Beyond the Ballot: How the Kremlin Works to Undermine the U.S. Justice System


The U.S. justice system is under attack as part of a long-term Russian effort to undermine the appeal of democracy and weaken the West. Via multi-platform disinformation opera­tions, Kremlin-backed operatives work to exacerbate existent divisions within populations and increase overall mistrust and paranoia against democratic institutions. In the process, justice systems are portrayed as corrupt, inept, and hypocritical.

This report describes the nature of this threat and proposes measures for countering it. The report focuses on activities by the Russian government, including the ways it feeds, is fed by, and amplifies domestic voices to weaken public confidence in the justice system. The insights gained by examining Russia’s efforts can and should inform our understand­ing of both threats from other nations and the challenges contemporary communications technologies pose to a healthy democracy generally.

Russia’s Attacks on Democratic Justice Systems

The Defending Democratic Institutions Project takes a look at the ways in which Russia uses disinformation operations to undermine the justice systems around the world.


This report has been made possible through the generous support of Democracy Fund and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Suzanne Spaulding
Director, Defending Democratic Institutions, and Senior Adviser, Homeland Security, International Security Program

Devi Nair

Former Associate Director and Associate Fellow, International Security Program

Arthur Nelson