Estonian intel: Russia will try to interfere in U.S. elections this year
Estonia is warning the United States: More Russian meddling is likely.
By Dorthy Ziemann | Feb 19, 2020 | Print-friendly

The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service is sounding alarms about Russian meddling in U.S. elections, warning in a recently released report that Russia interfered in U.S. elections last year and intends to do so again this year. The report warns that Russia will target not only the United States but also the Republic of Georgia, which will hold its parliamentary elections in October.

"The main goal is to ensure a more beneficial election result for Russia by favoring Russian-friendly candidates or those who have the most divisive influence in the West," the report states.

Russian election hackers are also seeking to quell internal criticisms over Russia's election system by making those of the United States and other democracies look equally flawed, according to the report. The report warned that Russian cyber operations against western democracies have been "successful to date" and that they have transpired with little to no reprisal from the west.

Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. elections are well documented. The Internet Research Agency, a Russian company, spreads pro-Russian propaganda and sow dissent within nations perceived as hostile to Russia and committed up to a third of its staff to meddling in U.S. political discourse in 2016, according to a Business Insider article. The article said that the company is funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch with close political ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Estonian report additionally assessed Russian involvement in the Middle East, which it said is unlikely to grow without a significant increase in Russia's military invesment in the region. The report finds the chances of this increased investment occurring to be low in the near term, however.