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Congressman Eric Swalwell

Representing the 15th District of California


Russia: Not Our Friend

Reversing the thaw in the post-Cold War era, in recent years, Russia has worked against American values repeatedly and overtly. Here are some of the top examples.

Russia Threatens Important U.S. Allies

In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, destabilizing democracy and threatening security in the region. As a result of this destabilization, pro-Russian forces fighting in Ukraine were able to obtain and use a missile to shoot down a Malaysian Airlines passenger flight over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. And in recent months, Russia has intensified its military presence along its border with our Baltic allies—Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.  In light of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the continued militarization of the region is a troubling sign of further Russian aggression against U.S. allies and interests abroad.

Russia Attacks Our Friends’ Elections

It's no secret that Russia is not a friend of democracy. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul noted that “for years now, the Kremlin has looked for ways to disrupt democracies, to help the people that they like to come to power and to undermine the credibility of the democratic process.” This is evident in their continued and directed cyberattacks against foreign nations throughout the last ten years. Here is a timeline of some of its most egregious attacks.





This is the timeline of just the public and known attacks. The list of other, yet to-be-attributed attacks is likely to be even longer. An attack on any democracy is a threat to the stability of our own. Russia’s known use of cyberwarfare against these and other democracies is unacceptable, and cannot go unanswered.

Russia Attacks Freedom of the Press

Russia’s national news agenda is largely controlled by the Kremlin; editorial policy at its state-owned television stations is managed by the government. Freedom House has counted at least 63 violent attacks on Russian journalists since 2006, including the killing of 20.  Beyond the atrocious nature of state-sponsored attacks on its citizens, it's evident that Russia doesn't hold any respect for the freedom of the press, a right that the United States holds as fundamental and remains enshrined in our Constitution. 

Russia Commits War Crimes

Russia continues to support the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whose use of chemical weapons is intolerable and constitutes a war crime. Russian forces in Syria have appeared to deliberately target civilian areas of Aleppo. In a report presented by the Atlantic Council, satellite images, social media, surveillance footage, and eyewitness accounts outline Russia’s “indiscriminate” bombing of civilian areas of Aleppo. These attacks, which are responsible for killing and injuring civilians (including children) and for leaving a portion of the capital city without access to functioning hospitals, have been broadly condemned by the international community.

Russia has committed cyberattacks against America 

Besides taking the egregious step of meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, Russia has engaged in further cyberattacks against Americans. On March 15, 2017, the Justice Department charged two Russian intelligence officers with directing the hacking of 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. The information the Russian government obtained from the hack was used to focus on foreign officials, executives, and journalists, and steal Americans' credit card and gift card information. 

Russia supports an American enemy

Recently, Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, the top U.S. military officer in Europe, said that he has seen growing Russian diplomatic and military influence on the Taliban in Afghanistan. General Scaparotti said "I've seen the inflence of Russia of late - increased influence in terms of association and perhaps even supply to the Taliban." Since 2001, the U.S. has been at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan, where more than 1,800 American troops have been killed.  


Next Page: Russia: Trump and His Team's Ties


More on Russia: Not Our Friend

January 29, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Lee Zeldin (NY-01) on Tuesday led 62 other House Members in urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to publicly condemn the violence against the LGBT community in Chechnya and to pressure Russian leaders to stop this persecution.

August 31, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Eric Swalwell, ranking member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, participated in the new documentary film “Active Measures” detailing Russia’s interference in America’s 2016 presidential election and its long-standing ties to President Donald Trump.

Swalwell (CA-15) was interviewed about his role and findings in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russia’s interference on behalf of the Trump campaign. The film was released Friday.

June 7, 2018 In The News

Over the past year, I’ve spent hours listening to witnesses talk about the events of the 2016 campaign. The House Intelligence Committee, on which I sit, has been investigating Russian interference in the election. Multiple members of Donald Trump’s campaign, businesses, and family, I’ve learned, were contacted by individuals linked to the Russian government—but none of them, so far as we know, reported these contacts to law-enforcement agencies.