpleasantness at home, but rather to whip up anxieties and generate fevered sentiment in support of its poli- cies and actions. To implement its propaganda, Putin’s deputies reportedly sum- mon chief editors on a regular basis to coordinate the Kremlin line on various news and policy items and distribute it throughout 132 Driving the narrative mainstream media outlets in Moscow. often requires media partners who have ‘‘created myths and ex- plained reality’’ in the production of news as well as entertain- ment—often blurring lines between the two to ensure that media 133 content fuels enthusiasm for the Kremlin’s overall narrative. Russian journalist Arkady Ostrovsky quotes one such partner at the helm of leading Russian television channel Perviy Kanal, Konstantin Ernst on this imperative: ‘‘Our task number two is to inform the country about what is going on. Today the main task 134 of television is to mobilize the country.’’ Propaganda under Putin has played up examples of Western fail- ures in an attempt to undermine the credibility of a Western-style alternative system of government to Russia’s corrupt, authoritarian state. Founder of independent television outlet Dozhd, Mikhail Zygar, summarizes it this way: Russian television doesn’t suggest that Russian leaders are any better or less corrupt, or more honest and just, than Western leaders. Rather, it says that everything is the same everywhere. All the world’s politicians are corrupt— just look at the revelations in the Panama Papers. Every- where, human rights are being violated—just look at what American cops do to black people. All athletes dope. All elections are falsified. Democracy doesn’t exist anywhere, 135 so give it up. Ginning up cynicism among the Russian population about demo- cratic nations also provides a convenient brush with which to tar Russia’s democratic opposition at home. As Ostrovsky notes: 130 Nov. 25, 2017. Reuters, ‘‘Russia’s Putin Signs Foreign Agents Media Law,’’ 131 Joshua Yaffa, ‘‘Dmitry Kiselev Is Redefining the Art of Russian Propaganda,’’ New Repub- lic, July 1, 2014. 132 Bill Powell, ‘‘Pushing The Kremlin Line,’’ May 20, 2014. Newsweek, 133 Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia, at 297. 134 at 297. Ibid. 135 July 27, 2016. Politico, Mikhail Zygar, ‘‘Why Putin Prefers Trump,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

34 28 In the weeks before his death, [opposition leader Boris Nemtsov] was demonized on television,’’ to great effect. In Moscow street protests at that time, ‘‘hate banners car- rying his image were hung on building facades with the words ‘Fifth column—aliens among us’ . . . [marchers] car- ried signs proclaiming PUTIN AND KADYROV PREVENT MAIDAN IN RUSSIA alongside photographs of Nemtsov identifying him as ‘the organizer of Maidan.’ ’’ This climate led Nemtsov to assert in an interview hours before his death that Russia was turning into a ‘‘fascist state’’ with 136 ‘‘propaganda modeled on Nazi Germany’s. Putin’s propaganda machine has asserted a ‘‘moral superiority’’ over the West, bolstered by a focus on traditional values of the 137 state and the Russian Orthodox Church. This was especially useful at home as the 2011-2012 protests against Putin’s return to the presidency gained steam, particularly among a relatively sec- ular and urban middle class, forcing the Kremlin to appeal to its 138 ‘‘core paternalistic and traditionalist electorate.’’ As such, state- sponsored media outlets have displayed an unforgiving tone for members of Russian society who buck traditional or religious mores. In April 2012, for example, the popular, pro-Kremlin ‘‘News of the Week’’ presenter Dmitry Kiselev said that gays and lesbians ‘’should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm, and in the case of a road accident, their hearts should be either buried or cremated 139 as unsuitable for the prolongation of life.’’ State-sponsored media have also doctored the Kremlin’s image to help justify Russian military incursions into Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria to the Russian population. During the 2008 invasion of Geor- gia, Ostrovsky notes that ‘‘television channels were part of the mili- tary operation, waging an essential propaganda campaign, spread- ing disinformation and demonizing the country Russia was about 140 to attack.’’ Russian television inflated figures of civilian deaths and refugees in South Ossetia by the thousands. Alleging genocide, the picture that media painted was of the Kremlin ‘‘fighting not a tiny, poor country that used to be its vassal but a dangerous and 141 powerful aggressor backed by the imperialist West.’’ Six years later, these tactics would be taken to new extremes during the so- called Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in which pro-European pro- testers railed against the pro-Russian government in Kiev, and the subsequent illegal Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014. Russian media painted the Euromaidan protesters as a collection of ‘‘neo- Nazis, anti-Semites, and radicals’’ staging an American-sponsored 142 coup in Kiev. ‘‘Pass this Oscar to the Russian Channel and to Dmitry Kiselev for the lies and nonsense you are telling people about Maidan,’’ one protester said to a Russian state television 136 Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia, at 2; the name ‘‘Maidan,’’ a borrowed word in the Rus- sian and Ukrainian languages that refers to an open public space or town square, has been fre- quently used to refer to popular protests and street revolutions in the former Soviet space. 137 Chapter 4 for more information on the Russian Orthodox Church’s role in promoting tradi- tional values abroad. 138 Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia, at 312. 139 Joshua Yaffa, ‘‘Dmitry Kiselev Is Redefining the Art of Russian Propaganda,’’ New Repub- lic, July 1, 2014. 140 Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia, at 298. 141 at 298-99. Ibid. 142 at 315. Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

35 29 broadcaster reporting from the Kyiv square, handing him a small 143 statue. The Kremlin’s portrayal of its September 2015 involve- ment in the Syria conflict followed a similar pattern—a carefully- constructed narrative of Putin as the responsible and humanitarian actor who was intervening to stop U.S.-generated chaos in the Mid- 144 State-sponsored media painted it as a successful fight dle East. against ISIS, though facts on the ground indicated that Russian bombs were in fact targeting the Syrian opposition to Bashar al- 145 Assad. Russian security services have long collected compromising mate- rial known as ‘‘kompromat’’ on their own citizens and disseminated it through friendly, pro-Kremlin media. This tactic was instru- mental in Putin’s 1999 rise to power (see Chapter 1) and has con- tinued to be deployed brazenly during his tenure to smear opposi- tion activists. For example, the Nashi youth group, with Kremlin support, was reportedly behind the release of a 2010 video reel showing Victor Shenderovich, a prominent satirist and popular host of a television show that lampooned Russian officials, having 146 The sex with a woman suspected to be a Kremlin ‘‘honey trap.’’ scandal prompted the release of information from other liberal media and opposition figures who said they had been entrapped by 147 the same woman. In 2016, grainy footage aired on pro-Kremlin channel NTV showing former Prime Minister and head of the PARNAS liberal opposition party, Mikhail Kasyanov, and another Russian opposition activist, Natalia Pelevina, in bed in a room to- gether and exchanging criticisms about other members of the oppo- 148 sition. Pelevina claimed that the video must have been compiled at Putin’s direction to ‘‘destroy’’ Kasyanov, whose party was con- tending upcoming parliamentary elections, describing it as spliced together from perhaps six months’ worth of secret footage and edit- 149 ed for maximum effect. Fake news and internet trolling have been used by the Kremlin against Russian citizens and were ramped up considerably after the 2011-2012 anti-Putin protests, according to investigative re- porting by The New York Times . Set on reining in social media and online platforms, which were used by the opposition to disseminate electoral fraud allegations and mobilize protesters, the Kremlin used software to monitor public sentiment online and flooded social media with its own content, ‘‘paying fashion and fitness bloggers to place pro-Kremlin material among innocuous posts about shoes and 150 diets.’’ Representatives of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption New York Times Fund lamented to a journalist about the ‘‘atmos- phere of hate’’ and the proliferation of pro-Kremlin hashtags that permeated Russia’s Internet space after the protests, which clouded 143 A.O. ‘‘Russia’s Chief Propagandist,’’ Dec. 10, 2013. The Economist, 144 Ostrovsky, The Invention of Russia, at 324. 145 at 337. Zygar, All the Kremlin’s Men, 146 Julia Ioffe, ‘‘Bears in a Honey Trap,’’ Foreign Policy, Apr. 28, 2010. 147 Ibid. 148 Susan Ormiston, ‘‘Sex Tape Scandal Was Work of Putin, Says Russian Political Activist Exposed in Video,’’ CBC News, Apr. 9, 2016. 149 Ibid. 150 , June 2, 2015. The New York Times Adrian Chen, ‘‘The Agency,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

36 30 their messages with ‘‘so much garbage from trolls’’ that they be- 151 came less effective. Efforts to crack down on free expression online and via social media also picked up renewed steam after Putin’s return to the presidency. For example, a 2014 law enabled Russian authorities to block websites deemed extremist or a threat to public order without a court order, resulting in the blockage of three major op- 152 Later position news sites and activist Alexey Navalny’s blog. that year, in September, Putin signed a law requiring non-Russian companies to store all domestic data on servers within the Russian Federation, ostensibly for data protection, but many observers saw it as an effort to tighten control over email and social media net- 153 works. When the law took effect in 2015, some foreign compa- nies refused to immediately comply. In response, Russian authori- ties ordered internet service providers in the country to block LinkedIn for non-compliance and threatened to shut down 154 Facebook in 2018 if it did not comply. Russian security services also ratcheted up influence over widely used Russian social media platform VKontakte—which has a broad user base in Russia as well as in Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet space— pressuring its chief executive to reveal information on Euromaidan protesters in Ukraine and anti-corruption activists in Russia. Upon refusal, the CEO was fired, leaving the company in the control of 155 Kremlin-friendly oligarchs. In addition, the Kremlin has, though at times clumsily, sought greater control of the internet space inside Russia as another way to surveil and restrict potential threats to its power. In the late 1990s, during Putin’s FSB tenure, the government reportedly took steps to reinvigorate a Soviet-era surveillance mechanism called the System of Operative Search Measures (SORM) for the internet era. This SORM-2 aimed to intercept email, internet traffic, mobile 156 calls, and voice-over internet protocols. The new system required Russian Internet service providers to ‘‘install a device on their lines, a black box that would connect the internet provider to the FSB. It would allow the FSB to silently and effortlessly eavesdrop on emails, which had become the main method of communication 157 on the internet by 1998.’’ Despite initial resistance from some service providers when news of the plan was leaked, ultimately 158 most companies complied with its provisions. Observers have noted that SORM-2 also expanded Kremlin capacity to surveil fi- nancial transactions, providing Putin ‘‘with a complete view of what the Russian political and economic elite was doing with its 151 Ibid. 152 ‘‘Russia Censors Media By Blocking Websites and Popular Blog,’’ Mar. 14, The Guardian, 2014. 153 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014: Russia, U.S. Department of State, Reuters, at 33; Alexei Anishchuk, ‘‘Russia Passes Law to Force Websites onto Russian Servers,’’ July 4, 2014; Glenn Kates, ‘‘Russia’s ‘Cheburashka’ Internet? Probably Not, But Here Are Some Other Options,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 6, 2014. 154 Ilya Khrennikov, ‘‘Russia Threatens to Shut Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws,’’ Bloomberg Technology, Sept. 26, 2017. 155 Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, The Red Web: The Kremlin’s War on the Internet, PublicAffairs, at 291-294 Sept. 2015. 156 Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, ‘‘Inside the Red Web: Russia’s Back Door Onto the Inter- net—Extract,’’ The Guardian, Sept. 8, 2015. 157 Ibid. 158 Jen Tracy, ‘‘Who Reads Your E-mail?,’’ Moscow Times, Mar. 16, 1999. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

37 31 159 money.’’ According to an investigation by the Associated Press, the Kremlin has also directed state-sponsored hackers to infiltrate the email accounts of political opponents, dozens of journalists, and at least one hundred civil society figures inside Russia—a signal of tactics it would later use against international targets. Its domestic target list includes Mikhail Khodorkovsky, members of Pussy Riot, 160 and Alexey Navalny. CORRUPTING ECONOMIC ACTIVITY When news of the so-called ‘‘Panama Papers’’ broke in 2016, shining a light on corruption networks around the globe, a Russian cellist named Sergey Rodulgin found himself center stage. The doc- uments alleged that Rodulgin, an old friend of Putin’s, was tied to offshore companies valued at $2 billion that are suspected fronts 161 for stashing pilfered wealth. The documents allegedly showed that Rodulgin directly holds as much as $100 million in assets— 162 a surprising figure for a professional cellist. When pressed to re- spond to the papers, both Putin and Rodulgin attributed the latter’s wealth to his successful philanthropic efforts collecting do- nations from Russian businessmen for the purchase of fine rare in- struments for Russian students’ use. ‘‘There’s nothing to catch me out on here,’’ said Rodulgin. ‘‘I am indeed rich; I am rich with the 163 talent of Russia.’’ In fact, the estimated $24 billion that Putin’s inner circle of friends and family controls is mostly drawn from business with state-controlled companies, particularly in the oil 164 and gas sector. An October 2017 report, jointly compiled by the Organized Crime and Corruption Project (the investigative network which helped to bring the Panama Papers to light) and Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta , details the wealth of several members of Putin’s inner circle and notes that, ‘‘Though they hold enormous assets, they stay out of the public eye, seem largely unaware of their own companies, and are at pains to explain the origins of their wealth,’’ suggesting these individuals are ‘‘proxies’’ for holding 165 resources that Putin may have amassed. The wealth that Putin may have accumulated for himself is the tip of a larger iceberg of crony capitalism in Russia that ‘‘has turned loyalists into billionaires whose influence over strategic sec- tors of the economy has in turn helped [Putin] maintain his iron- 166 fisted grip on power.’’ This political-economic ecosystem is dis- tinct from the Yeltsin era, when many oligarchs independently built fortunes out of the chaos of the Soviet Union’s collapse and thus represented potential political threats to the government. The Russian population, beset by the economic tumult of the 1990s, grew to resent the entrepreneurial oligarchs and their individual 159 Open Samuel A. Greene, ‘‘Book Review: Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan’s ‘The Red Web,’ ’’ Democracy, Sep. 8, 2015. 160 Raphael Satter et al., ‘‘Russia Hackers Pursued Putin Foes, Not Just US Democrats,’’ Asso- Nov. 2, 2017. ciated Press, 161 Shaun Walker, ‘‘Russian Cellist Says Funds Revealed in Panama Papers Came From Do- The Guardian, nations,’’ Apr. 10, 2016. 162 Ibid. 163 Ibid. 164 The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Putin and the Proxies, https:// www.occrp.org/en/putinandtheproxies, Oct. 24, 2017. 165 Ibid. 166 The New Steven Lee Myers et al. , ‘‘Private Bank Fuels Fortunes of Putin’s Inner Circle,’’ , Sept. 27, 2014. York Times VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

38 32 167 gains, often made through unscrupulous means. As Putin took power, he seized on this resentment to assert the importance of the state over the individual. The new class of ‘‘bureaucrat-entre- preneurs’’ that emerged, former Soviet apparatchiks drawn dis- proportionately from the ranks of the security services, were re- warded with ‘‘complete power over any individual’’ and a helping of corrupt profits as long as they served state interests and re- 168 mained loyal to the top of this pyramid scheme—Putin himself. As Putin gained, so too did his loyalists, helping to reinforce the system and deter jealous challengers to his rule. Many of these insiders trace their relationships with Putin back to a cooperative he joined in the mid-1990s with seven other own- ers of modest vacation homes a few hours outside of St. Petersburg, which they named Ozero (‘‘Lake’’). Putin carefully cultivated and relied on these bonds during his rise to power. He helped one such individual, Yury Kovalchuk, to take ownership in the early 1990s of a small firm, Bank Rossiya, whose shareholders included other members of the Ozero cooperative (see Chapter 4 for more on the 169 Ozero cooperative and Bank Rossiya). With Kremlin help to steer lucrative customers its way, obtain state-owned enterprises at bargain-basement prices, and obscure its financial holdings through murky transactions and shell companies, Bank Rossiya grew exponentially, and along the way also amassed significant media holdings that helped the Kremlin influence public percep- 170 tions. Putin has similarly relied on other longstanding friends, such as his former judo sparring partner Arkady Rotenberg, who controls shadow companies that allegedly made huge payments into Putin’s business network, including a loan to an offshore com- pany controlled by Bank Rossiya with no apparent repayment 171 schedule. A number of these insiders have become the targets of inter- national sanctions after the Russian invasion and illegal annex- ation of Crimea in 2014. Powerful Russian government operators have also been the target of U.S. sanctions under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which requires the United States government to sanction Russian officials con- nected to the violent death in detention of lawyer and whistle- blower Sergei Magnitsky, as well as other officials who are gross 172 violators of human rights in Russia. As of the end of 2017, the U.S. government had sanctioned a total of 49 individuals under the Russia-related Magnitsky Act and 569 individuals or entities under 173 existing Ukraine-related sanctions. The Ukraine-related sanc- tions list in particular reads like a who’s-who of Putin insiders: Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s childhood friend, along with Rotenberg’s 167 at 307. The Invention of Russia, Ostrovsky, 168 Ibid. 169 , ‘‘All Putin’s Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Rus- et al. Jake Bernstein Apr. 3, 2016. sian Leader,’’ The Panama Papers, 170 , ‘‘Private Bank Fuels Fortunes of Putin’s Inner Circle,’’ The New Steven Lee Myers et al. York Times , Sept. 27, 2014. 171 , ‘‘All Putin’s Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Rus- Jake Bernstein et al. Apr. 3, 2016. sian Leader,’’ The Panama Papers, 172 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, P.L. 112-208, Title IV, Enacted Dec. 14, 2012 (originally introduced by Senator Ben Cardin as S. 1039, May 19, 2011). 173 U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control,‘‘Sanctions List Search,’’ https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov (search results under Program ‘‘MAGNIT’’ and the four Ukraine-related Executive Orders, as of Dec. 21, 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

39 33 brother Boris and nephew Roman; Yury Kovalchuk, Vladimir Yakunin, and Andrei Fursenko of the Ozero cooperative and Kovalchuk’s nephew Kirill Kovalchuk; Kremlin insiders Vladislav Surkov and Vyacheslav Volodin; Rosneft chairman and head of the Kremlin’s ‘’siloviki’’ faction of security officials-turned-politicians Igor Sechin; billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko; and even Aleksandr Dugin, whose philosophy of ‘‘Eurasianism’’ pushes for Russia to extend an ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist worldview 174 Putin sought to play off the sanctions as a across the globe. mere annoyance and soften the blow through directing kickbacks to those impacted, for example by shifting valuable state contracts to 175 Bank Rossiya weeks after it was sanctioned. The Duma also 176 passed a law affording tax privileges to sanctioned individuals. But the combination of sanctions and low oil prices have neverthe- The less been a drag on the Russian economy in recent years. As New York Times noted, this has reduced ‘‘the country’s most privi- leged players . . . to fighting over slices of a smaller economic pie, seeking an advantage over rivals through the courts and law en- forcement officials who are widely seen as vulnerable to corrup- 177 tion.’’ The increasing exposure of Putin’s network has helped to fuel de- mand for more transparency and questions over the assumed invio- lability of Putin’s leadership. A 50-minute video released by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation in March 2017 alleging lav- ish luxury holdings by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has gen- erated millions of views on YouTube and was seen as instrumental in bringing thousands of Russians to the streets in protests during 178 Moreover, the prospect of consequences—whether in- the year. side Russia or abroad—for the Putin regime’s graft and abuses is helping to chip away at the culture of impunity that has stymied hopes in Russia for a just, secure society governed by the rule of law. In testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee nearly two years prior to his murder, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov described the Magnitsky Act as ‘‘the most pro-Russian law in the history of any foreign parliament’’ for its capacity to end 179 Indeed, since the Act’s impunity against ‘‘crooks and abusers.’’ passage in 2012, the U.S. Congress has subsequently passed a glob- al version of the sanctions that was signed into law in 2016, and by the end of 2017 the U.S. government had sanctioned one Rus- sian individual, Artem Chayka, under this law for significant cor- 180 Meanwhile, parliaments in Estonia, the United King- ruption. dom, and Canada have passed legislation similar to the U.S. 174 Ibid. ; James Carli, ‘‘Aleksandr Dugin: The Russian Mystic Behind America’s Weird Far- Right,’’ , Sept. 7, 2017. Huffington Post 175 Steven Lee Myers et al., ‘‘Private Bank Fuels Fortunes of Putin’s Inner Circle,’’ The New York Times , Sept. 27, 2014. 176 ‘‘Putin Signs Law Granting Sanctions-Hit Russians Tax Breaks,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Apr. 4, 2017. 177 Andrew E. Kramer, ‘‘In Russia, a Bribery Case Lifts the Veil on Kremlin Intrigue,’’ The New York Times , Oct. 21, 2017. 178 The David Filipov, ‘‘Russia Dismisses Sweeping Corruption Allegations Against Medvedev,’’ Washington Post, Mar. 5, 2017. 179 Statement of Boris Nemtsov, Co-Chairman, Republican Party of Russia, A Dangerous Slide Backwards: Russia’s Deteriorating Human Rights Situation, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, June 13, 2013. 180 Matthew Pennington, ‘‘U.S. Levies Sanctions Against Myanmar General, Dozen Others,’’ Dec. 21, 2017. Associated Press, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

40 34 181 Vice Chairman of the Open Russia democratic Magnitsky laws. opposition platform Vladimir Kara-Murza has urged more expan- sive application of U.S. and European targeted individual sanc- tions, noting that while the task of building a more just Russia lies with the country’s own citizens, outsiders should not ‘‘enable Mr. Putin and his kleptocrats by providing safe harbor for their illicit 182 gains.’’ 181 The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, P.L. 114-328, Subtitle F, Title XII, Enacted Dec. 23, 2016 (originally introduced by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin as S.284, Jan. 28, 2015); ‘‘The US Global Magnitsky Act’’ Sept. 13, 2017; Mike Human Rights Watch, The Blanchfield, ‘‘Canada Passes Magnitsky Human Rights Law, Sparking Russian Threats,’’ Oct. 18, 2017. Canadian Press, 182 (2017). World Affairs Journal Vladimir Kara-Murza, ‘‘Answering the Kremlin’s Challenge,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

41 Chapter 3: Old Active Measures and Modern Malign Influence Operations A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOVIET ACTIVE MEASURES The FBI and CIA were involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The United States and Israel organized an attack on Mecca in 1979. U.S. government scientists created the AIDS virus as a biological weapon in 1983. All of these bogus sto- ries, and many more, were concocted and disseminated by Soviet 183 propagandists during the Cold War. Some are even still repeated today. For example, in a June 2017 interview, Putin referenced the JFK assassination theory to accuse U.S. intelligence agencies of conducting false flag operations and blaming them on the Russian secret services, saying that ‘‘[t]here is a theory that Kennedy’s as- sassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today’s context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services, than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a ref- 184 erence to Russia in the process.’’ While the technological tools have evolved, Russia’s use of disinformation is not a new phenomenon—as one Russian military intelligence textbook says, ‘‘Psychological warfare has existed as 185 During the Cold War, ‘‘active measures,’’ long as man himself.’’ or disinformation and malign influence operations, were ‘‘well inte- grated into Soviet policy and involved virtually every element of 186 the Soviet party and state structure, not only the KGB.’’ Rus- sian specialists in active measures used official newspapers and radio stations, embassies, and foreign communist parties to create and distribute false stories. Each state organ would use their own capabilities in coordinated campaigns: the KGB was responsible for ‘‘black propaganda’’—creating forgeries and spreading rumors; the International Information Department was responsible for ‘‘white propaganda’’—broadcasting the stories through official media orga- nizations; and the International Department was responsible for ‘‘gray propaganda’’—disseminating the stories through inter- 183 Fletcher Schoen & Christopher Lamb, Deception, Disinformation, and Strategic Commu- nications: How One Interagency Group Made a Major Difference, Institute for National Strategic Studies, at 4, 20, 34 (June 2012). 184 Vladimir Putin, Interview with Megyn Kelly, NBC, June 5, 2017, http://en.kremlin.ru/ events/president/news/54688. 185 Alexey Kovalev & Matthew Bodner, ‘‘The Secrets of Russia’s Propaganda War, Revealed,’’ The Moscow Times, Mar. 1, 2017. 186 Stud- Thomas Boghardt, ‘‘Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS Disinformation Campaign,’’ Vol. 53, No. 4, at 1-2 (Dec. 2009). ies in Intelligence, (35) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

42 36 187 national front organizations. And they were intently focused on their target audience: as one Soviet disinformation practitioner put it, ‘‘every disinformation message must at least partially cor- 188 respond to reality or generally accepted views.’’ Active measures also sought to take advantage of pre-existing fissures to further po- larize the West. As Colonel Rolf Wagenbreth, long-time head of ac- tive measures operations for the East German Stasi, reportedly said, ‘‘A powerful adversary can only be defeated through . . . . so- phisticated, methodical, careful, and shrewd effort to exploit even the smallest ‘cracks’ between our enemies . . . and within their 189 elites.’’ Opinions on the effectiveness of Soviet active measures varied among U.S. national security experts. During the Reagan Adminis- tration, Under Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger and Dep- uty CIA Director Robert Gates argued that the operations were ‘‘deleterious but generally not decisive,’’ although, according to Gates, who cited the Dutch decision on deployment of intermediate range nuclear weapons and Spain’s referendum on NATO partici- pation, ‘‘in a close election or legislative battle, they can make the 190 difference.’’ Soviet bloc disinformation operations were not a rare occurrence: more than 10,000 were carried out over the course of the Cold 191 War. In the 1970s, Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB, cre- ated active measures courses for operatives, and the KGB had up to 15,000 officers working on psychological and disinformation war- 192 The CIA estimated that the fare at the height of the Cold War. Soviet Union spent more than $4 billion a year on active measures operations in the 1980s (approximately $8.5 billion in 2017 dollars). And then, as now with the Kremlin, ‘‘the highest level of the Soviet 193 government’’ approved the themes of active measures operations. Active measures campaigns in the 1980s focused on influencing the arms control and disarmament movements, for example, by promoting the European peace movement in countries that were scheduled to base U.S. intermediate-range nuclear forces. That campaign made use of the West German Communist Party, the Dutch Communist Party, the Belgian National Action Committee for Peace and Development, the World Peace Council, and the 194 In addition to International Union of Students, among others. political parties and peace organizations, the Soviet Union also used the Russian Orthodox Church and an affiliate of the Soviet- 187 Ibid. at 3. 188 Ibid. at 2. 189 Statement of Thomas Rid, Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, Hearing before Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns, ̈ nther Bohnsack, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mar. 30, 2017, at 2 (citing Gu Herbert Brehmer, Auftrag Irrefuhrung, Carlsen, at 16 (1992)). 190 Schoen & Lamb, Deception, Disinformation, and Strategic Communications, at 104. 191 Statement of Thomas Rid, Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influ- ence Campaigns, at 2. 192 ‘‘The Fog Of Wars: Adventures Abroad Boost Public Support at Home,’’ The Economist, Oct. 22, 2016. 193 ‘‘Soviet Active Measures in the United States, 1986-87; Prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,’’ reprinted in the Congressional Record, 133 Cong. Rec. H34262 (Dec. 9, 1987) (statement of Rep. C.W. Bill Young). 194 Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, ‘‘Soviet Strategy to Derail US INF Deployment,’’ Feb. 1983. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

43 37 backed Christian Peace Conference to influence American church- 195 es, religious organizations, and religious leaders. Soviet active measures also attempted to influence elections in the West during the Cold War, though without much success. Ef- forts to defeat Chancellor Helmut Kohl in West Germany’s 1983 election included ‘‘a massive propaganda campaign of interference,’’ according to the German government at the time. That same year, KGB agents in the United States were ordered ‘‘to acquire contacts on the staff of all possible presidential candidates and in both party headquarters . . . [and] to popularize the slogan ‘Reagan Means 196 The KGB’s efforts notwithstanding, Reagan won 49 of 50 War!’ ’’ states in the 1984 election. Disinformation campaigns also smeared FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Henry ‘‘Scoop’’ Jackson, both implacable anti-communists, with rumors to the media about their sexual orientation—a tactic that would resurface many dec- 197 ades later during the 2017 French presidential campaign. MODERN MALIGN INFLUENCE OPERATIONS Today, the Kremlin’s malign influence operations employ state and non-state resources to achieve their ends, including the secu- rity services, television stations and pseudo news agencies, social media and internet trolls, public and private companies, organized crime groups, think tanks and special foundations, and social and 198 religious groups. These efforts have ‘‘weaponized’’ four spheres of activity: traditional and social media, ideology and culture, crime and corruption, and energy. Disinformation campaigns are used to discredit politicians and democratic institutions like elections and independent media. Cultural, religious, and political organizations are used to repeat the Kremlin’s narrative of the day and disrupt social cohesion. Corruption is used to influence politicians and infiltrate decision- making bodies. And energy resources are used to cajole and coerce vulnerable foreign governments. The Kremlin coordinates these multi-platform efforts from within the Presidential Administration, which controls the FSB and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), among many other agencies, and is described by observers as ‘‘perhaps the most important single organ within Russia’s highly de-institutionalized 199 state.’’ While the Russian government supplies many of the resources for these efforts, Kremlin-linked oligarchs are also believed to help 200 fund malign influence operations in Europe. Furthermore, the Kremlin’s efforts attempt to exploit the advan- tages of democratic societies. As the former president of Estonia 195 ‘‘Soviet Active Measures in the United States, 1986-87; Prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,’’ reprinted in the Congressional Record, 133 Cong. Rec. H34262. 196 The Wall Andrew Weiss, ‘‘Vladimir Putin’s Political Meddling Revives Old KGB Tactics,’’ Feb. 17, 2017. Street Journal, 197 Ibid. 198 Last year, the European Parliament passed a resolution recognizing the wide range of tools and instruments that Russia uses to disseminate disinformation and propaganda. See European Parliament Resolution, ‘‘EU Strategic Communication to Counteract Anti-EU Propaganda by Third Parties,’’ 2016/2030(INI), Nov. 23, 2016. 199 Euro- Controlling Chaos: How Russia Manages its Political War in Europe, Mark Galeotti, pean Council on Foreign Relations, at 1 (Aug. 2017). 200 Committee Staff Discussion with Russian Human Rights Activists, May 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

44 38 put it, ‘‘[W]hat they do to us we cannot do to them ... Liberal de- mocracies with a free press and free and fair elections are at an asymmetric disadvantage . . . the tools of their democratic and free 201 speech can be used against them.’’ The Russian government’s work to destabilize European governments often start with at- tempts to build influence and exploit divisions at the local level. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: Russia’s influence campaign is built on longstanding prac- tices. Moscow has been opportunistic in its efforts to strengthen Russian influence in Europe and Eurasia by developing affiliations with and deepening financial or po- litical connections to like-minded political parties and Non- governmental Organizations. Moscow appears to use mone- tary support in combination with other tools of Russian statecraft, including propaganda in local media, direct lob- bying by the Russian Government, economic pressure, and 202 military intimidation. The U.S. State Department reports that the Kremlin’s efforts to influence elections and referendums in Europe include ‘‘overt and covert support for far left and right political parties, funding front groups and NGOs, and making small, low-profile investments in key economic sectors to build political influence over time,’’ and that its tactics ‘‘focus on exploiting internal discord in an effort to 203 break centrist consensus on the importance of core institutions.’’ An analysis by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy found that the Russian government has used cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence campaigns to meddle in the internal affairs of at least 27 European and North 204 American countries since 2004. As one Russian expert puts it, the Russian government’s methods to pursue its goals abroad are ‘‘largely determined by the correlation between the strength of the countries’ national institutions and their vulnerability to Russian 205 influence.’’ Whereas in what Russia considers its ‘‘near abroad,’’ composed of the former Soviet Union countries, the Kremlin’s goal is to exert control over pliant governments or weaken pro-Western leaders, in the rest of Europe it primarily seeks to undermine NATO and the EU, while amplifying existing political and social 206 The Kremlin also acts with more boldness in its near discord. abroad than it does in NATO and EU states. But it still deploys its full range of malign influence tools throughout the rest of Eu- rope and, increasingly, beyond Europe’s borders. These operations 201 BuzzFeed Sheera Frenkel, ‘‘The New Handbook for Cyberwar Is Being Written By Russia,’’ News, Mar. 19, 2017 (citing former Estonian President Toomas Hendrick Ilves). 202 Director of National Intelligence, Assessment on Funding of Political Parties and Non- governmental Organizations by the Russian Federation, pursuant to the Intelligence Authoriza- tion Act for FY2016, (P.L. No. 114-113). 203 U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on Efforts by the Russian Federation to Un- dermine Elections in Europe and Eurasia, Pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-44), Nov. 7, 2017. 204 Oren Dorell, ‘‘Alleged Russian Political Meddling Documented in 27 Countries Since 2004,’’ USA Today, Sept. 7, 2017. The countries included Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Re- public, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lith- uania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States. 205 Euro- Controlling Chaos: How Russia Manages Its Political War in Europe, Mark Galeotti, pean Council on Foreign Relations, Sept. 1, 2017. 206 Alina Polyakova et al. Atlantic Council, at 4 (Nov. 2016). The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

45 39 require relatively small investments, but history has shown that they can have outsized results, if conditions permit. New technologies, updated policy priorities, and a resurgent brashness in the Kremlin and among its oligarch allies have con- verged to enable an expanded range of disinformation operations in Europe. According to a resolution adopted by the European Par- liament in November 2016, have the goal of ‘‘distorting truths, pro- voking doubt, dividing Member states, engineering a strategic split between the European Union and its North American partners and paralyzing the decision-making process, discrediting the EU insti- tutions and transatlantic partnerships’’ and ‘‘undermining and 207 eroding the European narrative.’’ Whereas the Kremlin’s propa- ganda inside of Russia glorifies the regime, outside of Russia, it aims to exploit discontent and grievances. Notably, the Kremlin’s disinformation operations do not necessarily try to convince foreign audiences that the Russian point of view is the correct one. Rather, they seek to confuse and distort events that threaten Russia’s image (including historical events), undercut international con- sensus on Russia’s behavior at home and abroad, and present Rus- sia as a responsible and indispensable global power. Challenging others’ facts is simpler than the propaganda advanced by the So- viet Union—it is much harder to convince people that the harvest doubled in their local area than it is to plant doubt about what is happening thousands of miles away. Ben Nimmo of the Center for European Policy Analysis has char- acterized the Kremlin’s propaganda efforts as four simple tactics: dismiss the critic, distort the facts, distract from the main issue, 208 and dismay the audience. At their core, the Kremlin’s disinformation operations seek to challenge the concept of objective truth. As the CEO of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), John Lansing, put it, Kremlin messaging is ‘‘really almost beyond a false narrative. It’s more of a strategy to establish that there is no such thing as an empirical fact. Facts are really what 209 is being challenged around the world.’’ For Putin and the Kremlin, the truth is not objective fact; the truth is whatever will advance the interests of the current regime. Today, that means whatever will delegitimize Western democracies and distract negative attention away from the Russian government. It means subverting the notion of verifiable facts and casting doubt on the veracity of all information, regardless of the source—as Lan- sing also put it, ‘‘If everything is a lie, then the biggest liar 210 wins.’’ Sometimes, it means going so far as using an image from a computer game as evidence of U.S. misdeeds, as Russia’s Defense Ministry did in November 2017 when it posted a screenshot from a promotional video of a computer game called ‘‘AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron’’ on social media and claimed that it was ‘‘irrefutable proof that the US provides cover for ISIS combat 207 ‘‘European Parliament Resolution of 23 November 2016 on EU Strategic Communication to Counteract Propaganda against it by Third Parties,’’ 2016/2030(INI), Nov. 23, 2016. 208 Cen- Information Warfare: What Is It and How to Win It? Edward Lucas and Ben Nimmo, ter for European Policy Analysis (Nov. 2015). 209 CQ, June Rachel Oswald, ‘‘Reality Rocked: Info Wars Heat Up Between U.S. and Russia,’’ 12, 2017. 210 Testimony of John Lansing, CEO and Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, The Hearing Before the Committee on Security and Cooperation Scourge of Russian Disinformation, in Europe, Sept. 14, 2017, at 3. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

46 40 troops, using them for promoting American interests in the Middle 211 East.’’ The Kremlin’s disinformation operations rapidly deliver a high volume of stories, creating, in the words of two RAND Corporation 212 They note that direct and researchers, a ‘‘firehose of falsehood.’’ systematic efforts to counter these operations are made difficult by the vast array of mechanisms and platforms that the Kremlin em- 213 What’s more, disproving a false story takes far more time ploys. and effort than creating one does, and, as the false story was the first one to be seen by audiences (and possibly repeatedly across multiple platforms), it may have already made a strong impression. In the meantime, while the fact-checkers are busy disproving one story, the Kremlin’s propagandists can put out ten more. As the RAND scholars note, ‘‘don’t expect to counter the firehose of false- 214 hood with the squirt gun of truth.’’ That being said, there are some methods of countering propa- ganda that can reduce the effectiveness of false stories, including being warned upon initial exposure that the story may be false, re- peated exposure to a refutation, and seeing corrections that provide a complete alternative story, which can fill the gap created by the removal of the false facts. The RAND analysts also recommend not just countering the actual propaganda, but its intended effects. For example, if the Kremlin is trying to undercut support for a strong NATO response to Russian aggression, then the West should pro- mote narratives that strengthen support for NATO and promote 215 Such solidarity with NATO members facing threats from Russia. a response is far more complicated, however, when Russian disinformation is not just intended to promote Putin or Russian policies, but rather to exacerbate existing divides on hot-button so- cial and political issues like race, religion, immigration, and more. THE KREMLIN S DISINFORMATION PLATFORMS ’ The Kremlin employs an array of media platforms and tools to craft and amplify its narratives. The Russian government’s main external propaganda outlets are RT, which focuses on television news programming, and Sputnik, a radio and internet news net- work. RT and Sputnik target a diverse audience: both far-right and far-left elements of Western societies, environmentalists, civil rights activists, and minorities. While the stated purpose of these state-owned media networks is to provide an alternative, Russian view of the world (in Putin’s words, to ‘‘break the monopoly of Anglo-Saxon global information streams’’), they appear to be more focused on popularizing con- spiracy theories and defaming the West, and seek to foster the im- pression ‘‘that everyone is lying and that there are no unequivocal 211 EU Disinfo, Nov. 15, 2017. The image also ap- vs. ‘‘Computer Game as ‘Irrefutable Proof’,’’ peared on a government-sponsored TV station, presented as a news story. The ‘‘EU versus Disinformation’’ campaign is an anti-disinformation effort run by the European External Action Service East StratCom Task Force, created in response to the EU’s calls to challenge Russia’s See Chapter 7. ongoing disinformation campaigns. 212 Christopher Paul & Miriam Matthews, The Russian ‘‘Firehose of Falsehood’’ Propaganda Model, Rand Corporation, at 9 (2016). 213 Ibid. 214 Ibid. 215 at 10 (2016). Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

47 41 216 Part of RT and Sputnik’s appeal—and an expla- facts or truths.’’ nation for their apparent success—is their high production value and sensational content. According to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, RT and Sputnik are ‘‘more like a blend of infotainment and disinformation than fact-checked journalism, though their formats intentionally take the appearance of proper 217 news programs.’’ Russian media reports have even gone so far as conducting fake interviews with actors that are paid to pretend 218 they are victims of Ukrainian government aggression. RT was launched in 2005 and currently reports in six languages: Arabic, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The U.S. State Department reports that the Russian government spends an estimated $1.4 billion per year on disseminating its messaging 219 through various media platforms at home and abroad. In 2016, 220 over $300 million went to RT alone. As a Russian human rights activist put it, the Europeans who see RT as an ‘‘alternative’’ are similar to the left-wing audience—both in Europe and the United States—in the 1970s and 1980s who held favorable views of the So- 221 Former Secretary of State John Kerry has referred viet Union. to RT as a ‘‘propaganda bullhorn,’’ and RT regularly gives con- troversial European political figures a platform on its shows and gives disproportionate coverage to the more extreme factions of the 222 European Parliament. RT claims to reach between 500 million and 700 million viewers in over 100 countries. However, according to data compiled by the BBG, this likely overstates the viewership, as it represents the number of households in which RT is available, and not the num- 223 ber of households that actually watch RT. As of 2017, RT at- tracted about 22.5 million Facebook followers, and it deftly drives traffic to its platforms with human interest stories, cat videos, and pseudo conspiracy theories (like op-eds about whether the earth is 224 round or flat). A 2015 analysis found that only one percent of videos on RT’s YouTube channel were political in nature, while its 216 Vladimir Putin, Interview with Margarita Simonyan, June 12, 2013; Stefan Meister RT, and Jana Pugleirin, Perception and Exploitation: Russia’s Non-Military Influence in Europe, German Council on Foreign Relations, (Oct. 2015). 217 Paul and Matthews, The Russian ‘‘Firehose of Falsehood’’ Propaganda Model, 3Rand Cor- poration, at 5, 2016. 218 Ibid. 219 U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on Media Organizations Controlled and Funded by the Government of the Russian Federation (Nov. 7, 2017). 220 ‘‘RT’s 2016 Budget Announced, Down from 2015, MSM Too Stumped to Spin?’’ RT, May 4, 2016; ‘‘About RT,’’ RT, https://www.rt.com/about-us/, (visited Dec. 6, 2017). 221 Committee Staff Discussion with Russian Human Rights Activists. 222 Apr. Brett LoGuirato, ‘‘John Kerry Just Gave Russia A Final Warning,’’ Business Insider, 24, 2014; Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Assessment on Funding of Political Par- ties and Nongovernmental Organizations by the Russian Federation, Report to Congress Pursu- ant to the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2016 (P.L. No. 114-113). According to a report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has close ties to several top officials in the Russian government, including the Dep- uty Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration, Aleksey Gromov, who is one of RT’s found- ers and now reportedly manages political TV coverage in Russia. Office of the Director of Na- tional Intelligence, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections’’: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution, at 9 (Jan. 2017) (‘‘DNI Assessment’’) 223 BBG Data on Russian International Broadcasting Reach, IBB Office of Policy and Re- search, Broadcasting Board of Governors, June 2017. For example, BBG data showed that RT and Sputnik combined only have a total weekly reach of 2.8 percent of Moldova’s population, 1.3 percent of Belarus’s, and 5.3 percent of Serbia’s. 224 ‘‘Comparing Russian and American Government ‘Propaganda’,’’ Meduza, Sept 14, 2017. ( Meduza is a Russian online newspaper); Sam Gerrans, ‘‘YouTube and the Art of Investigation,’’ Sept. 27, 2015. RT, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

48 42 most popular videos were of natural disasters, accidents, and 225 crime. The Moscow Times found that when RT reporters strayed from 226 its implicit editorial line, they were told ‘‘this is not our angle.’’ Former staff report that RT’s editorial line comes from the top down, and managers, not editors, choose what will be covered and how. For example, when foreign staff disagreed with the way that RT was covering Ukraine, they were taken off the assignment and 227 Ukraine-related coverage was handled by Russian staff. And those Russian staff are mostly ‘‘apathetic or apolitical, with no prior experience in journalism’’—their primary qualification is flu- ency in English, gained from either linguistic training or being the 228 ‘‘children of Russian diplomats.’’ All of which reveals that, while RT may have a large budget and growing reach, it also has several fundamental institutional flaws which limit its ability to operate as a professional news organization. In the words of one former em- ployee, ‘‘a combination of apathy, a lack of professionalism and a dearth of real talent keep RT from being more effective than it cur- 229 rently is.’’ Sputnik is a state-owned network of media platforms launched in November 2014 and includes social media, news, and radio content; in June 2017, it began operating an FM radio station in Wash- 230 ington, D.C. With an annual budget of $69 million, the network operates in 31 different languages and attracts about 4.5 million 231 Facebook followers. Like RT, Sputnik consistently promotes anti-West narratives that undermine support for democracy. A study by the Center for European Policy Analysis found that Sput- nik ‘‘grant[s] disproportionate coverage to protest, anti-establish- ment and pro-Russian [members of the European Parliament from Central and Eastern Europe]; that it does so systematically; and that even when it quotes mainstream politicians, it chooses com- ments that fit the wider narrative of a corrupt, decadent and Russophobic West . . . making ‘wide use of the protest potential’ of the legislature to promote the Kremlin’s chosen messages of 232 disinformation.’’ Sputnik is also often used to ‘‘ping pong’’ a suspect story from lesser-known news sites and into more mainstream press out- 233 One well-known example was the purported police cover-up lets. of the ‘‘Lisa’’ rape case in Germany. After initially circulating on Facebook, the story was picked up by Channel One, a Russian gov- ernment-controlled news channel, and then covered by RT and Sputnik, which argued the case was not an isolated incident. The following week, protests broke out, despite the fact the allegations had since been recanted and the police investigation had debunked 225 Katie Zavadski, ‘‘Putin’s Propaganda TV Lies About Its Popularity,’’ The Daily Beast, Sept. 17, 2015. 226 Matthew Bodner et al., ‘‘Welcome to The Machine: Inside the Secretive World of RT,’’ The June 1, 2017. Moscow Times, 227 Ibid. 228 Ibid. 229 Ibid. 230 The Hill, June 30, 2017. Max Greenwood, ‘‘Russian Radio Takes Over Local DC station,’’ 231 ‘‘Comparing Russian and American government ‘propaganda’,’’ Meduza, Sept 14, 2017. 232 Ben Nimmo, Cen- Propaganda in a New Orbit: Information Warfare Initiative Paper No. 2, ter for European Policy Analysis, at 6 (Jan. 2016). 233 ‘‘Ping ponging’’ is a technique to raise the profile of a story through complementary websites, with the goal of getting the mainstream media to pick it up. See Appendix H. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

49 43 234 Sputnik also reportedly orders its foreign journalists to them. pursue discredited conspiracy theories—it asked one American cor- respondent to explore possible connections between the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich and the leak of internal DNC documents to WikiLeaks, in an attempt to cast doubt on the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) assessment that 235 Russian-backed hackers were behind the leak. And during the French presidential elections, Sputnik reported on unfounded ru- mors about the sexual preferences of the pro-EU candidate, Em- 236 manuel Macron. In light of the DNI assessment that RT serves as the Kremlin’s ‘‘principal propaganda outlet,’’ and along with Sputnik form Rus- sia’s ‘’state-run propaganda machine’’ that served as platforms for the Kremlin’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election, RT and Sputnik encountered significant pushback in the United States in 237 late 2017. In November, RT complied with an order from the U.S. Department of Justice—which found that it was engaged in ‘‘political activities’’ that were ‘‘for or in the interests of’’ a foreign principal—to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act 238 (FARA). Registration requires RT to disclose more of its finan- 239 A month earlier, Twit- cial information to the U.S. government. ter announced that it would no longer allow paid advertisements from RT and Sputnik on its platform, citing the DNI findings and the company’s ongoing review of how its platform was used in the 240 In November 2017, Eric Schmidt, the Executive 2016 election. Chairman of Google’s parent company, reportedly said that the company was working on ‘‘deranking’’ results from RT and Sputnik 241 However, according to a Google from its Google News product. announcement RT and Sputnik’s sites would not be specifically tar- geted, but rather the company ‘‘adjusted [their] signals to help sur- face more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content,’’ giv- ing less weight to relevance and more weight to 242 authoritativeness. Beyond RT and Sputnik, the Russian government uses a variety of additional tools to amplify and reinforce its disinformation cam- 243 Internet ‘‘trolls’’ are one such tool—individuals who try paigns. 234 Jim Rutenberg, ‘‘RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War,’’ The New York Times, Sept. 13, 2017. 235 Politico, Andrew Feinberg, ‘‘My Life at a Russian Propaganda Network,’’ Aug. 21, 2017. 236 ‘‘Ex-French Economy Minister Macron could be ‘US Agent’ Lobbying Banks’ Interests,’’ Sputnik, Feb. 4, 2017. 237 DNI Assessment at 3. 238 Devlin Barrett and David Filipov, ‘‘RT Files Paperwork With Justice Department To Reg- ister As Foreign Agent,’’ The Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2017; Josh Gerstein, ‘‘DOJ Told RT To Register As Foreign Agent Partly Because Of Alleged 2016 Election Interference,’’ Politico, Dec. 21, 2017; Letter from U.S. Department of Justice to RTTV America, Aug. 17, 2017. 239 See Foreign Agents Registration Act, 22 U.S.C. § 612; Megan Wilson, ‘‘Seven Things to Know About RT’s Foreign Agent Registration,’’ The Hill, Sept. 14, 2017. 240 Twitter Public Policy Company Announcement: ‘‘RT and Sputnik Advertising,’’ Oct. 26, 2017. 241 Alex Hern, ‘‘Google Plans to ‘De-Rank’ Russia Today and Sputnik to Combat Misinforma- tion,’’ The Guardian, Nov. 21, 2017 (citing Schmidt’s remarks at the Halifax International Secu- rity Forum, Nov. 18, 2017). 242 ‘‘Our Latest Quality Improvements for Search,’’ Google Official Blog, Apr. 25, 2017. 243 The Kremlin wants its propaganda to reach its audiences first, and it wants to reach them repeatedly. Experimental psychology has shown that first impressions are quite resilient, with individuals more likely to accept the first information they receive on a topic (the ‘‘illusory truth effect’’) and favor that information when confronted with conflicting messages. Furthermore, re- peated exposure to a statement increases the likelihood that someone will accept that it is Continued VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

50 44 to derail online debates and amplify the anti-West narratives prop- agated by RT and Sputnik. These trolls use thousands of fake so- cial media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to attack articles or individuals that are critical of Putin and Kremlin policies, spread conspiracy theories and pro-Kremlin messages, at- tack opponents of Putin’s regime, and drown out constructive de- 244 bate. investigation, in 2015 hundreds According to a New York Times of young Russians were employed at a ‘‘troll farm’’ in St. Peters- burg known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), where many worked 12-hour shifts in departments focused on different social 245 media platforms. The organization was organized in a kind of vertically-integrated supply chain for internet news. An NBC inter- view of a former worker at the IRA, Vitaly Bespalov, revealed that workers were highly compartmentalized and used to amplify each other’s work: the third floor held bloggers writing posts to under- mine Ukraine and promote Russia, on the first floor writers com- posed news articles that referred back to the blog posts created on the third floor, and then commenters on the third and fourth floors posted remarks about the stories under fake Ukrainian identities. Meanwhile, the marketing team worked to package all of the mis- 246 information into viral-ready social media formats. At the beginning of each shift, workers were reportedly given a list of opinions to promulgate and themes to address, all related to current events. Over a two-shift period, a worker would be expected to publish 5 political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts (to establish credi- 247 bility), and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts. For their labor, they made between $800 to $1,000 a month, an attrac- 248 The pro- tive wage for recent graduates new to the work force. fessional trolls were also provided ‘‘politology’’ classes that taught 249 Russian media them the Russian position on the latest news. outlets have reported that the IRA was bankrolled by a close Putin associate, Evgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy restaurateur known as the ‘‘Kremlin’s Chef,’’ whose network of companies have received a number of lucrative government contracts, and who was sanctioned by the Obama Administration in December 2016 for contributing to 250 the conflict in Ukraine. According to one former employee, IRA staff on the ‘‘foreign 251 desk’’ were responsible for meddling in other countries’ elections. In the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, for example, true—especially when they are less interested in the topic—and makes them process it less care- fully in discriminating weak arguments from strong ones. Christopher Paul & Miriam Mat- thews, Rand Corporation, at 4 (2016). The Russian ‘‘Firehose of Falsehood’’ Propaganda Model,’’ 244 Stefan Meister & Jama Puglierin, Perception and Exploitation: Russia’s Non-Military Influ- ence in Europe, German Council on Foreign Relations, at 4 (Sept.-Oct. 2015). 245 Adrian Chen, ‘‘The Agency,’’ The New York Times, June 2, 2015. 246 Ben Popken & Kelly Cobiella, ‘‘Russian Troll Describes Work in the Infamous Misinforma- tion Factory,’’ NBC News, Nov. 16, 2017. 247 Adrian Chen, ‘‘The Agency,’’ The New York Times, June 2, 2015. 248 The ‘‘The Notorious Kremlin-linked ‘Troll Farm’ and the Russians Trying to Take it Down,’’ Oct. 8, 2017. Washington Post, 249 The New York Times, June 2, 2015. Adrian Chen, ‘‘The Agency,’’ 250 David Filipov, ‘‘The Notorious Kremlin-linked ‘Troll Farm’ and the Russians Trying to Take it Down,’’ The Washington Post, Oct. 8, 2017; Thomas Grove and Paul Sonne, ‘‘U.S. Im- Dec. poses Sanctions on Russian Restaurateur With Ties to Putin,’’ The Wall Street Journal, 20, 2016. 251 ‘‘An Ex St. Petersburg ‘Troll’ Speaks Out: Russian Independent TV Network Interviews Oct. 15, 2017. Former Troll At The Internet Research Agency,’’ Meduza, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

51 45 foreign desk staff were reportedly trained on ‘‘the nuances of Amer- ican social polemics on tax issues, LGBT rights, the gun debate, and more . . . their job was to incite [Americans] further and try to 252 ‘rock the boat.’ ’’ The employee noted that ‘‘our goal wasn’t to turn the Americans toward Russia. Our task was to set Americans against their own government: to provoke unrest and dis- 253 content.’’ Based on conversations with Facebook officials, it ap- pears that Kremlin-backed trolls pursued a similar strategy in the lead up to the 2017 French presidential election, and likely before 254 Germany’s national election the same year. The IRA also appar- ently had a separate ‘‘Facebook desk’’ that fought back against the social network’s efforts to delete fake accounts that the IRA had de- 255 veloped into sophisticated profiles. In addition, in the United States, Russian-backed social media accounts linked to the IRA paid for advertisements to promote disinformation and encouraged protests and rallies on both sides of socially divisive issues, such as promoting a protest in Baltimore while posing as part of the 256 Black Lives Matter movement. While the IRA has reportedly been inactive since December 2016, a company known as Glavset is a reported successor, and other related companies, including Teka and the Federal News Agency, may be carrying out similar 257 work. Many of the fake accounts used to amplify misinformation are bots, or automated social media accounts. Bot networks can be cre- ated or purchased wholesale fairly cheaply on the dark web, a part of the internet accessed with special software that gives users and operators anonymity, and thus is often used as a marketplace for 258 illicit goods and services. According to one report, they can be purchased for as little as $45 for 1,000 bots with new, unverified accounts, and up to $100 for 500 phone-verified accounts (which 259 Through auto- have a unique phone number attached to them). mation, bots can spread disinformation at high speed and in great numbers, quickly amplifying a false story’s reach and profile and making it trend on social media platforms. For example, during the French presidential election, bots were used to spread memes, gifs, and disinformation stories about Emmanuel Macron. Bots have also been used to attack perceived critics of the Kremlin by flooding their accounts with retweets and followers, clogging the target’s ac- count and possibly resulting in temporary suspension from the 260 platform for suspicious activity. Kremlin-aligned hackers, supported by trolls, bot networks, and friendly propaganda outlets, have also used ‘‘doxing’’ to great effect. Doxing occurs when hackers break into a network, steal propri- 252 Ibid. 253 Ibid. 254 Committee Staff Discussion with Facebook. 255 ‘‘An Ex St. Petersburg ‘Troll’ Speaks Out: Russian Independent TV Network Interviews Meduza, Oct. 15, 2017. Former Troll at the Internet Research Agency,’’ 256 Luke Broadwater, ‘‘Second Russia-Linked Effort Promoted Protests During Trial of Freddie Gray Officers,’’ The Baltimore Sun, Oct. 12, 2016. 257 Diana Pilipenko, ‘‘Facebook Must ‘Follow The Money’ to Uncover Extent Of Russian Med- dling,’’ The Guardian, Oct. 9, 2017. 258 Wired, Andy Greenberg, ‘‘Hacker Lexicon: What is the Dark Web?’’ Nov. 19, 2014. 259 Joseph Cox, ‘‘I Bought a Russian Bot Army for Under $100,’’ The Daily Beast, Sept. 13, 2017. 260 ‘‘The Surprising New Strategy of Pro-Russia Bots,’’ BBC Trending (BBC News Blog), Sept. 12,2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

