June 21, 2017  |  Updated June 4, 2018

Here’s How to Fight Back Against Russian Political Warfare

By Alexander Vershbow
Russian President Vladimir Putin walked past an honor guard before a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on June 21. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Three-and-a-half years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea and launched its campaign to destabilize eastern Ukraine. Russian aggression prompted the biggest increase in NATO’s collective defense capabilities since the Cold War—including the historic deployment in June of four multinational battlegroups in the three Baltic States and Poland.

But deterring military aggression is only half the battle. Russia has also engaged in political aggression against our societies, using cyber attacks, disinformation, propaganda, and influence operations (what the Soviets called “active measures”) to affect the outcome of elections and to undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.

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