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Date TimeSeptember 08, 2017
VoiceAlleged Russian political meddling documented in 27 countries since 2004
Russia has meddled in the affairs of at least 27 European and North American countries since 2004 with interference that ranges from cyberattacks to disinformation campaigns, according to an analysis by a surveillance organization.

The findings, provided to USA TODAY, show the meddling started in former Soviet republics allied with the West and spread to Western Europe. More recently affected are Canada and the United States, where Congress and an independent prosecutor are investigating possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

The alleged Russian interference abroad was compiled by the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund, a nonprofit organization that fosters closer bonds between the United States and Europe. In August, the group began tracking Russian efforts to influence U.S. public opinion through a network of Twitter accounts that disseminates messages considered helpful to the Kremlin.


On Wednesday, Facebook said an internal investigation uncovered $100,000 in advertising spending by hundreds of fake accounts and pages, likely operated out of Russia, which sought to sow political division during the U.S. presidential election. The ads were traced to a Russian "troll farm," a Facebook official said. The giant social network said it has shared the findings with U.S. investigators.

The pattern of Russian government-linked behavior in the United States is similar to that seen in other countries, said Laura Rosenberger, director of the alliance.

“These are all the tools they use to undermine democratic institutions in different places,” Rosenberger said. “For a lot of Americans, the question of Russian interference in U.S. elections came out of nowhere. It sounds crazy to most people that this has been part of the Russian playbook for more than a decade.”


Countries the alliance said have been targeted are: Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine and the United States.

Current targets include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces re-election this month.

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