52 46 etary, secret, or incriminating information, and then leak it for 261 public consumption. For example, hackers that have been linked to Russian security services attacked the World Anti-Doping Agen- cy (WADA) after it published a report that revealed Russian sports doping, and then released the private medical information of Amer- 262 During the 2016 U.S. presidential election cam- ican athletes. paign, both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the campaign manager of the Democratic presidential candidate were victims of doxing by the same Kremlin-backed hackers who at- tacked WADA in 2016, France’s TV5Monde in 2015, and Ukraine’s 263 election commission in 2014. A new tactic is planting fake documents among the authentic ones leaked as part of a doxing operation—the Macron campaign alleged that this happened when it was attacked (though in addi- tion to the fake documents planted by the hackers, the campaign had also created several false email accounts and loaded them with 264 fake documents to confuse the hackers and slow them down). Similarly, hackers have previously placed child pornography on the computers of Kremlin critics living abroad, and then alerted the local police. If the hackers are sophisticated enough, it is extremely difficult to discover the source of the intrusion, or even whether an intrusion has taken place. As the head of one cybersecurity com- pany told The New York Times, ‘‘to use a technical term, you are completely screwed. If something like this is sponsored by the Rus- sian government, or any government or anyone with sufficient skill, you are not going to be successful [in salvaging your reputa- 265 It is not hard to imagine similar attacks tion]. It is terrible.’’ being carried out on Western politicians who have taken a strong position against Putin’s regime, and the subsequent consequences for their campaigns, careers, and legacies. Combining all of these tools together, the Kremlin can ensure that its disinformation operations are seen early, often, and widely. Furthermore, disinformation efforts can now take advantage of in- creasingly powerful analytics that identify ‘‘customer sentiment,’’ allowing them to target the most susceptible and vulnerable audi- ences. In the case of the United States, Kremlin-backed propa- gandists and internet trolls sought not just to promote the Krem- lin’s narratives, but also to advance divisive narratives that further erode social cohesion. In the words of Germany’s intelligence chief, the aim is simply to delegitimize the democratic process, ‘‘no mat- 266 Such efforts are both harder to ter whom they help get ahead.’’ detect than traditional propaganda and, arguably, more dangerous to the target society. 261 The Atlantic, Bruce Schneier, ‘‘How Long Until Hackers Start Faking Leaked Documents?’’ Sept. 13, 2016. 262 Wired, Andy Greenberg, ‘‘Russian Hackers Get Bolder in Anti-Doping Agency Attack,’’ Sept. 14, 2016; Appendix C. see 263 FireEye iSight Intelligence, APT28: At The Center of The Storm, Russia Strategically Evolves Its Cyber Operations, at 4-5 (Jan 2017). 264 Adam Nossiter et al., ‘‘Hackers Came, but the French Were Prepared,’’ The New York Times, May 9, 2017. 265 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2016. 266 Politico Esther King, ‘‘Russian Hackers Targeting Germany: Intelligence Chief,’’ , Nov. 29, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

53 Chapter 4: Weaponization of Civil Society, Ideology, Culture, Crime, and Energy Pushing fake news stories with Internet trolls and slickly pro- duced infotainment has proved an effective tool for promoting the Russian government’s objectives in Europe, and one it can deploy from a distance. But the Kremlin also benefits from having ideolog- ical boots on the ground. The Soviets supposedly referred to ex- treme left activists and politicians in the West as ‘‘useful idiots’’— people who the former Soviet Union could count on to agitate against its democratic enemies. Today, the Kremlin applies a far less restrictive ideological filter to its useful idiots, and has also embraced and cultivated a menagerie of right wing, nationalist groups in Europe and further abroad. These agents of influence abroad can be separated into three dis- tinct tiers, according to an April 2016 study by Chatham House, a UK think tank: 1. Major state federal agencies, large state-affiliated grant-mak- ing foundations, and private charities linked to Russian oligarchs; 2. Trusted implementing partners and local associates like youth groups, think tanks, associations of compatriots, vet- erans’ groups, and smaller foundations that are funded by the state foundations, presidential grants, or large compa- nies loyal to the Kremlin; and 3. Groups that share the Kremlin’s agenda and regional vision but operate outside of official cooperation channels—these groups often promote an ‘‘ultra-radical and neo-imperial vo- 267 cabulary’’ and run youth paramilitary camps. , , AND THINK TANKS THE ROLE OF STATE FOUNDATIONS , GONGOS NGOS The Kremlin funds, directly or indirectly, a number of govern- ment-organized non-governmental organizations (GONGOs), non- governmental organizations (NGOs), and think tanks throughout Russia and Europe. These groups carry out a number of functions, from disseminating pro-Kremlin views to seeking to influence elec- tions abroad. Following a series of ‘‘color revolutions’’ in former Soviet Union republics like Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, in 2006 the Russian gov- ernment established the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots, which is responsible for coordinating the activities of 267 Agents of the Russian World: Proxy Groups in the Contested Orysia Lutsevych, Neighbourhood, Chatham House, at 10 (Apr. 2016). (47) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

54 48 Russian organizations abroad and their communications with the 268 Kremlin. Some GONGOs that receive and disburse funds from the Kremlin, such as the Russkiy Mir Foundation and Rossotrudnichestvo, established in 2007 and 2008, are headquartered in Russia but have branches throughout the EU, and are led by senior Russian political figures like the foreign min- ister or the chair of the foreign affairs committee of the upper 269 Kremlin-linked oligarchs also sit on the house of the parliament. 270 Based on conservative esti- boards of many of the GONGOs. mates from publicly available data, the Kremlin spends about $130 million a year through foundations like Rossotrudnichestvo and the Gorchakov fund, and, in 2015, channeled another $103 million in presidential grants to NGOs; after including support from state en- terprises and private companies, however, actual funding levels 271 may be much higher. Most of the Russian government’s funding is focused on post-Soviet ‘’swing states’’ like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia, but Kremlin-supported groups also operate in the Baltic states and the Balkans, especially Serbia and Bul- 272 garia. Some Russian government-funded groups are used to gain sym- pathy for the Kremlin’s narrative in academic circles abroad. One example is the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian government- funded think tank, which is based in Russia but has branches in 273 Some analysts assert that the Kremlin uses Valdai to the EU. co-opt Western experts and academics, who Lilia Shevtsova of the Brookings Institution believes then ‘‘pull their punches when writ- ing about Putin. Experts who go want to be close to power and are afraid of losing their access. Some might believe they can use Valdai as a platform for criticism, but in reality their mere pres- ence at the event means they are already helping legitimize the 274 Kremlin.’’ Other Kremlin-funded think tanks have allegedly attempted to influence elections abroad. The Russian Institute for Strategic Re- search (RISS) is a Kremlin think tank based in Moscow that has offices throughout the country, including a Baltic Regional Infor- mation-Analytical Center in the exclave of Kaliningrad (the Baltic states are a particular focus for the Kremlin’s malign influence op- 275 erations). RISS, which was established by Putin and is mostly staffed with ex-intelligence officers, has been accused by Kremlin opponents of seeking to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO, dissuade Sweden from enhancing its ties with the alliance, and in- 276 Accord- fluence a national election in Bulgaria (see Chapter 5). 268 The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing: Russia’s Government-Funded Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., Organisations in the EU, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, at 34 (July 2016). 269 Ibid. 270 Ibid. at 11. 271 Agents of the Russian World: Proxy Groups in the Contested Orysia Lutsevych, Chatham House, at 11 (Apr. 2016). Neighbourhood, 272 Ibid. at 12. 273 Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing, at 11. 274 Peter Pomerantsev & Micahel Weiss, The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money, Institute of Modern Russia, at 21 (Nov. 2014). 275 Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, ‘‘About,’’ https://en.riss.ru/about (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 276 Ivan Nechepurenko, ‘‘Kremlin Group Employing Ex-Spies Is Viewed Abroad as Propaganda The New York Times, Mill,’’ Apr. 20, 2017; Neil MacFarquhar, ‘‘A Powerful Russian Weapon: Aug. 28, 2016. The Spread of False Stories,’’ The New York Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

55 49 ing to current and former U.S. officials, RISS also reportedly devel- oped a plan to ‘’swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral sys- 277 However, more than a few scholars and independent jour- tem.’’ nalists doubt the efficacy of RISS, with one commenting that ‘‘these guys (average age: 70) couldn’t have possibly game-planned making 278 Such opinions a sandwich, let alone rigging [the U.S. election].’’ are likely based on some of RISS’s other work, such as a study which reportedly claimed that condoms were one of the factors 279 spreading HIV in Russia. Other think tanks and GONGOs in Europe that promote the Kremlin’s narrative have opaque funding structures that hide po- tential sources of support. A 2017 report published by the Swedish Defense Research Agency noted that ‘‘much of the funding that these GONGOs receive from commercial entities would not happen if there were not a clear understanding that these think tanks are closely connected to the political leadership’’ and ‘‘contributing to activities that do enjoy the trust and patronage of the political leadership could give both enterprises and individual businessmen advantages . . . . In a political system where economic and political activity are intrinsically linked, the fact that business finances a think tank does not mean that it is therefore more independent of 280 One such example of a privately fund- the political leadership.’’ ed think tank is the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, which opened in Berlin in 2016, and was co-founded and financed by Vladimir Yakunin, a longtime Putin associate and former head of Russian Railways (who the United States sanctioned for his role 281 in Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea). The Institute’s goal, according to a report by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, is to coordinate a worldwide network of Russian think 282 One German newspaper reportedly described it as an ‘‘in- tanks. strument of Moscow’s hybrid warfare’’ whose primary purpose is to 283 create an ‘‘alternative civilization to the American.’’ The Insti- tute denies any connections to the Kremlin, but does not make its funding transparent, and Yakunin is reported to be investing about $28 million in the Institute over five years, in addition to funding 284 from other Russian businessmen. Such opaque funding is a hall- mark of many Kremlin-linked NGOs and think tanks. An Atlantic Council report explains why these financial streams are so difficult to trace: 277 Ned Parker et al., ‘‘Putin-Linked Think Tank Drew Up Plan to Sway 2016 US Election- Documents,’’ Reuters, Apr. 19, 2017. 278 Ivan Nechepurenko, ‘‘Kremlin Group Employing Ex-Spies Is Viewed Abroad as Propaganda Mill,’’ Apr. 20, 2017. The New York Times, 279 The Moscow Times, May ‘‘Kremlin Experts Blame Condoms for Russian HIV Epidemic,’’ 31, 2016. 280 Carolina Vendil Pallin & Susanne Oxenstierna, Russian Think Tanks and Soft Power, Swedish Defense Research Agency, at 17-18 (Aug. 2017). 281 Ben Knight, ‘‘Putin Associate Opens Russia-Friendly Think Tank in Berlin,’’ Deutsche Welle, Jul. 1, 2016; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Ukraine- Related Designations,’’ Mar. 20, 2014. The Institute emerged out of the World Public Forum Dia- logue of Civilizations, headquartered in Vienna. ‘‘History,’’ Dialogue of Civilizations Research In- stitute, https://doc-research.org/en/about-us/ (visited Dec. 18, 2017). It has a branch in Moscow, and plans expansions in China. 282 at 12, 41, 42. Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing, 283 Ben Knight, ‘‘Putin Associate Opens Russia-Friendly Think Tank in Berlin,’’ Deutsche Jul. 1, 2016. Welle, 284 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

56 50 The [Kremlin’s] web of political networks is hidden and non-transparent by design, making it purposefully difficult to expose. Traceable financial links would inevitably make Moscow’s enterprise less effective: when ostensibly inde- pendent political figures call for closer relations with Rus- sia, the removal of sanctions, or criticize the EU and NATO, it legitimizes the Kremlin’s worldview. It is far less effective, from the Kremlin’s point of view, to have such statements come from individuals or organizations known 285 to be on the Kremlin’s payroll. S CULTIVATION OF POLITICAL EXTREMES THE KREMLIN ’ The Kremlin has also adopted a new practice in cultivating rela- tionships with some of the more mainstream far-right parties in Europe, by establishing ‘‘cooperation agreements’’ between the dominant United Russia party and parties in Austria (Freedom Party), Hungary (Jobbik), Italy (Northern League), France (Na- tional Front), and Germany (AfD). These cooperation agreements include plans for regular meetings and ‘‘collaboration where suit- 286 Kremlin- able on economic, business and political projects.’’ linked banks, funds, and oligarchs even lent nearly $13 million in 2014 to France’s far-right National Front party to finance its elec- 287 And the German newspaper Bild reported that tion campaign. the Russian government clandestinely funded the AfD ahead of 2017 parliamentary elections—perhaps without the AfD’s knowl- 288 edge—by using middlemen to sell it gold at below-market prices. In addition to monetary resources, the Kremlin has reportedly also offered organizational, political, and media expertise and assistance 289 to far-right European parties. Different Kremlin narratives attract different groups from left and right. Scholars Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss describe how ‘‘European right-nationalists are seduced by the [Kremlin’s] anti-EU message; members of the far-left are brought in by tales of fighting US hegemony; [and] U.S. religious conservatives are 290 convinced by the Kremlin’s stance against homosexuality.’’ The Congressional Research Service reports that many of the far-right European parties linked to the Kremlin are ‘‘anti-establishment and anti-EU, and they often share some combination of extreme nationalism; a commitment to ‘law and order’ and traditional fam- ily values; and anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, or anti-Islamic senti- 291 Far-right gatherings are also sponsored by Kremlin- ments.’’ linked oligarchs like Vladimir Yakunin and Konstantin Malofeev who, according to the , a Brussels-based online news- EUobserver 285 Alina Polyakova et al., Atlantic Council, at 4 (Nov. 2016). The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, 286 Alison Smale, ‘‘Austria’s Far Right Signs a Cooperation Pact with Putin’s Party,’’ Dec. 19, 2016. 287 Marine Turchi, ‘‘How a Russian Bank Gave France’s Far-Right Front National Party 9mln Mediapart, Nov. 24, 2014; Suzanne Daley & Maia de la Baume, ‘‘French Far Right Gets Euros,’’ Helping Hand With Russian Loan,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2014. 288 Apr. EUobserver, Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Illicit Russian Money Poses Threat to EU Democracy,’’ 21, 2017. 289 Congressional Research Service, ‘‘Russian Influence on Politics and Elections in Europe,’’ June 27, 2017. 290 The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Peter Pomerantsev & Micahel Weiss, Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money, Institute of Modern Russia, at 19 (Nov. 2014). 291 Congressional Research Service, Russia: Background and U.S. Policy, at 29 (Aug. 21, 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

57 51 paper, have organized conferences that included ‘‘delegates from Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD party, Bulgaria’s far-right Ataka party, the far-left KKK party in Greece, and the pro-Kremlin Latvian 292 Russian Union party.’’ Another such conference took place in March 2015, when the leaders of some of Europe’s most controversial and fringe right- wing political organizations—as well as some from similar groups in the United States—met in St. Petersburg for the first Inter- national Russian Conservative Forum. The event was organized by Russia’s nationalistic Rodina (‘‘Motherland’’) party, and its objec- tive was clearly stated: to unite European and Russian conserv- ative forces ‘‘in the context of European sanctions against Russia and the United States’ pressure on European countries and Rus- 293 Speakers reportedly urged white Christians to reproduce, sia.’’ referred to gays as perverts, and said that murdered Russian oppo- 294 sition activists were resting in hell. They also decried same-sex marriage, globalization, radical Islam, immigration, and New York financiers, while consistently praising Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for upholding and protecting conservative and masculine val- ues. A British nationalist speaker showed a picture of a shirtless Putin riding a bear, and declared: ‘‘Obama and America, they are like females. They are feminized men. But you have been blessed 295 by a man who is a man, and we envy that.’’ James Taylor, an American who runs a white nationalist website, spoke at the event, where he called the United States ‘‘the greatest enemy of tradition 296 everywhere.’’ In the United States, many extreme right-wing groups, including white nationalists, look up to Putin—a self-proclaimed champion of tradition and conservative values. At a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, white nationalists repeatedly chanted ‘‘Russia is our 297 friend.’’ Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the Daily Stormer, the world’s biggest neo-Nazi website, apparently spent much of 2015 and 2016 running his website from inside of Russia, from where his 298 content was promoted by a suspected Russian bot network. In addition, the Kremlin has cultivated ties with organizations that promote gun rights and oppose same-sex marriage. For example, Kremlin-linked officials have also cultivated ties with groups in the United States like the National Rifle Association (NRA). Alexander Torshin, a former senator in Putin’s United Russia party who alleg- edly helped launder money through Spain for Russian mobsters, developed a relationship with David Keene when the latter was the 292 Apr. Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Illicit Russian Money Poses Threat to EU Democracy,’’ EUobserver, 21, 2017. 293 Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, ‘‘Russian, European Far-Right Parties Converge in St. Peters- Mar. 22, 2015. The Moscow Times, burg,’’ 294 Ibid. 295 The New Neil MacFarquhar, ‘‘Right-Wing Groups Find a Haven, for a Day, in Russia,’’ York Times, Mar. 22, 2015. 296 Ibid. 297 Tom Porter, ‘‘Charlottesville’s Alt-Right Leaders Have a Passion for Vladimir Putin,’’ News- week, Aug. 16, 2017; Laura Vozzella, ‘‘White Nationalist Richard Spencer Leads Torch-Bearing Protesters Defending Lee Statue,’’ The Washington Post, May 14, 2017. 298 Luke O’Brien, ‘‘The Making of an American Nazi,’’ See Dec. 2017. The Atlantic, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

58 52 299 In 2015, the NRA sent a delegation to Moscow NRA’s President. to meet with Dmitry Rogozin, a Putin ally and deputy prime min- ister who fell under U.S. sanctions in 2014 for his role in the crisis 300 in Ukraine. U.S. evangelicals, including Franklin Graham, have also supported Putin’s suppression of LGBT rights in Russia, say- ing that Putin ‘‘has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children 301 from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.’’ Brian Brown, who runs the World Council of Families (WCF), a group that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights, testified 302 to the Duma before it adopted several anti-gay laws. The WCF planned to hold its annual conference in Moscow in 2014, but can- celled it because of the difficulties presented by new U.S. sanctions legislation related to the crisis in Ukraine, which also hit a mem- 303 ber of the WCF’s planning committee, Vladimir Yakunin. The Kremlin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and military incur- sion into eastern Ukraine also affected the rhetoric and focus of its disparate ideological boots on the ground. A year-long study by a Hungarian think tank found that since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, far right and extremist organizations that had ‘‘pre- viously predominantly focused on ethnic, religious, and sexual mi- norities as their main enemies, redirect[ed] their attention to geo- political issues. They are not only agitating against NATO and the EU, but also share a particular sympathy towards Vladimir Putin’s 304 Russia, which they regard as an ideological and political model.’’ These groups also benefit from their voices being amplified by Kremlin-linked media networks that peddle in fake news and con- spiracy theories. Furthermore, the small size and limited influence of fringe parties and paramilitary groups make it easy for the Kremlin to infiltrate, purchase, and control them. The report also noted that in Central and Eastern Europe, the Kremlin has sought to exploit ‘‘the bitter memories of past territorial disputes, nation- alist-secessionist tendencies, and the haunting spectres of chau- 305 vinist ideologies promising to make these nations great again.’’ Unlike in Soviet times, the Kremlin no longer limits its support to just one end of the ideological spectrum. In addition to right- wing groups, it still maintains strong ties with former and current communist parties—Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice in 2014 sought to ban the country’s Communist Party, which was believed to be act- 306 Some European left and far-left ing on behalf of the Kremlin. 299 Estaban Duarte et al., ‘‘Mobster or Central Banker? Spanish Cops Allege This Russian Aug. 9, 2016; Rosalind Helderman & Tom Hamburger, ‘‘Guns and Religion: Bloomberg, Both,’’ The Washington Post, How American Conservatives Grew Closer to Putin’s Russia,’’ Apr. 30, 2017. 300 The Daily Beast, Mar. Tim Mak, ‘‘Top Trump Ally Met with Putin’s Deputy in Moscow,’’ 7, 2017; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Issuance of a New Ukraine-Related Executive Order; Ukraine-related Designations,’’ Mar. 17, 2014. 301 Steve Benen, ‘‘Franklin Graham Sees Putin with Moral High Ground,’’ MSNBC, Mar. 19, 2014. 302 Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘‘Brian Brown Named President of Anti-LGBT World Con- gress of Families,’’ June 2, 2016; Rosalind Helderman & Tom Hamburger, ‘‘Guns and Religion: The Washington Post, How American Conservatives Grew Closer to Putin’s Russia,’’ Apr. 30, 2017. 303 Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘‘World Congress of Families Suspends Russia Conference,’’ Mar. 25, 2014. 304 Peter Kreko et al., Political Capital, From Russia with Hate: The Activity of Pro-Russian Extremist Groups in Central-Eastern Europe, at 47 (Apr. 2017). 305 at 12. Ibid. 306 The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Peter Pomerantsev & Micahel Weiss, Institute of Modern Russia, at 19-20 (Nov. 2014). Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

59 53 parties have also adopted more friendly views toward Russia, in- cluding Spain’s Podemos party, Greece’s Syriza Party (which has led the government since 2015), Bulgaria’s Socialist Party, and Moldova’s Socialist Party, with candidates from the latter two win- 307 According to ning presidential elections in November 2016. NATO officials, Russian intelligence agencies also reportedly pro- vide covert support to European environmental groups to campaign against fracking for natural gas, thereby keeping the EU more de- 309 pendent on Russian supplies. A study by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies reports that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs that seek to persuade EU gov- 309 ernments to end shale gas exploration. THE USE OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH Just as the Kremlin has strengthened its relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church and used it to bolster its standing at home, the Russian Orthodox Church also serves as its proxy abroad, and the two institutions have several overlapping foreign policy objectives. According to the former editor of the official jour- nal of the Moscow Patriarchate, ‘‘the church has become an instru- ment of the Russian state. It is used to extend and legitimize the 310 In a letter to Russian foreign minister interests of the Kremlin.’’ Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch, Kirill, wrote: ‘‘During your service as foreign minister, the cooperation be- tween the Russian foreign policy department and the Moscow Pa- triarchate has considerably broadened. Through joint efforts we have managed to make a contribution to the gathering and consoli- 311 dation of the Russian World.’’ Scholar Robert Blitt notes that ‘‘the Russian government, in an effort to restore its lost role as a global superpower, has recruited the Church as a primary instru- ment for rallying together a dubious assortment of states and reli- gious representatives to support a new international order. This new order is premised on the rejection of universal human rights and the revival of relativism, two principles that serve the Church 312 Blitt also notes that the Russian government has linked well.’’ national security with ‘’spiritual security,’’ and that ‘‘abroad, the government benefits from the [Russian Orthodox Church]’s efforts as a willing partner in reinforcing Russia’s ’spiritual security,’ which in turn boosts the channels available to it for the projection 313 of Russian power abroad.’’ In 2003, the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a working group that has, in the words of Foreign Minister Lavrov, allowed them to work ‘‘together real- izing a whole array of foreign policy and international activity 307 The Economist, ‘‘In the Kremlin’s Pocket,’’ Feb. 12,, 2015; Cynthia Kroet, ‘‘The New Putin Politico, Coalition,’’ Nov. 21, 2016. 308 Financial Sam Jones et al., ‘‘NATO Claims Moscow Funding Anti-Fracking Groups,’’ June 19, 2014. Times, 309 Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing, at 31. 310 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘In Expanding Russian Influence, Faith Combines with Firepower,’’ The New York Times, Sept. 13, 2016. 311 Letter from Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Mar. 22, 2010. 312 Robert Blitt, Russia’s Orthodox Foreign Policy: the Growing Influence of the Russian Ortho- L., at 379 (2011). dox Church in Shaping Russia’s Policies Abroad, 33 U. PA. J. I NT ’ L 313 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

60 54 314 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also used Kirill to thrusts.’’ promote a relativistic view of human rights at the United Nations, arranging for him to give a speech in 2008 (before he was Patri- arch) at the UN Human Rights Council, where he bemoaned that ‘‘there is a strong influence of feministic views and homosexual at- titudes in the formulation of rules, recommendations and programs 315 According to a report by Chatham in human rights advocacy.’’ House, in Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia, Orthodox parent com- mittees, modelled on similar Russian Orthodox committees, have 316 These commit- launched attacks on LGBT and feminist groups. tees ‘‘claim that gender equality is a Western construct intended to spread homosexuality in Eastern Europe, blaming the United States and the EU for the decay of ‘moral health’ in the respective 317 The Russian Orthodox Church also enjoys strong fi- societies.’’ nancial backing from Kremlin-linked oligarchs Konstantin Malofeev and Vladimir Yakunin, who are both under U.S. sanc- 318 In Bulgaria and Romania, the Kremlin even allegedly co- tions. 319 In opted Orthodox priests to lead anti-fracking protests. Moldova, senior priests have worked to halt the country’s integra- tion with Europe (leading anti-homosexual protests and even claim- ing that new biometric passports for the EU were ‘’satanic’’ because they had a 13-digit number), and priests in Montenegro led efforts 320 to block the country from joining NATO. THE NATIONALIZATION OF ORGANIZED CRIME During his time in St. Petersburg in the 1990s, Putin allegedly collaborated with two major organized crime groups to assert con- trol over the city’s gambling operations, helped launder money and facilitated travel for known mafia figures, had a company run by a crime syndicate provide security for his Ozero (‘‘Lake’’) house co- operative, and helped that criminal organization gain a monopoly 321 According to a report by over St. Petersburg’s fuel deliveries. scholar Ilya Zaslavskiy, the latter operation would teach Putin use- ful skills that he could later use at the national level, including ‘‘monopolization of the downstream energy market, management of the city’s oil and gas assets through nominal front men and off- shore accounts, and the use of ex-Stasi and other Warsaw Pact 322 operatives in energy schemes across Europe.’’ 314 Ibid. at 381. 315 Metropolitan Kirill, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate DECR, Address on the Panel Discussion on Human Rights and Intercultural Dialogue at the 7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Mar. 22, 2008. 316 Orysia Lutsevych, Agents of the Russian World: Proxy Groups in the Contested Neighbourhood, Chatham House, at 26 (Apr. 2016). 317 Ibid. at 26. 318 Ibid. at 25-26; Gabriela Baczynska & Tom Heneghan, ‘‘How the Russian Orthodox Church Answers Putin’s Prayers in Ukraine,’’ Reuters, Oct. 6, 2014; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Ukraine-related Designations,’’ Mar. 20, 2014; U.S. Depart- ment of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Issuance of a New Ukraine-related Ex- ecutive Order and General License; Ukraine-related Designations,’’ Dec. 19, 2014. 319 Sam Jones et al., ‘‘NATO Claims Moscow Funding Anti-Fracking Groups,’’ Financial Times, June 19, 2014. 320 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘In Expanding Russian Influence, Faith Combines with Firepower,’’ The New York Times, Sept. 13, 2016. 321 May 3, 2016 (citing Brian Whitmore, ‘‘Putinfellas,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? Simon & Schuster, Sept. 2015). Karen Dawisha, 322 Corruption Pipeline: the Threat of Nord Stream 2 to EU Security and De- Ilya Zaslavskiy, Free Russia, at 4 (2017). mocracy, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

61 55 From the Kremlin, Putin has allegedly continued to use Russian- based organized crime groups to pursue his interests both at home and abroad, including to smuggle arms, assassinate political oppo- nents, earn ‘‘black cash’’ for off-the-books operations, conduct cyberattacks, and support separatist movements in Moldova, Geor- 323 Euan Grant, an expert in transnational crime, gia, and Ukraine. told The Moscow Times that Russians linked to organized crime groups have formed a large quasi-intelligence agency for the Krem- lin, acting as ‘‘political Trojan horses’’ that use their money to ‘‘un- dermine morale, compromise officials and weaken Western re- 324 solve.’’ In 2016, a judge investigating Russian mafia operations in Spain issued international arrest warrants for several current and former Russian government officials with alleged connections to a money laundering operation run by a Russia-based crime group in Spain. Spanish prosecutors also alleged that a senior member of the Duma, Vladislav Reznik, helped the head of the Russian crime syn- dicate in Spain, Gennady Petrov, get his allies into senior positions 325 in the Russian government in exchange for assets in Spain. Spanish investigators tapping Petrov’s phones heard him speak with a deputy prime minister and five other cabinet ministers, as well as various legislators, including Reznik, a founder and vice president of Putin’s United Russia party and head of the Duma’s 326 finance committee. Reznik and Petrov regularly socialized and did business together, sharing a private jet and the same secretary, 327 lawyer, and financial adviser in Spain. Reznik was also a mem- ber of the board of directors of Bank Rossiya, which fell under U.S. sanctions in 2014 for its role in Ukraine and was described by the U.S. Treasury Department as ‘‘the personal bank for senior officials 328 of the Russian Federation.’’ And from 1998-99, Petrov was re- portedly a co-owner of Bank Rossiya, along with several men be- longing to Putin’s Ozero cooperative of dacha owners (the Panama Papers also revealed that Bank Rossiya transferred at least $1 bil- 329 lion to Putin’s friend, the musician Sergei Roldugin). There are also multiple historical links between Putin and Petrov’s gang in St. Petersburg. The gang was then led by Vladimir Barsukov and started out in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, the same time that Putin served as the city’s deputy mayor. In addition to illicit activities, the gang was allegedly involved in real estate, banking, and energy, including the Petersburg Fuel Company (PTK), which, thanks to a decision involving Putin, won a contract 323 Mark Galeotti, Crimintern: How the Kremlin Uses Russia’s Criminal Networks in Europe, European Council on Foreign Relations, at 1 (Apr. 2017); Brian Whitmore, ‘‘Putinfellas,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 3, 2016. 324 Peter Hobson, ‘‘How Europe Became a Russian Gangster Playground,’’ The Moscow Times, May 12, 2016. 325 Ibid. The arrest warrants were later thrown out, reportedly because some of the named individuals were cooperating with the investigation. 326 Ibid. 327 Ibid. 328 ; U.S. Department of the Treasury, ‘‘Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Ibid. of the Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, and an Entity for Involvement in the Situation in Ukraine,’’ Mar. 20, 2014. 329 Alec Luhn & Luke Harding, ‘‘Spain Issues Arrest Warrants for Russian Officials Close to May 4, 2016. Putin,’’ The Guardian, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

62 56 330 in 1995 to be the sole supplier of gasoline in St. Petersburg. It is worth noting that, according to an investigation by Newsweek, the then-owner of PTK was Vladimir Smirnov (also a member of the Ozero cooperative), who partnered with Barsukov for the gaso- line business. Smirnov also once led the Russian operations of the St. Petersburg Real Estate Holding Company (SPAG), of which Putin was an advisory board member until his inauguration as 331 In 1999, U.S. and European intelligence agencies president. began to suspect that SPAG was involved in a money laundering scheme in Lichtenstein for Russian organized crime gangs and Co- lombian drug traffickers, including the Cali cocaine cartel (though 332 SPAG denies wrongdoing and no charges were ever filed). Fur- thermore, Barsukov was also reportedly a board member of a 333 SPAG subsidiary. Alexander Litvinenko, the former spy who Putin allegedly ordered the assassination of (see Appendix B for more information), and another former KGB agent, Yuri Shvets, had compiled a report on Barsukov and the Tambov gang in 2006, and found that, as deputy mayor, Putin had provided political pro- tection for criminal activity related to Barsukov’s gang in St. Pe- 334 tersburg. Russian security expert Mark Galeotti of the European Council on Foreign Relations, estimates that Russian-based organized crime is now responsible for one-third of Europe’s heroin supply, a large portion of the trafficking of non-European people, and most 335 illegal weapons imports. Galeotti reports that Russian-based crime groups in Europe largely operate with (and behind) indige- 336 nous European gangs. They are not fighting for territory any- more, but working as ‘‘brokers and facilitators’’ for regional and international criminal activities and supply chains. One supposedly retired Russian criminal told Galeotti in 2016 that ‘‘we have the best of both worlds: from Russia we have strength and safety, and 337 in Europe we have wealth and comfort.’’ And, according to a Western counter-intelligence officer, the strength and safety that these groups enjoy in Russia are what give the Kremlin power over 338 them. Galeotti asserts that, under Putin’s rule, connections be- tween Russia-based organized crime groups and Russian intel- ligence services, including the FSB, have grown substantially. Their interconnectedness now goes well beyond the institutionaliza- tion of corruption and the growing grey area between legal and ille- gal activity. In effect, during Putin’s rule the state has nationalized 339 organized crime: the underworld now serves the ‘‘upperworld.’’ 330 Sebastian Rotella, ‘‘A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob re- Nov. 10, 2017. ProPublica, vealed Russian Power Networks,’’ 331 Newsweek, Mark Hosenball, ‘‘A Stain on Mr. Clean,’’ Sept. 2, 2001. 332 Ibid. 333 The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death ; United Kingdom House of Commons, Ibid. at 112 (Mar. 2015). of Alexander Litvinenko, 334 Damien Sharkov, ‘‘ ‘Putin Involved in Drug Smuggling Ring,’ Says Ex-KGB Officer,’’ News- week, Mar. 13, 2015. 335 Crimintern: How the Kremlin Uses Russia’s Criminal Networks in Europe, Mark Galeotti, European Council on Foreign Relations, at 1 (Apr. 2017). 336 Ibid. 337 Ibid. at 1-2. 338 Ibid. at 3. 339 Ibid. at 2. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

63 57 THE EXPORT OF CORRUPTION The Kremlin has also exported economic corruption to its periph- ery and throughout Europe. Anton Shekhovtsov, a scholar who studies the Kremlin’s links with far-right and extremist groups, be- lieves that the Kremlin even prefers using corruption over culti- vating such groups, saying that ‘‘Russia would rather destroy the EU through corruption . . . than through the support of anti-EU 340 forces.’’ In the report ‘‘Stage Hands: How Western Enablers Facilitate Kleptocracy,’’ journalist and author Oliver Bullough describes how Western countries are used by corrupt officials to protect their ill- gotten gains: In Stage One, the kleptocrat secures his newly acquired assets by getting his money and company ownership off- shore. This successfully insulates him against unexpected political changes at home. In Stage Two, the kleptocrat se- cures himself and his children by physically moving his family offshore. This insulates those closest to him against the consequences of the misgovernment that made him rich, while providing both them and him with a more ame- nable environment in which to spend his wealth. In Stage Three, the kleptocrat secures his reputation by building a network among influential people in Western countries. In simple terms, the goal of Stage Three is to make sure that a Google search returns more news stories about good deeds than about allegations of corruption and loutish- 341 ness. The scale of how much illicit money has moved out of Russia is staggering. A report by Global Financial Integrity that tracked il- licit financial flows from developing countries found that, between 2004 and 2013, over $1 trillion left Russia, averaging over $100 bil- 342 Several recent investigations have uncovered how lion a year. that illicit money flows out of Russia. An exhaustive investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) tracked over $20 billion in illicit money that travelled from 19 Russian banks to 5,140 companies with accounts at 732 343 banks in 96 countries, including nearly every country in the EU. The International Committee of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) Panama Papers probes have traced $2 billion in illicit funds linked to Vladimir Putin that were moved abroad using a Cypriot bank 344 and a Swiss law firm. Investigations of Deutsche Bank have found that it assisted Russian clients covertly transfer $10 billion 345 to other jurisdictions. In 2015, Deutsche Bank reported that $1.5 340 Apr. EUobserver, Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Illicit Russian Money Poses Threat to EU Democracy,’’ 21, 2017. 341 Oliver Bullough, Hudson Insti- Stage Hands: How Western Enablers Facilitate Kleptocracy, tute, at 2 (May 2016). 342 Dev Kar and Joseph Spanjers, ‘‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004- 2013,’’ Global Financial Integrity, at 8 (Dec. 2015). 343 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, The Russian Laundromat Exposed, Mar. 20, 2017. 344 Jake Bernstein, et al., International Committee of Investigative Journalists, ‘‘All Putin’s Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Russian Leader,’’ Apr. 3, 2016. 345 , Aug. 29, 2016. The New Yorker Ed Caesar, ‘‘Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

64 58 billion entered the UK each month without being recorded in offi- 346 cial statistics, and that half of that money comes from Russia. Hermitage Capital’s investigation of the Klyuev organized crime group found that it used EU banks to launder portions of the $230 347 million the group stole through fraudulent tax refunds. Of that amount, some $39 million ended up in Germany, $33 million in France, and $30 million in Britain, where it was reportedly spent on yachts, private jets, designer dresses, and boarding school 348 fees. All of this illicit money is reportedly a boon for real estate 349 agents, lawyers, and luxury service providers in the West. Recent years have seen some progress in cracking down on Rus- sian organized crime in Europe, especially Spain, and uncovering illicit money flowing out of Russia. But the size of the problem still far outweighs the response, particularly in prime destinations for illicit funds like Britain and the United States, where corrupt Rus- sian government officials and criminals can easily hide and protect the assets they have stolen from the Russian people. In the United States, current law allows the true owners of shell corporations to remain anonymous and hidden from public sight. In addition, opaque bank accounts held by law firms are used to launder illicit funds into the country to purchase real estate and other assets, making the United States an attractive conduit and destination for the ill-gotten gains of corrupt Russian officials and other bad actors 350 around the world. THE LEVERAGING OF ENERGY SUPPLIES FOR INFLUENCE Russia’s use of energy to influence politics in Europe is part of the Kremlin’s ‘‘energy superpower’’ strategy, coined by Igor Shuvalov when he was Putin’s chief economic aide. As Putin’s sher- pa to the 2005 G8 summit, Shuvalov developed a new energy policy approach for Russia and proposed that the Kremlin make the Euro- pean countries an offer at the upcoming G8 summit: Moscow would take care of ensuring a flow of fuel suffi- cient to supply every house in Europe, and in return Eu- rope would show friendship, understanding, and loyalty, as Silvio Berlusconi had. The concept appealed very much to Putin. It allowed him to demonstrate a new, more prag- matic approach to relations with Europe. He did not want to talk to European leaders about human rights, freedom of speech, or Chechnya. He was tired of hearing only criti- cism. The only way to silence the liberals was to steer the conversation toward business matters. Putin appointed Shuvalov as his chief economic negotiator, whereupon the latter began to represent Russia in the G8, in the WTO, 346 The Moscow Times, Peter Hobson, ‘‘How Europe Became a Russian Gangster Playground,’’ May 12, 2016. 347 Neil Buckley & Richard Milne, ‘‘French Probe Danske Bank Link to Alleged Russian Financial Times, Fraud,’’ Oct. 12, 2017; Russian Untouchables, ‘‘Attack On Hermitage, $230 Million Tax Theft,’’ June 23, 2012. 348 Neil Buckley, ‘‘Magnitsky Fraud Cash Laundered Through Britain, MPs Hear,’’ Financial Times, May 3, 2016; Neil Buckley & Richard Milne, ‘‘French Probe Danske Bank Link to Alleged Oct. 12, 2017. Russian Fraud,’’ Financial Times, 349 Peter Hobson, ‘‘How Europe Became a Russian Gangster Playground,’’ The Moscow Times, May 12, 2016. 350 Rachel Louise Ensign & Serena Ng, ‘‘Law Firms’ Accounts Pose Money-Laundering Risk,’’ , Dec. 26, 2016. The Wall Street Journal VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

65 59 at Davos, and in talks with the European Union. His stra- tegic aim was essentially to convert Russian oil and gas into political influence and make Putin the energy emperor 351 of Europe. The past decade-plus has seen Putin and the Kremlin pursue this ‘‘energy superpower’’ strategy with extreme vigor, not only using energy supplies as leverage, but also accumulating large stakes in energy infrastructure throughout Europe. Control of sup- plies and infrastructure has also allowed the Kremlin to extend in- fluence over local businessmen and politicians, and exercise undue political influence over the countries of Europe, especially those on its periphery. Central and Eastern European countries are dependent on Rus- sia for approximately 75 percent of their gas imports and, by some estimates, pay 10 to 30 percent more for their gas imports than 352 According to Heather Conley, a countries in Western Europe. senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a U.S. think tank, this ‘‘provides additional graft to deepen a country’s energy dependency on Russia and make it 353 Serbia provides a telling vulnerable to political manipulation.’’ example of how such a situation might play out. The country is re- liant on Russia for its natural gas imports, and its state-owned gas company, Srbijagas, has in recent years accumulated debts of over $1 billion, leading Russia to pressure Serbia in 2014 by reducing gas deliveries by 30 percent. Dusan Bajatovic, the director of Srbijagas, is also the deputy chairman of the pro-Russian Socialist Party of Serbia, and serves in parliament, where he is on the Com- mittee on Finance, State Budget, and Control of Public Spending. Russia is reported to have relied on Bajatovic as ‘‘a guarantor of the matters agreed [to] in [the] South Stream project’’—a now- defunct pipeline project on which Serbia has already lost some $30 million. Despite Serbia’s debts and dependency on the Kremlin’s gas supplies, Bajatovic insists that his country still ‘‘benefits from 354 contracts with Russia.’’ The Kremlin also has a long track record of using energy re- sources and investments to funnel state resources into the pockets of Putin’s friends and allies (‘‘privatizing profit and nationalizing losses’’), while at the same time maintaining or increasing its lever- age and influence over the countries of Europe, which are largely dependent on Russia for natural gas supplies. While 90 percent of Europe’s oil imports arrive by sea, most of its natural gas imports come via pipeline, limiting the flexibility of European countries to 355 change suppliers or supply routes. Furthermore, European coun- tries’ ambitious carbon dioxide reduction targets mean that they are likely to become increasingly reliant on natural gas. While nat- 351 All the Kremlin’s Men, at 118-19 (emphasis added). Zygar, 352 Statement of Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic, The Modus Operandi and Toolbox of Russia and Center for Strategic and International Studies, Other Autocracies for Undermining Democracies Throughout the World, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, at 3, Mar. 15, 2017. 353 Ibid. 354 Heather Conley et al., The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe, Center for Strategic and International Studies, at 7 (Oct. 2016). 355 Michael Ratner et al., Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification, Congressional Research Service, at 5 (Nov. 2015). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

66 60 ural gas accounted for about 23 percent of the EU’s energy con- sumption in 2015, that figure is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2030, and 70 percent of the natural gas consumed in the EU is im- 356 ported. In 2014, the EU imported 40 percent of its natural gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia (Norway accounted for 35 per- cent of the EU’s natural gas imports and 12 percent of oil im- 357 Several of the EU’s member states rely on Russia for all ports). of their natural gas imports: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia, and Slovenia (and Latvia uses natural gas for approxi- mately 40 percent of its primary energy needs). Germany and Italy get nearly 40 percent of their gas imports from Russia, and Ger- many’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants by 2020, as well as some EU members’ potential prohibitions on shale gas develop- ment, could result in a greater need for natural gas imports in the 358 EU. In addition to their roles as energy suppliers, Russian energy companies have large ownership stakes in European energy infra- structure such as pipelines, distribution, and storage facilities. A 2014 study commissioned by members of the European parliament found that Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural gas company, controls large amounts of shares—sometimes even majority stakes—in energy trading, distribution, pipeline, and storage facili- ties in several Central and Eastern European countries. Gazprom also owns large stakes in storage facilities in Western Europe, in- 359 cluding in Germany, Austria, and the UK. The placement of and control over energy pipelines provides the Russian government with a key source of leverage. Pipeline routes are chosen to exert maximum influence over the countries they are going through, as well as the countries that they circumvent. Ac- Berlin Policy Journal cording to a article by Ilya Zaslavskiy, ‘‘these projects serve a purpose beyond mere economic gain: they are pri- marily driven by the Kremlin for political expediency, with Russian leadership sacrificing efficiency and commercial viability for the sake of international political partnerships and the economic secu- rity of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. This approach gives the Russian regime a political and economic tool which is powerful 360 and unavailable to its Western counterparts.’’ For example, the proposed Turkish Stream pipeline is not eco- nomically expedient, as the Blue Stream and Trans-Balkan pipe- lines already give Russia excess export capacity to Turkey. How- ever, in addition to providing lavish contracts to Putin’s inner circle and further cementing ties with Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, the new pipeline will give the Kremlin more leverage over Ukraine by further reducing its role in transiting Gazprom’s gas to Europe 361 and Turkey. Gazprom also uses long-term contracts (LTCs) that prohibit buyers from selling its gas to third parties, allowing it to implement ‘‘take-or-pay’’ clauses that require the buyer to purchase a set amount or pay a penalty, instead of more flexible contracts 356 Ibid. 357 Ibid. 358 Ibid. 359 Deutsches Institut fur Wirtschaftsforschung, European Natural Gas Infrastructure: The Role of Gazprom in European Natural Gas Supplies, at VI (Spring 2014). 360 Berlin Policy Journal , May 18, 2017. Ilya Zaslavskiy, ‘‘Putin’s Art of the Deal,’’ 361 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

67 61 362 Accord- that would be based on fluctuating pricing and demand. ing to an Atlantic Council report, ‘‘many countries that were heav- ily depending on Gazprom’s gas were thus given a de facto choice: compromise with Russia on sensitive political and economic issues and receive favorable LTCs, or defy the Kremlin and pay high gas 363 prices for years to come.’’ Such practices led the European Com- mission to open an antitrust investigation of Gazprom in 2012, 364 looking at its activities in eight EU countries. In 2015, the Euro- pean Commission formally charged Gazprom for illegally parti- tioning EU gas markets, denying access to gas pipelines by third parties, and unlawful pricing, all of which could strengthen the Kremlin’s political and economic stranglehold over Central and 365 Eastern European countries. The Nord Stream pipelines provide another example of Russia forgoing economic logic in the name of political expediency. Nord Stream 1 (NS1), which went into service in 2011, is a 760-mile sub- sea natural gas pipeline that connects Germany to Russia via the 366 Baltic Sea. According to some analysts, NS1 has been an eco- nomic disaster for Russia: transit costs are equal to or greater than the cost of transporting gas across Ukraine, and capacity increases have been minimal as gas transited through NS1 is just diverted from pipelines that cross Ukraine (before NS1 opened, as much as 80 percent of Europe’s gas imports from Russia were transported 367 through Ukraine). As a result, Ukraine’s transit revenue has de- clined from approximately $4 billion in 2013, to some $3 billion in 368 2014, and an expected $2 billion in 2015. Gazprom has treated the pipeline as ‘‘a stranded investment which never makes the promised return on capital,’’ in the words of one analyst. But NS1 has given the Kremlin increased leverage over Ukraine and entan- gled Germany as a principal hub for Russian gas in Europe. NS1 has also advanced the Russian government’s goal to ‘‘divide and 369 conquer’’ the EU with its energy supplies. Even though NS1 only runs at about 50 percent capacity, the Kremlin has assiduously pursued the construction of Nord Stream 2 (NS2), which it aims to put into service by 2019 and would dou- ble the capacity of NS1 by laying two new pipelines parallel to the 370 original pair. The $11 billion project would also give Gazprom a stronger ‘’strategic foothold’’ in Germany, which would become the main hub for transit and storage of Russian gas exports to Eu- 362 At- The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe: Implications for Policy Makers, Ilya Zaslavskiy, lantic Council, at 2 (May 2017). 363 Ibid. 364 European Commission, ‘‘Commission Opens Proceedings against Gazprom,’’ (Antitrust Case No. 39816), Sept. 4, 2012. 365 European Commission, ‘‘Commission Sends Statement of Objections to Gazprom for Al- leged Abuse of Dominance on Central and Eastern European Gas Supply Markets,’’ (Antitrust Case No. 39816), Apr. 22, 2015; Nicholas Hirst, ‘‘Commission Charges Gazprom,’’ Politico Eu- rope, Apr. 22, 2015. In March 2017, the Commission provisionally accepted concessions by Gazprom, which the Commission said will address competition its concerns and better integrate European markets. European Commission, ‘‘Commission Invites Comments on Gazprom Com- mitments Concerning Central and Eastern European Gas Markets,’’ Mar. 13, 2017. 366 Nord Stream, ‘‘The Pipeline,’’ https://www.nord-stream.com/the-project/pipeline (visited Dec. 19, 2017). 367 Ilya Zaslavskiy, ‘‘Putin’s Art of the Deal,’’ Berlin Policy Journal, May 18, 2017; Jon Henley, ‘‘Is Europe’s Gas Supply Threatened by the Ukraine Crisis?’’ The Guardian, March 3, 2014. 368 Vladimir Socor, ‘‘Nordstream Two in Ukrainian Perspective,’’ Jamestown Foundation Eur- asia Daily Monitor, Sep. 21, 2015. 369 Berlin Policy Journal, Ilya Zaslavskiy, ‘‘Putin’s Art of the Deal,’’ May 18, 2017. 370 at 6-7. Zaslavskiy, The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

68 62 371 rope. The geopolitical rationale for the Kremlin is clear: if both the Turkish Stream and NS2 pipelines are built, the Russian gov- ernment would have the transport capacity to fully divert all Rus- sian gas supplies that currently transit Ukraine, thereby depriving the government of Ukraine of billions of dollars in transit fees that 372 are essential to its budget. An analysis published by the Atlantic Council in May 2017 concluded that NS2 ‘‘is a politically motivated project that presents a major challenge to European law and EU principles, and jeopardizes the security interests of the United 373 States and its EU allies.’’ The U.S. State Department’s former special envoy for international energy affairs said in 2016 that NS2 would put an ‘‘economic boot’’ on the necks of governments in the 374 Balkans and Eastern Europe. Under the project’s current structure, Gazprom will be the sole shareholder of the NS2 project company, though five European en- ergy firms—Engie (France), OMV (Austria), Shell (Britain and the Netherlands), and Uniper and Wintershall (Germany)—have com- mitted to providing long-term financing for 50 percent of the 375 project’s total costs. As of November 2017, the European Com- mission was proposing to extend to offshore pipelines rules that govern internal energy markets, which would lead to more strin- 376 gent regulation of the project. Proposals to enhance the EU’s regulatory oversight of NS2 led Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to complain that the EU was attempting to complicate the project’s 377 implementation or force Russia to abandon it. Given the threat this project poses to governments in Ukraine and the Balkans, as well as the Kremlin’s history of leveraging en- ergy supplies for political purposes, several U.S. government offi- cials have come out in clear opposition to NS2. In February 2017, the Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources office for Europe, the Western Hemisphere, and Africa told a con- 378 ference in Croatia that NS2 was ‘‘a national security threat.’’ The State Department’s Assistant Secretary for European and Eur- asian Affairs, A. Wess Mitchell, has stated that Moscow’s construc- tion of NS2 and the Turkish Stream pipeline, if completed, would ‘‘bypass Ukraine as a transit country, heighten the vulnerability of Poland and the Balkans, and deepen European dependence on the 379 Russian gas monopoly.’’ And Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John McCarrick, from the Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, has noted that construction of NS2 ‘‘would concentrate 75 to 80 percent of Russian gas imports to the EU through a single route, thereby creating a potential choke point that would signifi- 371 Ibid. at 2. 372 Ibid. at 6-7. 373 at 1. Ibid. 374 Anca Gurzu & Joseph Schatz, ‘‘Great Northern Gas War: Gazprom Project Worries the US Politico, and Divides Europe,’’ Feb. 17, 2016. 375 ‘‘New EU Amendment on Gas Pipelines Regulations Could Affect Nord Stream 2,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 8, 2017. 376 ‘‘EU Plans Rule Change to Snag Russian Pipeline,’’ Reuters, Nov. 4, 2017. 377 ‘‘Medvedev Says EU Trying to Force Russia to Abort Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Project,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 14, 2017. 378 Dariusz Kalan, ‘‘Nord Stream 2 ‘a Security Threat’—US Official,’’ Interfax Global Energy, Feb. 17, 2017. 379 Statement of A. Wess Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eur- asian Affairs, European Energy Security: U.S. Interests and Coercive Russian Diplomacy, Hear- ing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Europe and Re- gional Security Cooperation, Dec. 12, 2017, at 2. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

69 63 cantly increase Europe’s vulnerability to supply disruption, wheth- 380 er intentional or accidental.’’ Energy supply disruption is a tactic that the Kremlin has repeat- edly used to pursue its political objectives in Europe. A report by the Swedish Defense Research Agency showed that between 1992 381 Though Russian of- and 2006, Russia imposed 55 energy cutoffs. ficials claimed the cutoffs were for technical reasons, analysts note that they ‘‘almost always coincided with political interests, such as influencing elections or energy deals in Central and Eastern Eu- 382 rope.’’ In addition, the Russian government has been suspected of sponsoring cyberattacks on energy infrastructure throughout Eu- 383 Cybersecurity rope, especially in Ukraine and the Baltic states. experts have linked Russian-backed hackers to multiple attacks in Ukraine, including one that crippled much of the country’s power 384 Some experts have said that Russia has grid in December 2016. used Ukraine as a training ground for cyberattacks on energy in- 385 frastructure. Such attacks on the United States are also pos- sible, as a hacking group known as Dragonfly, which is reportedly linked to the Russian government, has reportedly hacked into doz- 386 ens of companies that supply power to the U.S. electricity grid. These efforts are in line with a Russian military doctrine known as Strategic Operations to Destroy Critical Infrastructure Targets (SODCIT). General Martin Dempsey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the doctrine ‘‘calls for escalating to deescalate. That’s a very dangerous doctrine. And they are devel- 387 Given the oping capabilities that could allow them to do that.’’ tremendous potential damage of such attacks on energy grids in both Europe and the United States, stronger cyber defense efforts in the United States and more robust cooperation between U.S. and European governments is of the utmost necessity. 380 Statement of John McCarrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Energy Re- sources, Hearing be- European Energy Security: U.S. Interests and Coercive Russian Diplomacy, fore the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, Dec. 12, 2017, at 4. 381 Nord Stream, Sweden and Baltic Sea Security, Swedish Defense Re- Robert L. Larsson, search Agency, at 80, (Mar. 2007). At least 20 occurred during Putin’s tenure. Ibid. 382 Peter Pomerantsev & Micahel Weiss, The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money, Institute of Modern Russia, at 22 (Nov. 2014). 383 ‘‘Dragonfly: Western Energy Sector Targeted By Sophisticated Attack Group,’’ Symantec, Oct. 20, 2017; Suspected Russia-Backed Hackers Target Baltic Energy Networks, May Reuters, 11, 2017. 384 Andy Greenberg, ‘‘How an Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar,’’ Wired, June 20, 2017. 385 Ibid. 386 ‘‘Dragonfly: Western Energy Sector Targeted By Sophisticated Attack Group,’’ Symantec, Oct. 20, 2017; Kevin Collier, ‘‘Electricity Providers Targeted In Massive Hack,’’ BuzzFeed News, Sept. 6, 2017. 387 Martin Dempsey, Interview with Peter Feaver, Duke University, Apr. 11, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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71 Chapter 5: Kremlin Interference in Semi-Consolidated Democracies 388 and Transitional Governments The former states of the Soviet Union, as well as the former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, remain per- haps the most vulnerable to Russian aggression. Geographically, the countries in Russia’s ‘‘backyard’’ have populations that are most receptive to Kremlin propaganda, and, in some cases, have their own Russian-speaking populations. They are also the most vulnerable to interference due to weak governing institutions, jus- tice systems that allow for higher levels of corruption, and under- developed or beleaguered independent media and civil society. The Russian tactics of interference follow two main trends in this region. First, Russia aggressively targets countries that have taken tangible steps to integrate with western institutions like the EU or NATO in order to impede integration processes. Georgia, Ukraine, and Montenegro are the most recent cases in a long history of Rus- sian aggression along the periphery that stretches back genera- tions—and as they have drawn closer to NATO and the EU, they have been the focus of arguably the most brazen Kremlin efforts to keep them from sliding across the finish line. Montenegro’s ac- cession to NATO in 2017 is an anomaly within this group, where, despite an onslaught of Russian pressure to deter it, the country was able to become a full member of the alliance. Second, Russian interference in places like Serbia is less visibly aggressive and focuses more on cultivating sympathetic elements of society to deter government efforts to integrate with the West. In addition to disinformation and the co-opting of political forces, Rus- sia employs energy resources as a weapon to gain leverage in these countries. The Kremlin also targets NATO and EU members where corruption or vulnerabilities in the rule of law provide openings to erode their bonds to European values and institutions. This in- cludes undermining their support for EU sanctions on Russia or NATO exercises on the continent. These tactics are most acute in 388 The countries in this chapter are defined as ‘’semi-consolidated democracies’’ or ‘‘transi- tional or hybrid regimes’’ by the Freedom House Nations in Transit study, which ranks and measures the progress toward or backsliding from democracy of 29 countries from Central Eu- rope to Central Asia. The ranking is determined by an assessment of a country’s national demo- cratic governance, electoral process, civil society, independent media, local democratic govern- ance, judicial framework and independence, and corruption. Countries classified as semi-consoli- dated democracies are defined as ‘‘electoral democracies that meet relatively high standards for the selection of national leaders but exhibit weaknesses in their defense of political rights and civil liberties,’’ while transitional or hybrid regimes are ‘‘typically electoral democracies where democratic institutions are fragile, and substantial challenges to the protection of political rights Nations in Transit 2017: The False Promise of Popu- and civil liberties exist.’’ Freedom House, lism, at 22 (2017). (65) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

