The Russian Federation’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, following years of attempts to undermine democracies across Europe, was the impetus that led to the creation of ASD. Since President Vladimir Putin came to office more than twenty years agothe Russian government and its proxies have mobilized the resources and powers of the state to undermine democracies in the transatlantic space. These operations draw on tactics first sharpened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union used so-called “active measures” to exploit divisions in American and other democratic societies. In their modern incarnation, Russia’s interference activities have exploited vulnerabilities in the information ecosystem, cyberspace, and the global financial system, and used the openness and transparency of democratic societies against both sides of the Atlantic.  

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