NEWSLINK: “Russia Seen Adopting New Tactics in U.S. Election Interference Efforts” – Reuters

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Russian agents believed to be connected to the government have been active in spreading divisive content and promoting extreme themes ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. mid-term elections, but they are working hard to cover their tracks, according to government investigators, academics and security firms. Researchers studying the spread of disinformation on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other platforms say the new, subtler […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia and the 2018 Midterms: Laying Out the Publicly Available Evidence” – RussiaMatters/ Mari Dugas, Natasha Yefimova-Trilling

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“This week’s midterms offer a good opportunity for a status update on the latest evidence of Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Over the past six months, there has been no shortage of alarming warnings. In August, five of the country’s top national security officials spoke to reporters at the White House about the threat posed by Moscow and efforts to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia; U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems as part of potential retaliation for any meddling in America’s elections.” – Center for Public Integrity/ Zachary Fryer-Biggs/ The Daily Beast

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

“The U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have quietly agreed on the outlines of an offensive cyberattack … if Russia electronically interferes with the 2018 midterm election [according to unnamed officials] …. U.S. military hackers have been given the go-ahead to gain access to Russian cybersystems … needed to let the plan unfold quickly …. one of the first major […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Timeline Showing the Full Scale of Russia’s Unprecedented Interference in the 2016 Election, and Its Aftermath” – New York Times/KAREN YOURISH, LARRY BUCHANAN, DEREK WATKINS

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“It’s easy to lose the larger narrative of the Trump-Russia story …”

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NEWSLINK: “The Plot to Subvert an Election; Unraveling the Russia Story So Far” – New York Times/SCOTT SHANE, MARK MAZZETTI

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“For two years, Americans have tried to absorb the details of the 2016 attack -hacked emails, social media fraud, suspected spies – and President Trump’s claims that it’s all a hoax. The Times explores what we know and what it means.”

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Andrei Liakhov: “Short comment on Weir/Galeotti (Re: 2018-#157–Johnson’s Russia List item #1)” [Re: re New York Times: “Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterms”]

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

Subject: Short comment on Weir/Galeotti (Re: 2018-#157–Johnson’s Russia List item #1) Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2018 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> Short comment on Weir/Galeotti What these two gentlemen miss in their assessment of the NYT totally improbable story is this: NYT was asked to publish this totally as a diversion for the Russian counter intelligence in an attempt to divert […]

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NEWSLINK: “Election security can’t wait. Someone should convince the White House.” – Washington Post Editorial

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… The bill might be more palatable to state elections officials wary of federal interference if it came with money for states to institute its mandates. But congressional Republicans have so far balked at the idea of ponying up any cash beyond the $380 million Congress already set aside for state election systems. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: “U.S. Strategy Toward the Russian Federation [Senate Testimony by Assistant Secretary of State A. Wess Mitchell” – State Department

Fille Photo of A. Wess Mitchell and Marshall Billingslea Sitting at Hearing Table, adapted from ee.usembassy.gov by Steve Welsh www.stevencwelsh.com :: www.stevencwelsh.info

US Department of State U.S. Strategy Toward the Russian Federation [https://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2018/285247.htm] Remarks A. Wess Mitchell Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Senate Foreign Relations Committee Washington, DC August 21, 2018 As delivered Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez, thank you for inviting me to testify today. If you’ll indulge me, I want to start with a piece of welcome […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. needs to think about the unthinkable on cybersecurity” – Washington Post/Stewart Baker

Electrical Yard file photo

“The United States may have pioneered the idea of fighting wars in cyberspace, but it’s our adversaries who are using cyberattacks most effectively. To deter them, the country needs creative new ways to punish nations if they launch the devastating attacks that are within their grasp …. Russia has allegedly loaded U.S. electrical control systems with tools that could shut […]

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Moscow has Made ‘Unforgivable Mistake’ of Setting West against Russia for the Long Term, Shevtsova Says

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 15, 2018) The Russian regime has made “the unforgivable mistake” of acting against the West in ways that have made Russia a key part of the domestic politics of the U.S. and European countries and guaranteed that the West will continue its sanctions regime against Moscow for a long time to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The Helsinki Summit: A Good Idea Turns Bad; Mitigating the dangers of a U.S.-Russian escalatory spiral will be difficult” – The National Interest/George Beebe