72 66 Bulgaria and Hungary. Hungary represents a case where the gov- ernment has enabled space for Kremlin interference to shore up its own political strength, which is largely based on anti-migrant and anti-European integration policies. Finally, the country examples in the following two chapters are not an exhaustive compilation of Russian government interference throughout Europe, but an illustrative list of examples from recent years. The examples provide important lessons about tried and true Kremlin interference tools, as well as best practices to neu- tralize them. President Putin and the Russian government are not master strategists, nor are they always successful in their assaults on democracies. But a few notable qualities make the Russian Fed- eration a considerable opponent: scale, persistence, and adapt- ability. The United States and our allies, then, must also develop a more nimble, adaptable toolkit to deter and defend against con- tinued meddling by the Kremlin. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

73 67 UKRAINE Perhaps more than any other country, Ukraine has borne the brunt of Russian hybrid aggression in all of its forms—a lethal blend of conventional military assaults, assassinations, disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, and the weaponization of energy and corruption. Russian government action on all of these fronts spiked after the Euromaidan protests of 2014 brought Presi- dent Petro Poroshenko to power, and they have continued at an in- tense tempo in the years since. Ukraine has also been the target and testing ground for Russian cyberattacks that have crossed into direct strikes on physical infrastructure, such as its electricity 389 grid. As with Georgia, the goal of Russia’s interference appears to be to weaken Ukraine to the point that it becomes a failed state, rendering it incapable of joining Western institutions in the future and presenting the Russian people with another example of the ‘‘consequences’’ of democratization. The Russian military assault on Ukraine has been well docu- mented since the illegal occupation of Crimea and support for sepa- 390 This chapter will focus on those ratists in Donbas began in 2014. other elements of the Russian government’s asymmetric arsenal at play in Ukraine, namely its use of cyberattacks, disinformation, and corruption. Putin’s interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs was on full dis- play in the 2004 presidential election between pro-Russian can- didate Viktor Yanukovych and a pro-Western candidate, Viktor Yuschenko. Yanukovych’s campaign was supported by a large cadre of Russian political strategists, and just three days before the elec- tion, Putin attended a parade in Kiev where he stood alongside 391 Putin’s interference created an unprecedented situ- Yanukovych. ation where ‘‘Yuschenko’s main rival in the elections was not Yanukovych, in fact, but Putin, who carried on as if it were his own 392 And Russia’s secret services allegedly per- personal campaign.’’ formed darker acts to assist Yanukovych. Most disturbingly, FSB agents were reportedly involved in the poisoning of Yuschenko in September 2004 with TCDD, the most toxic form of dioxin, which 393 nearly killed him and left his face permanently disfigured. And according to Ukraine expert Taras Kuzio, alleged FSB-hired operatives also planted a car bomb—large enough to destroy every building within a 500-meter radius—near Yuschenko’s campaign 394 But in spite of Putin’s best efforts, the Ukrainian people offices. came to the streets to protect the ballot box, culminating in the Or- ange Revolution and the elevation of Yuschenko to the presidency. Yanukovych would later assume power in February 2010, and in 2014, as Ukraine sought to finalize an Association Agreement with the European Union, a key step in the EU accession process, 389 Wired, Kim Zetter, ‘‘Inside the Cunning Unprecedented Hack of Ukraine’s Power Grid,’’ Mar. 3, 2016. 390 The congressionally supported provision of lethal assistance to the Ukrainian military is long overdue and will hopefully increase the battlefield cost for Russian forces active in the country. 391 All the Kremlin’s Men, Zygar, at 89-90. 392 Ibid. at 91. 393 Taras Kuzio, Russian Policy Toward Ukraine During Elections, 13 Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 491, at 497-499, 512-513 (Sept. 2005). 394 Ibid. at 498. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

74 68 Yanukovych backtracked on the deal in response to pressure from 395 Moscow. The Ukrainian people rose up in a ‘‘Revolution of Dig- nity’’ in Kiev, which ousted Yanukovych, but also emboldened Rus- sian forces to invade Crimea and eastern Ukraine under the pre- text that Russian-speaking compatriots faced threats from Ukrain- ian nationalists. Using techniques honed during the invasion of Georgia, Russia expertly combined all the elements of hybrid war- fare in its assault on Ukraine—conventional and unconventional forces, cyberattacks, and propaganda. Today, Russia continues to illegally occupy Crimea and main- tains an active military presence in eastern Ukraine in support of separatists there. In that context, Ukraine seems to have emerged as Russia’s favorite laboratory for all forms of hybrid war. Cyberattacks have been a primary tool of Russia’s hybrid warfare operations in Ukraine. Virtually every sector of its society and economy—media, finance, transportation, military, politics, and en- ergy—has been the repeated target of pro-Kremlin hackers over the 396 past three years. According to Kenneth Geers, an ambassador to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence: ‘‘The gloves are off. This is a place where you can do your worst without retaliation or prosecution . . . Ukraine is not France or Germany. A lot of Americans can‘t find it on a map, so you can practice 397 there.’’ And the Kremlin has not wasted any opportunity to test and re- fine its cyber warfare skills. CyberBerkut, a pro-Russian group with ties to the hackers that breached the Clinton campaign and DNC in 2016, attacked Ukraine’s Central Election Commission website in 2014 to falsely show that ultra-right presidential can- 398 didate Dmytro Yarosh was the winner. The extent of attacks on Ukrainian institutions quickly widened to include the ministries of infrastructure, defense, and finance as well as the country’s pen- 399 sion fund, treasury, and seaport authority. Russian cyberattacks in Ukraine have graduated from simply exfiltrating data and taking down websites to attacks on physical infrastructure. On at least two occasions, in December 2015 and December 2016, hackers have attacked Ukraine’s electricity dis- tribution system, putting thousands of citizens in the dark for ex- 400 tended periods of time. Cyber experts say that the sophistication of the attacks show a marked evolution. According to Marina Krotofil, an industrial control systems security researcher for Hon- eywell: ‘‘In 2015 they were like a group of brutal street fighters. In 401 2016, they were ninjas.’’ The United States has sought to provide support to Ukrainian cyber defense efforts, but challenges remain. In the aftermath of the attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid, U.S. officials from the De- 395 Will Englund & Kathy Lally, ‘‘Ukraine, Under Pressure from Russia, Puts Brakes on E.U. The Washington Post , Nov. 21, 2013; James Marson, et al. ‘‘Ukraine President Viktor Deal,’’ Yanukovych Driven From Power,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23, 2014. 396 Andy Greenberg, ‘‘How an Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar,’’ Wired, June 20, 2017. 397 Ibid. 398 Ibid. 399 Ibid. 400 Ibid. Kim Zetter, ‘‘Inside the Cunning Unprecedented Hack of Ukraine’s Power Grid,’’ Wired, Mar. 3, 2016. 401 Andy Greenberg, ‘‘How an Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar,’’ Wired, June 20, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

75 69 partment of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation deployed to as- 402 In 2017, sist Ukrainian authorities in assessing the attack. USAID started a project in Ukraine to help the country build its cyber defenses, but given the scale and consistency of the Kremlin- directed barrage of cyberattacks, these assistance efforts pale in 403 comparison to the threat. As the Kremlin has made Ukraine the front line in its battle against Western institutions, Ukrainian civil society organizations have developed cutting-edge innovations to counter Russian disinformation. In March 2014, the Kyiv Mohyla School of Jour- nalism helped establish StopFake.org—a fact-checking website that works to refute Russian disinformation and promote media literacy, which has expanded to produce a weekly TV show and podcasts. StopFake’s show has debunked Russian propaganda that said the Islamic State terrorist group had opened a training camp in Ukraine and that Ukrainian nationalists had crucified Russian- 404 StopFake has become one of the most inter- speaking children. nationally recognized organizations for successfully countering Rus- 405 sian disinformation. Another program conducted by a U.S.-based organization helped train more than 15,000 Ukrainians on how to 406 critically read and share information. Over the course of the pro- gram, the number of trainees who cross-checked the news they con- 407 sumed rose by 22 percent. The Ukrainian government has also sought to push back against disinformation, though with uneven results. In May 2017, Presi- dent Poroshenko ordered Ukrainian service providers to block ac- cess to Russian websites including the social networking site VK (formerly VKontakte), Odnoklassniki, search engine Yandex, and the email service Mail.ru, prompting freedom of speech concerns 408 from groups like Human Rights Watch. Ukraine’s most significant vulnerability to the Kremlin’s influ- ence operations is corruption (Ukraine ranks 131 out of 167 coun- tries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions 409 Index). Since Ukraine’s independence, the Russian government has used corruption as a tool to weaken the development of the country’s fragile democratic institutions. While many political fig- ures in Ukraine have been mired in corruption scandals, the scale that apparently took place during the Yanukovych regime was striking—in order to maintain power, Ukrainian watchdogs as- serted that he paid $2 billion in bribes, which amounted to $1.4 million for every day that he was in office. Election commissioners 402 Ibid. 403 U.S. Department of State, Congressional Notification of Programs to Counter Russian In- fluence, Jan.19, 2017. 404 Andrew E. Kramer, ‘‘To Battle Fake News, Ukrainian Show Features Nothing But Lies,’’ Feb, 26, 2017. The New York Times, 405 See, e.g., ‘‘2017 Democracy Dinner Explores the Global Threat of Disinformation,’’ National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Nov. 2, 2017. 406 Tara Susman-Pena & Katya Vogt, ‘‘Ukrainians’ Self-defense against Disinformation: What We Learned from Learn to Discern,’’ IREX, June 12, 2017. 407 Ibid. 408 ‘‘Ukraine’s Poroshenko to Block Russian Social Networks,’’ May 16, 2017; BBC News, Human Rights Watch, ‘‘Ukraine: Revoke Ban on Dozens of Russian Web Companies,’’ May 16, 2017. 409 Transparency International, Jan. 25, 2017. Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

76 70 who guaranteed his party’s good fortunes at the polls were espe- 410 cially well compensated. Corruption is now seen in many circles as a threat to Ukraine’s national security, and the country’s civil society and the current government have developed several important anti-corruption measures, building the resilience of their institutions to defend against malign Russian government influence. Ukrainian civil soci- ety has established the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), which has courageously uncovered cases of high-level corruption 411 despite mounting pressure by the authorities. And under sub- stantial pressure from donors, the Ukrainian government has also taken important reform steps: it removed a controversial Pros- ecutor General who was accused of protecting corrupt actors in the country; it introduced transparency measures like an e-declaration system for public officials to report their assets, and it established investigatory bodies like the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU). But few high-level prosecutions have taken place, calling into question the government’s political will to pursue genuine re- 412 form. Moreover, institutions like NABU have come under in- creased pressure. In December 2017, the General Prosecutor’s office was accused of unmasking a NABU investigation and some NABU officials were arrested. In response, the U.S. State Department said, ‘‘These actions . . . undermine public trust and risk eroding 413 international support for Ukraine.’’ Until Ukrainian institu- tions, especially the judiciary, prove capable of prosecuting senior level officials from the former and current regime, the country will remain severely exposed and vulnerable to the Kremlin’s inter- ference in their country’s affairs. The military conflict in Ukraine grinds on and the Russian gov- ernment’s asymmetric arsenal seeks to damage Ukraine in other ways. But despite the overwhelming pressure from its more power- ful neighbor, Ukraine has proven remarkably resilient with help from friends in the international community. Ukraine is ground zero for Russian government aggression and deserves continued support. This support, however, is a two-way street. Oksana Syroyid, a deputy speaker of Ukraine’s Parliament Ukraine said in 2017 that Ukraine had become a testing ground ‘‘for a lot of Rus- sia’s evil strategies,’’ and that ‘‘unfortunately, we have to put up with this. Ukraine’s experience can be used by Europe and America 414 to understand the real Russian threat.’’ The deputy speaker is right—despite the significant challenges remaining in Ukraine, the country has many valuable lessons learned since 2014. While Ukraine is the main laboratory for Russian aggression abroad, it is also generating some of the most effective responses, through collaborations between the Ukrainian government and civil society, along with partners in the international community. The United States should proactively work with Ukraine to docu- 410 Maxim Tucker, ‘‘Ukraine’s Fallen Leader Victor Yanukovych ‘Paid Bribes of $2 billion‘ or May 31, 2016. The Guardian, $1.4 Million for Every Day He was President,’’ 411 Josh Cohen, ‘‘Something is Very Wrong in Kyiv,’’ The Atlantic Council Blog, May 18, 2017. 412 Hrant Kostanyan, ‘‘Ukraine’s Unimplemented Anti-Corruption Reform,’’ Center for Euro- pean Policy Studies, Feb.10, 2017. 413 Matthias Williams & Natalia Zinets, ‘‘Ukraine Tries to Fend Off Critics as West Cranks Up Pressure on Corruption,’’ Reuters, Dec. 6, 2017. 414 Andrew E. Kramer, ‘‘To Battle Fake News, Ukrainian Show Features Nothing But Lies,’’ The New York Times, Feb. 26, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

77 71 ment and disseminate these lessons to other democracies facing the asymmetric arsenal. Lessons Learned • Cybersecurity Cooperation Can Reap Benefits for the United The Russian cyber assault on Ukraine has been relent- States: less and multi-faceted since 2014. Ukraine is where the Rus- sian government experiments and sees what can work. The United States and others in the international community have taken steps to help Ukraine build its defenses, but this co- operation can also offer insight into how the Russian govern- ment conducts these operations and thus provide a forecast for the types of attacks we will see in the future. Cooperation with Ukraine to counter these threats is a critically important ele- ment of building the United States’ defenses. • Civil soci- Countering Disinformation Begins with Awareness: ety organizations like StopFake have led the way in developing innovative techniques to dispel lies in the media, which has in turn helped to build resilience and skepticism within the Ukrainian population. This critical thinking ability is the first step towards blunting the effect of lies from Moscow. NGOs in vulnerable countries should look to StopFake as a model, not only for the effectiveness of its techniques, but the courage of its staff. Civil Society Matters: Since the 2014 Euromaidan demonstra- • tions, civil society organizations in Ukraine have played a key watchdog role in holding the government accountable and call- ing for reform. This pressure from the Ukrainian people, chan- neled through these groups has led to concrete reforms, par- ticularly in building anti-corruption institutions. International efforts to support civil society in Ukraine are critical; even though they have grown in strength and effectiveness, these groups still face pressure from anti-reform elements in the country. • Corruption is Russia’s Best Weapon in Ukraine: The best de- fense against the Russian government’s asymmetric arsenal in Ukraine, and indeed across Europe, is the existence of durable democratic institutions that are less susceptible to corruption. While the Ukrainian government has established credible anti- corruption institutions, resistance to genuine reform remains very strong and Ukraine has yet to embark on significant ef- forts to prosecute some of the country’s most egregious corrupt actors. Until Ukraine shows the political will to confront cor- ruption, the country will remain dangerously vulnerable to Russian aggression. • High Level U.S. Engagement is Key: The Obama Administra- tion, primarily through former Vice President Joe Biden’s per- sonal engagement, was instrumental in pressuring the Ukrain- ian government to reform despite the attendant political dif- ficulties in making such decisions. This approach garnered re- sults, but sustainable progress can only come with consistent engagement and pressure from the United States. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

78 72 U.S. and EU sanc- Sanctions Pressure Has Been Insufficient: • tions have not resulted in the implementation of the Minsk 415 Agreements nor the return of Crimea to Ukrainian control. The Russian government appears to have been able to resist this pressure because the cost imposed by sanctions has been manageable. In order to achieve the desired outcomes of the Minsk Agreements and return Crimea to Ukrainian control, the U.S. government should significantly increase pressure and use the mandates and authorities outlined in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to ramp up sanctions on pro-Kremlin entities, in concert with the 416 European Union. 415 The Minsk Agreements were negotiated by Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine in talks in Minsk, Belarus in February 2015, under auspices of the Organization for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE). They are comprised of a 13-point plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines, to be monitored by the OSCE. The Agreements were concluded after the collapse of a ceasefire previously negotiated in Minsk (‘‘the Minsk Protocol’’) in September 2014; the terms have yet to be fulfilled. 416 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, P.L. 115-44, Enacted Aug. 2, 2017 (originally introduced by Senator Ben Cardin as the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, S. 94, January 11, 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

79 73 GEORGIA The 2008 invasion of Georgia is a stark example of how Russia exerts power—by taking territory inside another country. After years of rising tensions, Russian troops supported separatists in the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions in August 2008, resulting in the Russian government’s recognition of their independence. The conflict also represents the first time that cyberattacks were used alongside a military invasion—an innovation that the Russian gov- ernment was to hone with the invasion of Ukrainian territory six years later. Since 2008, Russian government propaganda and Rus- sian support for political parties and civil society groups remains a significant problem in Georgia as pro-democratic forces in the country seek to deepen integration with the west. Leading up to August 2008, tensions had been growing in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regions that had been contested since Geor- gia’s independence in 1991. South Ossetian separatists shelled Georgian villages in early August, which led to the deployment of 417 The Russian military re- the Georgian military to the area. sponded by pushing the Georgian troops out of South Ossetia with 418 It soon became clear that the Russian a heavy assault of tanks. attack was not limited to just conventional military means, but was much more comprehensive in scope. Despite the seemingly sudden escalation into a hot war, the Georgian government accused the Russian government of pre- paring the hybrid battlefield a month before the invasion. As early as July 20, the Georgian government experienced distributed de- nial of service (DDoS) attacks and President Mikhail Saakashvili’s 419 As Russian troops website was forced to shut down for 24 hours. entered Georgian territory on August 8, the websites of the Geor- gian president, the parliament, the ministries of defense and for- eign affairs, the national bank, and several news outlets were hit 420 The Georgian government accused the Rus- with cyberattacks. sian government of conducting these attacks, which the Kremlin 421 denied. Michael Sulmeyer, a senior Pentagon official in charge of cyber policy during the Obama Administration, said that Russia’s inva- sion was ‘‘one of the first times you‘ve seen conventional ground op- erations married with cyber activity. It showed not just an under- standing that these techniques could be useful in combined ops but that the Russians were willing to do them. These guys imple- 422 mented.’’ 417 Jim Nichol, ‘‘Russia-Georgia Conflict in August 2008: Context and Implications for U.S. In- terests,’’ at 5, Mar. 3, 2009. Congressional Research Service, 418 Anne Barnard et al., ‘‘Russians Push Past Separatist Area to Assault Central Georgia,’’ Aug. 10, 2008. The New York Times, 419 Swedish Defense Research Agency, Emerging Cyber Threats and Russian Views on Infor- mation Warfare and Information Operations, at 44 (Mar. 2010); John Markoff, ‘‘Before the Gun- fire, Cyberattacks,’’ Aug. 13, 2008. The New York Times, 420 Swedish Defense Research Agency, Emerging Cyber Threats and Russian Views on Infor- mation Warfare and Information Operations, at 44; ‘‘Georgia: Russia ‘Conducting Cyber War,‘’’ The Telegraph, Aug. 11, 2008. 421 Joseph Menn, ‘‘Expert: Cyber-Attacks On Georgia Websites Tied to Mob, Russian Govern- ment, Aug. 13, 2008; ‘‘Georgia: Russia ‘Conducting Cyber War,‘ ’’ The Telegraph, Aug. LA Times, 11, 2008. 422 Evan Osnos et al., ‘‘Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War: What Lay Behind Russia’s In- Mar. 6, 2017. terference in the 2016 Election—And What Lies Ahead?,’’ The New Yorker, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

80 74 The governments of Estonia and Poland quickly mobilized to as- sist the Georgian government to get back online, with the Esto- nians sharing experience from the attack on their cyber infrastruc- 423 ture the year before (see Chapter 6). Saakashvili came to power in the wake of the Rose Revolution in 2003 and he quickly sought to establish stronger ties with West- ern institutions, drawing Putin’s ire. At an April 2008 summit in Bucharest, NATO pledged to review the possibility of offering a 424 Membership Action Plan to Georgia. Putin responded to the statement by saying that expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders ‘‘would be taken in Russia as a direct threat to the security of our 425 country.’’ While not the only factor in Russia’s 2008 invasion, Georgia’s active steps to deepen ties with NATO appears to have been a critical element of Russia’s decision to invade. The short war would presage future Russian hybrid warfare in Europe, meant to resist NATO and EU enlargement and the con- solidation of democracy on the continent. Today, Russia recognizes the ‘‘independence’’ of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and, with the support of separatist forces, continues to station troops in the two 426 Moscow has also entered into treaties of breakaway regions. partnership and strategic alliance with the two regions, further so- lidifying the frozen conflict. The timing of the war in Georgia coincided with a political tran- sition in the United States from the Bush to Obama Administra- tions. The outgoing Bush Administration seemed reluctant to im- pose sanctions on Russia for its aggression in the waning days of its term. The incoming Obama Administration sought a reset with Russia, which also precluded significant coercive measures to re- spond to the Kremlin’s aggression. Despite the lack of a more ag- gressive response to Russian actions, both administrations did in- vest significantly in building governing institutions in Georgia and 427 its integration into NATO structures. Beyond its military assaults on Georgian territory, the Russian government also supports a variety of pro-Kremlin political parties, NGOs, and propaganda efforts in the country. For example, Obiektivi TV, a media outlet, reportedly relied on Russian funding in its support of the ultra-nationalistic Alliance of Patriots political 428 Obiektivi’s xenophobic, homophobic, and anti-western nar- party. rative helped the Alliance of Patriots clear the threshold to enter 429 parliament during the October 2016 election. Russian propa- ganda in Georgia borders on the bizarre. For example, Russian propaganda asserts that the United States uses the ‘‘Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center’’ to carry out biological tests on the 423 Swedish Defense Research Agency, Emerging Cyber Threats and Russian Views on Infor- mation Warfare and Information Operations, at 44-45 (March 2010). 424 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘‘Bucharest Summit Declaration,’’ Apr. 3, 2008. 425 Michael Evans, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Tells Summit He Wants Security and Friendship,’’ The Times, July 24, 2008. 426 Aug. 26, ‘‘Russia Recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2008; Damien Sharkov, ‘‘Russian Troops Launch 3,000-Strong Drill In ‘Occupied‘ Georgian Re- gion,’’ June 13, 2017. Newsweek, 427 U.S. Department of State, ‘‘U.S. Relations with Georgia Fact Sheet,’’ Nov. 28, 2016. 428 Media Sustainability Index 2017: The Development of Sustainable Independent IREX, at 154 (2017). Media in Europe and Eurasia, 429 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

81 75 430 According to the Georgian government, Georgian population. several pro-Russian groups are active in the country, including the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies and Russkiy Mir Founda- tion, two well-known institutions that the Kremlin uses to exert its 431 influence abroad (see Chapter 4). Despite these ongoing pressures, Georgia completed an Associa- tion Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU in June 2014, both important steps in the integration 432 In addition, the country was granted visa-free travel by process. 433 the EU in December 2015. And at NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales, the Alliance approved a Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), which includes ‘‘defense capacity building, training, exer- cises, strengthened liaison, and opportunities to develop interoper- 434 ability with Allied forces.’’ . Cooperation in this area was given a significant boost at the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, where Allied leaders endorsed a Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), including defense ca- pacity building, training, exercises, strengthened liaison, and op- portunities to develop interoperability with Allied forces. These measures aim to strengthen Georgia’s ability to defend itself as well as to advance its preparations towards NATO membership. The United States has also provided substantial assistance to Georgia since the Russian invasion in 2008, though the Trump Ad- ministration has requested sharp cuts in funding. Georgia received $47.5 million through the Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Cen- tral Asia Account in FY16; for FY18, the Administration requested 435 only $28 million. Lessons Learned Hybrid War is Here to Stay: The Georgia war was the first in- • stance in which cyberattacks occurred alongside a military strike. These tools would be replicated and refined six years later in Ukraine. The Georgia case has and should continue to be very instructive for other states, like the Baltics, that are vulnerable to similar attacks by the Russian government. • The Asymmetric Arsenal is Flexible: After using military ag- gression in Georgia, the Russian government maintained pres- sure and influence by using disinformation, support for NGOs, and interference in political affairs. While difficult to measure, the Russian government is able to exert considerable influence in Georgia using these different avenues. The United States and the EU • Western Commitment is Key: have provided significant assistance and political support to 430 Embassy of Georgia, Information Provided in Response to Questions from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Aug. 29, 2017. 431 Ibid. 432 European Commission, ‘‘Trade Policy, Countries and Regions: Georgia,’’ http://ec.europa.eu/ trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/georgia (visited Dec. 31, 2017); European Commis- sion, ‘‘EU-Georgia Association Agreement Fully Enters Into Force,’’ July 1, 2016. 433 European Commission, ‘‘Commission Progress Report: Georgia Meets Criteria for Visa Liberalisation,’’ Dec. 18, 2015. 434 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘‘Relations with Georgia,’’ Aug. 23, 2017. 435 The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $63 million for Georgia in this account for FY2018. Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2018, S. 1780, S. Rept. 115-153, at 51. The legislation awaits consideration by the full Sen- ate. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

82 76 Georgia in the years since the 2008 war in order to bolster democratic institutions and protect against Russian govern- ment aggression. This support has been essential in helping to prevent renewed Russian military aggression, but has not been sufficient in helping Georgia to confront the full range of Rus- sian interference techniques. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

83 77 MONTENEGRO Russian malign influence in Montenegro has long been present and intensified in 2016 in an effort to derail the country’s NATO bid. This renewed focus included propaganda, support for NGOs and political parties, and culminated in an alleged Russian effort to overthrow the government following the 2016 parliamentary election. While Russia was strongly opposed to Montenegro’s desire to join NATO, it did not resort to the conventional military tactics used in Ukraine and Georgia, but instead relied on a hybrid mix of disinformation and threat of force to send the same message that integration with the West was unacceptable. That threat of force came in the form of an alleged coup plot, which was hatched sometime in mid-2016 when former Russian in- telligence officers Eduard Shishmakov (who also used the alias Shirakov) and Vladimir Popov went to Serbia and met with anti- western Serbian nationalist Aleksandar Sindjelic, where they re- portedly discussed a plan to overthrow the Montenegrin govern- 436 According ment following parliamentary elections that October. to Senate testimony by Damon Wilson of the Atlantic Council, Sindjelic was the leader of a Serbian paramilitary group called the ‘‘Serbian Wolves,’’ which sent fighters to support separatists in Eastern Ukraine—where Sindjelic reportedly first met Shishmakov 437 and Popov. The plot was simple, and, if successful, would have been devastating. First, Montenegro’s pro-Russian Democratic Front (DF) political party would stage a rally in front of the Mon- tenegrin parliament on Election Day. Then a broader group of coup plotters, dressed as policemen but with blue ribbons on their shoul- ders to differentiate them from actual officers, would open fire on the crowd, storm the parliament, and capture or kill Montenegrin 438 Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic. Following the meeting, 130,000 to Mirko Velimirovic, a Mon- ÷ Sindjelic reportedly paid tenegrin, to organize logistics and buy 50 rifles and three boxes of 439 ammunition. But the plot would not come to pass. Days before the election, Velimirovic turned himself in to police and exposed the conspiracy. Montenegrin security forces swept up the plotters, but reports have suggested that Shishmakov and Popov escaped and were among a group of individuals detained by the Serbian authorities shortly 440 after the October election. But after a visit to Serbia by the head of Russia’s Security Council (and former FSB director), Nikolai Patrushev, Shishmakov and Popov were reportedly released and al- 436 The Guardian, ‘‘Kremlin Rejects Claims Russia Had Role in Montenegro Coup Plot,’’ Feb. 20, 2017; Ben Farmer, ‘‘Reconstruction: The Full Incredible Story Behind Russia’s Deadly Plot to Stop Montenegro Embracing the West,’’ The Telegraph, Feb. 18, 2017. 437 Attempted Coup in Testimony by Damon Wilson, Vice President of the Atlantic Council, Montenegro and Malign Russian Influence in Europe , Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, July 13, 2017, at 1. 438 Ben Farmer, ‘‘Reconstruction: The Full Incredible Story behind Russia’s Deadly Plot to Stop Montenegro Embracing the West,’’ Feb. 18, 2017. The Telegraph, 439 Ibid. 440 Julian Borger et al., ‘‘Serbia Deports Russians Suspected of Plotting Montenegro Coup,’’ Nov. 11, 2016. The Guardian, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

84 78 441 lowed to return to Russia. The Russian government denies any 442 role in the attempted coup plot. The purpose of the coup plot was to create such discord in Mon- tenegro that its NATO bid, or any prospects for integration with Europe, would be disrupted. Russia sought to destabilize Monte- negro in the same way that it had Georgia and Ukraine, seeking to render it incapable of integration with Western democracies. This coup attempt, however, was not a one-off event, but the cul- mination of a sustained propaganda and interference campaign to persuade the Montenegrin people to oppose NATO membership. Following Montenegro’s announcement of its intention to join NATO, the Russian government spoke out forcefully against the bid in the hopes of swaying public opinion. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that ‘‘to launch NATO accession talks with Montenegro [is] an openly confrontationist move which is fraught with additional destabilizing consequences for the system of Euro-Atlantic security,’’ and said the move ‘‘directly affects the interests of the Russian Federation and forces us to respond ac- 443 cordingly.’’ That response would come in short order. Soon after Montenegro announced its intention to join NATO, Russia unleashed a propa- ganda campaign that included support for pro-Russian political 444 parties and the cultivation of anti-NATO civil society groups. The Democratic Front (DF) political party, believed to have re- ceived millions of dollars in Russian support, has grown from being 445 a marginal force into Montenegro’s main opposition party. Sergei Zheleznyak, a former Deputy Speaker of the Russian Duma, report- edly traveled to Montenegro to work with members of the Demo- 446 cratic Front. On one such visit, he allegedly sought to advance the idea of neutrality for Montenegro, calling it the ‘‘Balkans Swit- zerland’’ and encouraged DF activists to use it as a messaging tool 447 The DF was very ac- to push back against NATO membership. tive throughout the debate on NATO, which sometimes resulted in violence. For example, activists from the DF were behind a dem- 448 onstration in October 2015 which led to clashes with police. Propaganda also flowed freely through Sputnik and the pro-Rus- sia web portals inf4.net, and Russia reportedly directed resources to the non-governmental organizations ‘‘NO to War, NO to NATO’’ and the ‘‘Montenegrin Movement for Neutrality’’ to push back pub- 449 licly against NATO accession. 441 Ibid. 442 ‘‘Russia Says It Won’t Extradite Suspect In Montenegro Alleged Coup Attempt,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 1, 2017. 443 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ‘‘Comment by the Information and Press Department on Invitation for Montenegro to Start Talks on Joining NATO,’’ Dec. 2, 2015. 444 Statement of Vesko Garcevic, Professor of the Practice of International Relations, The Frederick Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, Russian Interference in European Elections, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 28, 2017, at 5. 445 Ben Farmer, ‘‘Reconstruction: The Full Incredible Story Behind Russia’s Deadly Plot to Stop Montenegro Embracing the West,’’ The Telegraph, Feb. 18, 2017. 446 Garcevic, at 5. Russian Interference in European Elections, 447 Ibid. 448 Janusz Bugajski & Margarita Assenova, ‘‘Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks,’’ The Jamestown Foundation, June 2016. 449 Russian Interference in European Elections, at 4. Garcevc, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

85 79 The Montenegrin government called for elections in October 2016 in order to bolster its case that the public supported Montenegro’s membership in NATO. As Mr. Wilson of the Atlantic Council testi- fied, ‘‘in the run up to this election it was pretty remarkable to see street signs, billboards all across the country, [all part of an] anti- NATO campaign. So the plan was to defeat the pro-NATO forces in this election through using the Orthodox Church, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the telecommunications company and the media empire, this small country of 600,000 was flooded with resources to tip the balance.’’ Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who was the main backer of NATO, emerged victorious with 41 percent of the vote, which he heralded as an indication of public support for NATO member- 450 ship. It was not until days after the election that the foiling of the coup plot was made public. In May 2017, Montenegro’s chief prosecutor formally indicted 14 individuals for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. They include the two alleged Russian ‘‘masterminds’’ of the coup, 451 Shishmakov and Popov, who are being tried in absentia. During the trial, witnesses have also testified that Chechen Republic Presi- dent Ramzan Kadyrov had a role in the alleged conspiracy. Mr. Sindjelic testified that Shishmakov told him Kadyrov received a large amount of money to bribe a mufti in Montenegro to form a 452 parliamentary coalition with the DF. U.S. officials have also weighed in on the Kremlin’s complicity in the coup attempt. In a June 2017 Senate Foreign Relations Com- mittee hearing, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Yee said that there were: Russian or Russian-supported actors who tried to under- mine the elections and probably undermine the govern- ment, if not actually overthrow the government or even as- sassinate the prime minister. This is, I think, consistent with where we‘ve seen Russia trying to interfere in elec- tions around the world, around Europe, including our own country. It’s consistent with Russia’s attempts to prevent countries of the Western Balkans from joining NATO, from 453 integrating further with Euro-Atlantic institutions. And in testimony before the Senate Armed Serviced Committee in July 2017, Montenegro’s Ambassador said that the ‘‘Special Chief Prosecutor, in charge of the case, has publicly stated that the 454 evidence in this case is (I quote) ‘undisputable‘ and ‘iron clad.’ ’’ Despite the enormous pressure from Russia described in this chapter, Montenegro formally joined NATO on June 5, 2017. 450 Congressional Research Service, ‘‘Russian Influence on Politics and Elections in Europe,’’ June 27, 2017. 451 ; Ben Farmer, ‘‘Reconstruction: The Full Incredible Story behind Russia’s Deadly Plot Ibid. to Stop Montenegro Embracing the West,’’ The Telegraph, Feb. 18, 2017. 452 Alec Luhn & Ben Farmer, ‘‘Chechnya Leader Accused of Involvement in Montenegro Coup,’’ Nov. 29, 2017. The Telegraph, 453 Testimony of Hoyt Brian Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Southeast Europe: Strengthening Democracy and Countering Malign For- Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, June 14, 2017. eign Influence, 454 Statement of Nebojsa Kaluderovic, Ambassador of Montenegro to the United States, At- , Hearing before the U.S. tempted Coup in Montenegro and Malign Russian Influence in Europe Senate Committee on Armed Services, July 13, 2017, at 1. At the time of this writing, the trial of the alleged coup plotters was ongoing. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

86 80 Montenegro’s NATO membership at this time has outsized impor- tance, as it shows other NATO aspirants that it is possible to stand up to Russian government pressure and propaganda efforts and in- tegrate with the West. This case should be kept in mind as the international community looks to engage another tier of vulnerable countries with aspirations to integrate further with the West. Rus- sia should never get a veto over the decisions of NATO, and the Alliance should be willing to accept any country which meets the membership requirements and has support from its citizenry. Lessons Learned • NATO Membership Matters: Montenegro pursued NATO mem- bership at great risk and after having to implement far reach- ing reforms. Its determination to join the alliance is a testa- ment to NATO’s seminal importance in the world today. The leading countries in NATO, including the United States, should recognize the commitment made by our most vulnerable allies to the alliance and continuously reciprocate by reit- erating the United States’ commitment to the importance of NATO, particularly Article 5. • Russia’s Asymmetric Arsenal Now Includes the Alleged Use of Violence Outside of the Former Soviet Space: Montenegrin au- thorities were fortunate to uncover the coup plot before it oc- curred, but evidence presented at the trial shows that the plot- ters were very close to succeeding. The Montenegro case shows how far the Russian government was willing to go in order to stop a country’s membership in the Alliance—it should serve as a wake-up call for other NATO and EU aspirants, especially in the Balkans. The NATO Reform Process Can Itself Build Resilience: In a • July 2017 statement before the Senate Armed Services Com- mittee regarding the coup attempt, Montenegrin Ambassador to the United States Nebojsa Kaludjerovic said, ‘‘it was thanks to those [NATO] reforms aimed at strengthening the capacity and independence of institutions to uphold the rule of law that helped those very institutions to tackle such a challenge we are talking about today that would have put to test much more es- 455 NATO should take heed tablished democracies than ours.’’ and require a series of reforms by aspirant countries directly focused on building resiliency against threats from the Russian government’s asymmetric arsenal. • Montenegro Must Remain Vigilant: Now that Montenegro has joined NATO, heavy-handed and overtly violent tactics by Rus- sia are less likely, but Moscow could continue to exert pressure and influence in ways similar to those seen in countries like Bulgaria. The international community should not rest on its laurels now that Montenegro is a NATO member, but should actively help the government to bolster its defenses against other soft power tools in Russia’s asymmetric arsenal. 455 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

87 81 SERBIA Russian malign influence in the Republic of Serbia manifests itself through cultural ties, propaganda, energy, and an expanding defense relationship. Moscow also highlights deep roots between the countries through the Orthodox Church and a shared Slavic culture. This narrative has been carefully cultivated over the years such that Russian government disinformation campaigns find very 456 Despite its close fertile ground among the population of Serbia. relationship with Moscow, the government of Serbia has made clear that its top priority is joining the European Union. Serbia’s desire to maintain good relations with both the EU and Russia is reflective of public opinion, but may not be sustainable, as deeper integration may mean adopting EU decisions that run counter to 457 Therefore, closer ties between Serbia and the Russian interests. EU could result in a significant surge in Russian malign influence in the country. The government of Serbia has done little to prepare for this eventuality and has taken few discernable actions to defend against Russian malign influence. Serbian government officials’ differing opinions on EU integra- tion reflect a tension within the broader society itself. In remarks at the Serbian Economic Summit in Belgrade in October 2017, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Yee said that those countries who wished to join the European Union ‘‘must very clear- ly demonstrate this desire.’’ Referring to Serbia’s long-standing re- lationship with Moscow, he said, ‘‘You cannot sit on two chairs at 458 The mixed the same time, especially if they are that far away.’’ reaction from the Serbian government to Yee’s remarks reflected the point that Yee was trying to make. Tanja Miscevic, the Min- istry of Foreign Affairs negotiator on Serbia’s EU Accession bid, said that Yee’s statement was taken out of context and that he un- derstood that Serbia’s ‘‘clear foreign political strategic orientation’’ 459 Serbia’s Defense Minister Aleksandar was towards the EU. Vulin, on the other hand, lashed out and said, ‘‘This is not a state- ment made by a friend or a man respecting Serbia, our policy, and our right to make our own decisions.’’ He also said that Serbia will 460 choose its course regardless of what the ‘‘great powers’’ want. Serbia has made significant progress in talks with the EU, hav- ing opened 12 out of the 35 ‘‘chapters’’ required for EU member- 461 It also has the closest ties to Russia of any of the prospec- ship. tive candidates. And as it continues to make progress towards inte- gration with Europe, there are signs that Moscow plans to increase pressure on the Balkan country to prevent this outcome. As Ser- bia’s EU bid becomes more serious, Belgrade would be well served 456 Forty-two percent of Serbian citizens see Russia as Serbia’s most supportive partner, com- pared to 14 percent for the EU and 12 percent for China. Public Opinion Survey of 1,050 Ser- bian Adults, Sept. 2017 (unpublished). 457 While 49 percent of Serbian citizens supported joining the EU in September 2017, that number drops to only 28 percemt if joining the EU meant ‘’spoiling Serbia’s relationship with Russia.’’ Public Opinion Survey of 1,050 Serbian Adults, Sept. 2017 (unpublished). 458 Radio Free Eu- ‘‘Serbian Defense Minister Denounces U.S. Official’s ‘Unfriendly‘ Remarks,’’ rope/Radio Free Liberty, Oct. 24, 2017. 459 Ibid. 460 Ibid. 461 Radio Free Europe/ ‘‘EU Opens New Negotiation Chapters With Montenegro, Serbia,’’ Dec. 11, 2017. Radio Free Liberty, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

88 82 to examine the tools used by Russia laid out throughout this report and work closely with the EU to build its defenses. The government of the Republic of Serbia has dedicated substan- 462 tial resources and political capital towards joining the EU. But unfortunately, it has taken little action to defend itself from anti- EU Russian government propaganda that circulates throughout the country with little resistance. According to the U.S. State Depart- ment, the ‘‘number of media outlets and NGOs taking pro-Russian stands has grown from a dozen to over a hundred in recent years, and the free content offered by Russian state outlets such as Sput- nik make them the most quoted foreign sources in the Serbian 463 press.’’ For example, Sputnik articles in recent years have false- ly claimed that Kosovar Albanians planned pogroms against Kosovar Serbs with the blessing of the West and that the West is fomenting instability in the Balkans to create a pretext for inva- 464 sion. This propaganda appears to have had an impact. Since Sputnik was launched in Serbia in January 2015, Russia’s favorability numbers among Serbians have increased from 47.8 465 percent to 60 percent in June 2017. Most EU aspirants adopt the foreign policy directives of the Eu- ropean Union as a way to show commitment to solidarity even be- fore they join. For example, Montenegro has adopted a top foreign policy priority of the EU—the sanctions regime on Russia—even though it is not a member. Once in the EU, countries are expected to adopt the foreign policies of the block on agreed-upon issues. Serbia has not signed onto the EU’s Russia sanctions, and, given its relationship with Russia, it is difficult to see Belgrade agreeing to such measures in the foreseeable future. This tension with the EU on a central foreign policy priority for Brussels makes a chal- lenging situation for Serbia even more difficult. A similar dynamic is playing out next door in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where parts of the government have expressed a de- 466 sire to join NATO. In order to move forward, however, all three constituent ethnicities represented in the Bosnian presidency—the Croats, Bosniaks, and Serbs—would have to agree on Bosnia’s NATO bid and make the commensurate reforms. Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS), or Serbian Republic, is one of two largely autonomous constitutional entities in Bosnia. It is majority Serb and maintains close relations with Moscow. An RS objection to join- ing NATO would collapse any deal. Although the central govern- ment in Sarajevo has expressed support for Bosnia’s implementa- tion of a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP), the parliament in RS passed a non-binding resolution in October 2017 opposing Bos- 467 nia’s potential membership in the military alliance. In recent years, Russia has intensified its relationship with RS Prime Min- 462 , Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EU Integration Process of the Re- See, e.g. public of Serbia, http://www.mfa.gov.rs/en/themes/public-consultation-on-the-eu-strategy-for-the- adriatic-and-ionian-region (visited Dec. 19, 2017). 463 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Serbia provided to Committee Staff, June 30, 2017. 464 Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Western Balkans: EU Blindspot on Russian Propaganda,’’ EUobserver, December 10, 2015. 465 Public Opinion Survey of 1,050 Serbian Adults, Sept. 2017 (unpublished). 466 ‘‘Bosnia Making Military Progress in NATO Bid—Alliance General,’’ Reuters, Nov. 14, 2017. 467 ‘‘Bosnian Serbs Pass Non-Binding Resolution against NATO Membership,’’ Associated Oct. 18, 2017. Press, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

89 83 ister Milorad Dodik, which could prove useful in hampering Bos- nia’s NATO bid. Though Dodik is not the head of Bosnia’s govern- ment, Vladimir Putin has met with him on multiple occasions, de- spite not meeting the central government in Sarajevo—a breach of diplomatic protocol that makes clear that he is Russia’s preferred 468 The Russian government has also publicly ex- interlocutor. pressed its support for a 2017 independence referendum in RS, which the Constitutional Court found violated the rights of non- 469 Serbs in the country. If Bosnia were to make significant progress towards NATO, Russia could exert influence in RS to hamper for- ward progress. The media space is already prepared for that possi- bility, as RS media outlets rely on anti-NATO and anti-EU content 470 Russian influence in Banja from Sputnik’s Belgrade outlet. Luka, the de facto capital of RS, is pervasive—downtown kiosks are filled with t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other memorabilia praising 471 the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin. As Serbia continues to work through chapters in its EU accession talks, Russia has employed several of the interference tools seen in this report, especially propaganda and disinformation. For exam- ple, according to Stratfor Worldview, the Russian state newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta prints Nedeljnik, a widely read weekly maga- 472 zine, in Moscow before delivering it to Serbia. According to the Sputnik provides online stories and news bul- Financial Times, 473 letins to 20 radio stations across Serbia free of charge. More than 100 media outlets and NGOs in Serbia can be considered pro- 474 Russian, a number that has spiked considerably in recent years. The response from the West has been sparse, but there are signs of competition in the information space. The BBC has announced plans to reengage in Serbia in 2018, seven years after it closed its Serbian language service. The service will be funded at around 475 £ 600,000 annually and will employ 20 local staff. Press freedom has also declined sharply in recent years in Ser- bia. Freedom House reported in 2017 that ‘‘press freedom has erod- ed under the SNS-led administration of Prime Minister [now Presi- dent] Vucic. Independent and investigative journalists face fre- quent harassment, including by government officials and in pro- government media. Physical attacks against journalists take place each year, and death threats and other intimidation targeting 476 media workers are a serious concern.’’ If Serbia’s journalists are not able to conduct investigations without threat of censorship, vio- 468 Danijel Kovacevic, ‘‘Putin-Dodik Comradeship Causes Uncertainty for Bosnia,’’ BIRN/Bal- kan Insight, June 8, 2017. 469 Milivoje Pantovic et al., ‘‘Russia Lends Full Backing to Bosnian Serb Referendum,’’ Balkan Insight, Sept. 20, 2016. 470 John Cappello, ‘‘Russian Information Operations in the Western Balkans,’’ Real Clear De- fense, Feb. 1, 2017. 471 Observed during Committee Staff Visit to Banja Luka, July 2017. 472 ‘‘Russia Stirs up the Hornet’s Nest,’’ Stratfor Worldview, Mar. 28, 2017. 473 Andrew Byrne, ‘‘Kremlin Backed Media Adds to Western Fears in Balkans’’ Financial Times, March 19, 2017. In conversations with U.S. officials and civil society groups during a visit to Belgrade in 2017, Committee staff were told Serbian outlets pick up content from Sput- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty also nik and other Russian outlets because it is free; however, provides free content that is objective and does not contain the same Russian propaganda mes- sages. 474 .U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Belgrade provided to Committee Staff, June 30, 2017. 475 Ibid. 476 Freedom of the Press 2017: Serbia Freedom House, (2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

90 84 lence, or intimidation, the ability of the country to significantly counter Russian propaganda may not be possible. The government of Serbia has an important role to play in fostering an environment where press freedom can thrive. Russia also exerts considerable influence through Serbia’s energy sector. In 2014, Russia provided 40 percent of the natural gas con- sumed in Serbia, and, in December 2017, Serbia’s state-owned nat- ural gas company, Srbijagas, announced that it would increase im- 477 ports from Gazprom by 33 percent in 2018. Russia’s energy dominance also extends to Serbia’s domestic oil, where Gazprom 478 While the has majority ownership of the national oil company. cancellation of the South Stream project (see Chapter 4) caught Serbia and other countries in the region by surprise, there are indi- cations that Serbia could be invited to participate in its replace- ment, Turkish Stream, Russia’s proposed pipeline deal with Tur- 479 key. While the EU and United States are working with Belgrade to diversify its energy resources through projects like the Bulgaria- Serbia Interconnector, Serbia’s viable short-term diversification op- 480 tions remain limited. Russia is able to engage with the citizens of Serbia through cul- tural institutions, including the Orthodox Church, civil society as- sociations, and under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Leonid Reshetnikov, a retired lieutenant general in the Russian intel- ligence service SVR and then director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, spoke at a 2015 conference in Serbia entitled ‘‘Balkan Dialogue—Russia’s Soft Power in Serbia.’’ Reshetnikov has been described by former senior government officials in the Bal- kans as ‘‘a propaganda fist’’ and ‘‘the right hand of Mr. Putin’’ in 481 their countries. He commented on the roots of the orthodox bond between Serbia and Russia: [W]e have forgotten that we are a civilization that is an al- ternative to the Anglo-Saxon civilization. Our mission is to carry our civilization into the world and to propose our view. Our soft power is to be loyal to the principles of the Orthodox civilization. That is the idea we should have in mind when we talk about the influence of Russia. Why do Serbs and Russians so easily find a common language? Be- cause we have the same root, we easily find a common lan- 482 guage with the Serbs. 477 Janusz Bugajski and Margarita Assenova, ‘‘Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable The Jamestown Foundation, Flanks,’’ June 2016, at 242; ‘‘Gazprom to Increase by 33% Natgas SeeNews, Exports to Serbia in 2018,’’ Dec. 20, 2017. 478 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Belgrade provided to Committee Staff, June 30, 2017. 479 Andrew Roth, ‘‘In Diplomatic Defeat, Putin Diverts Pipeline to Turkey,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2014; Vincent L. Morelli, ‘‘Serbia: Background and U.S. Relations,’’ Congressional Research Service, Oct. 16, 2017. 480 In January 2017, Serbia and Bulgaria signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a natural gas line between the cities of Sofia and Nis, contributing to regional efforts to diversify energy supplies away from Moscow. ‘‘Bulgaria, Serbia Agree to Work on Pipeline to Cut Reliance on Russian Gas,’’ Jan. 19, 2017. Reuters, 481 Joe Parkinson & Georgi Kantchev, ‘‘Document: Russia Uses Rigged Polls, Fake News to Sway Foreign Elections,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2017. In addition, Reshetnikov was sanctioned by the United States in December 2016 for his role in a bank that financed the gov- ernment of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Ibid. 482 The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, Eyes Wide Shut: Strengthening of Russian Soft Power in Serbia: Goals, Instruments, and Effects, May 2016 (citing ‘‘Soft Power’’ of Russia in NSPM [Nova Srpska Politicka Misao], Dec. 15, 2014 (in Serbia—Possibilities and Perspectives, Serbian)). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

91 85 A core element of the Russian government narrative on its rela- tionship with Serbia rests on its common heritage in the Orthodox Church. Church leadership in Russia and Serbia amplify tradi- tional conservative messages that frequently carry anti-EU or anti- western tones, often focused on gay rights. These ties between the churches are cultivated by senior political leaders—Russian offi- cials emphasize these ties on visits to Serbia, often making time to 483 meet with Serbian Orthodox Church leaders. The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) has documented 51 pro-Kremlin associations and student organizations active in Ser- 484 Among the most influential, according to CEAS, is SNP bia. Nashi, a group modeled on the Russian pro-Kremlin youth organi- 485 SNP Nashi was created in 2006 zation Nashi (see Chapter 2). and sought to build closer ties with Moscow, while opposing Ser- bia’s membership in the EU. The group’s leadership has led efforts against pro-western voices in Serbia and has been sued for creating 486 Similar organizations in- a list of ‘‘the 30 biggest Serb haters.’’ clude the Patriotic Front, which has reportedly facilitated para- military training for Serbian children in Siberia, and the Serbian Patriotic Movement Zavetnici, which includes many student mem- bers and has advocated against Kosovo independence as well as 487 In the southern city of Nis, Serbia’s proposed EU membership. the Russian government established a Russian-Serbian Humani- tarian Center (RSHC) in 2012, ostensibly to help Serbia improve its emergency response capabilities and respond to natural disas- 488 U.S. officials, however, have questioned the center’s true ters. purpose. The former Commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges noted his skepticism about Rus- sian intentions in Nis, which is close to U.S. military personnel sta- tioned across the border in Kosovo, saying, ‘‘I don‘t believe it’s a humanitarian center. That’s the facade, but that’s not what it’s 489 In June 2017, testifying before the U.S. Senate Foreign Re- for.’’ lations Committee, Deputy Assistant Secretary Yee stressed that if Serbia ‘‘allows Russia to create some kind of a special center for es- pionage or other nefarious activities, it will lose control over part 490 The Russian government has requested diplo- of its territory.’’ matic status for their staff at the facility, a request that Serbia has not yet honored. Security cooperation presents Russia with another powerful in- road into Serbia’s government and society. The narrative that Rus- sia is Serbia’s protector on the world stage has a particular reso- nance with Serbia’s population. A 2017 public opinion survey by the Belgrade-based Demostat research center found that 41 percent 483 See Ibid. at 71-73. 484 Ibid. at 82-99. 485 at 84. For more on Nashi, see Chapter 2. Ibid. 486 Ibid. 487 Ibid. at 88-89. 488 Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center, ‘‘About,’’ http://en.ihc.rs/about (visited Dec. 19, 2017). 489 ‘‘US General: Russian Center in Serbia is Not Humanitarian,’’ In Serbia Today, Nov. 16, 2017. Lt. Gen. Hodges retired in December 2017. 490 Statement of Hoyt Brian Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eur- Southeast Europe: Strengthening Democracy and Coun- asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, tering Malign Foreign Influence, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Rela- tions, June 14, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

92 86 491 perceive Russia as Serbia’s greatest friend. The Russian govern- ment takes a hard line against recognition of Kosovo’s statehood and blocking resolutions at the UN on the 1995 Srebrenica mas- sacre. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic frequently meets with President Putin, and as recently as December 2017 called upon Russia to play a more active role in negotiations on Serbia’s rela- 492 tionship with Kosovo. This theme also plays out in the defense relationship between Russia and Serbia. In the last year, Serbia signed a major arms ́ team deal with Russia and sent a member of its Defense Attache 493 In in Moscow to observe a Russian military exercise in Crimea. October 2017, Russia provided six MiG-29 jets, and reportedly agreed to provide 30 T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 patrol combat ve- hicles to Serbia, all at no charge. President Vucic reportedly said that Serbia is also negotiating the purchase of the S-300 air de- fense system from Russia, a deal which could trigger recently adopted U.S. law which mandates sanctions on any significant 494 transaction with the Russian military or intelligence sectors. Despite close military ties with Russia, Serbia also seeks to maintain security cooperation with NATO and the United States. According to the Congressional Research Service, Serbia partici- pates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, including 495 According to through joint exercises and training opportunities. ́ at the U.S. Em- John Cappello, a former Acting Defense Attache bassy, Serbia held around 125 military-to-military exchanges with 496 the United States in 2016, compared to only four with Russia. The Russian government’s asymmetric arsenal in Serbia is multi- faceted and very effective at maintaining public support for a strong relationship with Moscow. This has been achieved with little counter-messaging efforts on the part of the European Union and the United States. Given Serbia’s central role and influence in the Balkans, any strategy to counter malign influence should start with Belgrade. Since the Russian government could significantly ramp up its malign influence efforts beyond current levels in the event that Serbia made clear strides towards joining the European Union, the international community should prepare for this eventu- ality by incorporating some of the best lessons learned from other countries across Europe. Lessons Learned More Domestic Leadership is Needed to Defend Against Krem- • Serbia is an important country in the region, lin Interference: given its geographical centrality and complicated recent history during the breakup of Yugoslavia. As its leaders navigate a 491 Filip Rudic, ‘‘Serbians Support Military Neutrality, Research Says,’’ Balkan Insight, Sept. 5, 2017. 492 Filip Rudic, ‘‘Serbia Seeks Russia Role in Kosovo Talks,’’ Balkan Insight, Dec. 20, 2017. 493 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Serbia provided to Committee Staff, June 30, 2017. 494 ‘‘Serbia Takes Delivery of First of Six MiG-29 Fighters from Russia,’’ Radio Free Europe/ Oct. 2, 2017; Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, P.L. No. Radio Liberty, 115-44, § 231 (Enacted Aug. 2, 2017). 495 Vincent L. Morelli, ‘‘Serbia: Background and U.S. Relations,’’ Congressional Research Serv- Oct. 16, 2017. ice, 496 Kaitlin Lavinder, ‘‘Russia Ramps Up Media and Military Influence in the Balkans,’’ The Oct. 13, 2017. Cipher Brief, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

