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Center for Strategic & International Studies | 13Oct2016 |
Heather Conley [59:46]
The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in
Central and Eastern Europe
The CSIS Europe Program, in partnership with Sofia-based Center for the
Study of Democracy (CSD), recently concluded a sixteen-month study on
Russian economic and political influence in Central and Eastern Europe.
The study's leading authors will present the key findings from
the report, which illuminate the linkages between Russia's growing
economic and investment presence in Central and Eastern Europe and the
region's general decline in political stability, diminishment of
democratic institutions, and erosion of governance standards in five
case study countries. Described as an "unvirtuous circle" of Russian
Influence, the report traces the work of Russian cultivated networks of
patronage across the region that it actively uses to influence and
direct decision-making that is in line with the Kremlin's interests.
This event is made possible by the generous support of the
Smith Richardson Foundation.
[There are other relevant articles by Heather A.
Conley at https://www.csis.org/people/heather-conley
[00:00 -- 02:23]
Heather Conley: 63-page
condensed report; introductions of James Mina, Martin Vladimirov,
Ruslan Stefanov; partnered with the Center for the Study of Democracy
(in Bulgaria); welcome from Aguan Shintov(?)
[02:23 -- 03:45]
Goal is to metrify Russian footprint in Eastern Europe.
[03:45 -- 09:15]
letter to President Obama -- Russia uses overt and covert means of
economic warfare; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in July 2014
speech -- "the wind is blowing form East"; 07Oct2016 General Clapper
statement re "compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions".
What is the impact of these Russian activities on East European
countries? Studied 5 countries: Latvia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and
Slovakia: Four of five are NATO members and Serbia aspires to do so.
[09:15 -- 15:10]
"Methodology and Measurement" -- energy imports with corporate
networks, exports; Bulgaria and Slovakia especially sensitive; Gazprom
networks in Bulgaria and Serbia results in higher prices.
[15:10 -- 33:10]
Conley: Freedom House report on health and standards in Central Europe
concentrating on 3 indicators: corruption, independence of judiciary,
independence of media.
- In Nato-members Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia there was an actual
decline of these democratic standards as Russian economic influence
increased. Latvia was stable.
- Found a direct relationship between economics and politics -- above
12% control of GDP by Russia is critical. Below 12% GDP, the Russian
political rather than economic influence dominated.
- Latvia had more resistance to Russian political influence.
- Corruption definition ... ; the Unvirtuous Circle -- slowly
eliminates democratic standards; feedback loop;
- What is the point here? Weakening the internal cohesion of these
countries; obstructing reforms; dysfunctional elections; some
politicians change their views; people don't know what to believe;
paralyzes institutions; co-mingling of public and private sectors.
- Overall objectives of "Playbook" is money; "break the transatlantic
- Step 1: Understand that this is much larger than we think -- must
develop resistance; must track illicit funds; toolbox is the EU
- Finally, U.S government assistance has diminished greatly; must
[33:10 -- 35:55]
back to 2008, when Kremlin openly stated that they would try to
recapture Eastern Europe. State capture is facilitated by economic
activity. EU must revamp its anti-corruption efforts.
[35:55 -- 43:00]
Kathleen Kavalec: (after
introduction) Very happy to see this Report released. Ukraine is obvious
example of Russian breaking international rules. Designed to weaken,
undermine,confuse; Peter Pomerantsev, disinformation, troll farms,
infiltrate and manipulate civil society.
What can we do? Must be a full co-ordinated government effort;
co-operation with allies.
In long run, we want Russia to be a partner, not enemy. In short run,
we must act.
[43:00 -- 59:46]
Discussion and questions:
- How urgent is this? They have infiltrated and are using our system.
- Secondly, is this demonstrating an alternative system?
Very urgent, of course. This should be front and center of our new
administration. Must come back to basic democratic values.
Question 1: Latvia case
Q 2: by Steven Blank
- High level recognition in Latvia of dangers of corruption --
anti-corrution department is actually independent.
- Corporate control of media is crucial; corrupt judiciary helps
- Kovalec refers to U.S. response.
- 2007-2008 period was turning point. Things really accelerated after
that. Policy of disruption.
- More effort to remove sanctions. Continuing disinformation campaigns.
[59:46 -- END]
[ 90-page pdf file of Report ] -- Five appendices contain case specific studies for Hungary, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovakia, Serbia.