The Kremlin Playbook 2: The Enablers

In 2016, the major study The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern Europe concluded that the Kremlin has developed a pattern of malign economic influence in Europe through the cultivation of “an opaque network of patronage across the region that it uses to influence and direct decision-making.” The aim is to weaken and destroy democratic systems from within. In these case study countries, the names of specific jurisdictions, companies, and members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle kept appearing.
In The Kremlin Playbook 2: The Enablers, the CSIS Europe Program and the Center for the Study of Democracy explored whether some of these jurisdictions and companies could be enabling forces that amplify Russian malign economic influence in some countries in Europe. The study analyzed the following case study countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, and Romania. The report shows that some countries facilitate of enable Russian malign economic influence, and by doing so these enablers actively participate in the weakening and discrediting of their own democratic structures.
The Kremlin Playbook 2 concludes that Russian malign economic influence and illicit finance operate in a financial gray zone that is a clear and present danger to U.S. national security as well as transatlantic security. To push back against this threat, the United States and its European allies must take decisive action to limit Russia’s malign behavior in their financial systems. Only transparency and enforcement of our rule of law can guarantee trust in the system and rebuild confidence in democratic institutions.

Donatienne Ruy
Director, Executive Education and Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy, and Fellow, Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program

Heather A. Conley

Ruslan Stefanov

Director, Economics Program, Center for the Study of Democracy

Martin Vladimirov

Analyst, Center for the Study of Democracy