Officials in Russia are concerned that the United States is trying to change regime in the Kremlin, an unclassified Defence Intelligence agency acquired by the Associated Press shows.
That belief is fuelling tensions between the two countries, and adding to military competition between the two former Cold War competitors.
The report describes a Russia that has become more and more concerned with American intentions for their government, and cites “deep and abiding distrust of US efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a US campaign to impose a single set of global values”.
“The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine”, the report says, referring to claims by Russian claims that the US engineered a popular uprising that led to the removal of a pro-Russian Ukrainian president in 2014.
The ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yankovich, led the Russian government to annex Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, further elevating tensions between the Kremlin and Washington.
“Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia's internal affairs”, the report reads.
The new report is reminiscent of the Cold War when intelligence agencies published a series of reports that defined the rivalry between the two world superpowers. Those stopped in 1991, however, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The US and the Kremlin have experienced heightened tensions over the past decade or so. The relationship became particularly strained recently after the administration of former President Barack Obama accused the Russian government of attempting to influence the 2016 American election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that his government had any involvement with hacks that impacted that election.
The report is being released as concern over Russia’s global role have mounted in Washington. Members of Congress have begun discussing what they see as an increasingly aggressive Russian international force, referencing the interference in Crimea, the 2016 election, and their presence and role in the ongoing efforts in Syria to stymie the impact of Isis.
A DIA spokesperson has insisted that the report, which was reportedly prepared long before the surprise election of President Donald Trump, is unconnected to recent global events. But, it does describe a methodically growing Russian military capacity, nearly three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“The Russian military today is on the rise — not as the same Soviet force that faced the West in the Cold War, dependent on large units with heavy equipment,“ the report says. The rebuild military is “a smaller, more mobile, balanced force rapidly becoming capable of conducting the full range of modern warfare”.
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