93 87 challenging political environment, there is no doubt that Ser- bia faces pressure in trying to ‘’sit on two chairs.’’ But leader- ship matters, and if Serbia wants to join the EU, it needs to take steps to counter the Russian asymmetric arsenal. Without any significant defense, Russian propaganda will continue to have an impact on public opinion in Serbia. U.S. assist- The United States Must Reengage with Resources: • ance to Serbia has been on a downward trajectory in recent years. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States provided $22.9 million in FY2014, $14.2 million in FY2015, and $16.8 million in FY2016. For FY2017, the Obama Administration requested approximately $23 million. The FY2018 budget from the Trump Administration requested 497 In light of substantial assistance increases au- $12.1 million. thorized in the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, USAID missions across the region must reorient towards a more robust effort to counter Russian 498 malign influence. For years, these missions have been on a glide path to wind down operations with insufficient focus on the threat posed by Russian malign influence. The challenge faced by the United States and its allies across the Balkans and throughout Europe requires a reorientation of assistance. In approaching this reality, the United States must reverse years of thinking about shrinking its footprint, and instead work towards an expansive and entrepreneurial approach that makes long-term investments in building resiliency and strengthening democratic institutions, including their ability to counter disinformation. The United States should also continue to support Serbia’s efforts to become more energy independent, and work with the EU on comprehensive efforts across the re- gion. In addition to aid, countries U.S. Officials Need to Show Up: • like Serbia also need senior level and consistent U.S. diplo- matic engagement. The United States must send a clear mes- sage that it is willing to spend the time and effort necessary to support those who want a democratic future in Europe. High-level attention by the United States has been noticeably diminished in the region since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, more than 17 years ago. Russian engagement with Serbia’s leadership stands in stark contrast to that of the United States. President Vucic has met with President Putin at least 499 The last U.S. President to visit Bel- twelve times since 2012. 500 To fill this void, senior grade was Jimmy Carter in 1980. U.S. officials, including members of Congress, should regularly travel to the region and host high profile visitors to Wash- ington. The United States needs to send a clear message that 497 Morelli, ‘‘Serbia: Background and U.S. Relations,’’ U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Fiscal Year 2018 (May 23, 2017). 498 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, P.L. No. 115-44, § 254 (Enacted Aug. 2, 2017). 499 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Belgrade provided to Committee Staff, June 30, 2017. 500 U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, Presidential and Secretaries Travel (1980). Abroad: Jimmy Carter VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

94 88 it is back and ready to work seriously in cooperation with host countries and allies across Europe to defend against malign in- fluence and help countries complete the integration process. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

95 89 BULGARIA Russia exerts influence in Bulgaria through its dominant role in the economy, primarily in the energy sector, as well as propaganda, relationships with political parties, cultural ties, and a relationship with a Bulgarian military that continues to rely on Soviet-era equipment. Bulgaria’s longstanding historical relationship with Russia makes it unique among the other EU and NATO countries, requiring continued vigilance on the nature and effect of Russian influence on the country. From a bird’s eye view of downtown Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, one can see the second biggest Orthodox Church in the Balkan Pe- ninsula, the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Named after a Rus- sian prince, the cathedral is meant to honor the memory of Russian soldiers killed during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Yards away stands a monument honoring Russian Tsar Alexander II, who led the effort to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. Alex- ander is sitting on a horse, facing the Bulgarian parliament build- ing, an imposing reminder to the country’s legislators of how the country gained its independence. These iconic buildings on Sofia’s skyline are a telling perspective on Bulgaria’s history and current position. Among the group of countries profiled in this report, Bulgaria has perhaps the most longstanding historical ties to Russia. During the Cold War, Bul- garian leaders like Todor Zhivkov sought to make Bulgaria the 501 Today, the Bulgarian Socialist Party main- 16th Soviet Republic. tains good relations with Moscow and its leader, Kornelia Ninova, has called for EU sanctions on Russia (which Bulgaria is required 502 The pro-Kremlin to implement as an EU member) to be lifted. Ataka party has called for a closer relationship with Russia and has stridently opposed the European Union through a xenophobic, far-right agenda. Ataka’s leader, Volen Siderov, opened his party’s 2014 election campaign at an event in Moscow, where he criticized 503 the ‘’sodomite NATO.’’ While public support for the party has di- minished in recent years, its messaging continues to resonate with elements of the electorate. At the same time, the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has taken measures to push back against Russian influence, such as in September 2015, when he de- nied overflight rights to Russian aircraft in support of its mission 504 The apparent disconnect between Bulgarian society in Syria. and government—a broad affinity for Russia among the population combined with a strong EU and NATO partner in the Bulgarian government—argues for deeper U.S. engagement across all sectors of Bulgarian society. While the history of Bulgaria’s relationship with Russia is rooted in its military liberation from Ottoman rule, the modern manifesta- tion of Moscow’s influence is more focused on soft power, energy ec- onomics, and political and cultural influence. 501 Heather A. Conley et al., Center for Strategic & International Studies, The Kremlin Play- book: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe, at 43 (Oct. 2016). 502 Ibid. 503 John R. Haines, ‘‘The Suffocating Symbiosis: Russia Seeks Trojan Horses Inside Fractious Aug. 5, 2016. Bulgaria’s Political Corral,’’ Foreign Policy Research Institute, 504 Los Angeles Times, ‘‘Russia Says Bulgaria’s Refusal of Flyovers to Syria Is a U.S. Plot,’’ Sept. 8, 2015. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

96 90 Bulgarian public opinion polls clearly reflect an affinity for Rus- sia. In its recent Trends 2017 Survey, the think tank GLOBSEC found that 70 percent of Bulgarians had a favorable opinion of 505 Vladimir Putin, the highest of any EU country. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004, but public support for the Alliance is tepid. When asked about Article 5 of the NATO charter—which considers an at- tack on one member as an attack on all—less than half of Bul- garian respondents said that they would support coming to the aid 506 of a NATO ally under attack. A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a U.S. think tank, has characterized Russia’s outsized role in the Bulgarian economy as ‘‘bordering on state capture’’ and as- serts that ‘‘the Kremlin uses a complex and opaque network of colluding officials within the governing apparatus and business 507 community’’ to advance its interests. Nowhere is Russian gov- ernment dominance more apparent than in the energy sector. Bul- garia is almost completely dependent on Russia for oil and natural gas—90 percent of Bulgaria’s natural gas is imported from Russia and the country completely depends on Moscow to supply nuclear fuel for its two reactors, which generate 35 percent of the country’s 508 electricity. The CSIS report also argues that Moscow’s ability to influence the policy making process in Bulgaria is considerable. During debate on the South Stream pipeline in the Bulgarian par- liament, MPs introduced amendments which would have cir- cumvented EU energy law. Gazprom also reportedly sent an official letter to the Bulgarian Energy Holding company, which provided advice on changes to the Bulgarian energy law in Gazprom’s inter- 509 ests. Russia canceled the Gazprom-led South Stream project in 2014 after it attracted significant pushback from other countries, which in turn enabled Bulgaria to support the EU-backed Southern Gas 510 Corridor. Societal challenges also create openings for Russian influence. Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in Europe—it has experi- enced slow economic growth and many of its young people are leav- 511 The population is aging and likely more ing for Western Europe. inclined towards nostalgia for Bulgaria’s warm relations with Mos- cow during the Cold War. The migrant crisis also provides an open- ing for anti-Europe propaganda, one that political parties like Ataka have been eager to exploit. In 2014, its leader warned that, ‘‘Bulgaria was melting away without a war’’ as ‘‘abortion, emigra- tion, homosexuality, and permanent economic crisis destroyed the 512 population.’’ The Russian government, through the Russkiy Mir 505 GLOBSEC Trends 2017: Mixed Messages and Signs of Hope GLOBSEC Policy Institute, at 20 (Jan. 8, 2017). from Central and Eastern Europe, 506 at 17. Ibid. 507 Ibid. 508 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Bulgaria provided to Committee Staff, Feb. 9, 2017. 509 at 46. The Kremlin Playbook, 510 Stanley Reed & James Kanter, ‘‘Putin’s Surprise Call to Scrap South Stream Gas Pipeline Leaves Europe Reeling,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 2, 2014; Radislov Dikov, Bulgaria Becomes Mar. 21, 2015. Part of Southern Gas Infrastructure, Radio Bulgaria, 511 The Guardian, Ivan Krastev, ‘‘Britain’s Gain is Eastern Europe’s Brain Drain,’’ Mar. 24, 2015. 512 John R. Haines, ‘‘The Suffocating Symbiosis: Russia Seeks Trojan Horses Inside Fractious Aug. 5, 2016. Bulgaria’s Political Corral,’’ Foreign Policy Research Institute, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00096 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

97 91 Foundation, supports organizations outside Russia ‘‘in partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church . . . to promote Russian lan- 513 Russkiy Mir operates six ‘‘Russia guage and Russian culture.’’ Centers’’ in Bulgaria focused on cultural and educational programs 514 in addition to Russian-language instruction. Russia reportedly sought to exploit Bulgarian politics during the 2016 presidential election using techniques seen elsewhere across 515 Europe. Prior to the 2016 presidential election, Leonid Reshetnikov, then director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), visited Bulgaria, where he reportedly provided the Socialist Party with ‘‘a secret strategy document proposing a road to victory at the ballot box’’ with recommendations to ‘‘plant fake 516 news and promote exaggerated polling data.’’ The document also urged the Socialist Party to adopt a platform that aligned with Kremlin interests: end sanctions on Russia, criticize NATO, and 517 encourage Brexit. Reshetnikov told the Bulgarian and Russian media that he met with the head of the Socialist party, but he de- 518 nies providing the dossier. Later that year, Rumen Radev, the Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate, would go on to win the presi- dency with 59 percent of the vote, though how much of its success was due to following the reported RISS plan is impossible to deter- 519 mine. And despite the alleged Russian support and initial con- cerns about Radev’s candidacy, since becoming President, his ex- pressions of strong support for NATO and the EU indicate an in- 520 tention to maintain the status quo with these institutions. The Kremlin has also reportedly interfered in more recent Bul- garian national elections. Prior to the 2017 parliamentary elec- tions, Bulgarian analysts asserted that upwards of 300 Bulgarian 521 websites were dedicated to advancing pro-Russian propaganda. A 2017 report by the Human and Social Studies Foundation, a Bul- garian think tank, asserts that domestically-generated pro-Russian 522 propaganda is used as a tool to advance domestic political goals. For example, Bulgarian national Stefan Proynov runs a small troll 523 farm in the village of Pliska. According to the Russian investiga- tive website Coda: Proynov’s mission runs on vengeance—specifically, against the generally pro-European, center-right, GERB party of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who won re-election last 513 Ibid. The Foundation is a joint project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Science, and has a stated purpose of ‘‘promoting the Russian language, as Rus- sia’s national heritage and a significant aspect of Russian and world culture, and supporting Russian language teaching programs abroad.’’ Russkiy Mir Foundation, ‘‘About Russkiy Mir Foundation,’’ https://russkiymir.ru/en/fund/index.php (visited Dec. 31, 2017). 514 Russkiy Mir Foundation, ‘‘Russian Centers of the Russkiy Mir Foundation,’’ https:// See russkiymir.ru/en/rucenter (visited Dec. 31, 2017). 515 Parkinson & Katchev, ‘‘Document: Russia Uses Rigged Polls, Fake News to Sway Foreign Elections,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2017. 516 Joe Parkinson & Georgi Kantchev, ‘‘Document: Russia Uses Rigged Polls, Fake News to Sway Foreign Elections,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 23, 2017. 517 Ibid. 518 Ibid. 519 Tsvetelia Tsolova & Angel Krasimirov, ‘‘Russia-Friendly Political Novice Wins Bulgaria Reuters, Presidential Election: Exit Polls,’’ Nov. 12, 2016. 520 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, ‘‘Joint Press Point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev,’’ Jan. 31, 2017. 521 Committee Staff Interview of Project Members Examining Russian Disinformation, Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria, Feb. 23, 2017. 522 Human and Social Studies Foundation, 2017. ‘‘Anti-Democratic Propaganda in Bulgaria,’’ 523 Michael Colborne, ‘‘Made in Bulgaria: Pro-Russian Propaganda,’’ May 9, 2017 Coda, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

98 92 month. Proynov claims that in 2011, GERB, then Bul- garia’s ruling party, and the police cooked up criminal charges against him (for the illegal possession of antiq- uities, weapons and narcotics) to silence his criticism of 524 their policies. This mutually beneficial propaganda loop is in some respects more powerful and more difficult to counter than Moscow-gen- erated propaganda on its own. Despite the lukewarm support for NATO within the general pop- ulation, Bulgaria should be lauded for its active role in the Alli- ance. It deployed troops and suffered casualties in the NATO-led 525 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense is funding increased exercises and training at four joint U.S.-Bulgarian military facili- 526 In September 2016, the United States and Bulgaria con- ties. ducted a NATO Joint Enhanced Air Policing (EAP) Mission, the 527 first of its kind in the country. And in 2017, Bulgaria co-hosted the Saber Guardian exercise, the largest U.S. and NATO exercise 528 Bulgaria’s active role in NATO, however, in Europe of the year. remains somewhat hampered by the country’s continued reliance on Russian-made military equipment, a legacy of the Warsaw Pact. In particular, Bulgarian government officials have expressed con- cern about the country’s Soviet-era air defense systems as well as 529 ongoing maintenance of equipment across the armed forces. In light of the Counteracting America’s Adversaries Through Sanc- tions Act (CAATSA) that mandates sanctions on those who conduct significant transactions with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors, the Bulgarian government should be working with urgency to diminish its reliance on Russian arms. Lessons Learned • Despite Pressure, Bulgaria Remains Resilient: In November 2006, former Russian Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said that ‘‘Bulgaria is in a good position to become 530 our special partner, a sort of a Trojan horse in the EU.’’ More than 10 years later, this prediction has not come to pass, as Bulgarian citizens continue to support membership in the 531 Bul- EU and the country is an active participant in NATO. garia has chosen a pro-Western path and while it has had to manage pressure from Moscow, especially in the energy sector, it has proven resilient on important issues like security co- 524 Ibid. 525 U.S. Department of State, Background Information on Bulgaria for Committee Staff, Feb. 9, 2017. 526 Ibid. 527 Ibid. 528 Eric Schmitt, ‘‘U.S. Troops Train in Eastern Europe to Echoes of the Cold War,’’ The New York Times, Aug. 6, 2017. 529 Nick Thorpe, ‘‘Bulgaria’s Military Warned of Soviet-Era ‘Catastrophe,‘’’ BBC News , Oct. 14, 2014. 530 The Suffocating Symbiosis: Russia Seeks Trojan Horses Inside Fractious John R. Haines, Bulgaria’s Political Corral , Foreign Policy Research Institute, Aug. 5, 2016 (citing a November 2006 interview with Kapital, a Bulgarian language weekly business newspaper). 531 In a public opinion poll conducted by the European Commission in 2016, 49 percent of Bul- garian citizens expressed trust in the EU, a rate higher than several other countries across Western Europe. European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication, Standard Eurobarometer 86: Public opinion in the European Union, Nov. 2016, at 93. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00098 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

99 93 operation with the West and support for EU sanctions on Rus- sia. As described above however, significant vulnerabilities to the Russian asymmetric arsenal do persist and would benefit from additional assistance and engagement from Bulgaria’s democratic allies. • Diminished U.S. Assistance has Consequences: The United States provided more than $600 million in assistance for polit- ical and economic reforms in Bulgaria from 1990 to 2007, but this assistance was largely discontinued when the country 532 joined the EU. These aid programs gave the United States the ability to engage with broad swaths of Bulgarian society on the merits of democratic values and the rule of law. Without this programming, the United States’ ability to engage on these issues has been significantly hampered while Russian propaganda and malign influence has thrived. While the U.S. Embassy has sought to continue to engage with limited re- sources, the diplomatic challenge in countering Russian malign influence remains considerable. With the dedication of more diplomatic attention and resources—particularly on energy di- versification, addressing corruption, and building up the demo- cratic rule of law—the United States will be in a position to help leaders within the Bulgarian government and civil society counter Russia’s asymmetric arsenal. 532 Congressional Research Service, ‘‘Background on Bulgaria for the Nomination of Eric S. Rubin to be United States Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria,’’ Oct. 2, 2015. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

100 94 HUNGARY In Hungary, the Russian government’s asymmetric arsenal in- cludes support for extreme political parties and organizations with- in the country, propaganda, and the use of corruption. The Russian government also enjoys a warm relationship with the country’s ́ n. Despite Hungary’s proud history of Prime Minister, Viktor Orba resistance to Moscow during the Cold War and its membership in the European Union and NATO, Orban has increasingly sought to deepen ties with Russia in recent years, calling into question the government’s commitment to the principles which underlie these international institutions. ́ n is perhaps the Within the EU and NATO, Prime Minister Orba most supportive leader of Vladimir Putin, his style of leadership, and his worldview. The platform of his party, Fidesz, includes an ‘‘Eastern Opening’’ foreign approach focused on an accommodating 533 ́ relationship with Moscow. Orba n has reportedly said on several occasions that Hungary has shot itself in the foot by supporting sanctions against Russia, and that Moscow should be praised for 534 opposing ‘‘Western attempts of isolation, regime change.’’ So while many citizens may remember with great pride the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 against the Soviets, today’s government in Buda- pest is closer now to Moscow than at any time since the fall of the Berlin Wall. ́ n’s positive orientation towards Moscow, his govern- Given Orba ment has taken no discernable steps to stop or even discourage Russian malign influence, and appears to applaud the anti-EU, anti-U.S., and anti-migrant Russian propaganda because it aligns ́ with the themes that Orba n promotes. Instead of defending Hun- ́ 1n appears to have gary against Russian malign interference, Orba welcomed it. Russia has exploited this relatively unimpeded access by flooding Hungary with pro-Kremlin and anti-western propa- ganda and reportedly providing support to far-right political parties and fringe militant groups. For example, in December 2017 Hungarian prosecutors charged Hungarian businessman and Jobbik party politician Bela Kovacs 535 with spying on EU institutions on behalf of Russia. Kovacs joined the Jobbik party, which has espoused anti-Semitic and racist 536 In views, in 2005 and helped turn around its financial prospects. 2010, he was elected to the European Parliament. Kovacs has de- nied the charges and no date has been set for his trial. Russian intelligence also appears to be cultivating relationships with far-right groups in Hungary. In October 2016, the police raid- ed the house of Istvan Gyorkos, the leader of a fringe neo-Nazi group called the Hungarian National Front, to search for illegal 533 The Lorant Gyori & Peter Kreko, ‘‘Russian Disinformation and Extremism in Hungary,’’ Oct. 16, 2017. Warsaw Institute Review, 534 Does Russia Interfere in Lorant Gyori et al., Political Capital (Hungarian Think Tank), Czech, Austrian and Hungarian Elections?, at 12 (2017) (translated from Hungarian, citing ́ n’s comments in August 2014, available at http://mandiner.hu/cikk/20140815—orban—az— Orba oroszorszag—elleni—szankciokkal—labon—lottuk—magunkat, and his speech at the Lamfalussy Lectures Conference, Jan. 23, 2017, available at http://www.miniszterelnok.hu/orban-viktor- beszede-lamfalussy-lectures-szakmai-konferencian/). 535 Marton Dunai & Gergely Szakacs, ‘‘Hungary Charges Jobbik MEP with Spying on EU for Russia,’’ Reuters, Dec. 6, 2017. 536 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Intent on Unsettling E.U., Russia Taps Foot Soldiers from the Fringe,’’ Dec. 24, 2016. The New York Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

101 95 537 weapons. A shootout ensued, and a police officer was killed. The New York Times reported that in the investigation that followed, Hungarian intelligence officials told a parliamentary committee that Gyorkos gathered regularly with Russian intelligence officers 538 to conduct mock combat exercises in the area around his house. The Hungarian online news portal Index also reported that Gyorkos had been meeting with Russian intelligence officers for 539 Hungarian security officials believe that the Russian in- years. telligence sector’s main goal in cultivating Gyorkos was to gain con- trol of Hidfo (the Bridgehead), a website that was controlled by his Hungarian National Front and had a significant following among 540 extremists in the country. Following its efforts to cultivate a re- lationship with Gyorkos, Russian intelligence was reportedly suc- cessful in commandeering the site and moving its server to Russia where it has been used as a platform to broadcast propaganda tar- 541 geting the West and the United States. For example, the website circulated a fake U.S. Department of Homeland Security assess- ment that the 2016 U.S. election was not a victim of 542 It also issued false reports that Austria sought to cyberattacks. lift sanctions against Russia and that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had sought to make European nations vassals of 543 Washington. Russian government propaganda also finds fertile ground in Hungary’s domestic media landscape. Content by Sputnik and RT is widely referenced by pro-government news sources in Hun- 544 The pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Idok ( The gary. Hungarian Times ) has published pieces by the Strategic Culture 545 website, a well-known Russian propaganda outlet. The Russian propaganda site New Eastern Outlook has also been reportedly ref- erenced by pro-Fidesz websites like 888.hu and Magyar Hirlap 546 (Hungarian Gazette). There does not appear to be discernable ef- fort by the government to counter this disinformation. A lack of transparency in the political process has also allowed for increased corruption, another opening that Russia can exploit. In 2016, Jozsef Peter Martin, the executive director of Trans- parency International in Hungary, said that ‘‘a centralised form of corruption has been developed and systematically pursued in Hun- 547 gary.’’ He also directly criticized the government and asserted that ‘‘turning public funds into private wealth using legal instru- 548 ments is an important element of corruption in Hungary.’’ In 2014, Russia directly benefitted from this lack of transparency with 537 Ibid. 538 Ibid. 539 Lili Bayer, ‘‘Moscow Spooks Return to Hungary, Raising NATO Hackles,’’ Politico, July 19, 2017. 540 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Intent on Unsettling E.U., Russia Taps Foot Soldiers from the Fringe,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 24, 2016. 541 Ibid. 542 ; Lili Bayer, ‘‘Moscow Spooks Return to Hungary, Raising NATO Hackles,’’ Politico, Ibid. July 19, 2017. 543 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Intent on Unsettling E.U., Russia Taps Foot Soldiers from the Fringe,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 24, 2016. 544 The Budapest Beacon, Lili Bayer, ‘‘Fidesz-Friendly Media Peddling Russian Propaganda,’’ Nov. 17, 2016. 545 Ibid. 546 Ibid. 547 Transparency International: Hungary, ‘‘Corruption Perceptions Index: 2015.’’ 548 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

102 96 the Paks nuclear deal, in which the Russian nuclear operator Rosatom was awarded a sole source contract to construct two plants, and the Hungarian parliament subsequently passed legisla- tion which would keep details related to the deal classified for 30 549 years. ́ n has embraced the con- Since returning to power in 2010, Orba cept of ‘‘illiberal democracy’’ modeled on the ‘’sovereign democracy’’ 550 ́ advanced by Vladislav Surkov in Russia. As Orba n deepens rela- tions with Russia abroad, he has steadily eroded the democratic process at home, where Hungary’s political opposition has been marginalized and civil society watchdogs have a diminished 551 voice. Without the critical scrutiny provided by political opposi- tion or civil society, Russian malign influence is able to spread with little resistance. ́ n’s affinity for The Hungarian public does not seem to share Orba Russia or his antagonism toward western institutions. According to a survey by the think tank GLOBSEC, 79 percent of Hungarians want to stay in the EU and 61 percent think the union is a good 552 thing. A resounding 81 percent of Hungarians believe that NATO is important for their safety and 71 percent believe that lib- eral democracy is the best political system for Hungary, as opposed 553 to an autocracy. However, 45 percent of Hungarians hold a fa- vorable view of Orban, a number nearly matched by Vladimir Putin, who was seen sympathetically by 44 percent of Hungar- 554 ians. The international community, working through existing watch- dog efforts like the EU East StratCom Task Force, should aggres- sively uncover and publicize the scope and scale of Russian influ- 555 ́ ence in Hungary. Orba n appears to have cast his lot with Mos- cow, but the Hungarian people chose a western path after the fall of communism and continue to embrace those values. With par- liamentary elections due in the spring of 2018, the international community should proactively seek to build resilience within the Hungarian population so that they are made fully aware of the level of Russian interference in the affairs of the country. Lessons Learned Opposing the Asymmetric Arsenal without a Government Part- • As the United States and ner is Difficult, But not Impossible: its allies look to build resilience to Russian interference in Eu- rope, they will unfortunately not find a partner in the Hun- garian government. Regardless, the international community should increase support for transparency and anti-corruption efforts in the country—the denial of U.S. visas for six Hun- 549 Budapest Times, ‘‘Paks Data to Be Classified for 30 Years,’’ The Budapest Times, Mar. 6, 2015. 550 ́ Zoltan Simon, ‘‘Orba Bloomberg, n Says He Seeks to End Liberal Democracy in Hungary,’’ July 28, 2014. 551 Daniel Hegedus, ‘‘Nations in Transit 2017 Hungary Chapter,’’ Freedom House, 2017. 552 GLOBSEC Policy Institute, GLOBSEC Trends 2017: Mixed Messages and Signs of Hope at 13 (Jan. 8, 2017). from Central and Eastern Europe, 553 at 20. Ibid. 554 at 23. Ibid. 555 European Union External Action Service, ‘‘Questions and Answers about the East See StratCom Task Force,’’ https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/2116/-ques- tions-and-answers-about-the-east-stratcom-task-force—en (visited Dec. 14, 2017); see also Chap- ter 7. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

103 97 garian officials suspected of corruption in 2014, for example, was an effective step that should be replicated when pos- 556 sible. 556 The New York Times, Rick Lyman, ‘‘U.S. Denial of Visas for 6 in Hungary Strains Ties,’’ Oct. 20, 2014. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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105 Chapter 6: Kremlin Interference in 557 Consolidated Democracies Countries with long-standing membership in the European Union or NATO are increasingly aware of the nature and scope of Russian government threats to their populations and democratic processes, and have developed a series of strong responses to deter and defend against Kremlin interference. Geographically, these countries are further away from the eastern flanks of NATO and the EU, and are generally less susceptible to Russian cultural, po- litical, or linguistic influences, yet many remain vulnerable to Rus- sian government threats to their energy security. While these coun- tries benefit from healthy democratic political systems and vibrant independent media and civil societies, the bonds within these sys- tems have come under increasing strain as societal frustrations have grown over economic inequalities and the pressures of migra- tion. These societal tensions have been a focus for exploitation by the Russian government. The Russian tactics of interference follow two main trends in this region. First, Russia seeks to exacerbate divisions within countries that have membership in Western institutions like NATO and the EU, but where corruption or vulnerabilities in the rule of law pro- vide openings to erode their bonds to European values and institu- tions. This includes undermining their support for EU sanctions on Russia or NATO exercises on the continent. A primary goal is to sow discord and confusion—since more frontal attacks by the Kremlin against these states are likely to invite unacceptable blowback for the Russian government. Second, Russia seeks to exacerbate divisions in consolidated de- mocracies who are seen as the flagbearers for European values and institutions, and thus staunchly opposed to the Russian govern- ment’s agenda to undermine those values and institutions. And in its attempts to weaken the democratic systems of these nations, the Kremlin amplifies their perceived weaknesses and problems to countries on Russia’s periphery, in an attempt to show that consoli- dated democracy is not a goal worth pursuing. 557 The countries in this chapter are defined as ‘‘consolidated democracies,’’ a term drawn from the Freedom House Nations in Transit study, which ranks and measures the progress toward or backsliding from democracy of 29 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia. The ranking is determined by an assessment of a country’s national democratic governance, electoral process, civil society, independent media, local democratic governance, judicial framework and independ- ence, and corruption. Countries receiving the consolidated democracy classification are defined as ones that ‘‘embody the best policies and practices of liberal democracy, but may face chal- lenges—often associated with corruption—that contribute to a slightly lower score.’’ Freedom Nations in Transit 2017: The False Promise of Populism, House, at 22 (2017). (99) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

106 100 BALTIC STATES : LATVIA , LITHUANIA , AND ESTONIA The Russian government has sought to influence the Baltic coun- tries through military intimidation, energy dependence, trade rela- tions, business links, cultural ties, corruption, disinformation, and cyberattacks. As in Ukraine, the Kremlin has used the Baltics as a laboratory for its malign influence activities, especially in deploy- ing hackers to engage in cyberwarfare. Because of their relatively small size, large Russian-speaking populations in Latvia and Estonia, and geographic proximity to Russia, the Baltic countries are subject to more intensive pressure from the Kremlin than other EU countries. Lithuania’s Ambas- sador to the United States testified to the U.S. Senate that, in ad- dition to aggressive intelligence operations and cyberattacks on members of parliament, the Kremlin has also ‘‘used supply of en- ergy resources, investment in strategically important sectors of economy and trade relations as a tool to influence domestic and for- 558 eign policy of Lithuania.’’ Latvia’s head intelligence agency has said that Russia is responsible for ‘‘the most significant security 559 threats in the Baltic sea region,’’ and Lithuania’s government has called Russia ‘‘a major source of threats posed to the national 560 security of the Republic of Lithuania.’’ In addition, all three presidents of the Baltic states have also taken strong and public positions against the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns and sup- 561 ported building resiliency against them. The Kremlin has long used the Baltic states as a testing ground for its asymmetric arsenal. One infamous incident occurred on a morning in late April 2007, when the government of Estonia de- cided to move a six-and-a-half-foot statue of a Soviet soldier out of the center of its capital, Tallinn, to another part of town. Removing the statue, placed there during Soviet occupation in 1947, was a controversial act—protests by ethnic Russians and violence the night before had damaged property, injured dozens, and left one person dead. Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, called the move ‘‘blasphemous.’’ Other Russian officials declared that remov- ing the statue was glorifying Nazism, and both the Duma and the Federation Council called on Putin to sanction Estonia or cut off 562 bilateral relations. What happened next was described by Estonia’s then-president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, as ‘‘the first time a nation-state had been 563 targeted using digital means for political objectives.’’ The Inter- 558 Statement of Rolandas Krisciunas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, Russian Poli- Hearing before the U.S. Senate Com- cies & Intentions Toward Specific European Countries, mittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Mar. 7, 2017, at 8. 559 Annual Public Report 2016, The Constitution Protection Bureau of the Republic of Latvia, at 1 (Mar. 2017). The Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) is one of three state security institu- tions of the Republic of Latvia, and is responsible for foreign intelligence and counter-intel- Ibid. ligence. 560 National Secu- State Security Department and Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania, rity Threat Assessment 2017, at 2. 561 Eriks Selga & Benjamin Rasmussen. ‘‘Defending the West from Russian Disinformation: The Role of Leadership’’ Foreign Policy Research Institute, Nov. 13, 2017 562 Steven Lee Myers, ‘‘Russia Rebukes Estonia for Moving Soviet Statue,’’ The New York Times, Apr. 27, 2007. 563 Statement of Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of Estonia, The Modus Operandi and Toolbox of Russia and Other Autocracies for Undermining Democracies Throughout the World, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Mar. 15, 2017, at 3. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

107 101 net servers of the country’s government, security, banking, and media institutions were hit by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks for two straight weeks, causing many of their websites to 564 go down. Ilves believes the attack was coordinated by the Krem- lin and executed by organized criminal groups, ‘‘a public-private 565 As a senior partnership’’ with ‘‘a state actor that paid mafiosos.’’ the attack showed The New Yorker, former Pentagon official told that ‘‘Russia was going to react in a new but aggressive way to per- 566 ceived political slights.’’ The Kremlin’s disinformation operations in the Baltics, especially in Latvia and Estonia, are mostly aimed at the countries’ Russian- speaking populations (which constitute nearly 27 percent of the population in Latvia and 25 percent in Estonia, compared to just 567 under 6 percent in Lithuania). After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government’s disinformation campaigns in the 1990s were largely directed at post-communist states like Poland and the Baltics. While serving as Estonia’s ambassador to the United States in the first half of the 1990s, Ilves recalled having to re- spond to Western diplomats who showed him false news stories about his country. At the time, he said, Russian government disinformation was ‘‘primarily an exercise in providing new democ- 568 racies extra work to debunk invented news.’’ While a factor, these measures did not have much of an impact in societies accus- tomed to questioning the veracity of Soviet propaganda efforts, and their half-hearted nature reflects the sclerotic state of the Russian security services at the time. But over the past decade, the Kremlin has supercharged its disinformation operations in the Baltics. Those efforts, which also include the use of internet trolls and NGOs, seek to portray the countries ‘‘as failures—blighted by emi- gration and poverty—and run by a sinister elite of Western pup- 569 pets with ill-disguised fascist sympathies.’’ In the Baltic states, the Kremlin’s influence operations in the re- gion appear to seek several objectives: Divide the populations along ethnic lines to establish and • maintain control over the local Russian diaspora, which can be used as a tool of influence. • Create mistrust among the general population toward their own governments by portraying them as ethnocratic regimes that are overseeing the rebirth of fascism. • Undermine Western values and democracy and promote popu- lism and radicalism, especially by emphasizing the West’s deg- radation while playing up Russia’s growing prosperity. Weaken or paralyze the alliances Baltic states belong to, like • NATO and the EU, especially by portraying their governments 564 Mar. 6, 2016. The New Yorker, Evan Osnos et al., ‘‘Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War,’’ 565 Ibid. 566 Ibid. 567 Tomas Cizik, ‘‘Russia Tailors Its Information Warfare to Specific Countries,’’ European Se- Nov. 6, 2017. curity Journal, 568 Statement of Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of Estonia, The Modus Operandi and Toolbox of Russia and Other Autocracies for Undermining Democracies Throughout the World, Hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Mar. 15, 2017, at 5. 569 The Coming Storm: Baltic Sea Security Report, Edward Lucas, Center for European Policy Analysis, at 11 (June 2015). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

108 102 as puppets of those supranational organizations that are being used to provoke Russia into military conflict. • Ridicule or marginalize the culture, history, traditions, and achievements of the Baltic states, to weaken the will of local populations to defend their countries in the event of a military conflict with Russia. Multiple studies have found that Russian-speaking populations in the Baltics have absorbed the narratives that the Kremlin’s propaganda machines have concocted. For example, during the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, the majority of ethnic Rus- sians in Estonia were more likely to believe reports from Russian media than Estonian and foreign media. A similar result occurred during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with ethnic Rus- sians in Latvia and Estonia believing the narrative put forth by Russian media and subsequently holding Kiev, not Moscow, respon- 570 sible for the conflict. Pro-Russian narratives are also promoted by Kremlin-linked groups throughout the Baltic states. A 2014 report commissioned by the Swedish Defense Research Agency found that a large num- ber of organizations that are directly or indirectly governed by the Russian federal government are helping to implement a strategy that aims to undermine ‘‘the self-confidence of the Baltic states as independent political entities’’ and interfere in their domestic polit- 571 ical affairs. The study also concluded that these efforts were all ‘‘reinforced by systematic Russian attempts—through political, media and cultural outlets—to portray the Baltic states as ‘fascist’, not least in terms of their treatment of their Russian minorities ... As a whole, the Russian strategy can be considered as aiming 572 at destabilizing the Baltic states.’’ The head of the Latvian security service also reported that there is a clear link between organizations that promote the Kremlin’s 573 narrative and Russian-funded NGOs. According to the Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism, also known as more re:Baltica, than 40 NGOs in the Baltics have received grants from large Rus- sian GONGOs (government-controlled NGOs) over the past several years, though the figure could be much higher as NGOs are not re- 574 quired to publish financial reports in every Baltic country. Fur- thermore, nearly 70 percent of those grant recipients are linked to 575 pro-Kremlin political parties in the Baltics. Disbursing grants to NGOs is an important element of Russia’s ‘‘compatriots policy,’’ which the Kremlin has stated involves ‘‘always defend[ing] [the in- terests of Russians and Russian-speakers abroad] using political, 576 diplomatic, and legal means.’’ The director of Estonia’s domestic intelligence service has noted that ‘‘the Russian population or the Russian-speaking minority is a target for the so-called compatriots 570 Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing: Russia’s Government-Funded Organisations in the EU, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, at 63 (July 2016). 571 Mike Winnerstig Tools of Destablization: Russian Soft Power and Non-military Influence in the Baltic States, Swedish Defense Research Agency, at 4 (Dec. 2014). 572 Ibid. 573 Ibid. at 61 574 Sanita Jemberga et al., ‘‘Money From Russia: Kremlin’s Millions,’’ re:Balitca, Aug. 27, 2015. For more on Russia’s use of GONGOs, see Chapter 2. 575 Ibid. 576 The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Cen- Heather A. Conley et al., Center for Strategic & International Studies, at 51 (Oct. 2016). tral and Eastern Europe, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

109 103 policy, the goal of which has been the establishment of organized groups linked to Russia capable of influencing another country’s 577 sovereign decisions.’’ The Kremlin allegedly uses its embassies in the Baltics to dis- burse funding to NGOs that promote its narrative. According to the Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, the ‘‘Russian Em- bassy in Lithuania directly controls, coordinates, and finances [the] activities [of a] variety of pro-Russian organizations, clubs and 578 groups ranging from political protests to cultural events.’’ Yet sometimes the culture of corruption among the Russian govern- ment bureaucracy can hamper the Kremlin’s disinformation efforts, with embassy officials reportedly taking kickbacks from organiza- tions that receive grants. For example, in 2016, the Russian em- bassy in Estonia disbursed $30,000 in grant money for the publica- Baltiysky Mir tion of the journal. However, no issue was published in 2016, and Estonia’s lead security agency notes that ‘‘the best way to receive grants [from the Russian embassy] is to share them 579 with Russian officials and diplomats.’’ Estonia’s government also reports that ‘‘[t]he Kremlin constantly supports and funds people who promote anti-Estonian propaganda narratives at events held by international organizations’’ such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, where Estonian ‘‘activists,’’ whose travel was paid for by the Russian gov- ernment, complained about government suppression of the ethnic 580 Russian minority in Estonia. And in one example from 2015, a skinhead from St. Petersburg ‘‘was sent to Estonia to be captured on film as a ‘local Nazi activist’’’ at a WWII battle memorial, and ‘‘Kremlin-controlled media was eager to pick this up as an example 581 of events in Estonia.’’ Kremlin disinformation operations have also targeted NATO ex- ercises, especially after NATO established four multinational battlegroups led by the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the United States, known as the Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP), to deter Russian military aggression in the Baltics and Po- land. Pro-Kremlin media outlets falsely reported that German troops raped a 13-year-old Lithuanian girl just two days after the 582 soldiers arrived to participate in NATO’s EFP exercise. Because of its similarity to a fake story pushed in German media, it became 583 known as the ‘‘Lithuania Lisa’’ case. Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Chal- lenges, noted that it was ‘‘a clear example of information manipula- tion with a sense of weaponization, because it really was supposed 577 Michael Weiss, ‘‘The Estonian Spymasters: Tallin’s Revolutionary Approach to Stopping Foreign Affairs, Russian Spies,’’ June 3, 2014. 578 Statement of Rolandas Krisciunas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, Russian Poli- Hearing before the U.S. Senate Com- cies & Intentions Toward Specific European Countries, mittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Mar. 7, 2017, at 10. 579 Estonian Internal Security Service Annual Review Estonian Internal Security Service, 2016, at 8 (Apr. 17, 2017). 580 Ibid. at 7. 581 Ibid. at 8. 582 The Modus Ope- 582 Statement of Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of Estonia, randi and Toolbox of Russia and Other Autocracies for Undermining Democracies Throughout the World, Hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Mar. 15, 2017, at 6. 583 Damien McGuinness, ‘‘Russia Steps into Berlin ‘Rape’ Storm Claiming German Cover- See BBC News Up,’’ , Jan. 27, 2016; infra, section on Germany. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

110 104 to affect the perception about the presence of German troops as the [EFP] framework nation in Lithuania. It was supposed to affect morale; it was supposed to affect everything—the operational func- 584 tioning.’’ Before another NATO exercise, hackers infiltrated the Lithua- nian military’s website and replaced the statement announcing the exercise with a fake one proclaiming that it was part of a plan for Lithuania to annex Kaliningrad, a small Russian exclave to the west. The head of Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Center noted that the announcement was obviously fake and quickly taken down, but still spread through online networks and colored discus- sions about NATO. He summarized the effectiveness of such disinformation operations when he told a reporter that ‘‘I don’t be- lieve in aliens, but if you see enough articles about aliens visiting Earth, you start to think ‘Who knows, maybe the government is 585 hiding something.’ ’’ As elsewhere in Europe and beyond, an extensive network of so- cial media bots spread Kremlin disinformation narratives. Accord- ing to a report by the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, bot-generated messages are targeted at different audi- ences: those aimed at the West emphasize how much smaller Rus- sian exercises are than NATO ones, while those targeting domestic 586 audiences rarely mention Russian military exercises. In addi- tion, approximately 70 percent of all Russian messages about NATO in the Baltics and Poland are created by Russian-language bots. NATO’s report also found that Twitter was less effective at removing Russian-language material generated by bots than mes- sages in English, but did note improvement in the platform’s polic- ing of content and urged continued pressure to ensure further im- 587 provements. NATO’s analysts also noted that ‘‘increased interest by Twitter and other social media companies in tackling state- sponsored trolls and bots may offer an explanation for the low lev- 588 That conclu- els of activity in the current observation window.’’ sion underscores the point that social media companies have not only great responsibility, but also strong potential to successfully counter Kremlin disinformation operations (and fake news in gen- eral). The Baltic states have all taken concerted actions against Rus- sian state-sponsored propaganda outlets, with methods ranging from outright censorship to public disregard. Since 2014, Latvia and Lithuania have placed restrictions on several Russian tele- vision channels, including three-to six-month bans on one station owned by a Russian state broadcaster, because of what government authorities deemed to be dangerous and unbalanced reporting on the situation in Ukraine, incitement of discord and unrest, and 589 warmongering. In March 2016, Latvia’s local domain registry 584 Teri Schultz, ‘‘Why the ‘Fake Rape’ Story Against German NATO Forces Fell Flat in Lith- uania,’’ Feb. 23, 2017. Deutsche Welle, 585 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them,’’ The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2016. 586 Robotrolling 2017, Issue 2, at 2, 4 NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, (Nov. 8, 2017). 587 Ibid. at 2. 588 Ibid. at 6. 589 Congressional Research Service, ‘‘European Efforts to Counter Russian Influence Oper- ations,’’July 24, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00110 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

111 105 suspended Sputnik’s domestic website (Sputniknews.lv) a few weeks after it was established, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman declaring that ‘‘we don’t regard Sputnik as a credible media source 590 but as something else: a propaganda tool.’’ Sputnik responded by placing its content under a .com domain and accusing Latvia of 591 attacking media freedom. The Estonian government, while not censoring the activities of Kremlin-sponsored media outlets, has publicly stated that it does not recognize Sputnik as an independent media outlet and there- fore its officials will not grant the organization any interviews. Es- tonia also established three Russian-language TV channels to pro- vide alternate sources of news to its large Russian-speaking popu- lation; a poll from 2016 showed that the stations had captured 592 about 20 percent of that audience. The Baltic states also have educational awareness programs that aim to counter the influence of Kremlin disinformation, such as a national information influence identification and analysis ecosystem project in Lithuania, which quickly noticed the fake story about the alleged rape of a teenage girl by a German soldier during a NATO exercise and worked to 593 immediately debunk it. Latvia’s ministries of defense and edu- cation have also paired up to improve their country’s school cur- 594 riculum to emphasize critical thinking skills and media literacy. Furthermore, the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence (BCME), based in Latvia, serves as a hub for professional Russian-language journalism in the Baltics as well as the countries of the Eastern Partnership. The BCME also supports media literacy programs and research to better understand audiences that are most susceptible 595 to propaganda. In addition to counter-disinformation efforts by the state and the media, a network of hundreds of concerned citizens has sprung up in the Baltics (starting in Lithuania but later spreading to Latvia and Estonia, and even Finland) to fight against Kremlin-linked internet trolls. Styling themselves ‘‘elves,’’ they push back against false comments on Facebook and on Lithuanian news websites, working not to promote their own propaganda but only to, in the words of their founder, ‘‘expose the bullshit.’’ The elves have even taken their activities onto the street, counter-demonstrating at pro- Kremlin events, draped in EU and U.S. flags and wearing large smiles—thereby making it that much more difficult for Kremlin propagandists to get their desired photos and videos of ‘’sponta- 596 neous’’ anti-Western protests. Estonia has the best Russian counterintelligence program in Eu- Deception: rope, according to journalist Edward Lucas, author of 590 ‘‘Latvia Blocks Russian Sputnik Site as Kremlin ‘Propaganda Tool’,’’ Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Mar. 30, 2016. 591 Alex Spence, ‘‘Russia Accusses Latvia of ‘Blatant Censorship’ After Sputnik News Site is Mar. 30, 2016. Politico, Shut Down,’’ 592 Feb. 27, 2017. Daily Mail, ‘‘US Challenges Kremlin with New Russian TV Channel,’’ 593 Statement of Rolandas Krisciunas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, Russian Poli- Hearing before the U.S. Senate Com- cies & Intentions Toward Specific European Countries, mittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Mar. 7, 2017, at 6. 594 Oct. Reid Standish, ‘‘Russia’s Neighbors Respond to Putin’s ‘Hybrid War,’ ’’ Foreign Policy, 12, 2017. 595 ‘‘Baltic Centre for Media Excellence,’’ European Endowment for Democracy, 2017. 596 The Daily Beast, Mar. 20, Michael Weiss, ‘‘The Baltic Elves Taking on Pro-Russian Trolls,’’ 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00111 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

112 106 Spies, Lies, and How Russia Dupes the West. As then Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves told Foreign Affairs in 2014: ‘‘We caught four moles in the last five years. That means one of two things. Either we’re the only country in the EU with a mole prob- lem, or we’re the only country in the EU doing anything about 597 it.’’ Estonia has adopted a ‘‘zero tolerance’’ approach to illegal activities by Russian intelligence operatives and does not downplay their capture or trade them back to Russia. Instead, it prosecutes them to the maximum extent of the law and publicizes an annual report that reviews major cases and publicly names organizations and individuals that are suspected of working with the Russian in- 598 telligence services. Estonia’s intelligence service, known as Kapo, publishes annual reviews that detail activities by Russian intelligence services and 599 Per- the government’s responses (as do Latvia and Lithuania). haps the most egregious case it documented in recent years was the incursion into sovereign Estonian territory and the alleged kid- napping of an Estonian Kapo officer by Russian security operatives 600 in 2014. The officer had been investigating cross-border cigarette smuggling by Russian smugglers, and some assert that he was kid- napped because he had threatened the FSB’s lucrative collabora- 601 tion with criminal traffickers. Smugglers have also reportedly been recruited by the security services as spies and informants to assist the Kremlin’s efforts to destabilize Estonia. Similar to the re- cruiting method the FSB uses with hackers, traffickers are report- edly threatened with jail time if they refuse to cooperate with Rus- 602 sia’s security services. These comprehensive intelligence reports also help to inform the general public as well as civil society and journalists, who can use the information pursue their own investigations. For example, re:Baltica reporters used a clue from Kapo’s 2014 report to trace the ownership of three Baltic Russian-language news sites, collec- Baltnews tively known as , through a chain of holding companies that ultimately linked them to Russia’s state-sponsored propaganda 603 network. Kapo’s reports also make clear the intentions and capabilities of the Kremlin’s influence operations, especially when it comes to eco- nomic corruption, and how that knowledge informs its own work. For example, in its 2016 report, the agency noted that ‘‘Because of the link between Russian power structures, criminal circles and corruption, we especially focus on corruption that may strengthen Russia’s hold on our state. We have noted attempts by the Kremlin to use business contacts and business influence in shaping Esto- nia’s policy. Relevant in this context is the business continuity and 597 Michael Weiss, ‘‘The Estonian Spymasters: Tallin’s Revolutionary Approach to Stopping Russian Spies,’’ Foreign Affairs, June 3, 2014. 598 Ibid. 599 ‘‘Annual Reviews,’’ Kaitsepolitseiamet, https://www.kapo.ee/en/content/annual-reviews.html (visited on Dec. 31, 2017) 600 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Tensions Surge in Estonia Amid a Russian Replay of Cold War Tactics,’’ Oct. 5, 2014. The New York Times, 601 Ibid. 602 Holger Roonemaa, ‘‘These Cigarette Smugglers Are On The Frontlines Of Russia’s Spy Wars,’’ BuzzFeed News, Sept. 13, 2017. 603 Inga Springe & Sanita Jemberga, ‘‘Sputnik’s Unknown Brother,’’ Apr. 6, 2017, re:Balitca, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00112 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

113 107 supply security of energy, where the role of corruption can secretly 604 and considerably influence the country’s energy independence.’’ The Baltic states have thus made it a priority to reduce their his- torical dependence on energy supplies from Russia. After independ- ence, their legacy gas infrastructure was only connected to coun- tries of the former Soviet Union, not Europe. Russia’s state-owned Gazprom and other Russian gas companies held large stakes—up to 50 percent—in Baltic states’ natural gas companies, though new EU regulatory requirements led Gazprom to start selling its shares in those companies in 2014. To diversify its supplies, Lithuania opened an LNG regasification terminal in 2014, which has also al- lowed it to negotiate much better prices for its purchases from Rus- sia (in 2013 Gazprom charged Lithuania $460-$490 per 1,000 cubic 605 At the meters, compared to an average of $370-$380 for the EU). opening ceremony of the terminal, Lithuania’s president remarked, ‘‘Nobody else, from now on, will be able to dictate to us the price 606 of gas, or to buy our political will.’’ There is also the potential for Lithuania to export some of the LNG it has imported and regasified to its Baltic neighbors, though such infrastructure is not in place yet. As one of the most connected countries in the world, Estonia has long been a leader in the realm of internet innovation and cyber security. In 2004, Estonia proposed a NATO cyber defense center, which was established in Tallinn in 2008 and consists of six branches focused on technology, strategy, operations, law, edu- 607 cation and training, and support. Estonia is also working to strengthen the security of its online voting system by overhauling its software and adding new anti-tampering features that will help guard against potential hacking attacks directed by the Kremlin or 608 other malicious actors. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are clearly on the front line of the Kremlin’s malign influence operations, and have suffered from some of the most egregious cyberattacks and disinformation cam- paigns yet seen in Russia’s near abroad. As members of NATO and the EU that share borders both with Russia and its exclave of Kaliningrad, and which collectively host large Russian-speaking populations, the Baltic states are both primary targets and unique- ly susceptible to Russian active measures campaigns. The United States should therefore make it a high priority to study the experi- ences of the Baltics and apply lessons learned to its own defenses and those of allies and partners around Europe, as well as increase support to the Baltics, in both word and deed, to further deter Kremlin aggression. 604 Estonian Internal Security Service Annual Review Estonian Internal Security Service, at 35 (Apr. 17, 2017). 2016, 605 Aija Krutaine & Andrius Sytas, ‘‘Baltics Can Keep Lights On If Russia Turns Off the Gas,’’ , May 7, 2014. Reuters 606 Georgi Kantchev, ‘‘With U.S. Gas, Europe Seeks Escape From Russia’s Energy Grip,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 25, 2016. 607 NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, ‘‘About Us,’’ https://ccdcoe.org (vis- ited Dec. 31, 2017). 608 Ott Ummelas, ‘‘World’s Most High-Tech Voting System to Get New Hacking Defenses,’’ July 18, 2017. Bloomberg Politics, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

114 108 Lessons Learned Public Reporting of Intelligence Findings is Effective: • Exposing and publicizing the nature of the threat of Russian malign in- fluence activities can be an action-forcing event that not only boosts public awareness, but also drives effective responses from the private sector, especially social media platforms, as well as civil society and independent media, who can use the information to pursue their own investigations. Estonia was one of the first Strong Cyber Defenses are Critical: • states to experience cyberwar operations, and the Baltic states are under constant threat from Russia-based hackers. Strong cyber defenses are therefore key to building resilience against the Kremlin’s influence operations. The United States can as- sist the Baltic states to improve their cyber defenses against malicious hacking by Kremlin-sponsored entities. One method would be to work with the EU to train and support emergency cyber response teams that can be immediately deployed to as- sist allies that are under cyberattack from malicious state or non-state actors. The United States can also learn from Esto- nia’s experience in dealing with cyberattacks on critical infra- structure targets, including the energy grid and electoral sys- tems. To as- Cultural Exports & Exchanges Can Enhance Resilience: • sist the Baltics, Lithuania’s ambassador to the United States believes that more American popular culture in Lithuania Voice of would help neutralize the Kremlin’s active measures. America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty programs are increasingly well-known in the Baltics, and combining popular entertainment programming with respected and independent news reporting would further their reach and influence. Lithu- ania’s ambassador has also called for more and better-funded cultural exchange programs, including study abroad and jour- nalist training. These measures should be supported by the 609 U.S. government. 609 Statement of Rolandas Krisciunas, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, Russian Poli- cies & Intentions Toward Specific European Countries, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Com- mittee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Mar. 7, 2017, at 6. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

115 109 , FINLAND , DENMARK : NORDIC STATES NORWAY , AND SWEDEN When it comes to asserting that the West is in a state of moral decline, a favorite target of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine are the Nordic states of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway—all members of the EU, and the latter two also members of NATO. For example, in 2017, one of Russia’s largest TV stations broadcast a story that claimed Denmark’s government had permitted the open- ing of an animal brothel in Copenhagen. The story, which included an image of a dog dressed up as a street prostitute, evolved in clas- sic ‘‘ping pong’’ fashion, moving from a fringe online publication be- fore being picked up in periphery countries like Belarus and Geor- gia and several marginal Russian media outlets. Ironically, this false report had first been published as just that—the original source was a satirical French website that posted the story as par- 610 ody. But when it comes to exhibiting strong immunity against Rus- sian malign influence operations, the Nordic states are also exem- plary. Several factors contribute to their resilience. First, Russia’s favorability ratings among the populations of the Nordic countries 611 are lower than anywhere else in the EU. In addition, the Nordic states have extraordinary educational systems that emphasize crit- ical thinking skills, as well as relatively high levels of interpersonal trust and extremely low levels of corruption (of the 176 countries ranked in Transparency International’s 2016 corruption index, all four Nordic countries ranked within the six least corrupt coun- 612 tries). While correlation does not prove causation, it would not be surprising if the absence of Russian corrupt influences, as well as strong critical thinking skills that inoculate against the effects of disinformation, are major contributing factors to the low opinion of Russia held among Nordic populations. In addition, the Nordic states have dealt with Moscow’s aggression for decades, and their populations arguably have a built-in skepticism of and resistance to the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns and other malign influ- ence operations. Due to these factors, the Kremlin’s traditional propaganda oper- ations have had very little success in the Nordic countries. Sputnik closed its Danish, Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian language serv- ices in 2016. Some analysts attributed the withdrawal to economic conditions in Russia, while others attributed it to the poor perform- ance of outlets, which had poor command of the Nordic languages and found that conspiracy theories and attacks on European values 613 did not have much traction among Nordic audiences. With the disappearance of traditional propaganda outlets, inter- net trolls are now the primary pro-Russia disinformation actors in Nordic countries, and they primarily focus on individual targets. Russia-affiliated activists have gone to great lengths to intimidate journalists who report on Russia, especially those carrying out in- 610 ‘‘No, Denmark is Not Legalising Sexual Abuse of Animals,’’ Sept. 9, 2017. EU vs. Disinfo, 611 https://www.rferl.org/ ‘‘How EU Members View Russia,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a/28200070.html (visited Dec. 31, 2017) (citing Special Eurobarometer 451—Future of Europe, Oct. 2016). 612 Esteban Ortiz-Ospina & Max Roser, ‘‘Trust,’’ Our World in Data, https:// ourworldindata.org/trust#note-2 (visited Dec. 31, 2017); Transparency International, Corruption (Jan. 25, 2017). Perceptions Index 2016, 613 European External Action Service, ‘‘Disinformation Digest,’’ Mar. 18, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