“George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest’s intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union.” “… the United States and Russia … managed to sail their listing bilateral ship directly into the rocks of the Russian […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller’s New Indictment – Do the Feds Take Us for Idiots” – Medium/Mark McCarty

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

“… The timing of the indictment is of course quite strategic — released right before Trump’s summit with Putin, there will be no time for critiques of the indictments to appear and be digested prior to the meeting; hence, the chances of a successful outcome auguring for peace will be lowered. And how convenient that Assange has been rendered incommunicado just when […]

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Musings II … The “Intelligence Community,” “Russian Interference,” and Due Diligence; Did the U.S. “Intelligence Community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Jack Matlock – Jackmatlock.com – June 29, 2018) About: Jack Matlock is a career diplomat who served on the front lines of American diplomacy during the Cold War and was U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union when the Cold War ended. Since retiring from the Foreign Service, he has focused on understanding how the Cold War ended and how the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tech didn’t spot Russian interference during the last election. Now it’s asking law enforcement for help.” – Washington Post

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Silicon Valley companies and law enforcement are starting to talk about how to ward off meddling by malicious actors including Russia on social media in the November midterms, an attempt at dialogue and information-sharing that was absent during the 2016 presidential elections. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree; It makes no difference how honorable he is. His investigation is tainted by the bias that attended its origin in 2016” – Wall Street Journal/David B. Rivkin Jr., Elizabeth Price Foley

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Special counsel … Mueller’s investigation may face a serious legal obstacle …. antecedent political bias. … the Justice Department’s inspector general[] unearthed a pattern of anti-Trump bias by high-ranking [FBI] officials …. their communications … were ‘… indicative of a biased state of mind … imply a willingness to take action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.’ Although … […]

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NEW BOOK NEWSLINK: “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age” – Wilson Center

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Please join us for an exclusive look at The Perfect Weapon … In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee …    

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: U.S. counterspy warns World Cup travelers’ devices could be hacked” – Reuters

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“The top U.S. counterintelligence official is advising Americans traveling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. … William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travelers ….”   […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia likely targeted all 50 states in 2016, but has yet to try again, DHS cyber chief says” – ABC News/Mike Levine

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… even with the campaign season underway the U.S. government has yet to detect any new cyber activity from Russia targeting election systems … Nevertheless … it’s likely every single U.S. state was targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election – far more states potentially impacted than the public may have realized. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Nobody is safe from Russia’s colossal hacking operation; Russia hackers have targetted ‘millions’ of connected devices in the UK and US. It’s all part of Putin’s grand plan to disrupt the west” – Wired (UK)/Nicole Kobie

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… this week U.S. and U.K. authorities teamed up to issue a joint warning about communications infrastructure, including home-office routers. The rare joint alert noted that routers, switches, firewalls and network intrusion detection systems at government and businesses were the main targets of Russian hackers, but it added that even “small-office/home-office customers” should take more protective action, as should Internet […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Arizona Election Database Targeted in 2016 by Criminals, Not Russia: Source” – Reuters

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“A hack on an Arizona election database … [in] 2016 … was carried out by suspected criminal actors … not the Russian government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters …. responding to a report on … ’60 Minutes’ citing an internal government document that Russian hackers … infiltrated computer systems associated with at least four U.S. states, including Arizona, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wormed Its Way Into Access at Power Plants, U.S. Says; Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says” – New York Times

Electrical Yard file photo

“The Trump administration accused Russia … of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will. United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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NEWSWATCH: “External Interference Narratives in Russian and U.S. Politics: Conspiracy Theorizing Meets Whataboutism” [Excerpt]

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Serghei Golunov – February 2018) Serghei Golunov is Professor at the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University, Japan. [Full text ponarseurasia.org/memo/external-interference-narratives-russian-and-us-politics-conspiracy-theorizing] (PONARS Policy Memo) Conspiracy theories about covert external interference play significant roles in the political discourses of many countries worldwide. In Russia, conspiracy theorizing about U.S. clandestine interference is a long-time, long-term […]

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem; If there were no Russian “influence operations” in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – February 22, 2018) [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-junes/russian-interference-in-virtual-world-is-not-problem] Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist […]

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NEWSLINK: “Teaching Activities for: ‘Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn'” – New York Times/The Learning Network/Caroline Crosson Gilpin

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“… Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Who Is Christopher Steele? The man who revealed a vast international conspiracy but didn’t know his own client.” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… the former British spy’s credibility has been dismantled. … the FBI should have known better. … the bureau had every reason to be wary …. He was … a paid political operative, hired by Fusion, as a subcontractor for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Opposition researchers are not retained to present considered judgment … [but] to slime an opponent and benefit a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Hackers Hunt Hi-Tech Secrets, Exploiting US Weakness” [excerpt] – AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft …. What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims. The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who […]

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NEWSLINK: “Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling” – The Hill/STEPHEN BLANK

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Stephen Blank is a former professor of Russian National Security Studies and National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is also a former MacArthur fellow at the U.S. Army War College.”  

