On the Frontlines of Democracy:
How are Frontline States Building Resilience to the Kremlin’s Malign Influence?
This fall continues to be a busy season. Our team has been meeting with partners throughout the region to explore opportunities for collaboration and synergy in USAID's initiative to counter malign Kremlin influence. Below you'll find the message I delivered at the German Marshall Fund in Bucharest, Romania. Novemember is shaping up to be a busy one, so look forward to updates from visits to the field in next month's newsletter.
My goal for these engagements is straightforward. I want to be clear about what CMKI is and what it is not. At USAID, we believe that foreign assistance should help nations to stand on their own and make their own choices. We believe in governments that are accountable to their people. We believe in equipping institutions, businesses, and citizens with the tools they need to choose their own futures.
Our view is this: Kremlin malign influence is undermining freedom -- not just the freedom of the countries in the region, but freedom for all of us. That means this struggle is far bigger than USAID, or any one organization or country can take on alone. Safeguarding the principles that the Kremlin seeks to undermine will demand a broad coalition of partners -- each contributing their unique experience, expertise, or resources to support freedom, liberty, and democracy.
Here in Romania, the people are experienced in pushing back against Kremlin pressure. Whether the Kremlin decides to use energy as a political lever; or when Facebook and Twitter are flooded by pro-Putin narratives; or when cyberattacks threaten to disable essential online systems. This experience can help others facing similar interference and can demonstrate effective means for self-defense. And that is an important message to spread.
It is also important to be clear about CMKI is not. This effort is not directed against Russia or the Russian people. This is about Putin and his aggressive foreign policy and authoritarian approach to governance.
-Brock Bierman, USAID Assistant Administrator