116 110 vestigations on the trolls themselves, like Finnish reporter Jessikka Aro, who ‘‘has been peppered with abusive emails, vilified as a drug dealer on social media sites and mocked as a delusional 614 bimbo in a music video posted on YouTube.’’ The head of Nor- way’s national police has also accused Russia’s intelligence services of targeting Norwegian individuals, especially those with dual citi- 615 zenship or family members in Russia. In Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, Rus- sian disinformation campaigns intensified in 2012, when Kremlin- linked media outlets used doctored photos to accuse Finnish au- thorities of child abduction in custody battles between Finnish-Rus- 616 sian couples. And in the lead up to its 2015 parliamentary elec- tions, several Twitter accounts, all with official-sounding names that appeared to be linked to Finland’s parliament, began tweeting 617 Initially, the tweets contained con- about popular political topics. tent that was considered reasonable and contributed to mainstream discussion, which earned the accounts a relatively large following among people who reportedly thought they were official parliament accounts. Then, just before the election, the accounts took a sharp turn and began tweeting misinformation and fringe viewpoints in an attempt to ‘‘muddy the waters,’’ according to Finnish govern- ment officials. The officials noted that the attempt was somewhat clumsy and did not accomplish its aims, however they also pointed 618 out that ‘‘genuine clumsiness should not lead to complacency.’’ In that vein, Finnish government officials report that the country is strengthening its ‘‘whole-of-society preparedness system . . . to take into account the new hybrid challenges,’’ including by focusing 619 With the Ukraine crisis and refugee and on media literacy skills. migrant issues in mind, the government recently recruited two U.S. experts from Harvard and MIT to work with over 100 Finnish offi- cials on how to best counter disinformation campaigns. Jed Willard from Harvard emphasized to participants that the focus should not be on the Kremlin’s narrative, but the Finnish narrative—that ‘‘the 620 best way to respond . . . is with a positive Finnish story.’’ Fin- land has also recognized the challenge of providing immigrant pop- ulations, who may not speak the national language, with news out- lets in their native language that can serve as alternatives to out- lets from their countries of origin. To that end, in May 2013, Fin- land’s state-owned television station, , began a daily Russian- Yle language TV news broadcast to offer a Finnish perspective to its 621 Russian-speaking minority of approximately 70,000 people. Yle has a reported viewership of about 200,000 for its five-minute 622 broadcast, which can also be seen in Russia. Finland has also 614 The Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation,’’ New York Times, May 30, 2016. 615 Thomas Nilsen, ‘‘Norway’s PST Says Russian Intelligence Targets Individuals,’’ The Inde- pendent Barents Observer, Feb. 3, 2017. 616 Reid Standish, ‘‘Why is Finland Able to Fend off Putin’s Information War?’’ Foreign Policy, Mar. 1, 2017. 617 Committee Staff Discussion with Finnish Government Officials, 2017. 618 Ibid. 619 Embassy of Finland, Information Provided in Response to Questions from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Sept. 20, 2017. 620 Yle News, ‘‘US Experts Gird Finnish Officials for Information War,’’ Jan. 22, 2016. 621 Yle Uutiset, ‘‘Yle’s Russian Service: A Quarter-Century of News and Controversy,’’ Oct. 10, 2015. 622 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

117 111 led the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, based in Helsinki, which will serve as think tank and fusion center for EU and NATO efforts across sev- eral lines of effort, including disinformation (see Chapter 7). The Nordic states continue to raise their populations’ awareness of and resiliency to Kremlin disinformation campaigns. In advance of a military exercise in Sweden, which also included the other Nordic states, the Baltics, and the United States, the defense min- istries of Sweden and Denmark released a joint statement an- nouncing their intention to team up to deter Russian government 623 cyberattacks and disinformation operations. And Sweden, which will hold elections in 2018, has begun ramping up its defenses against disinformation operations through its Swedish Civil Con- tingencies Agency (MSB). The agency has picked up on fake news stories that push narratives claiming that Sweden is a war zone and the rape capital of Europe, and that it has banned Christmas 624 lights and the eating of bacon on trains. Echoing the U.S. ex- perts hired by Finland, the head of MSB’s global analysis and mon- itoring section, Mikael Tofvesson, has emphasized that the MSB’s strategy is not to fight fire with fire, noting that: ‘‘It’s like mudwrestling a pig. You’ll both get dirty, but the pig will think it’s quite nice. This plays into their hands, whereas for us getting dirty is just a pain. Instead, we have to try to stay clean and focus on the part of our soci- ety that has to work: democracy and freedom of expres- sion, to make sure that giving the citizens correct informa- 625 tion becomes our best form of resistance.’’ Sweden has also introduced curriculum into its primary schools to teach ‘‘digital competence,’’ including how to differentiate be- 626 tween reliable and unreliable sources. Even Bamse the Bear, one of Sweden’s most popular cartoon characters, has been re- cruited to help children learn about the dangers of fake news and 627 the need to cross check sources of information. Denmark is also working to counter the Russian government’s malign influence operations, with the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noting that ‘‘the threat [from the Kremlin] against Den- mark and Europe is significantly different and more serious than at any other time following the fall of the Berlin Wall’’ and disinformation campaigns aimed at the public illustrate ‘‘how ele- ments of domestic and foreign policy are inextricably linked and re- 628 quire close cooperation across various Danish authorities.’’ To that end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently established a new unit dedicated to countering pro-Kremlin disinformation 623 Morgan Chalfant, ‘‘Denmark, Sweden Team Up to Counter Russian ‘Fake News,’ ’’ The Hill, Aug. 31, 2017. 624 Emma Lofgren, ‘‘How Sweden’s Getting Ready for the Election-Year Information War,’’ The Nov. 7, 2017. Local, 625 Ibid. 626 Lee Roden, ‘‘Swedish Kids to Learn Computer Coding and How to Spot Fake News in Pri- The Local, Mar. 13, 2017. mary school,’’ 627 Lee Roden, ‘‘Why This Swedish Comic Hero Is Going To Teach Kids About Fake News,’’ The Local, Jan. 16, 2017. 628 Foreign and Security Policy Strategy, 2017-2018, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, at 14, 15 (June 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

118 112 629 The unit will also lead an interagency task force that campaigns. includes the Ministry of Defense and the intelligence services. Den- mark is also actively promoting cyber defense cooperation among the EU, UN, and NATO, and has begun training its soldiers that participate in NATO exercises like Enhanced Forward Presence on 630 disinformation threats. The Nordic societies also function with extremely low levels of corruption, and their people have high trust in both their govern- ment and fellow citizens—all significant factors in their relative immunity to the Kremlin’s efforts. Yet the Nordic states have also clearly recognized the new nature of the hybrid threats they face from the Russian government and other malicious actors, and have taken admirable and effective steps to address these threats not just in their own countries, but also among their allies and part- ners around in the EU and NATO. The United States government should work closely with the Nordic states both to assist with their efforts and to learn how their actions and methods might be ap- plied to build resiliency here in the United States. Lessons Learned Disinformation is Ineffective Against a Well-Educated Citi- • By essentially inoculating the population against fake zenry: news, education efforts have the greatest long-term potential to neutralize the effects of the Kremlin’s disinformation oper- ations, especially when combined with an ‘‘all of the above’’ ap- proach that includes monitoring and reporting fake news, pro- moting alternative positive narratives, and supporting inde- pendent media and investigative journalism. Furthermore, this approach tackles the problem at the root; Kremlin-backed disinformation stories are just an outgrowth of the rise of false stories on the internet—even if the Kremlin were to order an end to all of its disinformation operations tomorrow, the prob- lem of fake news stories would still exist. The Kremlin’s inter- net trolls did not invent fake news, but they recognized and ex- ploited it, using new technologies to have far greater reach than past efforts. 629 Ibid. at 16; Embassy of Denmark, Information Provided in Response to Questions from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Sept. 14, 2017. 630 Foreign and Security Policy Strategy 2017-2018, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, at 15; ‘‘Denmark to Educate Soldiers in Combatting Disinformation,’’ July 25, EU v.Disinfo, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

119 113 THE NETHERLANDS The Kremlin has launched multiple disinformation campaigns in the Netherlands and made attempts to interfere in its elections, and the Dutch government has taken several steps to build both national and regional resilience. As with the Baltics, the Dutch government has adopted a very visible and public approach to exposing Russian government inter- ference efforts, with the security services producing annual reports which describe both the broad scope and specific activities of those efforts. The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service noted in 2016 that ‘‘the Russian intelligence services have their sights firmly set on the Netherlands’’ and that ‘‘Russia’s espionage activi- ties seek to influence decision-making processes, perceptions and public opinion ... [and] the dissemination of disinformation and 631 The Dutch Military Intel- propaganda plays an important role.’’ ligence and Security Service reports that the Kremlin’s propaganda portrays Russia’s engagement in various theaters as humanitarian and de-escalating, while Western actions are depicted as anti-Rus- 632 sian, hysterical, hypocritical, and escalating. In April 2016, the Netherlands held a referendum on whether to approve a trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine. A left- wing member of the Dutch parliament, Harry von Bommel, re- cruited a ‘‘Ukrainian team’’ to campaign against the agreement. The team used public meetings, television appearances, and social media to portray the Ukrainian government as a ‘‘bloodthirsty 633 Notably, the most active members of the team kleptocracy.’’ 634 Other cam- were from Russia or separatist areas of Ukraine. paigners, including one from the Forum for Democracy (a research group turned political party that won two seats in its first election in 2017 and often promotes the Kremlin’s narrative on issues), retweeted a false report that Ukrainian soldiers crucified a three 635 year-old Russian-speaking boy. That piece of propaganda got its start on Russia’s primary state-controlled TV station and was based on an interview with a Russian actress posing as a Ukrain- 636 And a false video created by the Internet Research ian witness. Agency, the troll factory in St. Petersburg, purported to show a group of Ukrainian volunteer soldiers burning a Dutch flag and threatening to launch terrorist attacks against the Netherlands if 637 In addition, many of the they voted against the referendum. themes, headlines, and photographs used by the ‘‘no’’ campaign 638 were reportedly borrowed from RT and Sputnik. 631 Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, General Intelligence Security Annual Report 2016, Service, at 7. 632 Netherlands Military Intelligence and Security Service, (translated Annual Report 2016 from Dutch). 633 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch Feb. 16, 2017. The New York Times, Vote,’’ 634 Ibid. 635 Dutch News, ‘‘Support for Government Parties Slips in New Poll of Polls, FvD Rises,’’ Dutch News, Nov. 8, 2017; Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch Vote,’’ The New York Times, Feb. 16, 2017. 636 Andrew Higgins, ‘‘Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch The New York Times, Vote,’’ Feb. 16, 2017. 637 Ibid. 638 Anne Applebaum, ‘‘The Dutch Just Showed the World How Russia Influences Western Eu- ’’ Apr. 8, 2016. ropean Elections,’’ The Washington Post, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00119 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

120 114 Ultimately, the referendum saw a relatively low turnout of 32 percent of the Dutch population, with about two-thirds of those vot- 639 One Ukrainian foreign ministry offi- ing against the agreement. cial cited a poll which reported that 59 percent of those voting ‘‘no’’ said that their perception of Ukraine as corrupt was an important motivation for their vote; 19 percent believed that Ukraine was re- sponsible for the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17 (a com- mon and proven false theme of Russian propaganda), which killed 298 people, including 193 Dutch citizens; and 34 percent thought that the agreement would guarantee Ukraine’s accession to the EU 640 While anti-estab- (the latter two points are demonstrably false). lishment sentiments and increasing voter skepticism of the EU were viewed as important reasons for the referendum’s outcome, the potential effect of the disinformation campaign, not just on vot- ers’ choices but also on their understanding of Ukraine, cannot be 641 When it perceives its interests are at stake, the Krem- ignored. lin can be expected to carry out similar disinformation efforts dur- ing other referendums in Europe and beyond. The Netherlands has since worked to strengthen the integrity of its electoral process and systems, especially after the Kremlin’s at- tack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Dutch National Co- ordinator for Security and Counterterrorism described in its annual report how the Dutch government, after noting the hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, sought to enhance digital resilience before and during their country’s March 2017 election by 642 raising awareness among political parties and organizations. Nonetheless, some Dutch organizations and platforms were subject to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, including websites that helped voters compare the platforms of different political par- 643 Following rumors that election software was potentially ties. vulnerable to cyberattacks and that Russian hackers could view the Dutch elections as ‘‘good practice’’ before the French and German elections, the month before the election the Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations decided to switch to paper ballots only and 644 According to the U.S. State Department, count all votes by hand. the Netherlands also requested U.S. government assistance for its 645 The election appears to have oc- March 2017 general election. curred without any voting issues, and some observers noted that disinformation did not appear to play a large role during the cam- paign period, with fake news stories posted to Facebook and Twit- 646 ter being quickly debunked by commentators. 639 Ibid. 640 Ibid. 641 James McAuley, ‘‘Dutch Voters Reject Trade Deal Out of Anger Against EU,’’ The Wash- Apr. 6, 2016; ‘‘Netherlands Rejects EU-Ukraine Partnership Deal,’’ , Apr. ington Post, BBC News 7, 2016. 642 Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice, National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands 2017, at 7 (Aug. 2017). 643 Ibid. at 12. 644 Thessa Lageman, ‘‘Russian Hackers Use Dutch Polls as Practice,’’ Deutsche Welle, Oct. 3, 2017; Ministry of Security and Justice, National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, at 35. Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands 2017, 645 U.S. Department of State, Report to Congress on Efforts by the Russian Federation to Un- dermine Elections in Europe and Eurasia, at 3 (Nov. 7, 2017). 646 , Feb. 1, Thomas Escritt, ‘‘Dutch Will Hand Count Ballots Due to Hacking Fears,’’ Reuters 2017; Peter Teffer, ‘‘Fake News or Hacking Absent in Dutch Election Campaign,’’ EUobserver, Mar. 15, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00120 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

121 115 Like other countries in Europe, the Netherlands is also sup- porting independent Russian-language journalism. For example, Netherlands-based Free Press Unlimited Foundation manages a $1.4 million government grant to help develop a regional platform for Russian-language media organizations to exchange news items 647 When announcing the program, the Minister of (see Chapter 7). Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, noted that the Dutch government was explicitly supporting independent media and not counterpropa- ganda, saying ‘‘misinformation from Moscow is a threat to media diversity in all countries in which Russian is spoken. However, counterpropaganda is ineffective and goes against our democratic principles. We wish to support the work of independent media ini- 648 tiatives without dictating what they should write or broadcast.’’ Lessons Learned • The Kremlin’s Disinformation Campaigns are Selective and Op- While disinformation appears to have been an im- portunistic: portant factor in the 2016 referendum on the EU-Ukraine trade agreement, it did not seem to play a role in the 2017 par- liamentary election. That suggests that concerted disinformation campaigns are not simply launched at every op- portunity, but targeted and scaled depending on the expected success of their efforts. • Threat Awareness and Quick Adaptability are Effective Resil- The Dutch government’s efforts to help raise ience Measures: awareness of and respond to potential cyber threats during the 2017 election period, especially by switching to paper ballots, protected the validity of the election and likely deterred efforts to interfere. 647 Government of the Netherlands, Ministry of ‘‘The Netherlands to Support Foreign Affairs, Independent Russian-Language Media,’’ Nov. 19, 2015. 648 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

122 116 UNITED KINGDOM The Russian government has sought to influence democracy in the United Kingdom through disinformation, cyber hacking, and corruption. While a complete picture of the scope and nature of Kremlin interference in the UK’s June 2016 referendum is still emerging, Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK government have condemned the Kremlin’s active measures, and various UK 649 government entities, including the Electoral Commission and parliamentarians, have launched investigations into different as- 650 pects of possible Russian government meddling. The UK govern- ment also worked to harden cyber defenses, particularly before the June 2017 election. The June 2016 referendum in which British voters opted for their country to leave the EU, famously dubbed ‘‘Brexit,’’ was a wa- tershed moment for Western countries grappling with a resurgent wave of populism and nationalism in their political systems. Head- lines the morning after the vote reflected the world’s—and many assessed it in stark terms: The Washington Post Britons’—shock. ‘‘British voters have defied the will of their leaders, foreign allies and much of the political establishment by opting to rupture this country’s primary connection to Europe in a stunning result that 651 will radiate economic and political uncertainty across the globe.’’ What was missing, however, in the morning-after news roundup was discussion of the Russian government and what role it may have played in helping to influence British voters’ decisions. Indeed, the picture of potential Russian meddling in the June referendum vote has only begun to come into sharper focus as sub- sequent elections around the world revealed common elements— false or inflammatory stories circulated by bots and trolls, allega- tions of cyber hacking, stories in Russian state-sponsored media outlets playing up fears of migration and globalization, and allega- tions of corrupt foreign influence on political parties and can- didates—that suggested a possible Russian hand. The Kremlin has long aimed to undermine European integration and the EU, in ad- dition to its aims to sow confusion and undermine confidence in democratic processes themselves, making Brexit a potentially ap- pealing target. The allegations that have emerged of Russian interference prior to the Brexit referendum are all the more stunning given the in- nate resilience within British society to the Kremlin’s anti-demo- 652 cratic agenda. A brief viewing of the lively sessions in Britain’s House of Commons is a reminder of the country’s traditions of pop- ular representation, robust debate, and transparent governance. Nevertheless, analysts have cited pockets within the UK political system that are relatively more vulnerable to Russian influence. British campaign finance laws generally focus on restricting ex- penditures by political parties more than limiting donations, 649 Rowena Mason, ‘‘Theresa May Accuses Russia of Interfering in Elections and Fake News,’’ Nov. 14, 2017. The Guardian, 650 Jeremy Kahn, ‘‘UK Proves Russian Social Media Influence in Brexit Vote, Bloomberg Poli- Nov. 2, 2017. tics, 651 Griff Witte et al., ‘‘In Stunning Decision, Britain Votes to Leave the E.U.,’’ The Washington Post, Jun. 24, 2016. 652 Neil Barnett, The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses: Russian Influence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, The Atlantic Council, at 18 (2016). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00122 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

123 117 though foreign donors are not considered ‘‘permissible donors’’ 653 under UK law. However, the beneficial owners of non-British companies that are incorporated in the EU and carry out business in the UK are immaterial under the law; this opacity may have en- abled Russian-related money to be directed with insufficient scru- 654 Investigative journalists have tiny to various UK political actors. also raised questions about the sources of sudden and possibly il- licit wealth that may have been directed to support the Brexit ‘‘Leave’’ campaign; the UK Electoral Commission has subsequently 655 begun to investigate. Meanwhile, experts have pointed to the role of the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader, Nigel Farage, in fanning anti-EU sentiment, criticism of the Euro- pean sanctions on Russia, and flattering assessments of Russian President Putin as well as far left wing views as conducive to align- 656 ment with Russia’s anti-EU and NATO-skeptic positions. More broadly, there are concerns about vulnerabilities to Russian government influence on various UK actors, including political par- ties, civil society, and think-tanks, through extensive Russian fi- 657 nancial ties and possibly illicit financial activity. While unre- corded inflows of cash may not necessarily be illicit, market re- search done in 2015 by Deutsche Bank confirmed through balance of payments data ‘‘the popular belief that Russian money has flood- ed into the UK in recent years,’’ particularly into the real estate market, and that a ‘‘considerable chunk’’ of unrecorded inflows into 658 the country are the result of Russian capital flight. In March 2015, UK Metropolitan Police noted that a total value of 180 mil- lion British pounds in properties in the UK had been put under in- vestigation as possibly purchased with corrupt proceeds by secre- tive offshore companies, in arrangements akin to ‘‘putting money in 659 a Swiss bank,’’ according to one investigator. Documents gath- ered and released to numerous media outlets in March 2017 by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and Russian newspaper detailed a ‘‘global laundromat’’ scheme Novaya Gazeta involving an estimated 500 Russian oligarchs, bankers, or individ- uals with connections to the FSB who moved at least $20 billion 660 in stolen or illicit money out of Russia from 2010-2014. The doc- uments showed that British banks processed nearly $740 million of this allegedly laundered money, drawing questions about the lack of scrutiny applied to suspicious money transfers and the anonym- 653 The Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000, c. 41, § 54 (UK). 654 ; Barnett, Ibid. The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses: Russian Influence in France, Germany, and at 18. the United Kingdom, 655 Alastair Sloan & Iain Campbell, ‘‘How Did Arron Banks Afford Brexit?’’ Open Democracy UK, Oct. 19, 2017; Holly Watt, ‘‘Electoral Commission to Investigate Arron Banks’ Brexit Dona- Nov. 1, 2017. The Guardian, tions,’’ 656 Barnett, The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses: Russian Influence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, at 18. 657 Ibid. at 20-23. 658 Deutsche Bank Markets Research, ‘‘Dark Matter: The Hidden Capital Flows that Drive G- 10 Exchange Rates,’’ Mar. 2015. 659 Robert Booth, ‘‘UK Properties Held by Offshore Firms Used in Global Corruption, Say Po- lice,’’ The Guardian, Mar. 3, 2015. 660 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, The Russian Laundromat, Aug. 22, 2014; Luke Harding et al., ‘‘British Banks Handled Vast Sums of Laundered Russian Money,’’ Mar. 20, 2017. The Guardian, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00123 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

124 118 ity afforded under UK law to the beneficial owners of British-reg- 661 istered companies. With regard to cyberspace, in February 2017 the head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Ciaran Martin, as- serted that the Russian government had stepped up its online ag- 662 gression against Western countries. He cited 188 major cyberattacks over a three-month period against the UK govern- ment, most of which were reportedly attributable to Russian and Chinese actors; the NCSC reportedly blocked 34,450 attacks over a six-month period against UK entities more broadly (although not all of these attacks are necessarily attributable to the Russian gov- 663 ernment). In a November 2017 public speech, he indicated that Russian interference over the past year ‘‘included attacks on the 664 UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors.’’ The Russian government has also apparently sought to seize on populist sentiments and economic frustrations, exploiting the UK’s generally open marketplace for free speech and political competi- tion by introducing fake or misleading news. Officially, the Russian government asserted its neutrality on the question of the Brexit referendum, but its English-language media outlets RT and Sput- nik covered the referendum campaign extensively and offered ‘’sys- tematically one-sided coverage’’ supporting a British departure from the European Union and frequently broadcasted statements 665 from UKIP head Farage. Reporting in November 2017 on cached material from Twitter ac- counts tied to the Internet Research Agency, the Russia-based troll farm that generated false stories around the 2016 U.S. elections, alleged that numerous accounts had also blasted out pro- CNN 666 Brexit messages before the UK referendum. Two researchers from the University of Edinburgh ultimately asserted that more than 400 of the Internet Research Agency Twitter accounts that had been active in the U.S. election had also been actively posting 667 about Brexit. Meanwhile, research conducted by a joint team of experts from the University of California at Berkeley and Swansea University in Wales reportedly identified 150,000 Twitter accounts with various Russian ties that disseminated messages about Brexit before the referendum—interestingly, a combination of messages both supporting and criticizing Britain’s membership in the Euro- pean Union, which may signal that the broader aim was to magnify 668 societal discord. In contrast, however, Twitter representatives reported in November 2017 that the company found only six Tweets on its platform—all generated by RT, which spent roughly 661 Luke Harding et al., ‘‘British Banks Handled Vast Sums of Laundered Russian Money,’’ The Guardian, Mar. 20, 2017. 662 Feb. 12, 2017. Richard Kerbaj, ‘‘Russia Steps Up Cyber-Attacks on UK,’’ The Times, 663 Pierluigi Paganini, ‘‘Britain’s Security Has Been Threatened by 188 Major Cyber Attacks Secu- in the Last Three Months, According to the Head of the National Cyber Security Centre,’’ Feb. 13, 2017. rity Affairs, 664 United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre, ‘‘Cyber Security: Fixing the Present So We Can Worry About the Future,’’ Nov. 15, 2017. 665 Ben Nimmo, ‘‘Putin’s Media are Pushing Britain for the Brexit,’’ The Interpreter, Feb. 12, 2016; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Tweet, https://twitter.com/mfa—rus- sia/status/748231648936869888, June 29, 2016. 666 , Donie O’Sullivan, ‘‘Russian Trolls Pushed Pro-Brexit Spin on Day of Referendum,’’ CNN Nov. 10, 2017. 667 Karla Adam & William Booth, ‘‘Rising Alarm in Britain Over Russian Meddling in Brexit Vote,’’ Nov. 17, 2017. The Washington Post, 668 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

125 119 $1,000 to promote them—constituting Russian-sponsored misin- formation during the Brexit campaign; the parliamentarian chairing the select committee to whom the information was re- ported called the Twitter report a ‘‘completely inadequate’’ response 669 that was overly narrow in scope. In addition, Facebook reports that the accounts they ‘‘attribute to the Internet Research Agency ran three ads that delivered to the UK during the relevant elec- toral period. Those ads delivered around 200 total impressions and 670 were associated with a total spend of $0.97 USD.’’ However, in limiting their investigation to just the Internet Research Agency, Facebook missed that it is only one troll farm which ‘‘has existed within a larger disinformation ecosystem in St. Petersburg,’’ includ- ing Glavset, an alleged successor of the Internet Research Agency, and the Federal News Agency, a reported propaganda ‘‘media 671 farm,’’ according to Russian investigative journalists. With the deepening realization of the threat of Russian govern- ment interference, the UK government has stepped up its scrutiny of possible Russian intrusions into its democratic system and heightened its responses, from which helpful lessons can be drawn. Lessons Learned Consolidating and Enhancing Cyber Security Can Preempt Dis- • In 2016, the UK established the closure of Hacked Material: NCSC as a ‘‘one-stop shop’’ for cybersecurity within its govern- ment to protect critical services from cyberattacks, manage major incidents, and pursue technological improvements to bol- 672 ster Internet security. The UK government also recently an- nounced a $2.3 billion increase in spending on cybersecurity to counter emerging threats and ‘‘hostile foreign actors.’’ Some ob- servers suggest this funding increase is linked to growing con- 673 Prior to the UK’s general elec- cerns about Russian activity. tion in June 2017, the NCSC contacted political party leaders and offered to help strengthen their network security in light of the potential for hostile foreign state action against the UK 674 British officials stated after the poll that political system. there was ‘‘no successful Russian cyber intervention’’ into the election process seen and asserted that systems were in place to protect against electoral fraud at all levels, though it is un- clear the extent to which the lack of meddling may have also 675 been due to a shift in the Kremlin’s approach. A Diverse, Visible Response by Government and Parliamentary • Growing revela- Actors Helps Raise Awareness of the Threat: 669 The Alex Hern, ‘‘Twitter’s Response to Brexit Interference Inquiry Inadequate, MP Says,’’ Guardian, Dec. 14, 2017. 670 Email from Facebook Official to Committee Staff. 671 Diana Pilipenko, ‘‘Facebook must ‘follow the money’ to uncover extent of Russian med- Oct. 9, 2017. The Guardian, dling,’’ 672 National Cyber Security Centre of the United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters, Annual Review (2017). 673 Henry Ridgwell, ‘‘Britain Invests Billions in Cybersecurity in Face of Russian Threat,’’ Voice of America, Nov. 4, 2016; Jamie Grierson, ‘‘UK Hit by 188 High-Level Cyber-Attacks in Three Months,’’ The Guardian, Feb. 12, 2017. 674 William James & Robin Pomeroy, ‘‘UK Political Parties Warned of Russian Hacking Threat,’’ , Mar. 12, 2017; Richard Kerbaj, ‘‘Russia Steps Up Cyber-Attacks on UK,’’ The Reuters Times, Feb. 12, 2017. 675 U.S. News & World Paul Shinkman, ‘‘British Say Election Was Free of Russian Meddling,’’ Report, June 16, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

126 120 tions of possible Russian government interference into the Brexit referendum and UK democracy were met with a sharp warning from Prime Minister May in an address in November 2017 in which she told the Kremlin, ‘‘We know what you are doing . . . and you will not succeed,’’ and described Russian 676 In state actions as ‘‘threatening the international order.’’ mid-November 2017, Prime Minister May suggested that a prominent intelligence and security parliamentary committee would be re-formed soon to investigate Russian meddling in the British election, a development called for by senior parlia- mentarians from both the Labour and Conservative parties. Meanwhile, the Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee opened an inquiry in January 2017 to inves- tigate the scope and role of disinformation and propaganda in 677 Britain. As mentioned earlier, the Electoral Commission opened investigations into possible campaign finance violations and the source of funding for the Brexit ‘‘Leave’’ campaign. On the corruption front, in May 2016 the United Kingdom hosted an anti-corruption summit in which 43 governments and six international organizations participated, resulting in a Global Declaration Against Corruption and 648 commitments by par- ticipating states and entities to strengthen various aspects of 678 transparency and accountability for corruption. The govern- ment of Former Prime Minister David Cameron announced at the summit, among other steps, the launch of ‘‘the UK’s public central register of company beneficial ownership information for all companies incorporated in the UK’’ as well as for ‘‘for- eign companies who already own or buy property in the UK, 679 or who bid on UK central government contracts.’’ The United Kingdom in April 2017 also passed into law the Crimi- nal Finances Act, which strengthens provisions against tax evasion and includes a section modeled after the U.S. Global Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability Act enabling the freezing of assets of foreign officials who have committed gross 680 human rights violations. 676 The New York David Kirkpatrick, ‘‘British Cybersecurity Chief Warns of Russian Hacking,’’ Times, Nov. 14, 2017. 677 Robert Booth & Alex Hern, ‘‘Intelligence Watchdog Urged to Look at Russian Influence on Nov. 15, 2017; United Kingdom House of Commons Select Com- The Guardian, Brexit Vote,’’ mittee Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, ‘‘‘Fake News’ Inquiry Launched,’’ Jan. 30, 2017. 678 Transparency International, 3 Things We’ve Learned Since the Anti-Corrutpion Summit in London 2016, Sept. 19, 2017. 679 Anti-Corruption Summit London 2016, United Kingdom Country Statement, at 1, May 12, 2016. 680 UK Parliament, Summary of the Criminal Finances Act of 2017, https://serv- ices.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/criminalfinances.html (visited Dec. 30, 2017); ‘‘Magnitsky Bill Feb. 21, 2017. Turns UK into ‘Hostile Environment’ for Kleptocrats,’’ BBC, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

127 121 FRANCE The Russian government has sought to influence democracy in France through the use of cyberattacks, disinformation, and cul- tural and political influence. Despite relatively strong historical, political, and cultural ties to Russia compared to other European powers, France and its new president Emmanuel Macron—himself a target of cyber hacking and disinformation—are emerging as strong voices against Russian government interference and have played a leading role in Europe to resist Kremlin meddling. Barely three weeks after he was elected with nearly twice the votes of his far-right, pro-Kremlin challenger Marine Le Pen, French President Emmanuel Macron stood next to Russian Presi- 681 dent Vladimir Putin for a press conference at Versailles. An ex- hibition inside the Palace was celebrating the 1717 visit to Paris of Russian tsar Peter the Great, a figure to whom Russia’s modern- 682 day strongman is often compared. But that day it was Macron, after being asked why certain Russian media outlets were not given access to his campaign, who projected a forceful stance. ‘‘I will yield nothing on this. Nothing, madam. So let’s set things straight . . . Russia Today and Sputnik did not act as news outlets and journalists, but they acted as organs of influence, of propa- 683 ganda, and of deceptive propaganda. It’s that simple.’’ Reports disseminated by these outlets and on pro-Kremlin social media had variously decried Macron as a puppet of U.S. political and business leaders, alleged he held an offshore account in the Bahamas to evade taxes, and fueled rumors of an extra-marital gay relation- 684 ship, which Macron publicly denied. For his part, Putin used the press conference to dismiss the no- tion of Russian government meddling in the French election, claim- ing Macron ‘‘did not show any interest [in discussing it] and I even 685 less.’’ But investigations by government and non-government re- searchers have pointed to a myriad of Russian malign influence tools that were deployed in France prior to its 2017 election. The French response was multi-faceted and quick, animated by a desire to avoid falling victim to meddling similar to what was seen in the 686 Brexit referendum and U.S. presidential election in 2016. And if, as it appeared, the Kremlin’s goal was to undermine Macron’s can- didacy, then the French response successfully stymied that goal. In recent years, the French government’s posture has become in- creasingly critical toward Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande in 2014 stopped delivery of two French warships ordered by the Kremlin and, in 2016, sug- gested Russian complicity in war crimes in Aleppo—an allegation 681 May 7, 2017; Nicholas Gregor Aisch, et al., ‘‘How France Voted,’’ The New York Times, Vinocur, ‘‘Macron, Standing by Putin, Calls RT and Sputnik ‘Agents of Influence,’’’ Politico, May 29, 2017. 682 May 29, 2017. Politico, Nicholas Vinocur, ‘‘Macron and the Czar at Versailles,’’ 683 James McAuley, ‘‘French President Macron Blasts Russian State-Owned Media as ‘Propa- ganda,’’’ The Washington Post, May 29, 2017. 684 Andrew Osborn & Richard Balmforth, ‘‘Macron Camp Bars Russian News Outlets, Angers Moscow,’’ Reuters , Apr. 27, 2017; Charles Bremmer, ‘‘Websites Pump Out Fake News Minutes The Times, After Offshore Claims,’’ May 5, 2017. 685 James McAuley, ‘‘French President Macron Blasts Russian State-Owned Media as ‘Propa- ganda,’’’ The Washington Post, May 29, 2017. 686 James McAuley, ‘‘French President Macron Blasts Russian State-Owned Media as ‘Propa- ganda,’ ’’ The Washington Post, May 29, 2017; Committee Staff Discussion with French Foreign Ministry Officials, Nov. 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

128 122 687 that prompted Putin to cancel a planned official visit to Paris. The French Foreign Ministry has also maintained that EU sanc- tions on the Russian Federation must remain in place until the 688 Minsk Agreements are fully implemented. Among Western Euro- pean powers, however, broader French society provides relatively fertile ground for Russian influence. The country has a long histor- ical relationship with Russia, as evidenced by Franco-Russian ties that exist in political parties, universities, think tanks, and jour- nalist circles. Pro-Kremlin sentiment has been demonstrated by actors across the French political spectrum, especially on the far right, far left, and center right. The Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen’s Eurosceptic and ultra-nationalist party, has staunchly defended Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria, calling for ‘‘balanced’’ rela- tions between Russia and the Western powers, particularly against 689 an Islamist ‘‘menace.’’ FN publicly acknowledged it took a loan of nine million euros from the First Czech-Russian Bank in Mos- cow, reportedly owned by pro-Kremlin oligarchs, after French banks refused to loan money to the party because of its historically 690 In the month prior to the anti-Semitic and extremist positions. first round of the 2017 presidential election, Le Pen traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin and endorse the lifting of European sanctions on Russia, while Putin told the assembled press that Russia did not seek to ‘‘influence’’ the French poll but simply ‘‘re- 691 serve the right to talk to all of the country’s political forces.’’ Far-left and Communist parties in France have been sympathetic to the Russian government, based on skepticism toward Europe 692 and a shared penchant for statism. Meanwhile, some center- right elements in France have viewed Russia through the prism of business and industry interests—during the 2016 campaign, Re- publican party candidate Francois Fillon cautioned against a Euro- pean hard line on sanctions and a military build-up along NATO’s eastern flank, and dismissed assertions by U.S. government offi- 693 cials of Russian meddling in the French poll as ‘‘fantasies.’’ The Kremlin has also cultivated ties with French civil society and religious actors it can exploit to influence French policies in Russia’s favor. For example, Vladimir Yakunin, the former head of Russian Railways who is under U.S. sanctions, is the co-president of Association Dialogue Franco-Russe in Paris, which, in the wake of European sanctions on Russia, has advocated for ‘‘normal’’ ties 694 between France and Russia to be promptly re-established. The 687 Finan- Michael Stothard, et al., ‘‘France Suspends Delivery Of Mistral Warship to Russia,’’ cial Times, Nov. 25, 2015; Kim Willsher & Alec Luhn, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Cancels Paris Visit Amid Oct. 11, 2016. Syria Row,’’ The Guardian, 688 Associated Press, ‘‘France Says Russia Sanctions to Remain in Place,’’ Mar. 9, 2017. 689 Vivienne Walt, ‘‘Why France’s Marine Le Pen is Doubling Down on Russia Support,’’ TIME, Jan. 9, 2017. 690 Ibid. ; Anne-Claude Martin, ‘‘National Front’s Russian Loans Cause Uproar in European Parliament,’’ EURACTIV.fr, Dec. 5, 2014; Sanita Jemberga, et al, ‘‘How Le Pen’s Party Brokered Russian Loans,’’ EUobserver, May 3, 2017. 691 ‘‘Le Pen Meets Putin Ahead of French Presidential Election,’’ Mar. 24, 2017. France 24, 692 Alina Polyakova et al., The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, Atlantic Council, at 7-8 (Nov. 15, 2016). 693 John Irish, ‘‘Russia Not Interfering in French Elections, Says Candidate Fillon,’’ Reuters , Mar. 31, 2017. 694 Association Dialogue Franco-Russe, ‘‘Board, Vladimir Yakunin,’’ http:// dialoguefrancorusse.com/en/association-uk/board/557-vladimir-yakunin.html (visited Dec. 30, 2017); U.S. Department of the Treasury, ‘‘Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00128 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

129 123 Paris-based Institute for Democracy and Cooperation is led by a former Duma deputy, Natalia Narochnitskaya, and according to one expert ‘‘toes a blatantly pro-Kremlin line,’’ with its representa- 695 The tives regularly appearing on Russian state-controlled media. Russian Orthodox Church has a significant presence in France and recently completed construction on a new church and community center near the Eiffel Tower—seen as a visible display of Russian might in the heart of Europe and part of the Kremlin’s attempts 696 to influence France’s 200,000-strong Russian diaspora. The facil- ity has been accorded diplomatic status and the community center’s activities are opaque, amidst concerns held by some government and civil society interlocutors in Paris that the space could be used 697 to house Russian intelligence activities. Against this backdrop of carefully fostered cultural, media and political ties, the Kremlin ramped up the use of additional informa- tion warfare tools to seize on anti-European sentiment around the 2017 French presidential election and discredit Macron in par- ticular. For example, a study released in April by a UK-based firm noted that nearly one in four website links shared by French social media users before the French election ‘‘come from sources which 698 challenge traditional media narratives.’’ In April, a Macron cam- paign spokesman said that ‘‘2,000 to 3,000 attempts have been made to hack the campaign, including denial-of-service attacks that briefly shut down Macron’s website and more sophisticated efforts 699 to burrow into email accounts of individual campaign workers.’’ Research by a private cybersecurity firm indicated that the Macron campaign was a target of APT28, the same Russian government- linked hackers behind the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and 700 DNC doxing attacks. Just days before the runoff vote, hacked emails and documents from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign were leaked online. The hack was first announced by an alt-right activist in the United States, whose tweet promoting the leak was report- edly spread with the help of bots and a network of alt-right activ- ists before being picked up by Wikileaks, which ultimately pub- lished a searchable archive of tens of thousands of emails and docu- 701 ments hacked from the Macron campaign. Indications of Russian state-sponsored cyberattacks against French entities date back to before the 2017 presidential election, starkly illustrated by the massive cyberattack against French glob- al broadcaster TV5Monde in 2015. In a swift assault, 12 of the net- The Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine,’’ Mar. 20, 2014; Association Dialogue Franco-Russe, ‘‘The Franco-Russian Dialogue is in Favor of the Imminent Resumption of Normal Cooperation with Russia,’’ Mar. 29, 2016. 695 Radio Free Eu- Natalya Kanevskaya, ‘‘How The Kremlin Wields Its Soft Power In France,’’ June 24, 2014. rope/Radio Liberty, 696 The Guard- Antoine Blua, ‘‘Russian ‘Spiritual Centre’ Set to Open in the Heart of Paris,’’ ian, Oct. 19, 2016. 697 Antoine Blua, ‘‘Russia Unveils Cultural, Orthodox Jewel On The Seine,’’ Radio Free Eu- rope/Radio Liberty, Oct. 17, 2016. 698 The Role and Impact of Non-Traditional Publishers in the 2017 French Presidential Elec- tion, Bakamo, 2017; Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Russia-Linked Fake News Floods French Social Media,’’ EUobserver, Apr. 20, 2017. 699 Rick Noack, ‘‘Cyberattack on French Presidential Front-Runner Bears Russian ‘Finger- The Washington Post, Apr. 25, 2017. prints’, Research Group Says,’’ 700 John Leyden, ‘‘Kremlin-Backed DNC Hackers Going After French Presidential Hopeful Ma- cron,’’ The Register, Apr. 25, 2017. 701 ‘‘Macron Leaks: The Anatomy of a Hack,’’ BBC News , May 9, 2017; ‘‘Wikileaks Publishes Searchable Archive of Macron Campaign Emails,’’ , July 31, 2017. Reuters VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00129 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

130 124 work’s channels suddenly went dark on the night of April 9. Within nine hours, an on-site technical team was able to identify and dis- able the malicious server (a more protracted delay to return to the airwaves could have resulted in the cancellation of contracts by sat- ellite carriers, endangering the company). While messages posted on the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages at the onset of the attack alleged to be from a group calling itself the ‘‘Cyber Caliph- ate’’ that espoused the Islamic State, French officials who inves- 702 tigated the attack subsequently linked it to APT28. The seeming aim of the attack—not to disable, but to destroy—suggested that it may have been ‘‘an attempt to test forms of cyber weaponry as part of an increasingly aggressive posture,’’ and the company’s profits and staff were hampered for months until the extent of the breach could be addressed and more rigorous security protocols put into 703 place. On May 9, Admiral Mike Rogers, Director of the U.S. National Security Agency and Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command ac- knowledged in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Com- mittee that Washington had become ‘‘aware of Russian activity’’ to hack French election-related infrastructure in the months prior to the French election and had signaled this to French counterparts, 704 with an offer to assist in building resilience. The broader re- sponse that the French government pursued to counter Russian election meddling reflected engagement and cooperation with not only other governments but also media and political parties, and provides a helpful, comprehensive model from which the United States and other countries can draw. Lessons Learned Swift Engagement with Political Parties and on Electoral Infra- • In response to what structure Can Blunt Effects of Meddling: French authorities viewed as possible Russian efforts to hack the digital infrastructure of political campaigns, France’s main cybersecurity agency, the French Network and Information Se- curity Agency (ANSSI), warned all political parties about the 705 Russian cyber threat in the fall of 2016. ANSSI subse- quently offered cybersecurity awareness-raising and training seminars for all French political parties ahead of French elec- tions this past spring; all parties participated except for Front 706 ANSSI itself, created in 2007 after National, which declined. the emergence of massive denial-of-service attacks in Estonia which that government had attributed to Russian-backed hack- ers, was the focus of increased French government invest- ment—with a 93 percent jump in its budget between 2010 and 702 Sam Jones, ‘‘Russia Mobilises an Elite Band of Cyber Warriors,’’ Financial Times, Feb. 23, 2017. 703 Gordon Corera, ‘‘How France’s TV5 Was Almost Destroyed By ‘Russian Hackers’,’’ BBC, Oct. 20, 2016. 704 Testimony of Admiral Michael S. Rodgers, Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, Hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 9, United States Cyber Command, 2017. 705 Jan. France24, Mehdi Chebil, ‘‘France Takes Steps to Prevent an Election Hack Attack,’’ 16, 2017. 706 Apr. 23, 2017. Politico, Laura Daniels, ‘‘How Russia Hacked the French Election,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00130 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

131 125 707 2014. And France’s 2015 National Digital Security Strategy identified spreading disinformation and propaganda ‘‘an attack 708 on defence and national security’’ to be met with a response. In advance of June 2017 parliamentary elections, the French government also discontinued electronic voting by French citi- 709 zens abroad. • Direct Diplomatic Engagement Clearly Pointing to Malicious Actors and the Consequences of Their Actions Can Act as a De- terrent: In a February speech to the French parliament, then Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated that France ‘‘will not accept any interference whatsoever in our electoral process, no more from Russia than from any other state. This is a ques- tion of our democracy, our sovereignty, our national independ- 710 Ayrault’s warning included a pledge to carry out re- ence.’’ 711 taliatory measures against any such interference. French government officials reiterated this warning privately to Rus- sian officials in France, which may have prompted overt Rus- sian interference in the campaign and comments on specific 712 candidates to apparently subside. Since then, the Macron Administration has stressed the importance of boosting inter- 713 national cooperation to prevent and respond to cyberattacks. Encouraging Vigilance by Non-Government Actors and Collec- • tive Discipline in Media, the Private Sector, and Civil Society is a Critical Ingredient in an Effective Response: Subsequent to the dump of hacked material from the Macron campaign less than 48 hours before the runoff vote, the French electoral com- mission issued an instruction to news media in France not to publish the contents of the leaked information or risk criminal 714 For its part, the media effectively complied with charges. the government ban, but also took steps on its own to exercise collective discipline and increase its scrutiny of information be- fore publication to avoid spreading fake news. Mainstream news organizations increased their fact-checking efforts as 715 Le Monde’s signs of Russian disinformation emerged. Decodex project, for example, enabled a suite of fact-checking products based on a database of more than 600 websites, both French and international, which its fact checkers had identi- fied as unreliable because the site could not be verified as le- 716 Perhaps gitimate or was deemed to manipulate information. 707 Nicholas Vinocur, ‘‘France At Risk of Being Next Election Hacking Victim,’’ Jan. Politico, 5, 2017. 708 French National Digital Security Strategy 2015, Office of the Prime Minister of France, at 20. 709 , ‘‘France Drops Electronic Voting for Citizens Abroad Over Cybersecurity Fears,’’ Reuters Mar. 6, 2017. The French government had previously allowed its citizens abroad to vote elec- tronically in legislative elections, but not presidential elections. 710 ‘‘France Warns Russia Against Meddling in Election,’’ Reuters , Feb. 15, 2017. 711 Ibid. 712 Committee staff discussion with French foreign ministry officials, Nov. 2017. 713 Press Statement, ‘‘Cybersecurity: Attacks Against Private and Public Actors,’’ Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, May 15, 2017. 714 Lizzie Dearden, ‘‘Emmanuel Macron Hacked Emails: French Media Ordered by Electoral Commission Not to Publish Content of Messages,’’ The Independent, May 6, 2017. 715 Dana Priest & Michael Birnbaum, ‘‘Europe Has Been Working to Expose Russian Meddling June 25, 2017. for Years,’’ The Washington Post, 716 Jessica Davies, ‘‘Le Monde Identifies 600 Unreliable Websites in Fake-News Crackdown,’’ Jan. 25, 2017. Digiday, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00131 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

132 126 drawing from lessons learned in the 2016 U.S. election, Facebook stated publicly in April 2017 that it had suspended 30,000 accounts for promoting propaganda or election-related spam before the French poll, though subsequent press report- ing on private meetings between company officials and con- gressional staff indicate the number of accounts ultimately sus- 717 This reporting pended could have been as many as 70,000. also cited evidence connecting Russian intelligence to approxi- mately two dozen fake Facebook accounts that were used to conduct surveillance specifically on Macron campaign staff, 718 The Macron campaign, which the company deactivated. mindful it was a hacking target, also took defensive steps to furnish false logins and information in response to spear- phishing emails; while hackers ultimately were able to break into campaign materials, the effort may have helped to delay the release of the information until late in the campaign, at which point it gained limited traction with a forewarned, and 719 vigilant, French audience. 717 Eric Auchard & Joseph Menn, ‘‘Facebook cracks down on 30,000 fake accounts in France,’’ Reuters , Apr. 13, 2017; Joseph Menn, ‘‘Russia Used Facebook to Try to Spy on Macron Cam- , July 27, 2017. paign—Sources,’’ Reuters 718 Ibid. 719 Rachel Donadio, ‘‘Why the Macron Hacking Attack Landed With a Thud in France,’’ The May 8, 2017. New York Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00132 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

133 127 GERMANY The Russian government has sought to influence democracy in Germany through energy ties, cultural and political influence, disinformation, and cyberattacks. The German government and its Chancellor Angela Merkel are regarded as indispensable leaders in sustaining a united, democratic Europe. This has particularly been the case since the Russian military aggression into Ukraine in 2014. Nevertheless, historical business and political ties between Russia and some camps in Germany, as well as relationships forged in the energy sector, have presented opportunities for the Kremlin to attempt to meddle. A 2007 meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the latter’s summer residence in Sochi, Russia—in which Putin let his black Labrador into the room to approach Merkel, who has a fear of dogs—has been widely 720 But Merkel’s as- hailed as a sign of Putin’s cunning statecraft. sessment of the situation in an interview later dismissed the Rus- sian leader’s power play: ‘‘I understand why he has to do this—to prove he’s a man,’’ she told a group of reporters. ‘‘He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or econ- 721 omy. All they have is this.’’ Indeed, Merkel has proven to be a formidable obstacle to Putin in achieving his goals to undermine a democratic Europe, particularly in the leading diplomatic role Merkel and Germany have played in projecting a united—and firm—European response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of EU sanctions. Ten years after the infamous dog incident, Merkel held firm in a tense May 2017 meeting on EU sanctions imposed against Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support for Ukrainian separatists, and raised concerns about human rights abuses inside Russia and the Kremlin’s election med- 722 dling abroad. Even before the Ukraine conflict, however, the Russian govern- ment has used energy politics as a key lever of influence in Ger- ̈ many. In 2005, former chancellor Gerhard Schro der became the chairman of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG, a consortium led by Gazprom to bring Russian gas to Germany under 723 the Baltic Sea via two pipelines. The first was inaugurated in 2011, but completion of the second, dubbed Nord Stream 2, has faced considerable obstacles from European Union members and littoral states who fear it will increase European reliance on Rus- sian gas and undermine stability in Ukraine, which currently re- ceives transit payments for the gas that runs through its territory 720 , CNN Tim Hume, ‘‘Vladimir Putin: I Didn’t Mean to Scare Angela Merkel with My Dog,’’ Jan. 12, 2016. 721 Thomas Johnson, ‘‘Merkel Appears to Roll Her Eyes at Putin, and the Internet Can’t Get The Washington Post, July 7, 2017. Enough,’’ 722 Patrick Donahue & Ilya Arkhipov, ‘‘In Tense Encounter, Merkel Tells Putin Sanctions Must Remain,’’ May 2, 2017; Andreas Rinke & Denis Pinchuk, ‘‘Putin, Merkel Strug- Bloomberg, gle to Move Past Differences in Tense Meeting,’’ Reuters , May 2, 2017. 723 Nord Stream, ‘‘Who We Are,’’ https://www.nord-stream.com/about-us/ (visited Dec. 31, 2017); ‘‘Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder Nominated to Russia’s Rosneft Board,’’ Aug. 12, 2017. Deutsche Welle, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00133 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

134 128 724 In September 2017, the Russian state-controlled oil to Europe. 725 ̈ der its board chairman. company Rosneft named Schro Meanwhile, Russia has also cultivated ties with both extreme ends of the political spectrum in Germany. The Alternative for Ger- many (AfD) party, which ascended to third place in the September 2017 elections and is the first far-right party to enter the Bundes- tag since World War II, has reportedly sought close ties with Rus- 726 It has reportedly also forged alliances sian state-backed media. between its youth wing and leaders of United Russia’s Yunarmiya (Young Guard) and former Nashi youth movement, and courted 727 ethnic Russian voters in Germany. The German newspaper Bild alleged that Russia had directed funds to the AfD ahead of the Sep- tember elections through the sale of gold to the AfD via middlemen at under-market values, a scenario through which the party may 728 not have realized it was being subsidized with Russian cash. Both the AfD and the Kremlin have fervently denied any such fi- 729 nancial ties. Meanwhile, the far-left Die Linke party has proven sympathetic ground for the Kremlin’s interests, with party leaders positing that the Ukraine conflict is the result of American actions and traveling to the separatist ‘‘Donetsk People’s Republic’’ in east- ern Ukraine to express solidarity and provide humanitarian re- 730 lief. Civil society and popular movements have also been used as in- fluence tools to promote a pro-Kremlin worldview. For example, the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, founded in 2016 in Berlin and financed by Putin ally Vladimir Yakunin, with reported investments from other Russian businessmen, sponsors research and events with the reported aim to make Russia’s world view 731 The Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of ‘‘popular.’’ the West movement in Germany has displayed Russian flags and pro-Kremlin slogans at its protests decrying Germany’s hospitality to migrants and refugees, which have also been broadcast live on 732 A few German RT’s German language channel, RT Deutsch. media outlets also reported in the run-up to the September 2017 election on concerns that increasingly popular ‘’systema clubs’’ es- tablished throughout the country to teach a martial art form used 724 ‘‘U.S. Diplomat Says Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Probably Won’t Be Built,’’ Radio Free Eu- Nov. 29, 2017; ‘‘Denmark Passes Law to Block Nord Stream 2,’’ rope/Radio Liberty, Newsbase, Dec. 7, 2017; Statement of Dr. Constanze Stelzenmuller, ‘‘The Impact of Russian Interference Russian Intervention in European Elections, Hearing before the on Germany’s 2017 Elections,’’ U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 28, 2017. For more on Nord Stream 2, see Chapter 4. 725 Rosneft, ‘‘Corporate Governance; Board of Directors,’’ https://www.rosneft.com/governance/ board (visited Dec. 31, 2017); Geoffrey Smith, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Just Gave Ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder A Plum Oil Job,’’ Fortune, Sept. 29, 2017. 726 Simon Shuster, ‘‘How Russian Voters Fueled the Rise of Germany’s Far-Right,’’ TIME, Sept. 25, 2017. 727 Melanie Amann & Pavel Lokshin, ‘‘German Populists Forge Ties with Russia,’’ Spiegel On- line, Apr. 27, 2016. 728 EUobserver, Apr. Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Illicit Russian Money Poses Threat to EU Democracy,’’ 21, 2017. 729 Simon Shuster, ‘‘How Russian Voters Fueled the Rise of Germany’s Far-Right,’’ TIME, Sept. 25, 2017. 730 Alina Polyakova et al., The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, Atlantic Council, at 15 (Nov. 2016). 731 Deutsche Ben Knight, ‘‘Putin Associate Opens Russia-Friendly Think Tank in Berlin,’’ Welle, July 1, 2016. 732 Roman Goncharenko, ‘‘In Dresden, Russian Flags of Protest Against Islam and Merkel,’’ Deutsche Welle, at 16. Nov. 22, 2015; Alina Polyakova et al., The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00134 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

