WASHINGTON DC – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has published a strategy under the name of “Combating Malign Kremlin Influence” (CMKI), outlining four priorities.
“USAID’s CMKI Development Framework responds to the challenge of the Kremlin’s malign influence by building the economic and democratic resilience of targeted countries, and by working to mitigate the Kremlin’s attempts to undermine a range of key institutions,” said the document published in the American agency site.
Four strategic objectives
The plan focuses on four objectives: to uphold the functioning of democratic institutions and the rule of law, to resist manipulation of information, to reduce energy vulnerability and to reduce economic vulnerabilities.
The first of the authors’ goals points to “resistance to attempts to undermine democratic institutions and the rule of law.”
They plan to achieve this through “strengthen checks and balances and rule of law,” “strengthen civil society’s resilience against efforts to restrict, harass, and stigmatize independent, nongovernmental activity” and “reduce the vulnerability of electoral and political processes to external interference and polarization”
“These efforts will include building tools for reforming leaders and voices from civil society to combat the corrupt government practices that Kremlin agents often selectively exploit for the strategic benefit of Moscow, ” the report writes.
The authors of the initiative cite as an example the fact that USAID “provided cybersecurity equipment to the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine and helped train specialist professionals for about $ 2.7 million.”
The document explains that by funding local and regional civil society communities and nongovernmental organizations, USAID helps ensure that citizens can hold their governments accountable.
The second objective of the concept is to supposedly resist manipulation of information by enhancing the local media’s ability to provide professional and reliable news and information, increased media literacy and the public’s need to obtain independent and high quality and strengthening laws and regulations to ensure freedom of the press.
“With USAID funding, eleven strategic media partners across Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are growing their audiences, diversifying revenue, and elevating their digital media presence,” the article’s authors report.
Reduce energy and economic vulnerability
As for the third purpose, reducing energy vulnerability, USAID considers it necessary to strengthen the energy security of partner countries, reduce dependence on Kremlin-controlled energy sources and improve internal and external control and management of the energy sector.
The fourth objective is to reduce vulnerability in the economic sphere, promoting diversification of exports and allowing companies to compete in Western markets and strengthening the financial market’s ability to meet and interact with international standards and practices.
In March, USAID chief Mark Green announced that the US would propose a mechanism to counter Russia’s influence in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia.
Russia has repeatedly denied accusations of trying to influence democratic processes in several countries. Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the charges “absolutely unfounded”, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has noted that there is no evidence to support such claims.