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NEWSLINK: “Bedroom hackers bigger threat than Russia, regulator says” – Daily Telegraph (UK)/Hayley Dixon

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Government departments should be more worried about teenage bedroom hackers than state-sponsored cyber terrorists, the Information Commissioner has warned. In a speech to the heads of the civil service and other public bodies, Elizabeth Denham said that most breaches are preventable and bosses should consider the reputational damage as well as financial losses. But rather than panicking about rogue states such as […]

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NEWSLINK: “How top U.S. diplomat pushed back against Russian hacking; Victoria Nuland recalls the moment ‘the hairs went up on the back of our necks.'” – Politico.eu/SUSAN B. GLASSER

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

“By the summer of 2016, Victoria Nuland’s ‘Spidey sense’ told her something was very wrong. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “The Nunes memo and Putin’s long game; As the president and other Republicans directly question the integrity of the FBI and DOJ, analysts and some in the GOP say it only furthers Russian objectives. [Excerpt]” – Politico/Matthew Nussbaum

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

“… Putin might get tired of winning. Ever since the U.S. intelligence community discovered the Russian operation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election … some Republicans have been laboring to undermine investigations into the attack and discredit the intelligence agencies that discovered it. … [O]n Friday … House Republicans released a partisan memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI […]

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NEWSWATCH: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“It may not look like war, but perhaps it should. Russia’s interference in American democracy proves that popular conception of the term needs to be updated – and failure to do could increase U.S. susceptibility.” Click here for: “PUTIN’S POSTMODERN WAR WITH THE WEST” – The Wilson Quarterly/Patrick Babiracki  

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NEWSWATCH: “From the Czech Republic, a warning for our midterms: The Russians are still meddling” – Washington Post editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov by Steven C. Welsh :: stevencwelsh.com :: stevencwelsh.info

“Milos Zeman … [Czech] president … speaks and acts as if he were a pure Russian agent. … defend[ing] the seizure and annexation of Crimea … den[ying] the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine … call[ing] for the lifting of all sanctions …. he reiterated his proposal that Czechs vote in a referendum on whether to remain in NATO […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief” – BBC/Gordon Corera

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

“Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year) … Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. ‘I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity,’ … Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal skepticism about the case” – Washington Post/Karoun Demirjian

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… An FBI official who was removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election over politically charged texts disparaging President Trump considered never joining the probe at all, because of a ‘gut sense and concern, there’s no big “there” there.’… Click here for: “Newly released texts between former Mueller probe members reveal […]

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NEWSLINK: “Trump’s Russia Ambassador: U.S.-Russia Relations ‘Done’ if Kremlin Meddles in 2018 Elections; Jon Huntsman tells a room full of lawmakers that Russia is very much on course to play a disruptive role again” – DailyBeast/ Andrew Desiderio

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: COLLUSION [re Luke Harding]” – Irrussaianality/ Paul Robinson

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“… evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding … * * *  I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Red mist; How the Russia investigation looks from Moscow; Hyperventilating about Vladimir Putin infuriates Russian liberals, but it has led to a better Russia policy” – The Economist

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Buzzfeed recently broke an explosive story about Russia’s meddling in America’s elections. On August 3rd 2016, it reported, just as the presidential race was entering its final phase, the Russian foreign ministry wired nearly $30,000 through a Kremlin-backed bank to its embassy in Washington, DC, with a remarkable description attached: ‘To finance election campaign of 2016’. … only one of 60 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware the Russian Elephant” – The American Interest/ Peter Pomerantsev

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“As the West considers how to respond to the Kremlin’s use of bots, trolls, fake news, and hacks as tools of foreign policy, the way we describe things will define whether we prevail. The most insidious element of Moscow’s information war could be the very idea of information war itself. In ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ the cognitive linguist George […]

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Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 16, 2017) The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya […]

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