135 129 by Russian special security services were potentially being used to 733 recruit new agents for the Russian state. Indeed, as Merkel’s Germany has led the defense of transatlantic values that underlie open, democratic societies, playing on fears of migrants has become a durable theme of Russian disinformation and political influence in an effort to undermine the German gov- ernment’s standing with its own population. A well-known example of this is the ‘‘Lisa case’’ of January 2016, a fabricated story initi- ated on a Russian state-run television broadcaster and circulated widely on social media of a 13 year-old Russian-German girl who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by ‘‘Southern-looking,’’ pre- 734 sumably Muslim, migrants. Police interviewed the alleged victim and quickly determined the story to be false, but even Russian For- eign Minister Sergei Lavrov joined the fray in publicly highlighting 735 the case and suggesting an official cover-up. The case sparked protests by thousands of Russian-German citizens who decried Ger- 736 many’s acceptance of migrants. Ironically, the Lisa case was es- sentially a victim of its own success, as it piqued awareness in Ger- man society of Russian-sponsored disinformation and helped con- tribute to a healthy skepticism of fake news as Germany entered a hotly contested election season. The use of bots and trolls in the 2016 German election appears to have been less extensive than in the recent elections in France and the United States and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, social media analyses by U.S. and Euro- pean-based researchers suggested that prior to the German elec- tion, pro-Kremlin and primarily Russian-language ‘‘bot’’ accounts on Twitter combined commercial and pornographic posts and retweets with pro-AfD content, concerns about electoral fraud, and attacks on Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny— though it was unclear who was managing or directing these spo- 737 A purported Russian hacker told BuzzFeed News radic posts. that he and thirty other hackers were amplifying non-official, pro- AfD content prior to the poll; the party itself had stated it would 738 not use Twitter bots as part of its campaign. Meanwhile, Rus- sian state-sponsored media outlets RT and Sputnik crafted and pushed out stories carefully framed to undermine Merkel and her party. RT ran positive articles on the AfD and amplified German nationalists who railed on the country’s perceived failures in Euro- pean integration and counter-terrorism, while Sputnik put out sto- ries that played up Russian and German interests allegedly being 733 May 23, EUobserver, Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Fight Club: Russian Spies Seek EU Recruits,’’ 2017. 734 Damien McGuinness, ‘‘Russia Steps into Berlin ‘Rape’ Storm Claiming German Cover-Up,’’ BBC, Jan. 27, 2016; Ben Knight, ‘‘Teenage Girl Admits Making Up Migrant Rape Claim That Jan. 31, 2016. Outraged Germany,’’ The Guardian, 735 Damien McGuinness, ‘‘Russia Steps into Berlin ‘Rape’ Storm Claiming German Cover-Up,’’ BBC, Jan. 27, 2016. 736 Statement of Melissa Hooper, Director of Human Rights and Civil Society, Human Rights First, The Scourge of Russian Disinformation, Hearing before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperating in Europe, Sept. 14, 2017, at 3. 737 ‘‘#ElectionWatch: Russian Botnet Boosts German Far-Right Posts,’’ Digital Forensic Re- ‘Make Germany Great Again:’ Kremlin, Alt- search Lab, Sept. 21, 2017; Anne Applebaum et al., Right, and International Influences in the 2017 German Elections, Institute for Strategic Dia- logue and LSE Institute for Global Affairs, at 13. 738 Henk Van Ess & Jane Lytvynenko, ‘‘This Russian Hacker Says His Twitter Bots Are Spreading Messages to Help Germany’s Far Right Party In The Election,’’ BuzzFeed News, Sept. 24, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00135 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

136 130 undermined by Europe and the United States, as well as the coun- 739 tries’ mutual hardships during the Second World War. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency also alleged that Krem- lin-linked hackers were behind a 2015 hack of the lower house of the Bundestag that exfiltrated thousands of documents, and were responsible for subsequent hacks of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and other political foundations and organizations af- 740 filiated with it. The head of German domestic intelligence said in comments to reporters that the attacks were part of a campaign directed by Russia to ‘‘generate information that can be used for disinformation or for influencing operations . . .. Whether they do it or not is a political decision . . . that I assume will be made in the 741 German officials determined that the attacks had Kremlin.’’ been likely carried out by APT28, the hacker group also known as Fancy Bear that has been linked to the Russian government, and which was connected to several high-profile cyberattacks in the 742 Interestingly, by United States, France, Ukraine, and elsewhere. the September 24 election in Germany, a data dump of hacked in- formation similar to those in the United States and France did not take place—perhaps out of concern for Merkel’s reaction in the 743 event that she won the election. In meetings with Committee staff in the months before the Ger- man election, most German interlocutors seemed sanguine that Russia would not interfere in a significant way, but political party representatives did express growing apprehension about their lack of preparation for a Russian attack. But time and the experience of other countries had afforded the German government, political parties, and the media the opportunity to build defenses against Russian meddling before election day. These defenses included a mix of government and non-government steps to boost resilience, from which the United States and others can draw important les- sons. Lessons Learned • Disincentivizing the Sharing of Disinformation Must be Bal- anced with Freedom of Expression Concerns: In late 2016, with the encouragement of the Interior Ministry, all German polit- ical parties except for the AfD agreed not to use bots or paid trolls in their campaigning, while Chancellor Merkel warned in a major address of the threat of fake news and disinformation tactics and signaled a willingness to explore increased govern- 744 ment regulation of this space. The Interior Ministry also proposed the creation of a ‘‘Center of Defense Against Misin- formation,’’ noting that Russian-Germans and people of Turk- ish origins are especially susceptible to disinformation and rec- 739 Donald N. Jensen, ‘‘Moscow’s New Strategy in Berlin,’’ Center for European Policy Anal- ysis, Oct. 4, 2017. 740 , May 4, Reuters Andrea Shalal, ‘‘Germany Challenges Russia Over Alleged Cyberattacks,’’ 2017. 741 Ibid. 742 APT28: At the Center of The Storm, Russia Strategically FireEye iSight Intelligence, Evolves Its Cyber Operations, at 4 (Jan. 2017). 743 Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?’’ The New York Times, Sept. 21, 2017. 744 Jefferson Chase, ‘‘Experts Say Laws Not Enough as Germany Fights Bots and Fake News,’’ Nov. 25, 2016. Deutsche Welle, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00136 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

137 131 ommending ‘‘an intensification of political education work’’ 745 with those groups. In June 2017, the German parliament 50 million for passed legislation that enabled fines of up to ÷ social media companies that failed to remove obviously illegal content within 24 hours, or that failed to assess likely false content and remove it within seven days. While the law in- creased incentives for social media companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to police the content on their platforms, critics of the law called it a concerning legal model that pos- sibly infringes on free speech and places too much power in the 746 hands of companies to curb content simply to avoid fines. The government also relied on Germany’s already relatively stringent laws on defamation and hate speech that promotes 747 Facebook reported that it in- violence against minorities. creased its efforts throughout the German parliamentary elec- tion campaign period, providing candidates with cybersecurity training, working directly with the Federal Office for Informa- tion Security (BSI) national cybersecurity office, and removing 748 While German govern- tens of thousands of fake accounts. ment, business, and civil society actors have deployed ‘‘vigorous action’’ against the causes and effects of information manipula- tion and dissemination, some experts have noted difficulties enforcing strengthened legal regimes and the risk they pose to freedom of expression, and have urged that the German gov- ernment couple its monitoring and oversight of online propa- 749 ganda with increasing media literacy among the population. Prioritize Cybersecurity Rapid-Response Capacity and Informa- • tion Sharing German efforts to bolster cyber capabilities in- cluded adopting a new cyber security strategy in November 2016 that outlines a plan to confront a range of emerging cyber threats, including the kind of threats many analysts have at- tributed to Russia. Under this new cyber strategy, overseen by the BSI, rapid reaction cyber teams have been created across the government to respond quickly to cyber threats against 750 The Ger- government institutions and critical infrastructure. man government has also created a new ‘‘Cyber Command’’ within its armed forces, staffed by about 13,500 military and 751 A 2015 information technology security law other personnel. established minimum standards for companies to protect crit- ical cyber infrastructure and requires them to inform authori- ties about any critical incidents, in response to which BSI ana- lyzes the threat and informs other companies who may be at 745 ‘‘Germany Plans Creation of ‘Center Of Defense’ Against Fake News, Report Says,’’ Deut- Dec. 23, 2016. sche Welle, 746 Carla Bleiker & Kate Brady, ‘‘Bundestag Passes Law to Fine Social Media Companies for Deutsche Welle, June 30, 2017. not Deleting Hate Speech,’’ 747 Thorsten Severin & Emma Thomasson,‘‘German Parliament Backs Plan to Fine Social Media Over Hate Speech,’’ Reuters, June 30, 2017. 748 Richard Allan, Vice President for Public Policy EMEA, Facebook Ireland,‘‘Update on Ger- man Elections,’’ Facebook blog post, Sept. 27, 2017, https://de.newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/09/up- date-zu-den-wahlen (visited Dec. 30, 2017). 749 Uni- Lisa-Maria N. Neudert, Computational Propaganda in Germany: A Cautionary Tale, versity of Oxford, at 23 (June 2017). 750 German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Cyber Security Strategy for Germany, Nov. 2016. 751 Apr. 1, 2017. ‘‘German Army Launches New Cyber Command,’’ Deutsche Welle, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00137 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

138 132 752 BSI also advises parliamentary risk of a similar attack. groups on how to protect themselves, and German political campaigns have agreed not to exploit any information that was 753 the result of cyber hacking. Direct Diplomatic Warnings Can Deter Kremlin Aggression: • In their tense May 2017 meeting, Chancellor Merkel publicly warned that there would be ‘‘decisive measures’’ taken against any attempts to interfere in the German election through cyberattacks or disinformation. She pointed to the hybrid war- fare techniques as a hallmark of Russian military doctrine, but also underscored that she was ‘‘not anxious’’ about possible 754 Russian interference. 752 Janosch Delcker,‘‘Germany’s Cybersecurity Chief on Hacking, Russia and Problems Hiring Mar. 20, 2017; Act to Enhance the Security of Information Technology Politico EU, Experts,’’ Systems (IT Security Act) (Gesetz zur Erhohung der Sicherheit informationstechnischer Systeme), German Federal Law Gazette 2015, Part I, No. 31, 1324, July 25, 2015. 753 Delcker, ‘‘Germany’s Cybersecurity Chief on Hacking, Russia and Problems Hiring Ex- perts,’’ Politico EU; Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘German Election Mystery: Why No Russian Meddling?’’ The New York Times, Sept. 21, 2017. 754 Roland Oliphant, ‘‘ ‘There’s No Proof’: Putin Denies Hacking Elections as Angela Merkel Visits for Summit on ‘Problematic’ Differences,’’ May 2, 2017. The Telegraph, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00138 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

139 133 SPAIN In Spain, the authorities have grappled with the pernicious ac- tivities of Russian-based criminal organizations for decades. Their efforts have revealed direct ties between the Russian mafia and senior members of Putin’s regime, as well as links between Putin himself and entities that have allegedly engaged in money laun- dering in Europe. Russia-based criminal organizations have report- edly been active in Catalonia for years, building their influence in politics and business and working to exploit rivalries between re- gional and national law enforcement entities. There is also an in- creasing body of evidence that Kremlin-run news outlets like RT and Sputnik, reinforced by bots and fake social media accounts, carried out a disinformation campaign during Catalonia’s inde- pendence referendum in October 2016. According to an extensive report by Sebastian Rotella published , a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, in ProPublica the Russian mafia landed in Spain in the late 1990s, when a high- ranking figure from St. Petersburg’s notorious Tambov gang, Gennady Petrov, made his home on the island of Mallorca, from where he ran a worldwide network of the gang’s businesses, includ- ing cobalt and cigarette smuggling through Finland, money laun- dering operations in Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, and the Czech Re- public, and an embezzlement scheme in Germany that stole more than $100 million and resulted in thousands of shipyard workers 755 losing their jobs. Spanish law enforcement grew curious about the source of Petrov’s wealth—he had reportedly amassed $50 million in Spain 756 alone—and began to monitor his phone calls. They found that Petrov had active ties to senior officials throughout the Russian 757 He reportedly plotted with a senior justice ministry government. official in Moscow, who promised to intimidate a shipbuilder who was behind schedule in building a yacht for Petrov. A few days 758 And in a conversa- later, the shipbuilder was back on schedule. tion with his son, Petrov boasted of meeting with Russia’s then de- fense minister, Anatoly Serdiukov, with whom he reportedly made deals involving real estate, airplanes, and energy investments (Serdiukov was sacked by Putin in 2012 during an anti-corruption 759 campaign, and granted amnesty in 2014). Spanish prosecutors met with Alexander Litvinenko—the former Russian spy who some suspect was assassinated on orders from Putin—in June 2006 and persuaded him to testify against Russian mobsters in Spain about information he had from his time in Rus- 760 sia’s intelligence services. But Litvinenko’s killers got to him be- 755 Sebastian Rotella, ‘‘A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob re- vealed Russian Power Networks,’’ ProPublica , Nov. 10, 2017. 756 Ibid. 757 Ibid. 758 Ibid. 759 Ibid. ; Jason Bush & Baczynska, ‘‘Russia Grants Amnesty to Former Defence Minister Reuters , Mar. 6, 2014. Anatoly Serdyukov—Report,’’ 760 An inquiry by the UK’s House of Commons concluded that order to kill Litvinenko was likely approved by Putin. United Kingdom House of Commons, The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report at 244 (Mar. 2015); see Appendix B; Sebastian Rotella, into the Death of Alexander Litvinenko, ‘‘A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob revealed Russian Power Net- Nov. 10, 2017. ProPublica, works,’’ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00139 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

140 134 fore he could testify at trial. Jose Grinda Gonzalez, Spain’s leading law enforcement expert on Russian organized crime, told reporters, ‘‘We had accepted the idea that the world of the Russian mafia was like that. But it’s true that the case made other people think this 761 gentleman had told the truth, because now he was dead.’’ Through their investigations of Petrov’s gang, Spanish law en- forcement authorities found enough evidence linking the criminal organization to Russian government officials that they named over a dozen of them in the indictments, including the former defense 762 Petrov was arrested in 2008 in a massive crackdown minister. on Russian organized crime that eventually resulted in pretrial in- dictments against 27 suspects on charges of criminal association 763 and money laundering. Vladislav Reznik, a senior Duma mem- ber and leader of Putin’s United Russia party, is among the ac- cused, and the indictment alleges that he operated at ‘‘the highest levels of power in Russia on behalf of Mr. Petrov and his organiza- 764 Petrov’s trial is set to begin in February 2018, though he tion.’’ is unlikely to attend: he disappeared to Russia on bond in 2012 and the Russian government has not taken any action to return him to 765 But the Petrov case has led to more progress in Spain’s Spain. fight against Russian organized crime: in 2009, while pursuing a lead from the case, Spanish police entered the office of a lawyer suspected of money laundering, only to see him grab a document 766 The document, from his desk, crumple it up, and begin to eat it. after being forcibly spat out, led investigators to a new group of al- leged money launderers in Barcelona who have suspected ties to 767 Kremlin-linked organized crime. The suspected money laundering ring in Barcelona is indicative of long-running efforts by Russian organized crime groups to set up shop in Catalonia. Russian mobsters have reportedly been active in Catalonia for years, building influence among politicians and businesspeople and seeking to exploit the rivalry between regional 768 and national law-enforcement agencies. ProPublica, According to Suspected underworld figures also surfaced as representa- tives of a major Russian oil company, Lukoil, that was pro- posing to join with a Spanish firm to open 150 gasoline stations in [Barcelona]. The deal ultimately fell through, but information from Spanish and Russian law enforce- ment cited in court documents suggested that organized crime figures with ties to both Lukoil and the Russian spy 769 agencies planned to use the deal to launder illicit funds. And in 2013, the Catalan regional government appointed Xavier Crespo, a former mayor belonging to the Convergence and Union (CiU) party, to the post of security secretary, which controls the 761 Sebastian Rotella, ‘‘A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob re- Nov. 10, 2017. ProPublica, vealed Russian Power Networks,’’ 762 Ibid. While mentioned in court documents, the officials were not actually charged. 763 Ibid. 764 Ibid. 765 Ibid. 766 Ibid. 767 Ibid. 768 Sebastian Rotella, ‘‘A Gangster Place in the Sun: How Spain’s Fight Against the Mob re- Nov. 10, 2017. ProPublica, vealed Russian Power Networks,’’ 769 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00140 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

141 135 770 Catalan police. However, the appointment was rescinded when intelligence services based in Madrid presented evidence that Crespo was involved in money laundering, and in 2014 he was in- 771 The CiU also allegedly dicted for accepting bribes from Petrov. received funds laundered by Russian crime syndicates through 772 Catalonian banks and shell companies. A faction of the CiU joined with two leftist parties to form the coalition that held the referendum on October 1, 2017 for Catalonia’s independence from Spain. The referendum was driven by decades-long domestic political, cultural, and economic issues, but it also presented Moscow with an opportunity to promote an outcome that would weaken a major EU state. And there is now an increasingly large body of evidence showing that the Kremlin, at least through its state-run media outlets, directed a significant disinformation campaign targeting the referendum. The U.S. State Department reported that: Russian state news outlets, such as Sputnik, published a number of articles in the run up to the poll that high- lighted alleged corruption within the Spanish government and driving an overarching anti-EU narrative in support of the secessionist movement. These Russian news agencies, as well as Russian users on Twitter, also repeatedly pro- moted the views of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who has taken to social media to call for Span- ish authorities to respect the upcoming vote in Catalonia. Spanish newspapers have also reported that Russian bots attempted to flood social media with controversial posts in support of Catalonian independence prior to the ref- 773 erendum. One analysis looked at more than five million social media mes- sages on Catalonia posted between September 29 and October 5, and found that 30 percent of the messages came from anonymous accounts that exclusively post content from RT and Sputnik, while 25 percent came from bots and 10 percent from the official accounts 774 of the two propaganda platforms. Another analysis found that, just before the referendum took place, pro-Kremlin Twitter ac- counts increased their mentions of the Catalan crisis by 2,000 per- 775 cent. The Kremlin’s interests in Catalonia’s referendum were likely varied. First, Moscow has recently favored independence and seces- sionist movements that occur beyond Russia’s borders and weaken the EU. For example, before Brexit, Kremlin-linked disinformation campaigns were pro-Scottish independence. But after the UK de- cided not to be in the EU, and many voters in Scotland indicated 770 Martin Arostegui, ‘‘Officials: Russia Seeking to Exploit Catalonia Secessionist Movement,’’ Nov. 24, 2017. VOA News, 771 Ibid. 772 Ibid. 773 U.S. Department of State, ‘‘Report to Congress on Efforts by the Russian Federation to Un- dermine Elections in Europe and Eurasia,’’ Pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-44), Nov. 7, 2017. 774 Itxu Diaz, ‘‘Venezuela and Russia Teamed Up to Push Pro-Catalan Fake News,’’ The Daily Beast, Nov. 28, 2017. 775 David Alandete, ‘‘Pro-Russian Networks See 2,000% Increase in Activity in Favor of Catalan Referendum,’’ El Pais, Oct. 1, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00141 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

142 136 a desire to stay in the EU, the Kremlin changed its stance to anti- 776 And as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Scottish independence. Rajoy told reporters, after noting that over half of the fake profiles involved in spreading fake news came from Russia, ‘‘What is clear is that there are people who may be interested in things not going 777 But there were also other, darker motives like- well in Europe.’’ ly at work. According to Spanish intelligence analysts, Russian companies would look to fill the vacuum created by the exit of 778 Catalan and Spanish companies that left because of instability. In addition, the Kremlin could ‘’see an independent Catalonia as a possible base from which to penetrate other parts of Europe, where their business activities are restricted by sanctions enforced by the 779 United States and the European Union.’’ While the referendum did not result in Catalonia’s independence from Spain, it showed that Spain is a growing target of the Krem- lin’s malign influence operations. Spain can strengthen its resil- iency by studying the experiences of and cooperating with other similarly-targeted European countries, and the U.S. government should take steps to help shore-up ongoing efforts. Lessons Learned • Aggressive Investigations of Money Laundering Can Reduce the Kremlin’s Influence: Spain’s investigations and prosecutions are targeting and removing bad actors who have spread cor- ruption throughout Europe and likely here in the United States. The U.S. government has assisted with these investiga- tions, and should continue to do so to the greatest extent pos- sible. Furthermore, the U.S. government should establish a task force dedicated to investigating money laundering by Rus- sian entities, and should also designate Russia as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern, which would subject Russian financial institutions to additional reporting require- ments. Spanish authorities should also be commended and used as an example for the complicated and courageous work that its law enforcement officials are carrying out against Rus- sia-based organized criminal organizations. The Kremlin Will Pursue Targets of Opportunity: • As shown in other elections and referendums among Western democracies, the Kremlin’s disinformation operations will not pass up on op- portunities to sow chaos and confusion in an attempt to under- mine the democratic process and weaken European institu- tions. The United States and its partners and allies, as well as the private sector and civil society, must proactively identify potential next targets and launch efforts to build resiliency against Kremlin influence operations well in advance of elec- tions and referendums. 776 Chris Green, ‘‘Russia ‘Set to U-turn on Support for Scottish Independence,’’ The Scotsman, May 11, 2017. 777 William Booth & Michael Birnbaum, ‘‘British and Spanish Leaders Say Russian Trolls Meddled in Their Elections,’’ The Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2017. 778 Martin Arostegui, ‘‘Officials: Russia Seeking to Exploit Catalonia Secessionist Movement,’’ Nov. 24, 2017. VOA News, 779 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00142 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

143 137 ITALY In recent years, Italy has seen a resurgence of anti-establish- ment, populist parties that have garnered appeal among the popu- lation and achieved some electoral success. Some of these parties are strong advocates of pro-Kremlin foreign policies, and have ex- tensively used fake news and conspiracy theories in their media campaigns, often drawn from Russian state-owned media outlets. With national elections coming up in 2018, Italy could be a target for electoral interference by the Kremlin, which will likely seek to promote parties that are against renewing EU sanctions for Rus- sia’s aggression in Ukraine. The Five Star Movement (M5S), which was formed in 2009 and surged to popularity in recent years with its anti-establishment message, seeks to end sanctions on Russia and normalize relations with the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and recognizes the annexation of Crimea, opposes Italian participation in NATO exercises, and has called for a referendum on Italy’s inclusion in 780 The chairman of M5S’s foreign affairs committee, the Eurozone. Manlio Di Stefano, has stated that NATO is secretly preparing a ‘‘final assault’’ on Russia and that ‘‘there’s a limit’’ to the alliance that Italy and the United States forged in the aftermath of World 781 War II. During a failed 2016 constitutional referendum, M5S used a ‘’sprawling network of websites and social media accounts that [were] spreading fake news, conspiracy theories, and pro-Kremlin BuzzFeed stories to millions of people,’’ according to an analysis by News. and promoted by M5S’s network RT A video created by claimed to show thousands of people protesting against the ref- erendum, when in fact they were at a rally that was supporting the later claimed that this was due to a production referendum ( RT error). And one M5S parliament member promoted a conspiracy theory on Facebook that asserted Italy’s government had colluded with the media to report that an earthquake which hit the country was not as powerful as it actually was, thereby allowing the gov- 782 ernment to reduce payments for damage. A former M5S commu- nications advisor has said that spreading conspiracy theories is not 783 just a tactic of the party, but ‘‘akin to a policy.’’ The Kremlin has also worked to establish formal political ties and influence with extremist Italian political parties. For example, the United Russia party and the Northern League, a radical right- wing populist party, signed a cooperation agreement in 2017, where they agreed to develop ties in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, as well as promote business links between their coun- 780 Alberto Nardelli & Craig Silverman, ‘‘Italy’s Most Popular Political Party Is Leading Eu- Nov. 29, 2016; Jason Horowitz, BuzzFeed News, rope in Fake News and Kremlin Propaganda,’’ The New York Times, ‘‘With Italy No Longer in U.S. Focus, Russia Swoops to Fill the Void,’’ May 29, 2017. 781 Jason Horowitz, ‘‘With Italy No Longer in U.S. Focus, Russia Swoops to Fill the Void,’’ The New York Times, May 29, 2017. 782 Alberto Nardelli & Craig Silverman, ‘‘Italy’s Most Popular Political Party Is Leading Eu- rope in Fake News and Kremlin Propaganda,’’ BuzzFeed News, Nov. 29, 2016. 783 Jason Horowitz, ‘‘In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing, and Recognizing Fake News,’’ The Oct. 18, 2017. New York Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00143 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

144 138 784 tries. Some observers also suspect that the Northern League 785 may have received funds from the Kremlin’s security services. While there is no known evidence of M5S receiving funding from Kremlin-linked sources, one Italian national security official told that ‘‘I think some of our political parties are vul- Business Insider nerable to infiltration. They don’t have the experience, the anti- 786 bodies, to fend off such formidable intelligence services.’’ Esto- nia’s ambassador to Italy, Celia Kuningas-Saagpakk, who in a pre- vious role monitored the Kremlin’s malign influence operations in Ukraine and elsewhere, noted to the The New York Times, that the Russian government ‘‘has invested a lot in influencing public opin- 787 ion in [Italy].’’ State-owned Russian energy firms also exert influence through Italian energy firms such as ENI, which is currently a partner of 788 Gazprom in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (see Chapter 4). At the request of Gazprom, though unbeknownst to its attendees, an ENI subsidiary reportedly sponsored a foreign policy conference at a think tank in Italy, where ‘‘it was stressed that Russia could be an 789 It is worth noting that Russia is important ally for the EU.’’ Italy’s biggest supplier of natural gas, and Italian oil major ENI’s policy is to give priority to its relationship with Gazprom over Alge- rian suppliers. ENI has also signed a strategic partnership agree- ment with Gazprom, and pledged to cooperate with Gazprom both on the now-cancelled South Stream pipeline and the under-consid- 790 eration Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Since the 2016 referendum, Italy’s government has begun to take actions to better inoculate its population against fake news and disinformation campaigns. The president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, has spearheaded a project with Italy’s Ministry of Education to train students at 8,000 high schools across the country on how to verify news stories and recognize fake news and conspiracy theories that they see on social media platforms. Facebook is reportedly contributing to the initiative by promoting 791 it with targeted ads aimed at high-school-age users in Italy. The program should help to mitigate fake news stories that originate both at home and from abroad, and should be studied by other countries as they develop their own school curriculums to counter fake news. According to the now-confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Lewis Eisenberg, Italy is aware of the Kremlin’s tactics in Italy and the country ‘’shares our concerns about Russian aggression in Europe, 784 Max Seddon & James Politi, ‘‘Putin’s Party Signs Deal with Italy’s Far-Right Lega Nord,’’ Financial Times, Mar. 6, 2017. 785 Peter Foster & Matthew Holehouse, ‘‘Russia Accused of Clandestine Funding of European Parties as US Conducts Major Review of Vladimir Putin’s Strategy,’’ The Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2016. 786 The Jason Horowitz, ‘‘With Italy No Longer in U.S. Focus, Russia Swoops to Fill the Void,’’ New York Times, May 29, 2017; Sebastian Rotella, ‘‘Russia is Engaged in a Full-Scale Shadow War in Europe,’’ Business Insider, Apr. 20, 2017. 787 Jason Horowitz, ‘‘With Italy No Longer in U.S. Focus, Russia Swoops to Fill the Void,’’ The New York Times, May 29, 2017. 788 Warsaw Institute, ‘‘Italians with Gazprom Again,’’ Russia Monitor, Sept. 1, 2017. 789 Vladislava Vojtiskova et al., The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing: Russia’s Government-Funded Organisations in the EU, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, at 25 (July 2016). 790 Angelantonio Rosato, ‘‘A Marriage of Convenience? The Future of Italy-Russia Relations,’’ European Council on Foreign Relations, July 15, 2016. 791 Jason Horowitz, ‘‘In Italian Schools, Reading, Writing, and Recognizing Fake News,’’ The Oct. 18, 2017. New York Times, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00144 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

145 139 including Russian disinformation campaigns and malign influence activities.’’ During his Senate confirmation hearing, Eisenberg told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will ‘‘work to strengthen our coordination with Italian partners, across relevant agencies, to detect and counter these activities that seek to under- mine democratic institutions and principles’’ and to ‘‘make U.S.- Italian cooperation on this issue a priority, particularly in advance of Italian national elections that are likely to take place in 792 2018.’’ The U.S. government must follow through on these commitments and help Italy secure its democratic process against foreign inter- ference. Italy is an essential NATO ally and a key member of the EU, which will vote in 2018 on whether to uphold sanctions related 793 to the Russian government’s activities in Ukraine. Italy has at times been skeptical of imposing and strengthening EU sanctions on Russia, and in 2015 delayed a sanctions renewal decision, argu- 794 ing that more discussion was needed. In the Veneto region of Italy, a local assembly controlled by the Northern League adopted a resolution in 2016 to call for Italy to end the sanctions on Russia, arguing that counter-sanctions are damaging the Venetian econ- omy (the region also voted in late 2017 in favor of greater auton- 795 omy from Rome). Lessons Learned Italy May be a Target of Opportunity for the Kremlin: • Given the opportunity to promote an outcome that could weaken the EU’s united stance on sanctions, the Russian government could seek to interfere in Italy’s elections in early 2018. Along with other important elections around Europe, the United States and our partners and allies must maintain the highest levels of cooperation and vigilance to ensure that our electoral proc- esses remain free from undue foreign influence. • Disinformation Comes From Domestic Sources Too: The Krem- lin is not the only source of disinformation and conspiracy theories that seek to undermine European institutions like the EU and NATO. Domestic political parties, especially populist ones, can also make effective use of the same tactics that the Kremlin employs. As Italy also shows, educating the popu- lation on media literacy and how to discern fake news can be one of the most important steps toward strengthening the re- silience of the democratic process. 792 Responses to Additional Questions for the Record, Lewis M. Eisenberg, Nominee for Am- bassador to Italy & San Marino, Nomination of Lewis M. Eisenberg to be Ambassador Extraor- dinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Italian Republic, Hearing be- fore the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 20, 2017. 793 Connor Murphy, ‘‘EU Extends Russia Sanctions through January 2018,’’ Politico, June 28, 2017. 794 The New York James Kanter, ‘‘Italy Delays E.U.’s Renewal of Sanctions Against Russia,’’ Times, Dec. 14, 2015. 795 Angelantonio Rosato, ‘‘A Marriage of Convenience? The Future of Italy-Russia Relations,’’ European Council on Foreign Relations, July 15, 2016. ‘‘Northern Italy Regions Overwhelmingly Vote for Greater Autonomy,’’ Oct. 22, 2017. Italy’s exports to Russia did fall sig- The Guardian, nificantly after the sanctions were implemented, dropping around 40 percent in the first half of 2015. European Parliament, Directorate-General for External Policies, Policy Department, Russia’s and the EU’s Sanctions: Economic and Trade Effects, Compliance, and the Way For- at 9 (Oct. 2017). ward, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00145 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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147 Chapter 7: Multilateral & U.S. Efforts to Counter the Kremlin’s Asymmetric Arsenal In addition to the measures that individual states have taken to build resiliency against malign influence operations within their own borders (see Chapters 5 and 6), many countries, especially those that belong to the EU and NATO, have also launched or joined multilateral efforts. These efforts include building collective defenses against disinformation and cyberattacks, improving cross- border cooperation on energy diversification, applying sanctions on malicious actors, and more. Although the United States partici- pates in some of these multilateral efforts and has taken a few steps on its own to address Russian government hybrid warfare, its response lags far behind what is necessary to defend against and deter the threat. COLLECTIVE DEFENSES AGAINST DISINFORMATION AND CYBER ATTACKS Over the past several years, European governments and institu- tions have recognized that Russia’s disinformation operations are a challenge that requires increased attention and resources. In re- sponse, they have launched several multilateral and regional initia- tives to improve Europe’s resilience, with varying levels of success. One of the first such organizations was the NATO Strategic Com- munications Center of Excellence, established by seven NATO member states in July of 2014, and headquartered in Riga, Latvia. The Center provides analysis, advice, and support to the NATO al- liance, including research into identifying the early signs of hybrid warfare and the study of Russia’s disinformation operations in 796 Ukraine. The EU’s External Action Service, which works under the EU’s foreign affairs chief, launched a similar operation in 2015, known as the EU East StratCom Task Force. The Task Force uses a wide volunteer base from around the EU and elsewhere to collect examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation and analyze and publicize 797 While the Task Force has only them in a searchable database. about a dozen full-time employees, its volunteer network has over 400 experts from more than 30 countries. It publishes news and and is responsible for com- EU vs. Disinfo, analysis on the website municating EU policies toward the Eastern Partnership countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and 796 NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, ‘‘About Us,’’ https:// www.stratcomcoe.org/about-us (visited Dec. 14, 2017). 797 EU vs. Disinfo, ‘‘Disinformation Cases,’’ https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases (visited Dec. 14, 2017). (141) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00147 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

148 142 798 Ukraine. To promote a positive narrative of the EU, the Task Force constructs simple messages meant to resonate in each coun- try about the benefits of cooperation with the EU. The Task Force 799 has a very broad mandate, but relatively little funding. To combine the efforts of both EU and NATO countries and broaden the scope beyond disinformation, Finland launched the Eu- ropean Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Hel- sinki in July 2017. Currently comprised of 12 EU and NATO coun- tries, including the United States, it uses research and training to improve participants’ readiness to respond to cyberattacks, 800 disinformation, and propaganda. Finland started the Center after it experienced Russian attempts to use social media to inter- 801 fere in it 2015 elections. After the election, the Finnish govern- ment ordered all of its ministries to imagine worst-case scenarios of foreign interference, which they compiled into a report and 802 The report led to the cre- shared with EU and NATO partners. ation of the Center, which has three work strands, also known as ‘‘communities of interest’’: (1) hybrid influencing, led by the UK; (2) terrorism and radicalism; and (3) vulnerabilities and resilience, led 803 by Finland. The Center’s officials also hope to work with Google, Facebook, and other social media companies to track online content 804 and identify threats. NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, based in Tallinn, Estonia, also focuses on helping member states secure their cyber infrastructure. The Center draws on experts with military, government, and private industry experi- ence from 20 nations to provide training and expertise to NATO 805 nations and partners. Although these initiatives were conceived and launched on an ad hoc basis, collectively they form a network of institutions that ad- dress overlapping threats and vulnerabilities facing Europe and its allies, including the United States. A number of NGOs and think tanks have also launched their own regionally focused programs to counter disinformation. One of the first such operations was the Kremlin Watch Monitor, launched by the European Values Think Tank in 2015 and headquartered in Prague. With the support of private and public donors, including several European governments, this initiative focuses on fact checking and analysis of Russian government-backed 798 European Union External Action Service, ‘‘Questions and Answers about the East StratCom Task Force,’’ https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/2116/-ques- tions-and-answers-about-the-east-stratcom-task-force—en (visited Dec. 14, 2017). 799 The head of the EU’s External Action Service, Federica Mogherini, has come under fire from scores of analysts and academics for keeping the team ‘‘absurdly understaffed’’ and under- European Values, Open Letter from European Security Experts to Federica See funded. Mogherini, Mar. 20, 2017, http://www.europeanvalues.net/mogherini/. One EU official told Polit- ico that Mogherini ‘‘is considered to be soft on Russia compared to others in the Commission, or what some Eastern countries would like. Officials who work on these issues get no support from her.’’ Ryan Heath, ‘‘Federica Mogherini ‘Soft’ on Disinformation, Critics Say,’’ Politico, Mar. 22, 2017. 800 European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, ‘‘About Us,’’ https:// www.hybridcoe.fi/about-us (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 801 See Chapter 6, Finland. 802 Committee Staff Discussion with Finnish Government Officials. 803 European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, ‘‘About Us,’’ https:// www.hybridcoe.fi/about-us (visited Dec. 15, 2017). As of publication, there was no designated country lead for the work strand on terrorism and radicalism. 804 Committee Staff Discussion with Finnish Government Officials. 805 NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, ‘‘About Cyber Defence Centre,’’ https://www.ccdcoe.org/about-us.html (visited Dec. 15, 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00148 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

149 143 disinformation. It also provides regular monitoring reports and pol- icy recommendations, publishes case studies, conducts trainings, and convenes practitioners and policymakers in both open and 806 closed forums. A similar effort, the Information Warfare Initia- tive, is run by the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), an American think tank with offices in Europe. The program monitors the content and techniques of Russian disinformation in Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. In addition to monitoring, the initiative works to help policymakers develop strat- 807 egies to counter disinformation. European countries have also begun to develop multilateral ef- forts to produce and support accurate, independent Russian-lan- guage media that can serve as an alternative to Kremlin propa- ganda for Russian-speaking audiences. In response to a 2015 report by the European Endowment for Democracy, European govern- ments are working to develop a Russian-language regional news hub and a multimedia distribution platform, as well as other initia- 808 tives. For example, the Netherlands and Poland are supporting the development of an independent Russian-language regional 809 news agency. In addition, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is developing a blueprint for a ‘‘content factory’’ to help Cen- tral and Eastern European countries create Russian-language en- 810 tertainment programs. European governments’ joint efforts to promote investigative journalism have already proven effective. One positive example is the Russian Language News Exchange Program, launched in 2016 with support from the government of the Netherlands and other European governments and institutions. The program supports and trains journalists in the EU Eastern Partnership countries on Rus- sia’s periphery. In 2016, the program’s participants produced and exchanged more than 500 stories, and each story produced by the exchange garnered at least one million views across multiple plat- forms. Analysts attribute the program’s strong success to its focus on unique local reporting rather than covering the international 811 stories that dominate Russian disinformation. The program, cur- rently funded through 2019, should be continued and expanded in future years. Finally, efforts to improve media literacy on Russia’s periphery have also shown a large return on investment. For example, the Learn to Discern Program, funded by the Canadian government, operated in Ukraine from July 2015 to March 2016. The program trained 15,000 Ukrainians in ‘’safe, informed media consumption techniques,’’ including avoiding emotional manipulation, verifying sources, identifying hate speech, verifying expert credentials, de- 806 European Values, ‘‘Kremlin Watch, What We Do,’’ http://www.europeanvalues.net/ kremlinwatch/what-we/ (visited Dec. 31, 2017). 807 Center for European Policy Analysis, ‘‘Information Warfare Initiative,’’ http:// infowar.cepa.org/About (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 808 European Endowment for Democracy, ‘‘Bringing Plurality & Balance to Russian Language Media—Final Recommendations,’’ https://www.democracyendowment.eu/news/bringing-plurality- 1/ (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 809 Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Dutch-Polish ‘Content Factory’ to Counter Russian Propaganda,’’ EUobserver, July 21, 2015. 810 Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to at 62 (May 2017). Addressing Disinformation Overseas, 811 Assessing the Western Response to Russian Disinformation in Europe: How Nina Jankowicz, at 11 (2016-2017). Can We Do Better?, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00149 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

150 144 tecting censorship, and debunking news, photos, and videos. In a survey, 89 percent of participants reported using their new skills and 91 percent reported sharing their new skills with an average of six people each, reaching 90,000 Ukrainians in total. Further- more, 54 percent of the 2.3 million Ukrainians who viewed the pro- gram’s information campaign in its first two weeks reported a need 812 for greater skills in discerning disinformation. EUROPEAN ENERGY DIVERSIFICATION AND INTEGRATION While Europe has been slow to recognize and respond to the Kremlin’s weaponization of energy, some countries have begun tak- ing steps to mitigate their dependence on Russian energy supplies and therefore reduce the Kremlin’s influence. The EU has tradi- tionally had little, if any, influence over the energy policies of its member states. Since energy policy in European countries is set by national governments, with each EU member state making its own decisions regarding energy mix, suppliers, and contracts, the Krem- lin has been able to pursue and implement its ‘‘divide and conquer’’ strategy by dealing with states on a bilateral basis. Over the past decade, however, EU member states, concerned about reliance on Russian energy and facing pressure to combat climate change, have begun to gradually increase cooperation and work toward devel- oping a unified EU energy policy. In March 2015, the EU’s member state governments endorsed a European Commission proposal for a ‘‘European Energy Union.’’ Among other things, the proposal fo- cuses on energy security and solidarity, and an integrated Euro- 813 pean energy market. Several European countries have also come out in strong opposi- tion to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which could make Europe more dependent on Russian energy supplies and would significantly di- minish Ukrainian government revenues collected from pipeline transit fees in its territory. In the summer of 2016, the leaders of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Romania wrote to the European Commission president about their concerns that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (NS2) could create ‘‘destabilizing geopolitical consequences’’ and ‘‘pose certain risks for energy security,’’ especially by increasing Central and Eastern European countries’ reliance on Russian gas 814 supplies. And in late November 2017, the Danish government passed a law that would allow it to block NS2 for security or for- eign policy reasons (the pipeline requires approval from Denmark, 815 Sweden, and Finland, as it would traverse their territories). The EU has also supported several projects to improve energy in- tegration and reduce reliance on Russian energy supplies. These in- frastructure projects, especially cross-border ones, are known as ‘‘Projects of Common Interest,’’ and are supported by an EU fund 812 IREX, ‘‘Learn to Discern,’’ https://www.irex.org/project/learn-discern (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 813 See European Commission, Energy Strategy and Energy Union, https://ec.europa.eu/en- ergy/en/topics/energy-strategy-and-energy-union (visited Dec. 31, 2017); Michael Ratner et al., Europe’s Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification, Con- gressional Research Service, at 7 (Nov. 2015). 814 EUobserver, Andrew Rettman, ‘‘Eastern EU Leaders to Warn Juncker on Nord Stream II,’’ Mar. 17, 2016. 815 Erik Matzen & Stine Jacobsen, ‘‘Denmark Passes Law That Could Ban Russian Pipeline Reuters, from Going Through its Waters,’’ Nov. 30, 2017; Henry Roy et al., ‘‘Gazprom to Receive Funding for Nord Stream 2 Pipeline,’’ Financial Times, Apr. 24, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00150 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

151 145 816 that aims to boost energy, transport, and digital infrastructure. One project, the development of a liquid natural gas (LNG) ter- minal in Croatia, would provide new opportunities for energy sup- 817 ply diversification throughout the Balkans. Similar LNG termi- nals in Lithuania and Poland have had transformational effects in reducing dependence on Russian pipelines for natural gas sup- 818 plies. LNG terminals allow for the development of spot markets for natural gas, ensuring that market forces keep prices in check, and reduce the Kremlin’s bargaining power by increasing supplier options. After it built an LNG import terminal, Lithuania was able to leverage a fair market price for its natural gas imports from Russia, ending years of paying the highest rates for gas in Europe. Lithuania’s president summarized the benefits of new sources of LNG upon the first delivery of U.S. LNG to her country in 2017: ‘‘U.S. gas imports to Lithuania and other European countries is a game changer in the European gas market. This is an opportunity for Europe to end its addiction to Russian gas and ensure a secure, 819 competitive and diversified supply.’’ The EU has also made market liberalization and integration a key part of its energy strategy, launching the ‘‘Third Energy Pack- age’’ in 2011 to work towards a single EU gas and electricity mar- ket. The Package included key provisions on ‘‘unbundling,’’ or sepa- rating the activities of energy transmission from production and supply interests. Subsequently, the EU concluded that Gazprom had to unbundle its plans for the South Stream pipeline, leading 820 A smart grid develop- Gazprom to effectively cancel the project. ment between Slovenia and Croatia, as well as the development of improved Romania-Bulgaria electricity interconnections will also have positive effects. In northern Europe, several ongoing develop- ments will also reduce dependence on Gazprom, including: a gas pipeline from Norway to Poland, via Denmark (Baltic Pipe); a Po- land-Lithuania gas interconnector project; the construction of a Finland-Estonia gas pipeline; upgrades to make the Estonia-Latvia gas interconnector bi-directional; Baltic state participation in the ‘‘Nordpool’’ wholesale market for electricity; and plans for all Baltic states to desynchronize from the Russia-Belarus electricity grid and integrate into the European energy grid. All of these develop- ments show the importance of improving intra-EU connectivity and moving away from monopoly suppliers and companies, especially state-driven monopoly suppliers, which bring along with them en- 821 trenched oligarchies and other bad actors. S . . EFFORTS TO SANCTION MALICIOUS ACTORS EU AND U The Russian government’s malign influence and hybrid warfare operations have led to a strong sanctions regime jointly imple- 816 European Commission, ‘‘Funding for Projects of Common Interest,’’ https://ec.europa.eu/en- ergy/en/topics/infrastructure/projects-common-interest/funding-projects-common-interest (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 817 European Commission, ‘‘EU Invests in Energy Security and Diversification in Central and South Eastern Europe,’’ https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/eu-invests-energy-security-and-diversifica- tion-central-and-south-eastern-europe-2017-dec-18—en (visited Jan. 4, 2018). 818 June 8, 2017. Foreign Policy, Robbie Gramer, ‘‘First U.S. Natural Gas Shipped to Poland,’’ 819 Agnia Grigas, ‘‘U.S. Natural Gas Arrives in Lithuania,’’ Sep. 12, 2017. Foreign Affairs, 820 ‘‘South Stream Bilateral Deals Breach EU Law, Commission Says,’’ EURACTIV.com, Dec. 4, 2013. 821 U.S. Department of State, Information Provided to Committee Staff. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00151 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

152 146 mented by Europe and the United States. Many of these sanctions were put in place as a consequence for Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Other sanctions, especially those unilaterally imple- mented by the United States, punish malicious actors who are en- gaged in cyberattacks, human rights violations, or significant acts of corruption. The EU’s sanctions require the unanimous agreement of all 28 EU member states to implement, and unanimity is required to ex- 822 tend the sanctions every six months. The EU’s sanctions against Russia fall in to three categories: 1. Restrictive measures on individuals and entities in Russia and Ukraine believed to be involved in the annexation of Crimea and efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine; 2. Economic sanctions targeting Russia’s finance, defense, and en- ergy sectors; and 3. Restrictions on trade, investment, and tourism services with 823 the occupied Crimea region. In early 2014, shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, U.S. and EU sanctions mostly focused on visa bans and asset freezes, but under pressure from the U.S. Congress, the Obama Adminis- 824 tration applied additional sectoral sanctions in July 2014. After intelligence sources indicated that separatists using a Russian-sup- plied missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, the EU also expanded its sanctions list and added sec- 825 toral sanctions. The EU has tied the removal of sanctions on Russia with the full implementation of the Minsk peace agree- ments for Ukraine, and appears to be committed to maintaining the sanctions until then. U.S. sanctions on Russia for Ukraine-related and cyber-related matters were codified into law in August 2017 with the passage (by a vote of 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House of Representa- tives) and signing of the Countering America’s Adversaries 826 Through Sanctions Act of 2017, also known as CAATSA. The law codified Russia-related sanctions imposed by executive orders under the Obama Administration, and the cyber-related sanctions designating both the FSB and the GRU (Russia’s military intel- 827 ligence agency) as institutions threatening U.S. cybersecurity. CAATSA enlarged the scope of the sanctions to prohibit a range of cyber-related activities conducted on behalf of the Russian govern- ment that undermine the cybersecurity of any U.S. or foreign per- 822 Kristin Archick et al., EU Sanctions on Russia Related to the Ukraine Conflict, Congres- sional Research Service, at 1 (Sept. 2017). 823 Ibid. 824 Ibid. ; U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control, ‘‘Directives 1 and 2 Issued Pursuant to Executive Order 13662 (Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contrib- uting to the Situation in Ukraine),’’ July 16, 2014. 825 Julian Borger et al., ‘‘EU Announces Further Sanctions on Russia After Downing of July 22, 2017; European Council of the European Union, ‘‘EU Restrictive The Guardian, MH17,’’ Measures in Response to the Crisis in Ukraine,’’ http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/sanc- tions/ukraine-crisis (visited Jan. 4, 2018). 826 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), P.L. 115-44, Enacted Aug. 2, 2017 (originally introduced by Senator Ben Cardin as the Counteracting Russian Hos- tilities Act of 2017, S. 94, Jan.11, 2017). 827 Executive Order 13757, ‘‘Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,’’ (Annex), Dec. 29, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00152 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

153 147 828 son. In addition, CAATSA mandated sanctions on U.S. or foreign persons that engage in significant transactions with persons re- 829 Furthermore, lated to Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors. CAATSA targets corruption inside Russia by mandating sanctions on people who make or facilitate investments of at least $10 million that contribute to the privatization of Russian state-owned assets ‘‘in a manner that unjustly benefits’’ government officials, relatives, 830 or associates. Beyond CAATSA, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Account- ability Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act also allow, respectively, for the sanctioning of Russian individ- uals who are complicit in human rights abuses or corruption (see 831 Chapter 2). Canada and some European countries, notably the United Kingdom, Lithuania, and Estonia, have also passed similar Global Magnitsky Act legislation to sanction human rights abusers 832 and corrupt actors. While it is difficult to differentiate the economic impact of sanc- tions from the drop in oil prices and other macroeconomic effects, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated in 2015 that U.S. and EU sanctions and Russia’s retaliatory ban on agricultural imports reduced GDP in Russia over the short term by up to 1.5 833 percent. Over the medium term, IMF models suggest that sanc- tions could reduce output by up to 9 percent, as lower capital accu- mulation and reduced technology transfers further weaken produc- 834 Economists from the U.S. State Department cal- tivity growth. culated that, relative to non-sanctioned firms, the average sanc- tioned company in Russia saw decreases of one-third of its oper- ating revenue, over one-half of its asset value, and about one-third of its employees. Their research also suggested that lower oil prices 835 had a larger impact on Russia’s overall economy than sanctions. Even though Mr. Putin has complained that sanctions are ‘’se- verely harming Russia,’’ when it comes to accessing international financial markets, the sanctions mostly affect state-owned compa- nies and do not prohibit the government from selling bonds to Western investors. Furthermore, the Russian government can ease sanctioned firms’ access to financing by lending them money raised 836 The U.S. from bond sales in international capital markets. Treasury Department is required to report in early 2018 on the possible effects on Russia’s economy of sanctions on sovereign debt, which could have the potential to foreclose external sources of funds. While the head of Russia’s central bank believes that ‘‘there won’t be any seriously negative consequences’’ from such sanctions, 828 CAATSA, P.L. 115-44, § 224. 829 Ibid. § 231. 830 § 233. Ibid. 831 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, P.L. 112-208, Title IV (enacted Dec. 14, 2012); The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, P.L. 114-328, Subtitle F, Title XII (enacted Dec. 23, 2016). 832 Stratfor, ‘‘Russia Won’t Sit Still for Additional U.S. Sanctions,’’ Dec. 28, 2017. 833 International Monetary Fund, Russian Federation: Staff Report for the 2015 Article IV Con- at 5 (Aug. 2015). sultation, 834 Ibid. 835 Daniel Ahn & Rodney Ludema, ‘‘Measuring Smartness: Understanding the Economic Im- pact of Targeted Sanctions,’’ Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Department of State, Working Paper 2017-01, Dec. 2016. 836 Finan- Max Seddon & Elaine Moore, ‘‘Russia Plans First Bond Issuance Since Sanctions,’’ cial Times, Feb. 7, 2016. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00153 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

154 148 economists have warned that such sanctions ‘‘may totally stop other foreign investors, not the U.S. investors only, from buying the new government debt, fiercely pushing up borrowing costs for Rus- 837 sia.’’ EFFORTS TO CREATE ALTERNATIVE . S . U AND ACCURATE QUALITY PROGRAMMING The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) seeks to ‘‘in- form, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy,’’ and it has pursued that goal with several 838 efforts throughout Russian-speaking parts of the world. The BBG’s regional strategy for Russia is to confront anti-American propaganda and misinformation in Russian media, demonstrate the value and role of free media, and counter the Kremlin’s narrative. The BBG operates Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the only alternative to Russian-owned or 839 supported media outlets in many former Soviet Union countries. In October 2014, RFE/RL, in cooperation with VOA, launched a Current Time, 30-minute daily show called to provide Russian- speaking audiences with objective reporting and analysis of impor- tant events in the region and the United States (its motto: ‘‘be 840 truthful, be credible, be interesting’’). The show has been suc- cessful, and in October 2016, building on the Current Time brand, RFE/RL and VOA launched a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week Rus- sian-language news network, which broadcasts in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia, as well 841 as several countries in Central Asia. also produces Current Time an hour-long Russian-language newscast about the United States, which provides in-depth interviews with high-profile figures, fea- tures about life in America (for example a 26-part series on the life of the Russian diaspora in America), and the perspectives of Amer- ican officials and subject experts on current events, including si- multaneous interpretation of high-profile U.S. political and break- 842 ing news events. As a sign of its influence, Russian state media has labeled Cur- reporting part of a ‘‘U.S. information war’’ and a threat rent Time’s to Russia’s national security. RFE/RL officials note that with just twice as much funding (the current budget is about $22 million) they could produce four times as much content, allowing for 837 Andre Tartar & Anna Andrianova, ‘‘Bond Sanctions Could Hurt Russia More Than It’s Let- ting On,’’ Nov. 27, 2017; Andrew Biryukov & Natasha Doff, ‘‘Russia Says Bloomberg Markets, Its Debt Markets Can Withstand the Shock of Sanctions,’’ Bloomberg, Nov. 16, 2017. 838 Broadcasting Board of Governors, ‘‘Mission,’’ https://www.bbg.gov/who-we-are/mission (vis- ited Jan. 4, 2018). 839 Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to Addressing Disinformation Overseas, at 32 (May 2017). 840 In November 2017, as retaliation for the U.S. Department of Justice’s request that RT reg- ister under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), the Duma passed a law that allows Russia’s Ministry of Justice to add foreign media outlets to Russia’s registry of foreign agents, so long as the organizations are based outside of Russia and receive funds from abroad. Shortly thereafter, Russia’s Ministry of Justice sent a letter to Current Time threatening to restrict its activities because it ‘’shows the signs of performing the function of a foreign agent.’’ Russian officials also suggested that VOA, CNN, and Germany’s Deutsche Welle could face similar treat- Current ment. ‘‘Russia’s Justice Ministry Warns the U.S.-Government-Funded Media Outlet ‘ ’ That Will Be Treated As A Foreign Agent,’’ Meduza, Nov. 15, 2017; ‘‘Russia’s Federation Time Nov. 22, 2017. Council Passes ‘Foreign Agents’ Media Bill,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 841 Current Time TV, https://www.currenttime.tv/p/6018.html (visited Dec. 31, 2017). Current also includes programs on fact-checking, culture, and entertainment. Time 842 Committee Staff Discussion with VOA Officials. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00154 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

155 149 around-the-clock breaking news coverage and original program- ming. RFE/RL and VOA also produce other regionally-focused program- Crimea Realities ming, such as , a weekly show that features news and stories on life in Crimea under increasingly authoritarian gov- Schemes ernance; , a weekly investigative news program that re- , a ports on corruption throughout Ukraine; and See Both Sides weekly show that explores the differences in how media in different regions—especially Russian state-owned media—cover the same 843 BBG has also contracted with PBS to bring almost news stories. 400 hours of U.S. public media programming to Estonia, Lithuania, 844 and Ukraine. Bringing more high-quality U.S. educational and entertainment content to broadcasters in Russia’s periphery can help displace Russian television content, which is licensed for next- to-nothing but often comes with obligations to also broadcast Krem- lin-sponsored ‘‘news’’ programs. In addition to TV programming, RFE/RL and VOA create Rus- sian-language video content for social media and mobile platforms, mostly aimed at youth, and operate a fact-checking website, Poly- 845 graph.info. Polygraph focuses on fact-checking statements on re- lations between Russia and the West, however, the website is only in English, severely limiting its ability to reach Russian-speaking 846 audiences in Europe. S GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER ’ ASSESSING THE STATE DEPARTMENT In contrast to many European countries, especially the Baltic and Nordic states, the U.S. government still lacks a coherent, pub- lic strategy to counter the Kremlin’s disinformation operations abroad and at home. Instead, it has a patchwork of offices and pro- grams tasked with mitigating the effects of Kremlin disinformation 847 operations. At the direction of the U.S. Congress, the central hub for these activities is the Global Engagement Center (GEC), 848 within the State Department. In December 2016, Congress ex- panded the GEC’s mandate from countering terrorist communica- tions to include ‘‘foreign state and non-state propaganda and 843 Josh Lederman, ‘‘US-Funded News Channel in Russian Offers Kremlin Alternative,’’ Asso- ciated Press, Feb. 8, 2017; ‘‘RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service: Radio Svoboda,’’ Radio Free Europe/ https://pressroom.rferl.org/p/6139.html (visited Jan. 4, 2017). Radio Liberty, 844 Statement of Benjamin G. Ziff, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eur- Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine and the Propaganda that asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Secu- Threatens Europe, rity Cooperation, Nov. 3, 2015, at 7. 845 Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Gov- ernors, ‘‘Inspection of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,’’ at 4 (May 2014); Government Account- ability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to Addressing Disinformation Overseas, at 16 (May 2017). 846 Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to Addressing Disinformation Overseas , at 16 (May 2017).; Polygraph.info, ‘‘About,’’ https:// www.polygraph.info/p/5981.html (visited Dec. 15, 2017). 847 These efforts include monitoring, fact-checking, promoting objective news content, and pro- viding training and grants to improve skills in media literacy and investigative journalism. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for example, has increased support for media lit- eracy programs in the Baltics and Eastern Europe that address Russian disinformation. 848 The GEC is tasked with coordinating counter-disinformation efforts across the U.S. govern- ment and includes personnel from the Department of Defense, Department of Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Counterterrorism Center, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00155 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

