The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.
They’ve done it from the Baltics to the Caucasus. They’ve done it from the Balkans to North America. They’ve done it from Belarus to Scandinavia.
According to a new report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has interfered politically in no less than 27 countries since 2004.
They’ve launched cyberattacks in Estonia and Georgia. They’ve used disinformation campaigns in Lithuania, France, Germany, and Canada. And they’ve deployed organized crime groups in Spain.
Now, we’ve long known, of course, that Russia has been doing all these things.
But the new report from the German Marshall Fund gives us an idea of the scope and the scale of the Kremlin’s global campaign of chaos.
Now, the Putin regime and its apologists say that Russia is just doing what everybody else does.
All countries, after all, try to advance their interests and influence affairs abroad.
Which is true enough, albeit misleading.
Because what Putin’s Kremlin is doing is actually quite unique. It has unleashed a widespread effort to undermine, corrupt, and cripple the institutions of liberal democratic governance.
No, everybody doesn’t do this.
Only a regime that fears transparency, fears the rule of law, and fears accountable governance launches a campaign of mayhem like this.
And in doing so, it reveals its underlying weakness.
Because the Putin regime isn’t being threatened by anything the West is doing. It is threatened by what the West is.