ICYMI, we hosted an event with IFES on the autocratic threats facing Turkey and Poland’s elections with Josh Rudolph, Dr. Cassandra Emmons, and Dr. Lisel Hintz. Watch the recording here.

Our Take

Domestic corruption is the greatest threat to the two most consequential elections of the year: Turkey and Poland, ASD at GMF’s Nathan Kohlenberg, Krystyna Sikora, and Josh Rudolph argue in a new report.

As Georgia’s ruling party pursues un-democratic policies, it is up to the Georgian people to vote for democracy in 2024, Senior Vice President for Democracy Laura Thornton writes for

Like us on Facebook for more content from ASD at GMF experts!

Hamilton 2.0 Analysis

Russian diplomats and state media focused on three main narratives this week:     

  • UN: “Lavrov” was the most frequently used key word in tweets by Moscow-affiliated accounts as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov led a UN meeting on the “maintenance of international peace and security”. Lavrov used his UN visit to frame the United States as an imperial aggressor, to denounce the West’s “double standards” around democracy, and to push for “true multilateralism” in the international system. He also endorsed the idea of moving the UN headquarters out of New York.
  • Sudan: Sudan was the fourth most mentioned country by Russian propagandists—generating more attention than both China and the European Union. Russian diplomats blamed the United States for the civil conflict in Sudan while calling for a ceasefire and new rounds of negotiation between the warring parties. State-backed media largely provided factual updates on the fighting and humanitarian disaster; although, some focused their attention on criticizing Washington for allegedly causing the instability.
  • Tucker Carlson: Kremlin-linked media came to Tucker Carlson’s defense after he was fired from his role hosting a Fox News show. RT and other propaganda outlets offered Carlson a job, a state media commentator suggested Carlson co-host a Sputnik radio show, and others encouraged the ousted news anchor to run for president. Russian accounts also bashed Fox News and suggested that freedom of speech no longer exists in the United States.  

Chinese diplomats and state media focused on three main topics this week:

  • Xi calls Zelenskyy: On Wednesday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping called his Ukrainian counterpart for the first time since the war started. Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying prominently advertised China’s commitment to send a special envoy to Ukraine and insisted that China would neither “add oil to the fire” nor “exploit the situation for self gains”, accusations that Chinese officials frequently level against the United States. Chinese diplomats hailed the call as proof of Beijing’s commitment to peace.
  • Ambassador Lu “misspeaks”: China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye made a splash last weekend by appearing to question the sovereignty of former Soviet Union countries. The incensed reaction in Europe led China’s Embassy in France and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to issue statements distancing the Chinese government from its ambassador. State media accounts asked France to “protect Ambassador Lu Shaye’s freedom of expression” and argued that he had misspoken.
  • Lanting Forum: Chinese diplomats promoted statements coming out of the MFA-sponsored Lanting Forum, which the Global Times billed as a “catalyst for the modernization of the developing world”. In his keynote speech, Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned that “those who play with fire on Taiwan” would “get themselves burned”. Chinese diplomats in Zimbabwe and Ireland lauded China’s uniquely successful model of development, while their colleagues in Beijing and Pakistan denigrated the economies of the United States and EU.

News and Commentary

Top election officials continue to quit, citing threats fueled by disinformation: Last week, the head of elections in Tarrant County, Texas became the latest in a line of top election officials to leave his post amid the increased polarization of election administration, which has been fueled by disinformation. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine said, “Heider Garcia’s resignation is the latest data point that the ‘Big Lie’ is alive and well, particularly in areas of the United States that were mired in misinformation and fabricated claims of fraudulent activity, even before former President Trump took office. Prior to his departure, Garcia had begun developing an innovative playbook for addressing election suspicions and threats that focused more on responding to the requests of election skeptics than fighting them, an approach some of his now former colleagues have begun replicating, which contributed to former Texas Secretary of State John Scott calling Garcia ‘a prototype for an election administrator’. Garcia’s resignation illustrates the difficulties that even the best election officials are having in conducting elections during these hyper-partisan times.”

Poland investigates opposition leader ahead of election: On Wednesday, prosecutors in Warsaw opened an investigation into Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk over alleged abuse of power when he was prime minister over a decade ago, a move that the opposition argues is politically motivated to influence the country’s parliamentary elections this coming fall. Program Assistant Krystyna Sikora told the Dispatch, The probe into Donald Tusk is the ruling party’s most recent attempt to subvert democracy and ensure its victory in the parliamentary elections this fall. The investigation—which appears to lack credibility—seems intended to silence and thwart the opposition in a critical election year where the incumbent’s chances of maintaining a parliamentary majority are slim. Targeting opposition members through litigation is a common autocratic tactic to sway elections, as we witnessed in Turkey last fall, and reflects a potential escalation in Poland’s autocratic trajectory.

EU regulators take aim at big tech’s algorithms: The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) will require 19 platforms—including Amazon, Apple, TikTok, and Twitter—to conduct regular checks on their platforms and allow the European Commission to inspect their algorithms to ensure they adequately moderate harmful content by this August. Senior Fellow Bret Schafer said, With the DSA now entering the implementation phase, we’ll finally get a chance to see how enforcement of the EU’s sweeping digital regulations will work in practice. This is one of many early tests to see if large online platforms are prepared to meet their obligations under the new rules, and, perhaps more importantly, if EU regulators are equipped to enforce them.”


In Case You Missed It

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China released draft guidelines for generative artificial intelligence, the software behind chatbots like ChatGPT, that would require companies to bring their technologies in line with the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship rules and register algorithms with state regulators.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first phone call since Russia invaded Ukraine last year; that same day, Kyiv announced its appointment of a new ambassador to Beijing.
  • The US Department of Homeland Security detected an Iranian hacking group’s infiltration of an unspecified local government website during the 2020 election but thwarted the group before it could interfere with the reporting of election results.
  • Kremlin documents seen by Yahoo News reveal Russia’s strategy to gain leverage in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by bolstering pro-Kremlin political organizations, obstructing the construction of NATO bases, and weakening local democratic governments.
  • US prosecutors unsealed federal indictments and the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions on three individuals for financing North Korea’s regime through cryptocurrency laundering and other malicious cyber activity.
  • The Republican National Committee released a video created entirely by artificial intelligence imagery as a response to US President Joe Biden’s reelection announcement.

ASD in the News

Election denialism had a costly week, but will it make a difference? Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine quoted in The Washington Post

Ukrainians urge greater action on Russia propaganda. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Australian Associated Press

ByteDance is pushing a new app in the U.S. as TikTok faces a ban. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in CNBC

TikTok Isn’t The Only App With A Data Privacy Problem. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman interviewed on Viewpoints Radio

Will Israel Ditch Democracy? Would be Autocrats Around the World Are Watching. Head of European Operations Vassilis Ntousas Op-Ed in Haaretz 

Parliamentary committee told that Social Media Laws need to extend beyond TikTok. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Cybersecurity Connect

Twitter Removes Chinese State Media Label, Officially Ends Labeling Policy for State Media Accounts. Research Analyst Etienne Soula quoted in Voice of America

Quote of the Week

“I don’t think China has a real interest to resolve the war [in Ukraine] in a short time. China is taking lessons out of the conflict every day. They closely follow what Russia is doing, how the West is reacting.”

  • Czech President Petr Pavel said in an interview with Politico Europe on April 25.


The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.