156 150 849 disinformation efforts’’ that target the U.S. and its interests. However, a lack of urgency and self-imposed constraints by the cur- rent State Department leadership has left the effort in limbo. Launched in March 2016, the GEC is the latest in a line of State Department attempts to coordinate interagency counter-messaging 850 efforts. Recognizing the severity of the disinformation threat and the additional resources needed to counter it, Congress increased the GEC’s budget by nearly three-fold by enabling the State De- partment to request up to $60 million a year from the Department of Defense (DoD), and gave the GEC new hiring and grant-making authorities. GEC officials planned to use about half of those new funds on countering Kremlin disinformation, and a quarter of the new funds to increase the organization’s data science capability (currently the GEC works across four lines of effort: messaging partnerships, content planning, government coordination, and data analysis). But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was slow to approve the additional funding, with one of his top aides reportedly con- 851 cerned that the extra money would anger Moscow. After coming under pressure from Congress, Tillerson eventually approved $40 million, but inexplicably rejected another $20 million that could 852 have been used to counter Russian disinformation. The GEC was also hamstrung by the Department’s hiring freeze, kept in place by Tillerson, which prevented the hiring of new personnel to meet the office’s expanded mandate and mission. In the State Department, the GEC reports to the Under Sec- retary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a position for which the Trump Administration waited nearly eight months to announce a nominee. As of publication of this report in January 2018, the Administration has yet to fill the Special Envoy and Coordinator of the GEC, suggesting that the Administration does not consider the GEC’s new mission of countering foreign state propaganda a pri- ority. The Administration’s lackadaisical approach to staffing these positions and providing leadership to U.S. efforts to fight Kremlin disinformation stands in sharp contrast to the accelerating nature of the threat. As one GEC official put it, ‘‘every week we spend on 853 process is a week the Russians are spending on operations.’’ The GEC has a critical role to play in closing the gaps in the U.S. government’s efforts to counter the Kremlin’s disinformation operations. New funding and grant-making authorities delegated to the GEC should be used to support existing, effective organizations in Russia’s periphery engaged in monitoring disinformation, pro- moting media literacy, and producing objective news content and investigative journalism. These organizations would benefit greatly from additional funding that would enable them to expand oper- ations and reach larger audiences. To ensure that the GEC is ful- filling its objectives and funds are used as intended, Congress must be vigilant in monitoring the GEC’s progress and effectiveness if 849 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, P.L. 114-328, Section 1287, En- acted Dec. 23, 2016. 850 The GEC’s state-sponsored propaganda mandate includes Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, with different teams dedicated to each. 851 Politico, Nahal Toosi, ‘‘Tillerson Spurns $80 Million to Counter ISIS, Russian Propaganda,’’ Aug. 2, 2017. 852 Nahal Toosi, ‘‘Tillerson Moves Toward Accepting Funding for Fighting Russian propa- ganda,’’ Politico, Aug. 31, 2017. 853 Committee Staff Discussion with GEC Officials (2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00156 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

157 151 the United States is to achieve the level of engagement needed to counter foreign state propaganda and disinformation. In addition to the GEC, the State Department and USAID sup- port a number of other assistance programs that can help build re- silience in democratic institutions, to include projects to monitor and counter disinformation, promote independent media and inves- tigative journalism, and strengthen civil society and civic edu- cation. State Department officials overseas closely monitor local media stories and distribute them throughout the Department and 854 The U.S. government conducts or commissions U.S. embassies. polls of foreign audiences to get a read on their perceptions of Rus- sian media, as well as their reactions to different types of mes- sages. The State Department and the Department of Defense’s Eu- ropean Command (EUCOM) have launched a joint effort called the Russian Information Group (RIG), which grew out of a small social media group called the Ukraine Task Force that the State Depart- ment set up to counter Russian disinformation in Ukraine in 2014. RIG seeks to support a ‘‘credible counter-Russian voice in the re- 855 gion,’’ according to a former senior State Department official. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the head of EUCOM, General Curtis Scaparrotti, noted that the RIG ‘‘has to be reinforced, it has to be financed, they have to have the authori- 856 ties that they need to lead that forward.’’ Finally, State Depart- ment exchange programs, such as the International Visitor Leader- ship Program (IVLP), can be highly effective counter measures to Russian state media disinformation campaigns. IVLP brings media professionals to the United States and trains them on investigative 857 journalism skills and the role of a free press in democracies. To their credit, mid-level officials at the State Department have given some thought to crafting a ‘‘multi-faceted approach to push back against the Russian [government’s] malign influence.’’ In con- gressional testimony, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Hoyt Yee, outlined the State Department’s ap- proach to combatting Kremlin propaganda, which includes ‘‘ampli- fying our messages, correcting false statements, and engaging deci- sion makers,’’ to support independent media and investigative jour- 854 Two offices in the State Department conduct audience research around the world to inform public diplomacy messaging efforts: The Office of Opinion Research, located within the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and the Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources, located within the Office of the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Department of State also launched a Russian-language Twitter feed in 2015 to enable U.S. diplomats to share official statements directly with Russian-speaking audiences (some analysts report that this Twitter account only appeals to a very limited audience). Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to Addressing Disinformation Overseas, (May 2017). 855 Rick Stengel, ‘‘What Hillary Knew About Putin’s Propaganda Machine,’’ Politico, Nov. 15, 2017. 856 Testimony of General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander, U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Department of Defense, United States Euro- pean Command, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Mar. 23, 2017. 857 U.S. Department of State, ‘‘IVLP,’’ https://eca.state.gov/ivlp (visited Jan. 4, 2018). Although beyond the scope of this report, the U.S. has made considerable investments in enhancing the military capabilities of our partners in Europe to deter Russia since 2014. For 2018, the U.S. is seeking a $1.4 billion increase, to $4.8 billion, for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI). As part of EDI, the U.S. deploys on average 7,000 servicemembers to Europe. The U.S. also plays a leading role in NATO’s ‘‘Enhanced Forward Presence’’ which deploys multi-national battlegroups to Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. As of May 9, 2017, 4,530 troops from 15 countries participate in the EFP effort. U.S. European Command Public Affairs Office ‘‘2018 European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) Fact Sheet,’’ Oct. 2, 2017; NATO Enhanced Forward Pres- ence Factsheet, May 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00157 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

158 152 858 In its December 2017 National Secu- nalists with small grants. rity Strategy, the White House admitted that the United States has done too little to deter Putin’s assaults, noting, ‘‘U.S. efforts to counter the exploitation of information by rivals have been tepid and fragmented. U.S. efforts have lacked a sustained focus and have been hampered by the lack of properly trained profes- 859 sionals.’’ While recognizing these shortcomings is an important first step, the Administration has unfortunately failed to put for- ward a plan to rectify them. Notably, the Strategy states only that ‘‘the United States and Europe will work together to counter Rus- 860 sian subversion and aggression.’’ Yet coordination is only one piece of the aggressive strategy that the United States needs. 858 Testimony by Hoyt Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Af- fairs, U.S. Department of State, The Balkans: Threats to Peace and Stability, Hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, May 17, 2017, at 3. 859 The White House, National Security Strategy of the United States of America, at 35 (Dec. 2017). 860 at 48. Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00158 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

159 Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations The Russian government, under Putin’s leadership, has shown that it is both capable of and willing to assault democratic and transatlantic institutions and alliances. These assaults take many forms, including the use of disinformation, cyberattacks, military invasions, alleged political assassinations, threats to energy secu- rity, election interference, and other subversive tactics that fuel corruption, employ organized crime, and exploit both far-right and far-left ideologies to sow discord and create confusion. Putin also seeks to repress the exercise of human rights and political partici- pation both at home and abroad, to promote a climate more condu- cive to the Russian government’s corrupt and anti-democratic be- havior. There are multiple lines of effort across the West—at the local, national, and supranational level—working to counter the Krem- lin’s malign influence operations and build resiliency in democratic institutions. The United Kingdom’s leadership has made resolute, public statements that Russian meddling is unacceptable and will be countered. The French government has worked with inde- pendent media and political parties to expose and blunt the dis- semination of fake news. The German government has bolstered domestic cybersecurity capacities, particularly after the 2015 hack of the Bundestag. Estonia has strengthened counterintelligence ca- pabilities and exposed the intelligence operations of its eastern neighbor. The Lithuanian government has made progress in diver- sifying its supplies of natural gas, and all the Baltic governments have worked to integrate their electricity grids to reduce depend- ence on Soviet-era electrical infrastructure. The Nordic countries have built resiliency across all elements of society, especially in their education systems. And the Spanish government has inves- tigated, exposed, and cut off significant money laundering oper- ations by Russia-based organized crime groups. In the disinformation sphere, current multilateral efforts run the gamut from monitoring and fact-checking to promoting investiga- tive journalism and media literacy. Monitoring and fact-checking initiatives are a necessary and logical first step—the problem has to be identified and understood before it can be addressed. And as the Kremlin continues to change its methods and tactics in re- sponse to growing awareness and adaptation by its targets, it will be necessary to continue existing monitoring efforts to inform re- sponses. However, monitoring and countering propaganda alone will never be sufficient. While a whole-of-government approach is necessary to identify the threat and sound the trumpet, a whole-of-society ap- (153) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00159 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

160 154 proach is necessary to neutralize it. The EU, NATO, and member states’ ministries of defense, foreign affairs, and interior may de- velop tactical responses to the threat of disinformation, but it will ultimately be the education ministries, civil society, and inde- pendent news organizations that are most effective in inoculating their societies against fake news. In addition, no single country or institution has yet stepped for- ward to be the leader in coordinating efforts to build resilience against the Kremlin’s asymmetric arsenal and identifying and fill- ing any gaps. The U.S. government has a unique capacity to lead the formulation and implementation of a grand strategy with indi- vidual countries and multilateral groups in Europe, like NATO and the EU, to counter and deter hybrid threats emanating from the Kremlin. While the Global Engagement Center (GEC) has begun outreach to allies in Europe, the U.S. government appears not to have a strategic plan to comprehensively counter Russian govern- ment influence and interference, including but not limited to disinformation. There are several institutions in Europe working on countering disinformation that could benefit from additional U.S. engagement, and U.S. leadership and coordination among do- nors could also help maximize the effectiveness of existing assist- ance. Yet despite the growing intensity of Russian government inter- ference operations, President Trump has largely ignored this threat to democracy in the United States and Europe. The Trump Admin- istration has also proposed cuts to assistance across Europe that could help counter the Kremlin’s malign influence, especially in the areas of good governance, anti-corruption, and independent media efforts. President Trump is squandering an opportunity to lead America’s allies and partners to build a collective defense against the Kremlin’s global assault on democratic institutions and values. But it is not too late. By implementing the recommendations below, the United States can better deter and defend against the Kremlin’s use of its asym- metric arsenal, while also strengthening international norms and values to blunt the effects of malign influence operations by any state actor, including Russia. 1. Assert Presidential Leadership and Launch a National Re- sponse: President Trump has been negligent in acknowledging and responding to the threat to U.S. national security posed by Putin’s meddling. a. Declare the Policy: The President should immediately declare that it is U.S. policy to counter and deter all forms of the Kremlin’s hybrid threats against the United States and around the world. This policy should be a visibly prominent component of the administration’s agenda—policymakers should discuss these issues publicly and regularly raise the threat posed by the Russian government in their diplomatic interactions. The President should also present to Congress a comprehensive na- tional strategy to counter these grave national security threats and work with the Congress and our allies to get this strategy implemented and funded. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00160 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

161 155 b. The President should Establish an Inter-Agency Fusion Cell: establish a high-level inter-agency fusion cell, modeled on the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), to coordinate all elements of U.S. policy and programming in response to the Russian government’s malign influence operations. This fusion cell should include representatives from the FBI, CIA, and De- partments of Homeland Security, State, Defense, and Treasury and it should immediately produce a strategy, plan, and robust budget that coordinates all current and projected government programming to counter Russian government interference and malign influence. The U.S. government should increase Build U.S. Expertise: c. funding for programs administered by the State Department’s Intelligence and Research Bureau that aim to educate and de- velop Europe and Eurasia experts in the United States. Pro- gramming and training at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute should also be expanded to include courses on the Russian government’s malign influence activities. Such courses should also be accessible to relevant officials from other U.S. agencies represented on the inter-agency fusion cell described above. Increase Funding to Counter Disinformation: d. The U.S. govern- ment should increase the funding dedicated to countering Rus- sian disinformation, working primarily though partners in vul- nerable countries. The GEC should also accept all funding from the Defense Department made available through congressional appropriations and use it to increase the capacity of existing organizations in Russia’s periphery that are engaged in moni- toring disinformation, promoting media literacy, and producing objective news content and investigative journalism with local impact. Grants should also provide multi-year funding to allow these organizations to formulate and implement long-term strategic plans. The BBG should expand funding for sophisti- cated Russian-language VOA programming like Current Time and find more creative ways to bring high-quality U.S. edu- cational and entertainment programming to media markets vulnerable to Kremlin propaganda. 2. Support Democratic Institution Building and Values Abroad, and with a Stronger Congressional Voice: The executive and legisla- tive branches have a responsibility to show leadership on universal values of democracy and human rights. A lack of U.S. leadership risks undermining or endangering democratic activists and human rights defenders around the world—including within Russia—who are working to advance these values in their own societies. It also risks weakening democratic institutions, including independent media and civil society, that are critical actors in overcoming disinformation, shining a light on corruption and abuses, and build- ing resiliency against Kremlin attempts to divide and weaken democratic societies. Furthermore, democracies with transparent governments, the rule of law, a free media, and engaged citizens are naturally more resilient to Putin’s asymmetric arsenal. a. Increase Assistance: The U.S. government should provide de- mocracy and governance assistance, in concert with allies in VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00161 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

162 156 Europe, to build resilience in democratic institutions among those European and Eurasian states most vulnerable to Rus- sian government interference. Using the funding authorization outlined in CAATSA as policy guidance, the U.S. government should increase this spending in Europe and Eurasia to at least $250 million over the next two fiscal years. b. To reinforce these efforts, the U.S. govern- Clear Messaging: ment should demonstrate clear and sustained diplomatic lead- ership in support of the individual human rights that form the backbone of democratic systems. U.S. and European govern- ment officials at the highest levels should message clearly and regularly in support of universal principles of human rights and accountable governance in Europe and Eurasia, and, in particular, speak out regularly regarding Russian government abuses against its own citizens. These messages should be de- livered through public statements as well as in private, high- level diplomatic engagements. U.S. and European officials should also utilize the Organization for Security and Coopera- tion in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations Human Rights Council, and other multilateral fora to deliver these messages and to hold the Russian government and other governments in Europe and Eurasia accountable to their international human rights obligations and commitments. Legislative Branch Leadership: Members in the U.S. Congress c. have a responsibility to show U.S. leadership on values by making democracy and human rights a central part of their agendas. They should conduct committee hearings and use their platforms to publicly advance these issues. This would in- clude using the Senate confirmation process to elicit commit- ments from nominees on democracy and human rights. Con- gress should also institutionalize platforms for regular dialogue with parliaments across Europe and Eurasia on issues of de- mocracy and human rights, to include multilateral bodies such as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, as well as bilateral par- liamentary engagements. Members of Congress should also regularly visit countries in the region to further solidify trans- atlantic bonds; such visits should include engagement with civil society. d. Leverage Legacy Enterprise Foundations: The U.S. government established a series of enterprise funds across Central and Eastern Europe which exhibited varying degrees of success and spun off into legacy foundations that provide grants to civil so- ciety actors and independent media across the region. The U.S. government should require those foundations to strategically focus their investments on efforts to counter the Russian gov- ernment’s malign influence. In particular, tens of millions of dollars associated with the U.S. Russia Foundation have been dormant for years due to ‘‘congressional holds’’ by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Com- mittee. The issues associated with those holds should be re- solved so those funds can be unlocked and used to counter Rus- sian government aggression. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00162 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

163 157 e. Support for Democratic Institutions and Processes in Russia: The U.S. government and its European partners should main- tain a lifeline of support to non-governmental organizations and independent media outlets in Russia that are promoting respect for human rights, transparency, and accountability in their country, and follow these entities’ lead in determining the contours of such support. This work is not meant to interfere in the affairs of another country, but simply supports those values enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, to which Russia is a signatory. The U.S. State Department should, f. People to People Exchanges: to the extent possible, seek to expand programs and opportuni- ties that increase interaction between American and Russian citizens, as well as other European countries, and should work to ensure that such people-to-people ties are not used as grounds for persecution of Russian citizens by their govern- ment. It should also increase cultural exchanges, especially study abroad semesters, Fulbright scholarships, International Visitor Leadership Program exchanges, Peace Corps, and other programs that increase interaction between Americans and citizens that live in the countries on Russia’s periphery or that are particularly vulnerable to Russian malign influence. g. Strengthen Use of International Monitoring and Accountability Mechanisms: The OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism, invoked by a group of OSCE participating States or requested by the state in question itself, can enable a mission of experts to investigate and facilitate resolution to questions related to human rights in a particular OSCE participating State. Since it was agreed to in 1991, the Moscow Mechanism has been used seven times—both with and without the cooperation of the state in question. This mechanism should be activated more frequently and used to the fullest extent possible, and with respect to Russia, to respond to demands from within that country for scrutiny of the Kremlin’s domestic human rights record and providing specific recommendations for remedying abuses. 3. Expose and Freeze Kremlin-Linked Dirty Money: Corruption provides the motivation and the means for many of the Kremlin’s malign influence operations. Under President Putin, the Kremlin has nationalized organized crime and cybercrime, and now uses Russia-based organized crime groups and cybercriminals for oper- ational purposes abroad. The United States remains a prime des- tination for illicit financial flows from Russia, especially through the purchase of real estate and luxury goods by anonymous shell companies. The U.S. capability to constructively assist countries in the region remains weak due to an inadequate number of U.S. em- bassy personnel focused on these issues. a. Expose High-Level Individual Corruption: The Treasury De- partment should make public any intelligence related to Putin’s personal corruption and wealth stored abroad, and take steps with European allies to cut off Putin and his inner circle from the international financial system. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00163 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

164 158 b. The U.S. government should Expose Energy Sector Corruption: also expose corrupt and criminal activities associated with Rus- sia’s state-owned energy sector. The U.S. government should implement the c. Impose Sanctions: Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) provisions, which allow for sanctions against cor- rupt actors in Russia and abroad. Russia Financial Task Force: The U.S. Treasury Department d. should form a high-level unit within its Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) that is tasked solely with investigating and prosecuting Russian-linked illicit finan- cial flows. The unit should also place liaison officers in select U.S. embassies throughout Europe, and the U.S. government should encourage our European partners to set up similar units. e. The U.S. government should issue yearly Corruption Reporting: reports that assign tiered classifications based on objective third-party corruption indicators, as well as governmental ef- forts to combat corruption. 4. Subject State Hybrid Threat Actors to an Escalatory Sanctions The Kremlin and other regimes hostile to democracy must Regime: know that there will be consequences for their actions. a. Create a New Designation: The U.S. government should des- ignate countries that employ malign influence operations to as- sault democracies as State Hybrid Threat Actors. b. Countries that are Establish an Escalatory Sanctions Regime: designated as such would fall under a preemptive and escalatory sanctions regime that would be applied whenever the state uses asymmetric weapons like cyberattacks to inter- fere with a democratic election or disrupt a country’s vital in- frastructure. Existing sanctions included within the CAATSA legislation can be used to target those involved with cyberattacks. c. The U.S. government should Coordinate sanctions with the EU: work with the EU to ensure that these sanctions are coordi- nated and effective. 5. Publicize the Kremlin’s Global Malign Influence Efforts: Expos- ing and publicizing the nature of the threat of Russian malign in- fluence activities, as the Baltic states regularly do and the U.S. in- telligence community did in January 2017, can be an action-forcing event that not only boosts public awareness, but also drives effec- tive responses from the private sector, especially social media plat- forms, as well as civil society and independent media, who can use the information to pursue their own investigations. a. Issue Public Malign Influence Reporting: The Director of Na- tional Intelligence should produce yearly public reports that detail the Russian government’s malign influence operations in the United States. The Department of State should similarly produce annual reports on those operations around the world. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00164 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

165 159 b. The Director of National Declassify Assassination Intelligence: Intelligence should also update and consider declassifying its report to Congress on the use of political assassinations as a form of statecraft by the Russian government. c. Establish Independent Commissions to Investigate Election Meddling: The U.S. Congress should pass pending legislation to create an independent, nonpartisan commission to com- prehensively investigate Russian government interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Countries across Europe that have held elections over the past two years should also consider com- prehensive governmental or independent investigations into the nature and scope of Russian government interference. 6. Build an International Coalition to Counter Hybrid Threats: The United States is stronger and more effective when we work with our partners and allies abroad. a. The U.S. government should lead an inter- Build the Coalition: national effort of like-minded democracies to build awareness of and resilience to the Kremlin’s malign influence operations. Specifically, the President should convene an annual global summit on hybrid threats, modeled on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL or the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) summits that have taken place since 2015. Civil society and the private sector should participate in the summits and fol- low-on activities. b. Harness the OSCE: The OSCE should be a central forum for exposing Russian government attacks on democracy and di- rectly challenging its actions. As part of her Senate confirma- tion hearing, the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE should commit to using every tool and forum to advance this goal, working with like-minded countries in the organization. The U.S. should also expand its extra-budgetary support to OSCE projects aimed at building resilience to external threats to democratic institutions and processes in OSCE participating states. Share Successful Techniques: c. The State Department and USAID should conduct a comprehensive assessment of the most successful efforts to counter Russian government inter- ference in all of its forms and partner with relevant govern- ments, aid agencies, and NGOs to ensure that these lessons are shared with the most vulnerable countries in Europe and Eurasia. For example, based on constructive measures taken during the recent French and German election periods, the United States could work closely with their Ministries of For- eign Affairs, the French Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and the German Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ) to implement specific joint programs in vulnerable democracies on cyber defense, media training, and other areas. d. Participate in Centers of Excellence: The U.S. government should provide funding and seconded U.S. government employ- ees for the Finnish Hybrid Center of Excellence and NATO VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00165 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

166 160 Centers of Excellence related to strategic communication, cyber security, and energy independence. e. Deploy FBI Investigators to Key Embassies in Vulnerable Euro- pean Countries: The U.S. Department of Justice should deploy FBI investigators to vulnerable countries in Europe with a mandate to address Russian government and oligarchic efforts to corrupt economies, societies, and governments. Countries across the region contend with corruption, but some U.S. em- bassies across the region lack the capacity to fully assist and coordinate with these anti-corruption efforts at a diplomatic level. These positions should be on par with Defense Attaches from the Pentagon and prioritized as such. Promote Passage of Magnitsky Laws Abroad: The 2012 Sergei f. Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act calls on the U.S. government to engage in diplomatic efforts to lobby other gov- ernments to pass similar laws. The U.S. government should re- port to Congress on their efforts to persuade countries in Eu- rope and Eurasia to pass legislation modeled after the U.S. Magnitsky Laws (both the Russia-specific and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability laws) that enable tar- geted, individual sanctions against gross violators of human rights and perpetrators of significant acts of corruption. Fur- thermore, these laws must be strongly implemented by the U.S. executive branch. 7. Uncover Foreign Funding that Erodes Democracy: Foreign il- licit money corrupts the political, social, and economic systems of democracies. a. Pass Legislation on Campaign Finance Transparency and Shell Companies: The United States and European countries must make it more difficult for foreign actors to use financial re- sources to interfere in democratic systems, specifically by pass- ing legislation to require full disclosure of shell company own- ers and improve transparency for funding of political parties, campaigns, and advocacy groups. 8. Build Global Cyber Defenses and Norms: The United States and our European allies remain woefully vulnerable to cyberattacks, which are a preferred asymmetric weapon of state hy- brid threat actors. While the threat posed by cyberattacks from state and non-state actors has grown, the international community has not developed rules of the road which could establish norms that govern behavior over the long term. Moreover, the United States and its allies have not defined the contours of cyberattacks in the context of NATO’s Article 5. In addition to the strategic-level discussion on cyber threats, the U.S. government does not have an institution capable of robustly engaging and assisting non-govern- mental entities under pressure from cyberattacks. The administra- tion has tools, like the CAATSA legislation, which authorized sanc- tions on those who conduct cyberattacks on democratic institutions. It has yet to exercise these authorities, despite the existence of clear sanctions targets. a. Establish a Cyber Alliance: The U.S. government and NATO should lead a coalition of countries committed to mutual de- VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00166 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

167 161 fense against cyberattacks, to include the establishment of rapid reaction teams to defend allies under attack. b. Discuss Article 5: The U.S. government should also call a spe- cial meeting of the NATO heads of state to review the extent of Russian government-sponsored cyberattacks among member states and develop formal guidelines on how the Alliance will consider such attacks in the context of NATO’s Article 5 mu- tual protection provision. c. Negotiate an International Treaty: The U.S. government should lead an effort to establish an international treaty on the use of cyber tools in peace time, modeled on international arms control treaties. Implement Existing Cyber-related Sanctions: d. The administra- tion should fully implement Section 224 of CAATSA, which mandates sanctions on individuals acting on behalf of the Rus- sian government who undermine the cybersecurity of any gov- ernment or democratic institution. The administration should also work to build support in Europe for a similar package of EU cyber sanctions. e. Increase Transatlantic Cooperation on Combatting Cybercrime: The U.S. government should work with European partners to raise the priority of investigating and prosecuting Russia-based organized crime groups and cybercriminals, who should be viewed not just as criminal threats, but as threats to national security. Agencies should increase information sharing between intelligence and law enforcement entities, and increase the tar- geting of criminal assets. 9. Hold Social Media Companies Accountable: Social media plat- forms are a key conduit of disinformation that undermines democ- racies. Make Political Advertising on Social Media Transparent: a. U.S. and European governments should mandate that social media companies make public the sources of funding for political ad- vertisements, along the same lines as TV channels and print media. b. European gov- Conduct Audits on Election Period Interference: ernments should also increase pressure on and cooperation with social media companies to determine the extent of Rus- sian-linked disinformation operations using fake accounts in recent elections and referendums around the continent. Social media companies should conduct comprehensive audits on how their platforms may have been used by Kremlin-linked entities to influence elections occurring over the past several years. Convene Civil Society Advisory Councils: Social media compa- c. nies should also establish civil society advisory councils to pro- vide input and warnings about emerging disinformation trends. Leaders from the United States and Europe in govern- ment, the private sector, and civil society must work to pro- mote a culture where citizens are armed with critical thinking skills. To that end, philanthropic organizations should embark on an initiative to work with educational organizations and so- cial media companies to develop a curriculum on media lit- VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00167 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

168 162 eracy and critical thinking skills that could be offered free of charge to the public. These tools should also be amplified for the broader public through a large scale media campaign. d. Block Malicious Inauthentic and/or Automated Accounts: While accounting for freedom of speech concerns, social media companies should redouble efforts to prevent, detect, and de- lete such accounts, especially those that are primarily used to promote false news stories. 10. Reduce European Dependence on Russian Energy Sources: Europe is overly dependent on Gazprom, a Russian state-owned company, for its natural gas supplies. Payments to Gazprom from European states fund military aggression abroad, as well as overt and covert activities that undermine democratic institutions and social cohesion in Europe. The Russian government uses the near monopoly of its state-owned natural gas companies over European gas supplies as leverage in political and economic negotiations with European transshipment countries, especially Ukraine and the Bal- kans. a. OPIC and USTDA should help Promote Energy Diversification: to finance strategically important energy diversification projects in Europe. This includes supporting new pipeline projects such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), as well as the construction of more liquid natural gas (LNG) regasification terminals to facilitate the import of LNG from non-Russian sources. The U.S. should also support efforts that promote re- newable energy options. Support a Single EU Energy Market: The U.S. government, b. through OPIC, USTDA, and other assistance mechanisms, should also support strategic infrastructure projects that sup- port the realization of a single EU gas and electricity market. The U.S. government should also assist EU governments with implementation of the EU’s Third Energy Package, which seeks to establish a single energy market. c. Oppose Nord Stream 2: The U.S. should continue to oppose Nord Stream 2. The U.S. government should encourage the Eu- ropean Commission and Parliament to sponsor an independent inquiry into the energy security and geopolitical implications of Nord Stream 2 and its infrastructure in Russia and host coun- tries. The U.S. Departments of Energy and State should assist the independent inquiry in whatever way possible. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00168 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

169 APPENDICES VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00169 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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171 Appendix A: 1999 Apartment Building Bombings In early September 1999, less than three weeks after Putin was installed as Prime Minister, a large truck bomb destroyed a five- story apartment building in the Russian republic of Dagestan, kill- 1 A second, far more powerful bomb was found in a ing 64 people. truck near a military hospital in the city, but was defused just 12 minutes before it was timed to explode, saving the city’s center 2 from being leveled. As the bombings occurred in an ethnically di- verse republic thousands of kilometers from Moscow, public outrage in the capital was limited. But five days after the bombing in Dage- stan, a bomb struck an apartment building in Moscow, killing 100 3 and injuring nearly 700. The Moscow unit of the FSB revealed that evidence from the scene showed traces of TNT and a potent military explosive called hexogen (a substantial investigation of the crime scene was never carried out because the authorities razed the building just days after the blast and discarded its remnants 4 at the municipal dump). Just four days later, another bomb went off in Moscow at 5 a.m., destroying a nine-story apartment building and killing 124 sleeping 5 residents. Later that morning, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, Gennady Seleznyov, announced that an 6 apartment building had blown up in the city of Volgodonsk. But the bombing in Volgodonsk did not happen until three days after his announcement, when an apartment block was attacked in the 7 city, again at 5 a.m., killing 18 people and injuring nearly 90. When a Duma member later asked Seleznyov on the Parliament floor to ‘‘please explain, how come you told us on Monday about the blast that occurred on Thursday?’’ his microphone was cut off and 8 the Duma voted to revoke his speaking privileges for one month. 1 David Satter, The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dicta- torship under Yeltsin and Putin, Yale University Press, at 7 (2016); Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare GQ, Mar. 30, 2017. Call it a Conspiracy,’’ 2 The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep, at 7. Satter, 3 Ibid. 4 Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare Call it a Conspiracy,’’ GQ, Mar. 30, 2017; Satter, The Less You at 7. Know, the Better You Sleep, 5 at 7. The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep, Satter, 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Remarks before the Russian Duma, Sept. 17, 1999, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf9r3DEY5UA (translated from Russian). Some observers suggest that someone in the chain of command of the FSB botched the planned sequence of the bomb- ings and gave the news to Seleznyov in the wrong order. Mikhail Trepashkin, a former FSB agent and lawyer who investigated the bombings, claims that Seleznyov was given an erroneous GQ, Mar. 30, 2017. report by an FSB officer. Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare Call it a Conspirary,’’ (165) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00171 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

172 166 Terrified residents began to spend the night outdoors rather than 9 risk being blown up while sleeping in their apartments. Less than a week later, on September 22, a resident in the city of Ryazan, about 120 miles southeast of Moscow, called the police to report suspicious men going in and out of his apartment building. Police investigated and discovered what appeared to be a large bomb in the building’s basement. The head of the local bomb squad discon- nected a military-grade detonator and timer and analyzed the sacks of white powder they were connected to, which reportedly 10 tested positive for hexogen. Two men matching the witnesses’ descriptions were arrested; but both were found to be in possession of FSB identification, and the 11 Moscow FSB ordered the Ryazan police to release them. At the Kremlin, FSB director Nikolai Patrushev (now head of Russia’s in- fluential Security Council) announced that the whole thing was a training exercise, that the sacks of white powder were in fact only sugar, and that while similar exercises had taken place in other cities around Russia, only the citizens of Ryazan had been vigilant 12 enough to detect the sucrose threat. Putin blamed the bombings on Chechen terrorists and imme- 13 Yet while Rus- diately ordered Russia’s armed forces to retaliate. sian authorities said that there was a ‘‘Chechen trail’’ leading to 14 In response to the bombings, no Chechen claimed responsibility. questions from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 2000, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wrote that ‘‘We have not seen evidence that ties the bombings to 15 A State Department cable from the U.S. Embassy in Chechnya.’’ Moscow relays how a former member of Russia’s intelligence serv- ices told a U.S. diplomat that the FSB ‘‘does indeed have a spe- cially trained team of men whose mission is to carry out this type of urban warfare,’’ and that the actual story of what happened in Ryazan would never come out, because ‘‘the truth would destroy 16 the country.’’ The report of the British government’s public in- quiry into the murder of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko refers to the theory in Litvinenko’s book that ‘‘the bombings had been the work of the FSB, designed to provide a justification for war in Chechnya and, ultimately, to boost Mr. Putin’s political 17 prospects.’’ The inquiry’s chairman, Sir Robert Owen, wrote that the book was ‘‘the product of careful research’’ and referred to the view that the book had ‘‘credibly investigated’’ the issue and ‘‘piled up the evidence pointing a very damaging finger at the FSB and 18 In addition, U.S. Senators its involvement in those explosions.’’ 9 The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep , at 8. Satter, 10 Ibid. at 9-10. 11 Ibid. at 10. 12 The New York Review of Amy Knight, ‘‘Finally, We Know About the Moscow Bombings,’’ Nov. 22, 2012. Books, 13 Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare Call it a Conspiracy,’’ GQ, Mar. 30, 2017. 14 Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 2 (citing Ilyas Akhmadov & Miriam Lansky, The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost, Palgrave Macmillan at 162 (2010)). 15 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 2000 Foreign Policy Overview and the Presi- dent’s Fiscal Year 2001 Foreign Affairs Budget Request (Feb. and Mar. 2000). 16 U.S. Department of State Cable, Released via Freedom of Information Act to David Satter, Case No. F-2016-08858. 17 The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death of Alex- United Kingdom House of Commons, ander Litvinenko, at 57 (Jan. 2016). 18 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00172 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

173 167 John McCain and Marco Rubio, who both serve on the Senate Se- lect Committee on Intelligence, have gone on the record pointing to evidence that alleges the involvement of the Russian security serv- ices in the bombings, with Rubio referring to ‘‘open source and 19 other’’ reporting. The CIA, however, has not released any of its potential records relating to the bombings, stating that to do so would reveal ‘‘very specific aspects of the Agency’s intelligence in- 20 terest, or lack thereof, in the Russian bombings.’’ Attempts to investigate the Ryazan incident and the bombings were stonewalled by Russian officials or stymied by opponents in the Duma. Due to uniform opposition from pro-Putin deputies, sev- 21 eral efforts in the Duma to investigate the Ryazan incident failed. Instead, a group of deputies and civilian activists created a public commission to investigate, led by Sergei Kovalev, a Soviet-era dis- sident who served for a time as Yeltsin’s human rights advisor (he resigned after accusing Yeltsin of abandoning democratic prin- 22 ciples). In 2003, one of the Duma deputies and ‘‘most active’’ members on the commission, Sergei Yushkenov, was shot dead in 23 front of his apartment building. Another member of the commis- sion, Yuri Shchekochikhin, died from a mysterious illness three months later, likely from thallium poisoning, just before he was scheduled to fly to the United States to meet with investigators 24 from the FBI. Others investigating the bombings, including former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko and journalist Anna 25 Politkovskaya, were also murdered. Russian authorities held two trials in relation to the bombings. The first trial started in May 2001, and accused five men from the Karachai-Cherkessian Republic (about 250 miles west of Chechnya) of preparing explosives and sending them to Moscow ‘‘in bags simi- lar to those used to carry sugar produced by a sugar refiner in 19 Senator John McCain, Press Release, ‘‘McCain Decries ‘New Authoritarianism in Russia,’ ’’ Nov. 4, 2003. McCain said that ‘‘there remain credible allegations that Russia’s FSB had a hand Ibid. Senator Rubio said in January 2017 that ‘‘there’s [an] in- in carrying out these attacks.’’ credible body of reporting, open source and other, that this was all—all those bombings were part of a black flag operation on the part of the FSB.’’ Remarks of Marco Rubio, Nomination of Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, Hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Jan. 11, 2017. 20 David Satter, ‘‘The Mystery of Russia’s 1999 Apartment Bombings Lingers—the CIA Could Clear It Up,’’ National Review, Feb. 2, 2017. 21 at 21, 25; ‘‘Duma Vote Kills Query on Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, , Apr. 4, 2000. The Moscow Times Ryazan,’’ 22 Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 25; Sergei Kovalev, ‘‘A Letter of Res- , Feb. 29, 1996. The New York Review of Books ignation,’’ 23 Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 25, 31, 126-27; ‘‘Russian MP’s death BBC News, Apr. 18, 2003. Russian authorities convicted Mikhail Kodanyov, the sparks storm,’’ leader of a rival member of Yushkenov’s Liberal Russia party, with ordering the assassination. Prosecutors argued that Kodanyov ordered the murder because he wanted to take control of Lib- eral Russia’s finances. Kodanyov maintained his innocence throughout the trial. Carl Schrek, ‘‘4 Convicted for Yushenkov Murder,’’ The Moscow Times, Mar. 19, 2004. 24 Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 31; Jullian, O’Halloran, ‘‘Russia’s Poi- BBC News, soning ‘Without a Poison,’ ’’ Feb. 6, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/file _ _ 4/6324241.stm; ‘‘September 1999 Russian apart- on ment bombings timeline,’’ CBC , Sept. 4, 1999. 25 at 36, 121, 127. After the 2003 trial, three Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, years before she was assassinated, Politkovskaya said of the court proceedings that ‘‘This inves- tigation hasn’t answered the main question: Who ordered the apartment blasts in Moscow and Volgodonsk. The accusations raised by some politicians that the FSB may have been behind the explosions have never been seriously considered by this investigation and have never been in- vestigated at all. And it is quite clear that it will never happen. It remains up to independent journalists and a very small circle of independent politicians to continue to dig up this tragic riddle. The last politician in Russia who sincerely raised these hard questions was Sergei Los Angeles Yushenkov. But he was killed.’’ David Holley, ‘‘Separatists Tied to ’99 Bombings,’’ Times, May 1, 2003. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00173 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

174 168 26 The trial was held 750 miles Karachai-Cherkessian Republic.’’ south of Moscow and closed to the public, including the press. The men were convicted of plotting terrorist attacks across Russia in 1999, but due to the lack of evidence, the trial investigators dropped the charges that the men were involved in the Moscow and 27 Volgodonsk bombings. The second trial, which occurred in 2003 and was also closed to the public, charged two other Karachai-Cherkessian men, one of whom said that it was the CIA, not the FSB, that was involved in 28 the Volgodonsk bombing. While he admitted his involvement in the Volgodonsk bombing, he said that he was given heavy nar- cotics, and he has maintained that he was not involved with the 29 two Moscow bombings. Two sisters who lost their mother in one of the Moscow bombings hired a lawyer and former FSB agent, Mikhail Trepashkin, to rep- 30 resent them at the second trial. Trepashkin was also an investi- 31 gator on Kovalev’s commission. According to the U.S. State De- partment, Russian authorities arrested Trepashkin one month after he published claims that the FSB was involved in the bomb- ings and just one week before he was scheduled to represent the sisters in court and present related evidence. He was convicted of disclosing state secrets (Trepashkin maintains that FSB agents planted classified documents in his home during a search) and sen- 32 tenced to four years in prison. With two members of the public commission dead, others threatened, and Trepashkin imprisoned and his life possibly at risk, its investigation stalled. The Russian public continued to push for investigations and in 2009, a few dozen protestors held a demonstration demanding a new investigation into the bombings. During the protests against Putin in 2011 and 2012, some demonstrators carried signs ref- 33 erencing the attacks. A public opinion poll conducted in Sep- tember 2013 found that only 31 percent of Russians thought that any involvement of the special services in the explosions should be 34 excluded. Another poll conducted in 2015 found that only about 6 percent of Russians had clarity about who was behind the 1999 26 ‘‘Five Men Charged with Apartment Bombings in moscow,’’ Strana.ru, May 11, 2001. 27 Oksana Yablokova & Navi Abdullaev, ‘‘Five Men Convicted for Terrorist Plots,’’ The Moscow Times, Nov. 15, 2001. 28 ‘‘Terrorist Adam Dekkushev Blames CIA for Preparations of Explosions in Volgodonsk,’’ Kommersant, Dec. 19, 2003 (translated from Russian). 29 Amy Knight, Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder, St. Martin’s Press (2017); ‘‘Terror Convict Asks Court to Reject $900,000 Claim,’’ RIA Novosti, Mar. 3, 2006. 30 Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 29-30. 31 Ibid. 32 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Russia (Mar. 2008). While imprisoned, Trepashkin com- plained of improper medical care for severe asthma, which resulted in his transfer to a harsher general prison regime. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2007 that the Russian government violated the European Convention on Human Rights due to his poor prison condi- tions. Ibid. As of September 2017, Trepashkin was representing plaintiffs demanding compensa- tion from the Russian government for its use of disproportionate force in ending the Beslan siege in 2004. ‘‘Beslan siege: Russia ‘Will Comply’ with Critical Ruling,’’ BBC , Sept. 20, 2017; Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare Call it a Conspiracy,’’ GQ, Mar. 30, 2017. 33 ‘‘Russian Protesters Demand Investigation of 1999 Apartment Bombings,’’ Radio Free Eu- rope/Radio Free Liberty, Sept. 10, 2009; Satter, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep, at 38. 34 Press Release, Levada Center, ‘‘Russians About Terrorist Attacks,’’ Sept. 30, 2013, https:// teraktah/ (translated from Russian). o _ _ www.levada.ru/2013/09/30/rossiyane VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00174 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

175 169 35 To this day, no credible source has ever claimed credit bombings. for the bombings and no credible evidence has been presented by the Russian authorities linking Chechen terrorists, or anyone else, to the Moscow bombings. As the public polling results show, there is still considerable doubt among the Russian public about who was responsible for the 1999 apartment building bombings, suggesting that further investigation into the matter is still required. 35 Press Release, Levada Center, ‘‘The Tragedy in Beslan and the Apartment Bombings in Au- tumn 1999,’’ Sept. 4, 2015 (translated from Russian). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00175 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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177 Appendix B: Alleged Political Assassinations More than two dozen politicians, journalists, activists, and other critics of Mr. Putin’s regime have died under mysterious or sus- 1 A num- picious circumstances in Russia during his time in power. ber of individuals, including vocal Putin critics, investigative jour- nalists, and others in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, have died beyond Russia’s borders, often under similar mysterious circumstances. Many observers suspect that these deaths were at the hands or di- rection of the Russian security services. Such actions are officially allowed under a Russian law passed by the Duma in July 2006 that permits the assassination of ‘‘enemies of the Russian regime’’ 2 who live abroad. The most infamous case in recent memory was that of Alexander Litvinenko, a career FSB officer. In the early 1990s, he inves- tigated the Tambov group, an Uzbek criminal organization based in St. Petersburg that he found was smuggling heroin from Afghan- istan to Western Europe via Uzbekistan and St. Petersburg. His in- vestigation led him to believe that there was ‘‘widespread collusion between the Tambov group and KGB officials, including both Vladi- 3 mir Putin and Nikolai Patrushev.’’ He was also allegedly ordered to kill Mikhail Trepashkin (see Appendix A) after the recently re- signed FSB investigator brought a lawsuit against the FSB’s lead- ership and filed complaints that went all the way up to the direc- tor, Vladimir Putin. Litvinenko refused to carry out the order, be- came disenchanted with his assignment on a hit team, and held a press conference with four other colleagues, as well as Mr. Trepashkin, where they exposed the assassination plots they had 4 been ordered to carry out. After the press conference, Litvinenko was fired from the FSB (Putin was then still FSB director), and he fled to the UK, where he was granted asylum and, eventually, Brit- 5 ish citizenship. He began to investigate the 1999 apartment build- ing bombings and wrote a book, Blowing up Russia: Terror from 1 USA Oren Dorell, ‘‘Mysterious Rash on Russian Deaths Casts Suspicion on Vladimir Putin,’’ Today , May 4, 2017; Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘58 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed,’’ https://cpj.org/killed/europe/russia/ (visited Dec. 5, 2017). 2 Terrence McCoy, ‘‘With His Dying Words, Poisoned Spy Alexander Litvinenko Named Putin Jan. 28, 2015; Steven Eke, ‘‘Russia Law on Killing ‘Extrem- as His Killer,’’ The Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2006. BBC News, ists’ Abroad,’’ 3 The Litvinenko Inquiry: Report into the Death of Alex- United Kingdom House of Commons, at 15 (Jan. 2016). ander Litvinenko, 4 at 21. Ibid. 5 Jan. 21, 2016; Griff BBC News, ‘‘Alexander Livtvinenko: Profile of Murdered Russian Spy,’’ Witte & Michael Birnbaum, ‘‘Putin Implicated in Fatal Poisoning of Former KGB Officer at Lon- don Hotel,’’ Jan. 21, 2016. The Washington Post, (171) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00177 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

178 172 , which accused the FSB of being behind the attacks on the Within 6 apartment buildings. In November 2006, while reportedly investigating the death of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya as well as Spanish links to the Russian mafia, Litvinenko met two former FSB colleagues, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, for tea in Lon- don. Later that day he fell ill, his organs began to fail, and he died within a few weeks, killed by a rare radioactive isotope: Polonium- 7 210. An investigation by the British authorities found that Lugovoi and Kovtun had poisoned Litvinenko. However, the Rus- sian government refused to extradite Lugovoi, which led to a dete- rioration in bilateral relations, with the UK cutting off links to the Russian security services and diplomatic personnel being expelled by both sides (Putin would later award a state medal to Lugovoi, 8 who is now a member of the Russian Duma). That deterioration of relations made the British government reluctant to accede to the 9 coroner’s request for a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death. In 2015, however, the British government began a public inquiry, which one year later concluded that ‘‘the FSB operation to kill Mr. Litvinenko was probably approved by [then FSB director] Mr. 10 Patrushev and also by President Putin.’’ In the decade between Litvinenko’s death and the publishing of the results of the public inquiry, a number of potential ‘‘enemies of the Russian regime’’ died in Britain under mysterious cir- cumstances. With decades of practice and the investment of consid- erable state resources, the Russian security services have report- edly developed techniques that a former Scotland Yard counterter- rorism official characterized as ‘‘disguising murder’’ by staging sui- cides and using chemical and biological agents that leave no 11 trace. A former KGB lieutenant colonel told The New York Times that ‘‘The government is using the special services to liquidate its enemies. It was not just Litvinenko, but many others we don’t 12 know about, classified as accidents or maybe semi-accidents.’’ One possible target was Alexander Perepilichnyy, a Russian fin- ancier who had reportedly helped Russian authorities engage in a $230 million tax fraud scheme that was exposed by Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer for the British hedge fund Hermitage 13 Capital Management. After Magnitsky exposed the extent of the 6 see Ibid. Appendix A. ; 7 Ibid. A British physicist who testified at the public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death said that the polonium’s poisonous effects would have to have been tested in advance to know the proper dosage to kill. He noted two unexplained deaths in Russia that occurred before Litvinenko’s and with similar symptoms: the Chechen warlord Lecha Islamov and the one-time Putin associate Roman Tsepov, who both died in 2004. ‘‘Plutonium that killed Alexander Litvinenko Came from Russian Plant, UK Court Told,’’ Financial Times, Mar. 11, 2015. 8 ‘‘Alexander Litvinenko: Profile of Murdered Russian Spy,’’ BBC , Jan. 21, 2016; ‘‘Russia’s Putin Honors Suspect in Litvinenko Poisoning,’’ Reuters, Mar. 9, 2015. 9 Michael Holden, ‘‘Britain Says Ties with Russia Played Part in Litvinenko Ruling,’’ Reuters, Jul. 19, 2013. 10 United Kingdom House of Commons, at 244. The Litvinenko Inquiry, 11 June 15, 2017. BuzzFeed News, Heidi Blake et al., ‘‘From Russia with Blood,’’ 12 The New York Andrew Kramer, ‘‘More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead,’’ Aug. 20, 2016. Times, 13 Alan Cowell, ‘‘Another Russian Emigre Dies Mysteriously, But It’s a Different Britain,’’ The New York Times, Sept. 16, 2016; ‘‘Alexander Perepilichnyy Death: Russian May Have Talked to UK Spies,’’ BBC News, Jan. 13, 2016; The founder of Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder, alleges that $30 million of the $230 million stolen in the tax fraud flowed into Britain. U.S. government investigators traced over $7.5 million of the stolen funds to a British bank ac- count tied to a Moscow-based investment. ‘‘U.S. Traces US $7.5 Million from Russian Fraud Scheme Uncovered by Magnitsky,’’ Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Apr. 17, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00178 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

179 173 tax fraud—the largest in Russian history—he was arrested and charged with the crime himself, then tortured and killed in prison by his captors. Magnitsky’s death reportedly led Perepilichnyy to turn against his bosses and cooperate with investigations—he fled 14 In to Britain and turned over evidence to Swiss prosecutors. 2012, on the same day he returned from a short trip to Paris, he collapsed while jogging and died from what police said was a heart 15 Perepilichnyy’s death occurred shortly before he was ap- attack. parently due to provide additional evidence to Swiss authorities in a ‘‘confrontation’’ setting with Vladlen Stepanov, the husband of a senior tax official who was a key player in the tax fraud that 16 Magnitsky had uncovered. Because Perepilichnyy had received numerous threats, shortly before his death he had applied for sev- eral life insurance policies that required medical checks, the results of which gave him a clean bill of health and did not reveal any heart problems. After his death, one of the insurance companies or- dered a new round of tests on his body and an expert in plant toxi- cology subsequently found that his stomach had traces of gelsemium, a rare Chinese flowering plant that, when ingested, triggers cardiac arrest. It is also ‘‘a known weapon of assassination by Chinese and Russian contract killers,’’ according to a lawyer for 17 the insurance company. A high-profile Russian also died under mysterious circumstances in Washington, D.C. in 2015. Mikhail Lesin, founder of the Russian RT state-owned television network and formerly a close adviser to Putin, was found dead in his hotel room in Dupont Circle with ‘‘blunt force injuries of the head, neck, torso, upper extremities, and 18 lower extremities.’’ A nearly year-long investigation by D.C. po- lice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C., and the FBI concluded that ‘‘Lesin entered his hotel room on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 4th, 2015, after days of excessive consumption of alcohol and sus- tained the injuries that resulted in his death while alone in his 19 hotel room.’’ Lesin died the day before he was reportedly going 2017, https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/6342-u-s-traces-us-7-5-million-from-russian-fraud-scheme- uncovered-by-magnitsky; Neil Buckley, ‘‘Magnitsky Fraud Cash Laundered Through Britain, May 3, 2016. Financial Times, MPs Hear,’’ 14 Mike Eckel, ‘‘U.S. Settles Magnitsky-Linked Money Laundering Case on Eve of Trial,’’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 13, 2017; Jeffrey Stern, ‘‘An Enemy of the Kremlin Dies in London: Who Killed Alexander Perepilichny?’’ The Atlantic, Jan./Feb., 2017. 15 Alan Cowell, ‘‘Another Russian Emigre Dies Mysteriously, but it’s a Different Britain,’’ The New York Times, Sept. 16, 2016; ‘‘Alexander Perepilichny Death: Russian May Have Talked to UK Spies,’’ BBC News, Jan. 13, 2016. 16 See United Kingdom Courts and Tribunal Judiciary, Inquest Into the Death of Alexander Perepilichny, Day 4 (Questioning of Russ Whitworth, Legal and General), June 8, 2017. 17 Jeffrey Stern, ‘‘An Enemy of the Kremlin Dies in London,’’ The Atlantic, Jan./Feb. 2017. 18 District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, ‘‘Joint Statement from the Dis- trict of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Metropolitan Police Depart- ment,’’ Mar. 10, 2016. The manner of death was undetermined. 19 U.S. Department of Justice, ‘‘Investigation into the Death of Mikhail Lesin Has Closed,’’ Oct. 28, 2016. According to the D.C. police report of the incident, on November 4, a hotel secu- rity guard checked in on a ‘’stumbling drunk’’ Lesin in his room at 2:23 p.m. and asked him if he needed medical help, to which Lesin responded ‘‘nyet.’’ At 8:16 p.m., another guard found Lesin face down on the floor of his hotel room, breathing but unresponsive. The next day, at 11:30 a.m., a security guard went to Lesin’s room to remind him to check out and found him still face down on the floor. The guard called 911 and Lesin was pronounced dead at the scene. Peter Hermann, ‘‘Police Report on 2015 Death of Russian Political Aide Details Days of Drink- ing,’’ Dec. 4, 2017. The Washington Post, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00179 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

180 174 to meet with officials from the U.S. Department of Justice about 20 RT’s operations. Some U.S. national security officials are now reportedly con- cerned that Russia’s security services will start ‘‘doing here what 21 they do with some regularity in London.’’ The warning echoes a much earlier one, given in 2004 after two Russian agents killed a former president of Chechnya in Qatar, using explosives smuggled in a diplomatic pouch. In a telephone interview with The New York a Chechen separatist leader said the killing ‘’showed that Times, Russia under Mr. Putin had reverted to the darkest tactics of its Soviet past’’ and that ‘‘if the international community does not give proper attention to what happened in Qatar,’’ he said, ‘‘I am abso- lutely sure that these methods may be tried again in other coun- 22 tries, including Western countries.’’ It is not inconceivable that the Kremlin could use its security services in the United States as it has elsewhere. The trail of mysterious deaths, all of which hap- pened to people who possessed information that the Kremlin did not want made public, should not be ignored by Western countries on the assumption that they are safe from these extreme measures. 20 Jason Leopold et al., ‘‘Everyone Thinks He Was Whacked,’’ BuzzFeed News, Jul. 28, 2017. In recent years, members of Congress had called for Lesin to be investigated for money laun- dering and sanctioned for human rights abuses. In July 2014, Senator Roger Wicker asked the Department of Justice to look into whether Lesin had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and anti-money laundering statutes, citing Lesin’s acquisition of a luxury real estate empire throughout Europe and the United States, including over $28 million in southern California alone. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and James McGovern wrote to President Obama in March 2014 requesting that Lesin be sanctioned under the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Ac- countability Act for having ‘‘personally threatened the then-owner of NTV television, Vladimir Gunsinky, while Gusinky was being held at the Butyrskaya Prison in Moscow, demanding that he transfer control of his media outlets (which had been critical of the government) to the state- owned company Gazprom in return for dropping the charges.’’ Under the terms reportedly pro- posed by Lesin, Gusinky was offered the option of selling NTV to Gazprom for $300 million (far below its value) and a debt write-off, or sharing ‘‘a cell with prisoners infected with AIDS and TB.’’ Letter from Senator Roger Wicker, to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jul. 29, 2014; Letter The from Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen to President Obama, Mar. 14, 2014; Arkady Ostrovsky, Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War , Atlantic Books, at 275 (2015). 21 Jason Leopold et al., ‘‘Everyone Thinks He Was Whacked,’’ BuzzFeed News, Jul. 28, 2017. 22 Steven Myers, ‘‘Qatar Court Convicts 2 Russians in Top Chechen’s Death,’’ The New York Times , Jul. 1, 2004. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00180 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

