Publications

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

Over the past eighteen years, Vladimir Putin has perfected a peculiar style of rule in Moscow. A product of the KGB, Putin quickly appointed many of his siloviki colleagues to senior positions in the government shortly after coming to power. Once in office, his associates enriched themselves by looting state resources and seizing vulnerable private resources. The quest for economic gain also opened the door to cooperation between senior government officials and organized crime.

Read More

The Colombian elections are over. On June 17, conservative Ivan Duque was elected president with 10,373,080 votes, which was 54 percent of the ballots. Duque was victorious over left-wing Gustavo Petro, who garnered 8,034,189 votes. The process was rife with concerns over the impact disinformation and misinformation on voter behavior and the overall election.

Read the full analysis on Medium.
pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

In a new report, Decarbonization and Peak Oil Demand: The Role of Policy in the Transportation Sector, Robert Johnston, chief executive officer of the Eurasia Group and senior fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and Hilary Novik Sandberg, Eurasia Group Global Energy & Natural Resources analyst, examine the role of government policy in the transportation sector amidst international efforts to reduce carbon emissions and peak oil demand concerns. The report specifically focuses on the numerous policies and technological developments that have already been adopted or could be developed to aid the decarbonization of the transportation sector, as well as the reforms necessary to their widespread adoption.

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

As unrest over the Iraqi government’s failure to provide essential services grips southern Iraq, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East is offering insight and analysis beyond the headlines. In a new issue brief, Beyond Security: Stabilization, Governance, and Socioeconomic Challenges in Iraq, Dr. Harith Hasan explores the ways in which economic and social issues play into Iraq’s instability and the genesis of violent conflict. In addition to Iraq’s flailing economy and demographic boom, the author highlights growing disillusionment with the political system, demonstrated by the low turnout in Iraq’s contested May 2018 election. Lack of political participation risks widening the gap between ruling elites and public demands, which could ultimately lead to further radicalization and conflict.

Read More

pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

Under President Vladimir Putin, lawlessness has taken over the Russian state, including its law enforcement branch. Putin’s system and its proxies are exploiting both the domestic and international legal system to their own benefits. In the latest issue brief from the Atlantic Council and the Eurasia Center, “Russia’s Interference in the US Judiciary,” Anders Aslund analyzes how this system stands in sharp contrast to Western rule of law, but it utilizes the Western financial and legal system to its own benefit. The US justice system needs to address this exploitation of the US judiciary for nefarious purposes and act decisively to safeguard US democratic institutions.

 


pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

Mexico is poised for a new era of prosperity if deep structural issues are adequately addressed.


In this Spotlight, we ask: What are four of the top issues President-elect López Obrador might prioritize in his first 100 days in office?
In the countdown to Mexico’s presidential election, a network of automated Twitter accounts has been pushing partisan messages which appear to have been paid for by local political groups.

The bots appear purely mercenary, promoting hashtags which attack all sides. They are linked to Carlos Merlo, self-described as Mexico’s “king of fake news,” whose largely outsourced operations @DFRLab previously exposed.

Their hashtag campaigns underscore the mercenary nature of the business of fake amplification in Mexico, and suggest that political groups from across the spectrum have taken to using such dark arts to gain an edge in the polls.

Read the full analysis on Medium.
On June 28, presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, organized a festival to commemorate the closing of his electoral campaign, ahead of election day on July 1.

The festival was accompanied by a hashtag campaign under #AMLOFest, which quickly attracted pro-AMLO and anti-AMLO accounts, who used the hashtag to respectively promote and smear presidential candidate Lopez Obrador.

The hashtag started trending late on June 27 and quickly generated more than 234,000 mentions. According to a machine scan those mentions were generated by a total of 65,900 users. On average, each user generated 3.5 hashtag mentions, which is a high figure. In scans of organic traffic which @DFRLab conducted previously, a typical average rate of posting ranges from 1.1 to 2.2 posts per user. The traffic on #AMLOFest generated 30 percent more, suggesting artificial amplification.

Read the full analysis on Medium.
pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

There is more uncertainty about the future of global and regional trade systems than at any time since the current rules-based order was created in the aftermath of WW2. As trade wars loom, the world’s two largest trading powers, China and the United States, pursuing “America First” trade policies appear on different and discordant paths. China has gamed the system and is pursuing mercantilist policies in an effort to dominate the technology-driven economy now taking shape. The rules-based trade system brought unprecedented growth and prosperity over the past seven decades. If the world’s largest trading power, China, cannot accommodate itself to rules and standards sought by much of the world, this China Challenge renders inclusive regional and global trade architectures increasingly problematic.

Read More

Ahead of Mexico’s presidential election on July 1, a network of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts has been promoting partisan political messages, most of them attacking front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The network uses Twitter bots which appear to have been hired from external providers, and Facebook likes from users in India, Brazil and Indonesia. These non-Mexican sources boost the messages by giving them deceptively high numbers of likes and retweets.

The network appears to be connected to Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Merlo, described in local and international media as a “fake news millionaire.” Merlo claims to control millions of automated social media bots, and dozens of “fake news” pages and websites.

Fake accounts and hyper-partisan attacks are troubling at any time, but especially in the immediate pre-election period. In this post, @DFRLab presents our initial findings and methodology. The network is likely far larger than the initial span covered in this survey; more research is needed to verify its full extent.

Read the full analysis on Medium.