CSIS embarked on an ambitious, year-long initiative to analyse Russian influence activities in the United Kingdom and Germany and Chinese influence activities in Japan and Australia. While a growing body of literature describes the strategies and tactics foreign influence activities, the researchers sought to better understand how these influence efforts play out in these four democracies and how democratic governments and societies have (or have not) responded.
The authors examined which factors make democracies particularly vulnerable to Chinese or Russian malign influence operations and identified the sources of resilience that enable democratic governments and polities to mitigate, fend off, or push back on malign efforts. They also sought to determine the degree to which China and Russia have been successful in influencing outcomes through their activities. Finally, they assessed how the strategies and tactics used by Russia and China differ or converge.