US official says Russia secretly financed DF in Montenegro and Dodik in Bosnia

NEWS 14.09.2022 12:42
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Source: Reuters

A source from the US administration told Voice of America that Montenegro’s Democratic Front, which is currently negotiating the formation of a new government in that country, as well as BiH Presidency member, Milorad Dodik, secretly received money from the Russian Federation as part of Moscow's efforts to gain influence abroad.

VOA reported that the source did not disclose the exact amounts allocated for Dodik and the Democratic Front, but did say that US intelligence noted an increase in such activity from 2014 to today. One alleged example of this was Konstantin Russian businessman Konstantin Malofejev helping finance Dodik’s presidential campaign in 2018.
The source said that this shows that Russia did not fulfil its promise to invest in the economic development of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, but instead “enabled the corruption of the ruling party and created unequal conditions for the opposition parties.”

As for Montenegro, the source said that Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska secured funds for the Democratic Front in 2016, and probably also ahead of the 2018 elections.

According to a high-ranking US official, Russia has since 2014 paid more than 300 million dollars to political parties, officials and politicians in more than twenty countries of the world, as part of Moscow's efforts to gain influence abroad. The United States expects that Russia will increasingly turn to secret political financing in the coming months in order to undermine international sanctions that were introduced due to the war in Ukraine.

Russia's efforts were allegedly focused on manipulating democracies from within, the official said.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price was asked about these revelations at his daily briefing on Wednesday.

He said that, since this is information that “ultimately originates with our intelligence community”, he is not willing to go into greater detail on it.

“Of course, we’re always very careful not to characterize intelligence community assessments. But what I can say is that we’ve spoken from here, from the White House, from the Defense Department, about Russia’s explicit assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty, its explicit assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty in the form of this brutal invasion and this brutal aggression that has been ongoing since February 24th, but also for the eight or so years prior to that since 2014,” Price said.

“But what Russia is doing around the world in terms of its election meddling is also an assault on sovereignty. It is an effort to chip away at the ability of people around the world to choose the governments that they see best fit to represent them, to represent their interests, to represent their values. So part of our charge not only is to do that assessment and to collect and to do that analysis but then to expose what we know because in order to fight this, in many ways we have to put a spotlight on it,” he said.

“And so by exposing Russia's strategies and Russia’s tactics publicly, but then also discussing these tactics and strategies privately in diplomatic channels, in intelligence channels, with partners around the world, sharing practices for how we can put an end to Russia’s meddling, that is also something we’re going about,” he added.

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