181 Appendix C: Russian Government’s Olympic Cheating Scheme At two World Championships, in 2011 and 2013, and at the Olympics in 2012, Russian athlete Maria Savinova beat American 1 sprinter Alysia Montano for a spot on the medal stand. However, investigations now show that Savinova’s performance had been en- hanced by a doping program directed by the Russian government. ́ Other American athletes were also cheated, like Chaunte Lowe, who competed in the 2008 Olympic high jump, and moved from sixth place to third when, in 2016, the top three finishers—two Russians and one Ukrainian—were disqualified, eight years after they had stood on the podium and accepted their medals. Montano and Lowe are just two of many American athletes who the Russian state has cheated out of Olympic glory. Ms. Lowe believes she was robbed not just of the glory of the medal stand, but of the financial opportunity it would have brought: companies, looking to sponsor her, lost interest after she failed to medal, and, after her husband was laid off from his job in 2008, they lost their house to fore- 2 closure. In 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), an independent international agency that sets anti-doping standards, launched an investigation into Russian doping after a German TV station aired a documentary titled ‘‘The Secrets of Doping: How Russia Makes its Winners.’’ The documentary ‘‘alleged doping practices; corrupt practices around sample collection and results management; and other ineffective administration of anti-doping processes that impli- cate Russia, . . . the accredited laboratory based in Moscow and the 3 The WADA report, re- Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).’’ leased in November 2015, mentions secret recordings of Savinova which ‘’show that [she] has an in-depth knowledge of doping re- gimes, dosages, physiological effects of doping and new [perform- 4 The report recommended a lifetime ban ance-enhancing drugs].’’ for Savinova and detailed the role of the FSB in the doping oper- ation: it had set up extensive surveillance in Russia’s main anti- doping laboratory in Moscow and had a significant presence at the 5 As one laboratory testing laboratory in the Russian city of Sochi. worker told WADA investigators, ‘‘[in Sochi] we had some guys pre- 1 New York Chris Perez, ‘‘US Olympian Wants Medal She Had Stolen by Russian Dopers,’’ Post, Nov. 9, 2015. 2 Rebecca Ruiz, ‘‘Olympics History Rewritten: New Doping Tests Topple the Podium,’’ The New York Times , Nov. 21, 2016. 3 World Anti-Doping Agency, The Independent Commission Report #1 (Nov. 9, 2015). 4 Ibid. at 262. 5 Ibid. (175) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00181 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

182 176 tending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the 6 federal security service.’’ After a disappointing performance by Russian athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and having spent over $50 billion on infra- structure for the 2014 games in Sochi (with up to $30 billion of that allegedly stolen by businessmen and officials close to Putin, according to a report authored by murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov), Putin needed good results to prove to the Russian people 7 that they needed his ‘’strong hand at the helm.’’ For the Olympic Games in Sochi, therefore, it was not enough for the Russian ath- letes to have been doping in the months leading up to the competi- tion—they would also take performance-enhancing drugs during the games. At the testing lab in Sochi, photographs show how the FSB drilled a hole through the wall of the official urine sample collec- tion room and concealed it behind a faux-wood cabinet. The hole led to a storage space that Russian anti-doping officials had con- verted into a hidden laboratory. From there, the urine samples were passed to an FSB officer, who took them to a nearby building, where he unsealed the supposedly tamper-proof bottles and re- turned them with the caps loosened. The bottles were then emptied and filled with clean urine that had been collected from the ath- letes before the Olympics. Up to 100 urine samples of Russian ath- letes were removed in this way, allowing them to continue to use performance-enhancing drugs throughout the 2014 Winter Olym- pics. Of the 33 medals Russia won during the 2014 Olympics, 11 were awarded to athletes whose names appear on a spreadsheet 8 detailing the Russian government’s doping operation. In December 2016, WADA released a second independent report that found that ‘‘[a]n institutional conspiracy existed across sum- mer and winter sports athletes who participated with Russian offi- cials within the Ministry of Sport and its infrastructure . . . along with the FSB for the purposes of manipulating doping controls. The summer and winter sports athletes were not acting individually but within an organised infrastructure.’’ Over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in the Olympics and Paralympics had been involved in 9 In an interview for the 2016 documentary Icarus , the conspiracy. the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, estimated that of the 154 Russian medalists in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, at least 70 cheated with performance en- hancing drugs. He confirmed that Russia had ‘‘a state-wide system- atic doping system in place to cheat the Olympics’’ and that Putin 10 In remarks that were later retracted was aware of the program. by the Russian government, the acting head of Russia’s anti-doping agency admitted in 2016 that doping among Russian athletes was 6 Ibid. 7 Alissa de Carbonnel, ‘‘Billions Stolen in Sochi Olympics Preparations—Russian opposition,’’ The Sochi Predicament: Contexts, Char- May 30, 2013; Bo Petersson & Karina Vamling, Reuters, Cambridge Scholars Pub- acteristics, and Challenges of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, lishing, at 22 (2013). 8 Rebecca Ruiz et al., ‘‘Russian Doctor Explains How He Helped Beat Doping Tests at the Sochi Olympics,’’ The New York Times , May 13, 2016. 9 at 1, 5. (Dec. 2016). Professor Richard H. McLaren, The Independent Person 2nd Report, 10 Bryan Fogel, Director (2017). Icarus, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00182 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

183 177 11 Despite the tremendous amount of ‘‘an institutional conspiracy.’’ forensic evidence proving the conclusions of the WADA investiga- tions, as well as the resulting decision by the IOC to ban Russia’s official participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, Putin has stead- 12 fastly denied the existence of a state-sanctioned doping system. The scale of Russia’s cheating in the 2014 Winter Olympics led 17 of the world’s leading anti-doping agencies to request that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, noting that ‘‘a country’s sport leaders and organi- zations should not be given credentials to the Olympics when they 13 intentionally violate the rules and rob clean athletes.’’ In Decem- ber 2017, Russia became ‘‘the first country in sporting history to be banned from sending athletes to an Olympic games for doping,’’ when the IOC declared that athletes could not compete under the Russian flag, Russian officials could not attend the games, and Russia’s uniform, flag, and anthem also could not appear anywhere 14 at the 2018 games. In response, Putin implied the ban was tied to his still-unannounced reelection campaign, saying ‘‘When will the Olympics take place? February, isn’t it? And when is the presi- dential election? March. I suspect that all of this is done to create conditions on someone’s behalf to provoke sport fans’ and athletes’ 15 anger that the state allegedly had something to do with it.’’ The Kremlin may have also ordered retribution against WADA and U.S. athletes, among others. Approximately ten months after the release of the first report, a group of hackers associated with Russia’s military intelligence, commonly known as Fancy Bear or 16 APT28, broke into WADA’s databases. The hackers released med- ical information about several U.S. athletes, including gymnast 17 Simone Biles and tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. Shortly thereafter, the same group of hackers stole emails from WADA officials and released selected conversations about Ameri- 18 cans and other athletes. In April 2017, Fancy Bear hackers re- portedly breached the International Association of Athletics Fed- erations (IAAF), which had voted to ban Russia from all inter- 19 national track and field events. After blowing the whistle on the scope of the Russian doping pro- gram, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping lab, Dr. Rodchenkov now appears to be a Kremlin target. Rodchenkov fled to the United States after resigning from his post in the wake of the second 11 Rebecca Ruiz, ‘‘Russians No Longer Dispute Olympic Doping Operation,’’ The New York Times , Dec. 27, 2016. 12 Marissa Payne, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Says ‘Current Russian Anti-Doping System Has Failed,’ ’’ The Washington Post, Mar. 1, 2017. 13 13 Sean Ingle, ‘‘Anti-Doping Agencies Call on IOC to Ban Russia from 2018 Winter Olym- The Guardian, Sept. 14, 2017. pics,’’ 14 Murad Ahmed and Max Seddon, ‘‘Russia Banned from Winter Olympics,’’ Financial Times, Dec. 5, 2017; Press Release, International Olympic Committee, IOC Suspends Rusian NOC and Creates a Path for Clean Individual Athletes to Compete in Pyeongchang 2018 Under the Olym- pic Flag, Dec. 5. 2017. 15 Neil MacFarquhar, ‘‘Russia Won’t Keep Athletes Home, Putin Says After Olympic Ban,’’ The New York Times , Dec. 6, 2017. 16 Sept. Andy Greenberg, ‘‘Russian Hackers Get Bolder in Anti-Doping Agency Attack,’’ Wired, 14, 2016. Fancy Bear/APT28 were also behind hacks that targeted the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 The Sean Ingle, ‘‘Fancy Bears Hack Again With Attack on Senior Anti-Doping Officials,’’ Nov. 25, 2016. Guardian, 19 Thomas Fox-Brewster, ‘‘Russia’s Fancy Bear Hackers are Stealing Athlete Drug Data Again,’’ , Apr. 3, 2017. Forbes VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00183 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

184 178 WADA report, where he is reportedly cooperating with federal in- vestigators and the IOC. His whereabouts in the United States are unknown and the Russian government has announced that he will 20 be arrested if he ever returns to Russia. Rodchenkov’s application for asylum in the United States is now complicated by the fact that Russian authorities charged him with drug trafficking (drug traf- 21 The fickers are not eligible for political asylum under U.S. law). charge and accompanying arrest warrant were announced on the same day that Rodchenkov had an asylum interview with U.S. im- migration officials, leading his lawyer, a former federal prosecutor, to believe that Russian law enforcement authorities may have been tipped off, stating ‘‘that is a coincidence too remarkable to believe. It seems fairly clear they were trying to influence the immigration 22 process.’’ Putin has asserted, on live television, that Rodchenkov is ‘‘under the control of American special services’’ and asked ‘‘what are they doing with him there? Are they giving him some kind of substances 23 docu- so that he says what’s required?’’ According to the Icarus mentary and statements by Rodchenkov’s lawyer, U.S. officials re- portedly believe that Russian agents in the United States may be looking for Rodchenkov, and that ‘‘there may be a credible threat 24 to his life.’’ Before he fled, Rodchenkov said that friends inside the Russian government warned him that the Kremlin was plan- 25 ning his ‘’suicide.’’ Rodchenkov’s lawyer believes that Russian of- ficials are seeking to prevent him from providing further evidence and testimony regarding Russia’s Olympic cheating, and asserts that Russian authorities ‘‘are lobbying U.S. government officials be- hind closed doors for his extradition back to Russia’’ and ‘‘if they succeeded, Dr. Rodchenkov would face death and torture at their 26 hands.’’ Other Russian officials involved in the doping scandal did not live long enough to tell their role in it. One former head of RUSADA, Nikita Kamaev, was fired from his post in the aftermath of the first WADA report. Around that time, Kamaev approached a newspaper with an offer to ‘‘write a book about the true story of sport pharmacology and doping in Russia since 1987 while being a young scientist working in a secret lab in the USSR Institute of Sports Medicine,’’ saying that he had ‘‘the information and facts 27 that have never been published.’’ Such a book might have invali- dated hundreds of Olympic medals won by Russian athletes over decades if it could prove their participation in a state-sponsored 20 Oleg Matsnev, ‘‘Russian Court Order Arrest of Doping Whistle-Blower Who Fled,’’ The New York Times , Sept. 28, 2017. 21 Dec. 12, ‘‘WADA Informant Rodchenkov Faces Drug Trafficking Charges in Russia,’’ RT, 2017. 22 Michael Isikoff, ‘‘As Putin Seethes Over Olympic Ban, Doping Whistleblower Fears For His Life,’’ Dec. 26, 2017. Yahoo News, 23 Des Bieler, ‘‘Vladimir Putin Suggests U.S. is Manipulating Key Whistleblower on Russian Doping,’’ The Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2017. 24 Icarus, Bryan Fogel, Director (2017); Michael Isikoff, ‘‘As Putin seethes over Olympic ban, Dec. 26, 2017. doping whistleblower fears for his life,’’ Yahoo News, 25 The New York Times Grigory Rodchenkov, ‘‘Russia’s Olympic Cheating, Unpunished,’’ , Sept. 22, 2017. 26 Statement by Jim Walden, ‘‘Stop Russia’s Retaliation Toward a Whistle-blower,’’ Walden Dec. 26, 2017, available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ Macht & Haran LLP, 1GdkmE4Uwjyt—75BrHodpOTN6-ADtnEF3?usp=sharing. 27 ‘‘Late Russian Anti-Doping Agency Boss Was Set to Expose True Story,’’ Reuters, Feb. 20, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00184 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

185 179 doping program. Just a couple of months later, Kamaev was found dead from ‘‘a massive heart attack,’’ even though colleagues said he 28 had seemed healthy and never complained about his heart. A few weeks earlier, the founding chairman of RUSADA, Vyacheslav 29 Sinev, also died unexpectedly of ‘‘unknown causes.’’ The current head of RUSADA, Yuri Ganus, has expressed doubts that both men died of natural causes, saying, ‘‘it’s clear that two people could not just die like this . . . . I understand that there was a situation, and the entire anti-doping organization was disqualified, and in this re- 30 gard, this is an extraordinary fact.’’ While Kamaev was fired by Putin and lost his life shortly thereafter, his superior, Vitaly Mutko, the Minister of Sport who oversaw the entire doping con- 31 spiracy, was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister. 28 ‘‘Russia Anti-Doping Ex-Chief Nikita Kamaev Dies,’’ BBC News , Feb. 15, 2016. 29 Andrew Kramer, ‘‘Nikita Kamayev, Ex-Head of Russian Antidoping Agency, Dies,’’ The New York Times , Feb. 15, 2016; Michael Isikoff, ‘‘As Putin Seethes Over Olympic Ban, Doping Whis- Yahoo News, tleblower Fears For His Life,’’ Dec. 26, 2017. 30 ‘‘Members of the RUSADA Leadership Died ‘Not Just So,’ ’’ Pravada, Sept. 20, 2017 (trans- lated from Russian). 31 The New York Rebecca Ruiz, ‘‘Russia Sports Minister Promoted to Deputy Prime Minister,’’ , Oct. 19, 2016. Times VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00185 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

186 VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00186 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

187 Appendix D: Russia’s Security Services and Cyber Hackers Russia’s security services have worked with and provided protec- tion to criminal hackers for decades, and, according to some ex- perts, those same hackers are now responsible for nearly all of the 1 theft of credit card information from U.S. consumers. Despite a wealth of evidence, Putin has long denied any connection between Russia’s security services and cyberattacks on foreign institutions, including the retaliatory hacks of WADA and the IAAF mentioned in Appendix C, which cybersecurity experts traced to hackers spon- 2 sored by the Russian government. Various investigations have un- covered extensive proof that Russia’s security services ‘‘maintain a sophisticated alliance with unofficial hackers,’’ who are often of- fered a choice when facing charges for cybercrimes: go to prison, or 3 work for the FSB. Some scholars also believe that groups of unoffi- cial, ‘‘patriotic hackers’’ are guided not by the security services, but 4 by the Presidential Administration itself. One of Russia’s oldest and most sophisticated cybercrime groups is known as the Russian Business Network (RBN). Before it went underground in 2007, RBN was a global hub that provided Internet 5 services and was ‘‘linked to 60 percent of all cybercrime.’’ RBN is still involved in the full gamut of cybercrimes, including extortion, credit card theft, drug sales, weapons smuggling, human traf- 6 ficking, prostitution, and child pornography. Verisign, a major internet security company, has referred to the RBN as ‘‘the baddest of the bad,’’ and many researchers describe RBN ‘‘as having the 7 best malware, the best organization.’’ RBN is also rumored to have connections to powerful politicians in St. Petersburg and pos- 1 Interview with Cybersecurity Expert, Sept. 2017; Kara Flook, ‘‘Russia and the Cyber Critical Threats, May 13, 2009, https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/russia-and-the- Threat,’’ cyber-threat#—ftnref18. In 2016, more than 15 million U.S. consumers lost more than $16 bil- lion due to identity theft or credit card fraud. Al Pascual et al., ‘‘2017 Identity Fraud: Securing the Connected Life,’’ Javelin, Feb. 1, 2017. 2 ‘‘APT28: At the Center of the Storm,’’ FireEye, Jan. 11, 2017, https://www.fireeye.com/blog/ threat-research/2017/01/apt28—at—the—center.html; ‘‘Fancy Bears: IAAF hacked and fears ath- letes’ information compromised,’’ BBC, Apr. 3, 2017. 3 Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB, PublicAffairs, at 227 (2010); ‘‘APT28: At the Center of the Storm,’’ FireEye, Jan. 11, 2017. https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2017/01/ apt28—at—the—center.html; Kara Flook, ‘‘Russia and the Cyber Threat,’’ May Critical Threats, 13, 2009. 4 Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan, The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security PublicAffairs, at 223 (2010). State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB, 5 Kara Flook, ‘‘Russia and the Cyber Threat,’’ Critical Threats, May 13, 2009. 6 Interview with Cybersecurity Expert, Sept. 2017. 7 ‘‘A Walk on the Dark Side,’’ The Economist, Aug. 30, 2007; Richard Stiennon, ‘‘Is Russia Poised to Retaliate Against Sanctions With Cyber Attacks?’’ Security Current, Aug. 7, 2014, https://www.securitycurrent.com/en/writers/richard-stiennon/is-russia-poised-to-retaliate-against- sanctions-with-cyber-attacks. (181) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00187 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

188 182 sibly now Moscow. In addition, one of its members is reportedly a 8 former lieutenant colonel in the FSB. Cybersecurity experts have blamed Putin’s government and the 9 who, according to Verisign, FSB for giving protection to the RBN, ‘‘feel they are strongly politically protected. They pay a huge 10 amount of people.’’ Some analysts assert that the FSB’s protec- tion comes with a quid pro quo—when tasked, the RBN is expected to carry out the FSB’s orders. In 2014, as the United States was considering sanctions against the Russian government for its illegal annexation of Crimea, one expert’s sources told him there were in- dications that ‘‘the Kremlin will unleash the RBN if [U.S.] sanc- 11 tions pass a certain threshold.’’ According to the U.S. Department of Justice, FSB officials and hackers worked together to steal data from approximately 500 mil- lion Yahoo accounts—a cybercrime that cost the American company 12 Instead of working with U.S. offi- hundreds of millions of dollars. cials to target the hackers, the FSB officials—who belonged to a unit that is the FBI’s liaison on cybercrime in Russia—worked with 13 They used the stolen account the hackers to target U.S. officials. information to target Russian journalists critical of the Kremlin as well as American diplomatic officials, and gained access to the con- 14 tent of at least 6,500 accounts. The case was just one of many that showed how Russian intelligence agencies ‘‘piggyback’’ on hackers’ criminal operations as ‘‘a form of cheap intelligence gath- 15 ering.’’ The FSB also reportedly received piggyback rides from Evgeniy Bogachev, whom the FBI calls the ‘‘most wanted cybercriminal in the world,’’ and who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Depart- ment in December 2016 for engaging in ‘’significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of financial information for private 16 financial gain.’’ Despite his most-wanted status in the United States and several other countries, Bogachev is living openly in a Russian resort town on the Black Sea, from where he reportedly 17 U.S. works ‘‘under the supervision of a special unit of the FSB.’’ law enforcement has accused Bogachev of running a network of up to a million virus-infected computers, across multiple countries, 18 which he has used to steal hundreds of millions of dollars. Cyber- security investigators noticed in 2011 that infected computers con- 8 Kara Flook, ‘‘Russia and the Cyber Threat,’’ Critical Threats, May 13, 2009. https:// www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/russia-and-the-cyber-threat#—ftnref13 9 The Washington Post, Brian Krebs, ‘‘Wishing an (Un)Happy Birthday to the Storm Worm,’’ Jan. 17, 2008. 10 ‘‘A Walk on the Dark Side,’’ Aug. 30, 2007. The Economist, 11 Richard Stiennon, ‘‘Is Russia Poised to Retaliate Against Sanctions With Cyber Attacks?’’ Security Current, Aug. 7, 2014. 12 U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Charges Russian FSB Officers and Their Criminal Con- spirators for Hacking Yahoo and Million of Email Accounts (Mar. 2017); Ingrid Lunden, ‘‘After Data Breaches, Verizon Knocks $350M Off Yahoo Sale, Now Valued at $4.48B,’’ Tech Crunch, Feb. 21, 2017. 13 Aruna Viswanatha & Robert McMillan, ‘‘Two Russian Spies Charged in Massive Yahoo Mar. 15, 2017. Hack,’’ The Wall Street Journal, 14 Ibid. 15 Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘U.S. Accuses Russian Email Spammer of Vast Network of Fraud,’’ The New York Times , Apr. 10, 2017. 16 The Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘U.S. Accuses Russian Email Spammer of Vast Network of Fraud,’’ , Apr. 10, 2017; Press Release, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Treasury Sanc- New York Times tions Two Individuals for Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities, Dec. 29, 2016. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00188 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

189 183 trolled by his network were being mined for information related to political events. For example, after the U.S. government agreed to arm Syrian opposition groups, computers in Turkey that were part of Bogachev’s zombie network began to receive search requests for 19 terms like ‘‘arms delivery’’ and ‘‘Russian mercenary.’’ Later, searches related to Ukraine sought information on government se- curity officials and even looked for documents that had the English phrase ‘‘Department of Defense.’’ Given the stark difference from standard criminal searches on computers controlled by Bogachev and those searches, analysts believe that the purpose was espio- nage, and were likely a result of cooperation with Russian intel- 20 ligence services. Bogachev also sold malware on the dark web, which often func- tions as an underground marketplace for cyber criminals. The New York Times has reported that some of the Russian hacker forums on the dark web explicitly state what kinds of cybercrime—such as bank fraud, drug sales, and counterfeiting—are permitted, with the sole exception that no targets can be in Russia or post-Soviet states. The rule among Russian hackers is ‘‘Don’t work in the .RU’’ (.RU is the top-level country domain for Russia, meaning firms and banks in the country are off-limits), and breaking that rule results in a lifetime ban from many of the Russian hacker dark web fo- 21 rums. One forum, for example, offered classes on how to steal credit cards, with ‘‘the strict rule that course participants do not 22 target Russian credit cards.’’ The FBI has found that, instead of closing down these forums, the FSB has infiltrated them. FBI agents have even seen a Russian hacker they were investigating give a copy of his passport to a suspected Russian intelligence agent, implying that the state was likely either recruiting or pro- 23 tecting the hacker. Another notorious Russian hacker operating under the protection of the security services was Roman Seleznev, who targeted small businesses in U.S. cities like Washington, D.C., going after pizze- rias, burrito shops, and bakeries. After U.S. law enforcement agents went to Moscow to present the FSB with evidence of Seleznev’s crimes, his online presence vanished, suggesting that FSB officials had warned Seleznev that Americans were tracking him. U.S. prosecutors then concluded that ‘‘further coordination with the Russian government would jeopardize efforts to prosecute 24 this case.’’ A few years later, Seleznev re-emerged with the launch of a website that U.S. officials say ‘‘reinvented the stolen credit card market’’ and offered millions of stolen credit card numbers that could be searched and selected by customers based on credit card 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 ‘‘America’s Hunt for Russian Hackers: How FBI Agents Tracked Down Four of the World’s Meduza, Biggest Cyber-Criminals and Brought Them to Trial in the U.S.,’’ Sept. 19, 2017, https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/09/19/america-s-hunt-for-russian-hackers; Michael Schwirtz, ‘‘U.S. Accuses Russian Email Spammer of Vast Network of Fraud,’’ The New York Times , Apr. 10, 2017. 22 John Simpson, ‘‘Russian Hackers Offer Courses in Credit-Card Theft on the Dark Web,’’ The Times, Jul. 19, 2017. 23 Michael Schwirtz and Joseph Goldstein, ‘‘Russian Espionage Piggybacks on a Cybercriminal’s Hacking,’’ The New York Times , Mar. 12, 2017. 24 Goldman, Adam & Matt Apuzzo. ‘‘U.S. Faces Tall Hurdles in Detaining or Deterring Rus- , Dec. 15, 2016. sian Hackers.’’ The New York Times VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00189 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

190 184 company and financial institution. Seleznev was careful to travel only to countries without extradition treaties with the United States, but State Department diplomats convinced officials in the Maldives, where he was vacationing, to detain and transfer him to U.S. custody. Russia’s foreign ministry labeled the arrest an ‘‘ab- duction,’’ though the Russian government’s true cause for alarm might have been for different reasons; in intercepted emails, Seleznev reportedly claimed that the FSB knew about his identity 25 and activities and was giving him protection. U.S. authorities found that Seleznev, while under the protection of Russia’s security services, had breached point-of-sale systems (typically a cash register with a debit/credit card reader) at more than 500 U.S. businesses and had stolen millions of credit card numbers between 2009 and 2013, which he then bundled and sold on the dark web to buyers who used the card information for fraud- 26 Another Russian hacker who stole credit card ulent purchases. numbers, Dmitry Dokuchaev, reportedly had his prosecution in Russia for credit card fraud dismissed after he agreed to work for 27 According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as an FSB the FSB. officer Dokuchaev allegedly ‘‘protected, directed, facilitated, and paid criminal hackers’’ responsible for the breach of Yahoo cus- tomer data, which was also used to obtain credit card account in- 28 One expert asserts that hackers from Russia and formation. Eastern Europe are now responsible for nearly 100 percent of all theft of consumers’ payment card information at U.S. vendors’ point-of-sale systems, and that 90 percent of that theft could be prevented by stopping only about 200 people, who are mostly hack- ers who got their start with the RBN in the late 1990s and act as 29 force multipliers. Hackers from Russia and Eastern Europe often target point-of- sale systems at small U.S. businesses, such as restaurants, retail- ers, and car washes. And the buyers of that stolen information are 30 mostly here in the United States. Once hackers steal the credit card information from these vendors, they bundle it together with other stolen cards and sell or auction them off on underground websites. For example, police in New England spearheaded an in- vestigation that found that 40 car washes across the country had been hacked at their point-of-sale systems, resulting in the theft of ‘‘countless’’ customer credit and debit cards. The information from those cards were then sold to U.S. buyers, who used it to re-encode gift cards and make fraudulent purchases of several thousands of dollars at stores such as Target. According to one of the detectives leading the case, all of the suspects using the fraudulent gift cards 25 ‘‘America’s Hunt for Russian Hackers: How FBI Agents Tracked Down Four of the World’s Biggest Cyber-Criminals and Brought Them to Trial in the U.S.,’’ Meduza, Sept. 19, 2017, https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/09/19/america-s-hunt-for-russian-hackers. 26 U.S. Department of Justice, ‘‘Russian Cyber-Criminal Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Hacking and Credit Card Fraud,’’ Apr. 21, 2017. In April 2017, Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Ibid. 27 The New Andrew Kramer, ‘‘Hacker is a Villain to the United States, for Different Reasons,’’ York Times , Mar. 15, 2017. 28 U.S. Department of Justice, ‘‘U.S. Charges Russian FSB Officers and Their Criminal Con- spirators for Hacking Yahoo and Millions of Email Accounts,’’ Mar. 15, 2017. 29 Interview with Cybersecurity Expert, Sept. 2017. 30 Selena Larson, ‘‘Cybercriminals Can Take a Class on Stealing Credit Cards,’’ CNN Tech, Jul. 19, 2017. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00190 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

191 185 ‘‘are Blood gang members. And they’re starting to work smarter, 31 not harder.’’ U.S. law enforcement officials and cybersecurity experts across the board have seen a large uptick in American street gangs using fraudulent purchases to fund their activities. According to the chief of the New York Police Department, ‘‘these gang members are tech- 32 savvy.’’ As in the case above, stolen credit cards are used to buy gift cards and big-ticket items like large-screen televisions and iPads, which are then sold and the profits are used to fund weapon and drug purchases. In New York City in 2016, hundreds of gang members were arrested in possession of stolen credit card informa- tion, something that officials say ‘‘almost never happened’’ just five years ago, with ‘‘gangs using credit card fraud to finance their vio- 33 lent activity [becoming] more of a trend over the last five years.’’ In one case, 35 people affiliated with a Brooklyn street gang were ‘‘arrested for allegedly financing violent crimes with elaborate cred- 35 The suspects reportedly purchased more it card fraud schemes.’’ than 750 credit card numbers from the dark web and used them 35 to make purchases ranging from American Girl dolls to guns. Cyber hacking facilitated by Russian security services enables a host of illicit activity and inflicts cascading harm on U.S. con- sumers and businesses. The FSB provides hackers with immunity from domestic prosecution in exchange for the occasional use of their computer networks and hacking expertise for espionage or in- formation operations. Under this protection, the Russian hackers’ criminal activities include stealing the banking information of U.S. consumers with complete impunity and posting it for sale on the dark web. That information is increasingly purchased by U.S. street gangs, who use it to make fraudulent purchases that are, in turn, used to fund gang and other criminal activities. This se- quence shows that the cyber hacking activities of the FSB, carried out with Putin’s knowledge and approval and often in concert with criminal hackers, are harming the financial and physical security of Americans in the United States. 31 June 23, 2014. Krebs on Security, ‘‘Card Wash: Card Breaches at Car Washes,’’ 32 Jonathan Dienst & David Paredes, ‘‘Violent Drug Gangs Increasingly turn to Credit Card Feb. 7, 2017. Theft as Big Moneymaker,’’ NBC New York, 33 Ibid. ; Ida Siegal, ‘‘Brooklyn Gang Members Used Fake Credit Cards to Buy American Girl Dec. 13, 2016. Dolls, Guns: Officials,’’ NBC New York, 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00191 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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193 Appendix E: Attacks and Harassment Against Human Rights Activists and Journalists Inside Russia Human rights activists and independent journalists inside the Russian Federation have often become the victims of violent at- tacks and harassment on account of their work. While a state role in individual attacks is not always visible, the general impunity with which these attacks have occurred reflect the government’s failure to uphold the rule of law and ensure justice for victims. This climate of impunity perpetuates an environment hospitable to further attacks. For example, in July 2009, Natalia Estemirova, a well-known re- searcher with the Russian human rights group Memorial, who had worked extensively on documenting human rights abuses in the North Caucasus, was kidnapped by assailants in front of her home in Chechnya and her murdered body was later found in neigh- 1 Authorities later claimed they killed the perpe- boring Ingushetia. trator in a shootout, but Estemirova’s family and associates have long questioned the evidence supporting the official version of 2 events. No individuals have been convicted in connection with her killing. In February 2012, Memorial activist Philip Kostenko was beaten by two unknown assailants in a park, suffering a concussion and a broken leg, and was reportedly pressured by police while en route to the hospital to sign a document pledging not to file a police 3 In March 2016, two employees of the Committee for the report. Prevention of Torture, traveling with foreign journalists on a moni- toring trip through Russia’s North Caucasus, were hospitalized after being beaten by masked men wielding baseball bats, who 4 The head of the Committee, Igor later set their bus on fire. Kalyapin, was attacked a week later in the Chechen capital of Grozny, where local authorities investigated but never filed 5 charges. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a U.S.-based NGO that analyzes attacks on the press globally, cites at least 58 jour- 1 The Telegraph, July 15, 2009. ‘‘Russian Activist Natalia Estemirova Found Dead,’’ 2 Eline Gordts, ‘‘Russia’s Investigation of Opposition Murders Does Not Bode Well For Nemtsov Case,’’ Huffington Post, Mar. 6, 2015. 3 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012: Russia, U.S. Department of State, at 4. 4 ‘‘Russia: Journalists, Activists Attacked in North Caucasus,’’ Human Rights Watch, Mar. 9, 2016. 5 at U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Russia, 6. (187) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00193 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

194 188 6 nalists killed in connection with their work in Russia since 1992. Novaya Gazeta The murder in 2006 of reporter Anna Politkovskaya is particularly emblematic of the threats that journalists in Russia face. Politkovskaya had written extensively on state corruption and human rights abuses in Chechnya, and before her death, had ze- roed in on the torture and killings perpetrated by then Chechen prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov and his ‘‘Kadyrovtsy’’ personal se- curity force. She had also written extensively on possible FSB con- 7 nections with purported Chechen terrorists. Politkovskaya had re- portedly been threatened directly by Kadyrov when she interviewed him in 2005, and before that was allegedly poisoned on a plane ride to cover the Beslan terror attacks in North Ossetia in 2004 and de- 8 After tained by security forces during a 2002 visit to Chechnya. she was murdered in the lobby of her apartment building on Octo- ber 7, 2006, The New York Times noted that Putin ‘’sought to play down Ms. Politkovskaya’s influence’’ by describing her reporting as ‘‘extremely insignificant for political life in Russia’’ and saying her 9 death had caused more harm than her publications. The investiga- tion into her murder proceeded slowly, with a series of arrests, re- leases, and retrials. Eight years after her death, five Chechen men were convicted of killing Politkovskaya, with two receiving life sen- 10 tences. A Moscow police officer pleaded guilty in 2012 to pro- viding the murder weapon and surveilling the victim before her death, receiving a reduced sentence in exchange for cooperating with authorities. Nevertheless, many observers alleged that the government’s investigation of the murder stopped short of identi- fying—or punishing—the masterminds, and relatives of both Politkovskaya and the Chechen defendants criticized the trial as 11 bogus. Additional examples of violent attacks against journalists in Rus- sia include that of Mikhail Beketov, the editor of a local newspaper in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, who was brutally attacked in 2008 by unknown assailants who left him with a crushed skull and broken hands and legs; Beketov was left in a coma and required a tracheotomy to breathe which left extensive scarring in his 12 throat. Prior to the attack, Beketov had accused the Khimki mayor of corruption in his decision to build a highway through a forested area of the city, and he had been targeted for harassment before, including his car being set on fire and the killing of his 13 dog. Two years after the attack, no perpetrators had been ar- 6 Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘58 Journalists Killed in Russia/Motive Confirmed,’’ https://cpj.org/killed/europe/russia (visited Dec. 5, 2017). 7 Scott Anderson, ‘‘None Dare Call It a Conspiracy,’’ GQ, Mar. 30, 2017; Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib- ‘‘Politkovskaya Investigating Chechen Torture At Time of Death,’’ , Oct. 9, 2006. erty 8 Ben Roazen, ‘‘The Great Cost of Journalism in Vladimir Putin’s Russia,’’ Jan. 13, 2017; GQ, Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘Anna Politkovskaya,’’ https://cpj.org/data/people/anna- politkovskaya (visited Dec. 12, 2017). 9 Andrew Roth, ‘‘Prison for 5 in Murder of Journalists,’’ The New York Times , June 9, 2014. 10 Sergei L. Loiko, ‘‘Five Sentenced In Slaying of Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya,’’ Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2014. Bizarrely, one of the suspected Chechen gunmen was shot in the leg in 2013 on a Moscow street, in what his lawyer alleged was an attempt to silence him. ‘‘Rus- Reuters, sia: Chechen Man on Trial in Killing Of Journalist Is Shot on Moscow Street,’’ Aug. 16, 2013. 11 Sergei L. Loiko, ‘‘Five Sentenced In Slaying of Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya,’’ Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2014. 12 Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘Mikhail Beketov,’’ https://cpj.org/killed/2013/mikhail- beketov.php (visited Dec. 12, 2017). 13 , Apr. 9, 2013. ‘‘Russian Khimki Forest Journalist Mikhail Beketov Dies,’’ BBC News VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00194 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

195 189 rested—rather, it was Beketov who was convicted of libel and or- dered to pay damages to the Khimki mayor, though the verdict was later overturned. Beketov died in 2013 of choking that led to heart failure, which his colleagues asserted was directly related to the se- 14 In April 2017, rious injuries he sustained in the Khimki attack. Novy veteran investigative journalist and co-founder of the Peterburg newspaper, Nikolai Andrushchenko, died six weeks after he had been badly beaten by unknown assailants. His colleagues alleged the attack was related to his coverage of public corrup- 15 tion. Beyond violent attacks, criminal prosecutions have also been used to silence activists and Kremlin critics. In recent years, such prosecutions have targeted bloggers, filmmakers, and social media activists to signal that dissent is as risky online or in artistic con- texts as it is over the air or in print. For example, blogger Alexey Kungurov was convicted in December 2016 of inciting terrorism 16 and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. His arrest came after he posted a piece that criticized the Russian military’s actions 17 in Syria. Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who had peacefully protested the Russian annexation of his native Crimea, was de- tained by Russian authorities in the occupied territory of Ukraine and transferred to Russia for trial on a range of terrorism-related charges. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in August 18 2015. 14 Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘‘Mikhail Beketov,’’ https://cpj.org/killed/2013/mikhail- beketov.php (visited Dec. 12, 2017). 15 Jon Sharman, ‘‘Russian Journalist and Putin Critic Dies After Being Beaten Up by Strang- The Independent, Apr. 19, 2017. ers,’’ 16 PEN America, ‘‘Alexey Kungurov,’’ https://pen.org/advocacy-case/alexey-kungurov (visited Dec. 12, 2017). 17 Ibid. 18 Sophia Kishkovsky, ‘‘Russia Gives Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov a 20-Year Sentence,’’ , Aug. 25, 2015. The New York Times VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00195 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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197 Appendix F: Flawed Elections in the Russian Federation Since 1999 The conduct of democratic elections inside the Russian Federa- tion has steadily deteriorated since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, as documented by repeated international election observa- tion missions to the country. Coupled with the Russian govern- ment’s growing efforts to suppress dissent broadly, the right of Russian citizens to choose their own government in free and fair elections has been increasingly stifled. After the upheaval of the 1990s and the beginning of the country’s post-Communist transi- tion, observers from the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) described the December 1999 Duma elections as ‘’significant progress for the consolidation of democracy in the Russian Federation’’ and noted a ‘‘competitive and plural- 1 istic’’ process. Barely three months later, after President Yeltsin had resigned and handed the reigns to Putin as acting president, the ODIHR observation mission expressed concerns over improper campaigning by state and regional officials and the limited field of 2 By 2003, ODIHR noted the Duma elections ‘‘failed to candidates. meet many OSCE and Council of Europe (COE) commitments for democratic elections’’ and called into question ‘‘Russia’s funda- mental willingness to meet European and international standards 3 The assessment of the 2004 presidential for democratic elections.’’ election was equally bleak, finding that ‘‘a vibrant political dis- course and meaningful pluralism were lacking’’ and citing problems with the secrecy of the ballot and the biased role of the state-con- 4 trolled media. There was no ODIHR assessment for the 2007 Duma elections, in which the United Russia party won a two-thirds constitutional majority, because the 70 would-be observers were de- nied visas, leaving them with insufficient time for meaningful elec- 5 Simi- tion observation and leading ODIHR to scrap its mission. larly, ODIHR said it could not observe the 2008 presidential elec- tion in Russia because of ‘‘limitations’’ placed by the government on 1 The International Election Observation Mission—Russian Federation, 19 December 1999 Election of Deputies to the State Duma (Parliament), Preliminary Statement, Dec. 20, 1999 at 1. 2 The International Election Observation Mission—Russian Federation, 26 March 2000 Elec- tion of President, Statement of Preliminary Findings & Conclusions, Mar. 27, 2000 at 1. 3 The International Election Observation Mission—Russian Federation, 7 December 2003 State Duma Elections, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Dec. 8, 2003 at 1. 4 The International Election Observation Mission—Russian Federation, 14 March 2004 Presi- dential Election in the Russian Federation, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Mar. 15, 2004 at 7-8. 5 , Nov. 16, 2007. ‘‘Election Observers Unwelcome,’’ Spiegel Online (191) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00197 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

198 192 6 The U.S. State Department cited the planned observer mission. the Russian government’s ‘‘unprecedented restrictions’’ on ODIHR and noted that international observers who did witness the poll deemed it unfair, given frequent abuses of administrative re- sources, a heavily biased media environment, and restrictive 7 changes to the election code. The COE, the only outside body to field observers in the 2008 presidential election, heavily critiqued the election and lamented the absence of ODIHR observers. The COE called the 2008 poll ‘‘more of a plebiscite’’ than a genuine democratic exercise, citing the Kremlin’s deliberate exclusion of the lone democratic challenger Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Prime Minister dismissed by Putin in 2004; the uneven media access favoring candidate (and Putin’s pre- ferred successor) Dmitry Medvedev; and the pressure placed by re- gional and local officials on public sector workers to vote for 8 Medvedev. While ODIHR has since conducted election observation missions in Russia, the OSCE has assessed that ‘‘the convergence of the State and the governing party’’ in elections fails to reflect 9 genuine choice. 6 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, ‘‘OSCE/ODIHR Regrets that Restric- tions Force Cancellation of Election Observation Mission to Russian Federation,’’ Feb. 7, 2008. 7 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008: Russia. U.S. Department of State, 8 The Guardian , Mar. 3, Luke Harding, ‘‘Russia Election Not Free or Fair, Say Observers,’’ 2008. 9 The International Election Observation Mission—Russian Federation, 4 December 2011 State Duma Elections, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, Dec. 5, 2011 at 1. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00198 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

199 Appendix G: Harsh Treatment of LGBT Individuals and Women in the Russian Federation President Putin has fueled culture wars to draw a distinction be- tween Russian ‘‘traditional values’’ and the purported decadence and corruption of the West. The results have been particularly acute in the state’s treatment of private and domestic life, includ- ing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and women. A series of anti-LGBT laws introduced at regional lev- els in Russia in 2003 and 2006 and at the federal level in 2013 es- sentially prohibit the public mention of homosexuality, including ‘‘promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors’’ and drawing a ‘’social equivalence between traditional and non-tradi- 1 Russia’s anti-LGBT law also inspired tional sexual relationships.’’ copycat legislation that has been adopted or is pending in Lith- uania, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova, and that was introduced but ultimately withdrawn or failed in Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia, 2 In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights and Kazakhstan. ruled that Russia’s ‘‘gay propaganda’’ law, as it has often been 3 called, was discriminatory and violated free expression. In the years since its passage, the gay propaganda law has fueled violent recriminations against LGBT activists in Russia. The Rus- sian LGBT Network, an NGO, used Russian government data to calculate that 22 percent of all hate crimes in 2015 were directed 4 at LGBT persons. Press reports after the passage of the gay prop- aganda law cited harrowing examples of ‘‘homophobic vigilantism’’ in which ‘‘emboldened’’ right-wing groups would lure LGBT individ- uals to trick meetings via social media and then attack or humili- 5 ate them on camera. One Russian LGBT activist noted that, of 20 such incidents his organization had tracked, only four were inves- 6 tigated and just one resulted in a court case. More recently, re- ports emerged in early 2017 of a systematic campaign to round up and repress gay men in Chechnya, allegedly at the instruction of 1 The New Sewell Chan, ‘‘Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Laws Are Illegal, European Court Rules,’’ York Times, June 20, 2017. 2 Human Rights First, ‘‘Spread of Russian-Style Propaganda Laws: Fact Sheet’’ July 11, 2016. 3 European Court of Human Rights, ‘‘Legislation in Russia Banning the Promotion of Homo- sexuality Breaches Freedom of Expression and is Discriminatory, June 20, 2017. Sewell Chan, ‘‘Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Laws Are Illegal, European Court Rules,’’ The New York Times, June 20, 2017. 4 Russian LGBT Network, ‘‘22% of Hate Crimes In Russia Are Committed Against LGBT,’’ https://www.lgbtnet.org/en/content/22-hate-crimes-russia-are-committed-against-lgbt (visited Dec. 31, 2017). 5 The Guardian, Alec Luhn, ‘‘Russian Anti-Gay Law Prompts Rise in Homophobic Violence,’’ Sept. 1, 2013. 6 Ibid. (193) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00199 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

200 194 7 Some NGOs esti- the powerful speaker of the Chechen parliament. mate that as many as 200 individuals were detained in the cam- paign and subjected to various forms of torture, threatened with exposure to their families and honor killings, and pressured to give 8 up the names of other gay men. The politicization of traditional family values in Russia has also influenced the state’s policies regarding the treatment of Russian women. According to Russian government statistics from 2013, Russian women are victims of crime in the home at disproportion- ately high rates, while 97 percent of domestic violence cases do not 9 Against this bleak backdrop, the parliamentarian who reach court. introduced the original 2013 gay propaganda law also introduced a law in 2017 dubbed the ‘’slapping law’’ to reduce punishments for 10 spousal abuse to a misdemeanor and administrative offense. The law was adopted by a vote of 380 to 3 in the Duma and signed by President Putin in February 2017, decriminalizing a first instance of domestic violence if the victim is not seriously injured; some ob- servers have noted its passage was hastened by support from the 11 Russian Orthodox Church. 7 They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me: Anti-Gay Purge by Human Rights Watch, at 1, 16, 19 (May 2017). Local Authorities in Russia’s Chechen Republic, 8 Interviews by Committee Staff with U.S. NGOs. 9 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Russia, at 56. 10 Sadie Levy Gale, ‘‘Russian Politician Behind Anti-Gay Law Wants to Decriminalise Domes- , July 28, 2016. tic Violence,’’ Independent 11 Tom Balmforth, ‘‘Russian Duma Approves Bill to Soften Penalty for Domestic Violence,’’ Jan. 27, 2017; Claire Sebastian & Antonia Mortensen, Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty, Feb. 7, 2017. ‘‘Putin Signs Law Reducing Punishment for Domestic Battery,’’ CNN, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00200 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

201 Appendix H: Disinformation Narratives, Themes, and Techniques The Kremlin promotes a variety of anti-Western and pro-Russian ‘‘master narratives’’ across its propaganda platforms, both within Russia and abroad. Russian government propagandists subscribe to these narratives and follow them to craft and frame disinformation campaigns that advance the Kremlin’s positions and interests. One study commissioned in 2012 identified several master narratives employed by Kremlin propagandists, including: Russia has been Europe’s savior for over 200 • Savior of Europe: years, ever since Alexander II stopped Napoleon’s armies from dominating Europe in 1812. Russia also saved Europe from the Nazis, and Western nations tend to minimize this achieve- ment. Russia should proudly assert its people’s heroism to get the recognition it deserves and be admired as a great power. Eurasian Bridge: Russia was founded as a great civilization • that acted as a bridge between East and West. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which went from the Baltic Sea to the Bering Strait, created a vacuum in a region that it is Russia’s destiny to shape and lead. Russia has to advance its cultural, eco- nomic, and diplomatic relationships to forge a new regional union that can rival the other global powers. • Catching Up with Rivals: In the 1990s, Russia tried to emulate the unfettered capitalism of the West, causing it to fall from its status as a global economic and cultural leader. Putin and Medvedev returned Russia to the path of prosperity and moved to modernize the economy beyond natural resources by har- nessing the entrepreneurship and innovation of the Russian people. Russia must continue to follow this path toward a mod- ern economy to remain strong and catch up to the other global powers. • Fortress Russia: For centuries, Russia has been attacked on all fronts by imperial powers seeking to expand their borders, from Japanese fleets in the east to Nazi armies in the west. Now the United States, NATO, and Europe are conspiring to surround Russia and keep it from becoming an equal power. But Russia has and always will defend itself and will continue to hold its ground against aggressors that seek to weaken it. • Good Tsar: Russia is at its best under the leadership of strong leaders like Peter the Great that bring order and stability. Western puppets like Boris Yeltsin were weak and let Russia descend into chaos during the 1990s. But after Putin came to power, order and stability returned. The Russian people should (195) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00201 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

202 196 place their trust in the Kremlin and be wary of its critics, who 1 seek to return Russia to chaos. Within these master narratives there are numerous prominent themes, which are adaptable to current events. A GAO analysis of over 2,000 Russian disinformation stories in Europe from Novem- ber 2015 to December 2016 identified several commonly used nar- 2 The examples below show that some of these narratives ratives. are explicitly pro-Russia, while others do not mention Russia at all: • Western entities are Russophobic: The West banned Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic as part of its hybrid war against Russia, and the United States and NATO are pre- paring to destroy Russia after successfully causing the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia is a victim of the West, and Western media are anti-Rus- • sian or purposely spread disinformation and propaganda: Media in the West falsely accuse the Russian government of spreading disinformation, supplying the missile that shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, killing civilians in Syria, and murdering Alexander Litvinenko. The West is also trying to provoke Russia into starting a new war and falsely blames Russia for acts of aggression. Russian soldiers came to the Russia is the world’s protector: • aid of Crimea’s Russian-speaking people when they were threatened by Ukrainian soldiers, and by annexing the penin- sula Russia saved Crimea from war. In Syria, Russia’s military intervention made terrorists agree to a truce. • Some Western entities support Russia or Russia’s positions: One in three Europeans consider Crimea a part of Russia and some European countries recognize Crimea as part of Russia. The U.S. media revered the outcomes of Russia’s military interven- tion in Syria. Russia’s boundaries are not accurately reflected on maps, and • Russia owns additional lands: Ukraine has always been a part of Russia and the Baltic countries and Belarus are also part of Russia. • Russia has not violated international agreements or inter- Russia did not annex Crimea—Crimea was re- national law: turned to its native land as the result of a referendum. Rus- sian military aircraft did not break any rules when they buzzed the U.S. warship Donald Cook. Western entities are trying to destabilize other regions of the • world: The United States led a violent coup against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, created ISIS, and orchestrated the migrant crisis in Europe. The Ukrainian government is illegitimate and violent: The • Ukrainian government came to power through a coup and is il- 1 Monitor 360, Master Narrative Country Report Russia (Feb. 2012). Government Account- U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to Addressing Disinformation ability Office, at 63 (May 2017). Overseas, 2 Government Accountability Office, U.S. Government Takes a Country-Specific Approach to at 67 (May 2017). Addressing Disinformation Overseas, VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00202 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

203 197 legitimate, and Nazis lead the Ukrainian government, which supports fascist policies and ideas. • EU and/or European governments are unable to manage the migration crisis or are manipulating the crisis for other pur- poses: EU member states cannot protect their citizens from vio- lent migrants, who are altering European culture. The EU is taking advantage of the migrant crisis to create an occupation army that will be authorized to take control of national borders without the permission of member states. The European Par- • The West’s values are evil, decadent, etc.: liament promotes the gay movement in Europe and is trying to eliminate male and female gender identities. The sexual abuse of minors is a state-sponsored national tradition in Nor- way and the country’s institution for the protection of chil- dren’s rights supports this system. • The EU and/or European governments are American puppets: The EU was created by the United States to take away sov- ereignty from European member states, and Germany facili- tates U.S. hegemony over Europe. Techniques Russian government disinformation uses a wide variety of mis- leading propaganda techniques to persuade and convince audiences of its preferred narratives. The Center for European Policy Anal- ysis has identified over 20 techniques commonly used by the Krem- 3 Often, several of these techniques lin to spread disinformation. will be used in combination for a single article or story that pro- motes the Kremlin’s narrative on a particular event. These tech- niques include: • uses complementary websites to raise the profile of Ping pong: a story and get mainstream media to pick it up. • Misleading title: uses facts or statements in a story that may be correct, but the title is misleading. • Zero proof: provides no sources or proof to validate a story’s facts or statements. • False visuals: similar to false facts, but uses doctored visual productions to give extra weight to false facts or narratives. • Totum pro parte or ‘‘the whole for a part’’: for example, using the opinion of just one academic or expert to portray the offi- cial position of a government. • Altering the quotation, source, or context: facts and statements reported from other sources are different than the original. For example, a statement will be attributed to a different person than who actually said it or a quote is placed out of context to change its meaning. • Loaded words or metaphors: obscures the facts behind an event by substituting accurate words with more abstract ones, for ex- ample saying that someone ‘‘died mysteriously’’ rather than ‘‘was poisoned.’’ The Western press has also aided the Krem- 3 Center for European Policy Analysis, ‘‘Techniques,’’ http://infowar.cepa.org/Techniques (vis- ited Dec. 31, 2017). VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00203 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

204 198 lin’s narrative by using terms like ‘‘little green men’’ instead of ‘‘Russian troops’’ in Crimea, thereby maintaining a seed of doubt as to who they really were. Ridiculing, discrediting, and diminution: uses ad hominem at- • tacks and mockery to sideline facts and statements that run counter to the Kremlin’s narratives. Whataboutism: makes false equivalencies between two discon- • nected events to support the Kremlin’s policies and promote its narrative. For example, comparing the annexation of Crimea to the invasion of Iraq. • Conspiracy theories: use rumors and myths to anger, frighten, or disgust an audience. Examples include stories like ‘‘Latvia wants to send its Russian population to concentration camps,’’ or ‘‘The United States created the Zika virus.’’ Another version reverses the technique, by labeling factual stories as conspir- acies. • Joining the bandwagon: casts a certain view as being that of the majority of people, thereby giving it more credibility. • Drowning facts with emotion: a form of the ‘‘appeal to emotion’’ fallacy, which drowns out facts by portraying a story in such a way as to maximize its emotional impact. The fake story of a Russian girl being sexually assaulted by Muslim immigrants in Germany is a good example, where, even though the story was proven to be false and widely discredited, it so inflamed people’s emotions that they were distracted from the story’s ab- sence of facts. VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00204 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

205 Appendix I: Letter from Senator Cardin to European Ambassadors The following letter requesting information on the Rus- sian government’s malign influence operations was sent to more than 40 ambassadors in Washington, D.C. who rep- resent various European countries. Responses to this letter helped to inform the findings of this report. June 13, 2017 D MBASSADOR , The U.S. intelligence community has as- A EAR sessed that the Russian government engaged in an influence cam- paign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election, including sponsoring and exploiting cyber intrusions and creating and spreading disinformation. As you know, there are several investiga- tions underway to determine the scope and impact of this inter- ference in our democratic process. However, the Russian government’s recent actions were not the first time it has sought to interfere in the elections of other states. Over many years, the Russian government has developed, refined, and deployed its toolkit for malign influence in Europe and else- where. We believe that these efforts, which seek to erode citizens’ confidence in the credibility of democratic institutions, pose a grave threat to the national security interests of the United States and our allies and partners around the world. The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority staff, as part of our oversight responsibilities, is conducting a study of the Russian government’s malign influence operations through- out Europe and other key countries around the world. To better un- derstand the scope of this threat, we respectfully request any rel- evant information from your government. Specifically, we are interested in information related to any of the following activities: • Acquisitions made in your state in economic sectors such as en- ergy, finance, infrastructure, media, and real estate by individ- uals or entities controlled, financed or affiliated with the Rus- sian government, and who are known to or alleged to have en- gaged in corrupt practices. • Dissemination of disinformation with the intent to influence and confuse the public debate on issues of national importance in your state, including attempts to libel or compromise leading political figures, civil society activists, and others who the Kremlin may have deemed a threat to its interests, by individ- (199) VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00205 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6601 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

206 200 uals or entities controlled, financed or affiliated with the Rus- sian government. • Expansion of media organizations into your state’s media mar- kets, including TV, radio, and the internet by individuals or entities controlled, financed or affiliated with the Russian gov- ernment. • Funding, organizational assistance, or other support of any po- litical parties, civil society groups, or other non-governmental organizations in your state by individuals or entities con- trolled, financed or affiliated with the Russian government. • Attempts to infiltrate the computer systems of the government, political parties, civil society groups, non-governmental organi- zations, or private enterprises in your state by individuals or entities controlled, financed or affiliated with the Russian gov- ernment, especially with the intent to steal and disseminate in- formation to influence public debate. • Any other information that may be relevant or helpful to our study. Finally, we are also interested in learning about any counter- measures that your country has taken to prevent or respond to these malign influence activities. We greatly appreciate your assistance in gathering this informa- tion, which will help inform our study and shape our recommenda- tions for a strong, coordinated response with our allies and part- ners. Sincerely, B ENJAMIN L. C ARDIN , Ranking Member. Æ VerDate Mar 15 2010 04:06 Jan 09, 2018 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00206 Fmt 6601 Sfmt 6611 S:\FULL COMMITTEE\HEARING FILES\COMMITTEE PRI NT 2018\HENRY\JAN. 9 REPOR T FOREI-42327 with DISTILLER

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