Over the past several years in particular, the Russian government has been working to undermine Transatlantic unity and weaken democratic institutions, in an effort to make its neighbors more dependent.
That is why last summer, USAID launched its Countering Malign Kremlin Influence Development Framework, or CMKI. USAID is mitigating the Kremlin’s attempts to undermine democracy and self-reliance of Europe and Eurasia by building the economic and democratic resilience of partner countries.
Indeed, CMKI “isn't about Russia and it isn't about the Russian people,” at all, said USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, Brock Bierman:
“It's designed to help countries make their own decisions, to make them more self-reliant, to make them more independent, to allow them to decide.”
CMKI is focused on four specific areas, said Assistant Administrator Bierman:
“First and foremost, democracy and governance, which basically is an effort to help build democracies in all of our countries, allow people to decide the path forward for their for their government, making sure that they elect the people who they want representing them in their government. Secondly, we're working on disinformation, independent media. It's important that people can rely on where they're getting their news. And so, we're helping in that regard. Third, we're also helping in energy and making sure that we help our countries be more energy independent.”
And finally, it's about the economy and allowing these countries to decide where they want to focus their trade and their partnerships.
“Unlike the Kremlin,” said Assistant Administrator Bierman, “we are very transparent.”
It is not just the Kremlin and its proxies that seek to create dependencies. Albeit employing different tactics, various malign actors are looking to create more influence in vulnerable countries. This includes the People’s Republic of China and the opaque and corrupt business practices of its companies, said Assistant Administrator Bierman.
“We're looking to make sure that, again, we help our countries be more self-reliant. They understand the agreements they're coming into or getting into with China, making sure that they understand that the technologies that they're using which can create a security issue and one of privacy, making sure that whether it's the technology or the equipment, they understand exactly when they sign the bottom line, what the results are, whether or not they sign up to get that technology or whether or not they default on a loan.”
Assistant Administrator Bierman advises that anyone interested in learning more about CKMI should go to https://www.usaid.gov/ and find out more about USAID’s work.