Ellen Mickiewicz: “New info re RT”

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Subject: New info re RT Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2017 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@gmail.com> Ellen Mickiewicz James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy Studies in the Sanford Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at Duke University. Maxim Audinet’s piece about RT in Le Monde diplomatique [JRL#65] provides data that are partly right, partly not. Does the corrective […]

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NEWSLINK: “Propaganda or alternative worldview? RT, Russia’s voice to the world. The international television news channel RT was an attempt to promote Russian influence in the world. How far has it succeeded?” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Maxime Audinet

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“Russia’s state-owned international news channel, RT (formerly Russia Today), celebrated its tenth birthday in December 2015 with a promotional video that showed Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief, in Soviet uniform, inspecting her staff at their Moscow HQ. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – April 3, 2017) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the fourth Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media. Excerpts from transcript of Truth and Justice Forum of Local and Regional Media President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues. This, I believe, is our fourth meeting. It has become a tradition, and I think […]

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@McFaul: “This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. “

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

[Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, @McFaul at twitter.com/mcfaul, tweets about #Russia and disinformation: embedded tweet should load below; tweet also is available at twitter.com/McFaul/status/843706148733693953] This is important. Russia has a serious, sophisticated disinformation strategy. We ignore it at our peril. https://t.co/eq15A6f6HG — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 20, 2017

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Almost Half of Russians Say They Can’t Distinguish Truth from Lies in Moscow Media

Satellite Dishes

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 15, 2017) Almost half of Russians – 46 percent – say that they often cannot distinguish “false information from truth” in media reports, while a similar percentage – 46 percent say that they can, numbers that are relatively constant across groups of different ages and social classes, according to Aleksey Levinson […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Officials Won’t Say if a New Anti–Russia Propaganda Project Is Targeting Americans The newly created Global Engagement Center’s “focus and intent” is foreign audiences, but officials won’t rule out propagandizing Americans and funding American journalists.” – The Nation/Adam H. Johnson

Satellite Dishes

“On the day before Christmas Eve last year, President Obama signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act that included, in part, a $160 million revamping of the “Global Engagement Center” to combat what officials claimed was a uptick in Russian propaganda. Originally created in March of last year for anti-ISIL messaging, the Global Engagement Center distributes ‘counter’ propaganda, social media messaging and original journalistic […]

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Putin Aims to Undermine Western Democracies With Election Meddling, Experts Say

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Ken Bredemeier – March 9, 2017) WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin is single-handedly trying to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and rupture their decades-old NATO alliance by meddling in their elections, foreign affairs analysts and Estonia’s former president told a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington. One of the experts, Peter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A way to get real news to Russia; A U.S. attempt to counter disinformation takes shape in Current Time” – Washington Post

Satellite Dishes

… Current Time television, a product of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, is a 24/7 Russian-language television network based in Prague … aimed at audiences inside Russia as well as the borderlands of the former Soviet Union. … intended to provide ‘fair and accurate reporting, serving as a reality check on disinformation that is driving conflict […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Preps for Infowar on Russia” – DailyBeast/Tim Mak

Satellite Dishes

“While President Trump is still defending Vladimir Putin in public, American policymakers have finally awoken to Russian intervention in the U.S. democratic process-and are pumping tens of millions into a counter-propaganda initiative”

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NEWSWATCH: “Inside the belly of Russia’s ‘propaganda machine’: A visit to RT news channel; US security services have fingered the channel as a key player in the Kremlin’s efforts to sway Western politics. But inside its offices, RT seems a far cry from what the US says it is – and what it aspires to be.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Satellite Dishes

… The network appears to have changed focus about five years ago to become more about promoting the Russian point of view on international affairs, and much less about covering Russia per se. It also became a platform for coverage of social problems in Western societies, government malfeasance, corporate non-accountability, and the dysfunctions of democracy that often contrasts in tone, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him” – McClatchy/KEVIN G. HALL, TIM JOHNSON

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A #Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald #Trump campaign and Russian #hackers says no #intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false. * * * #XBT, owner of Dallas-based enterprise-hosting company #Webzilla, is run by a successful Russian tech […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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Ellen Mickiewicz: “RT”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Subject: RT Date: Sun, 8 Jan 2017 19:59:35 -0500 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@gmail.com> Ellen Mickiewicz, James R. Shepley Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Political Science Duke University The Report from the U.S. Intelligence Community is notable for its factual mistakes and misleading conclusions. Whether misleading is deliberate or simply lack of information they could have accessed is not known. […]

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Kremlin Propaganda Effort Ever Less Effective on Russians, Surveys Show

Kremlin and River

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 8, 2016) The messages Kremlin propaganda is disseminating and the actual beliefs of Russians are increasingly diverging, except on the “sacred” issue of approval for Vladimir Putin, surveys show, an indication that his regime’s media efforts are ever less successful in shaping public attitudes, according to Igor Yakovenko. The Russian commentator […]

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NEWSLINK Financial Times: “Russia’s spat with the U.S. is not a return to the cold war. In that era, truth and facts still meant something, writes Peter Pomerantsev.”

File Photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan at Table Signing Documents

“Russia and the US are at it again, involved in a dance of psychological games and information tricks. Hacking and fake news are the weapons of choice today. These are partly the products of technological change, but ideology and history play a role, too: the so-called post-truth age is shaped by decades of relations between the US and Russia. Today’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Russian Restaurateur With Ties to Putin; Yevgeny Prigozhin is accused of possessing links to private military force that fought in Ukraine, Syria” – Wall Street Journal

“The U.S. has imposed sanctions on a Russian restaurateur and caterer with connections to President Vladimir Putin who has been accused of funding Russian online ‘troll farms’ and possessing links to a private Russian paramilitary group that fought in Ukraine and Syria. The U.S. Treasury Department officially sanctioned Yevgeny Prigozhin on Tuesday for contributing to the conflict in Ukraine through […]

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NEWSLINK The New Yorker: “THE PROPAGANDA ABOUT RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA”

Satellite Dishes

“In late October, I received an e-mail from ‘The PropOrNot Team,’ which described itself as a ‘newly-formed independent team of computer scientists, statisticians, national security professionals, journalists and political activists, dedicated to identifying propaganda— particularly Russian propaganda targeting a U.S. audience.’ PropOrNot said that it had identified two hundred Web sites that ‘qualify as Russian propaganda outlets.’ The sites’ reach […]

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Putin Weaponizes Democracy

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 14, 2016) [RFE/RL budget: $108.414 million (FY2016)] Don’t look now but Russia just picked up two more allies in Europe. Don’t look now, but pro-Moscow candidates just won the presidencies of Moldova and Bulgaria. Don’t look now, but Vladimir Putin appears to be on a roll. The Kremlin leader is no democrat. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin-Backed Broadcaster RT Says Loses UK Banking Services” – Reuters

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

Russia accused Britain of political censorship … after a British state-owned bank withdrew its services from Kremlin-backed Russian broadcaster RT. … A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May distanced the British government from the row, saying it was up to NatWest who it offered services to based on its own appetite for risk. … British broadcast regulator Ofcom has ruled […]

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NEWSLINK War on the Rocks/Joshua Foust: “CAN FANCY BEAR BE STOPPED? THE CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER OF RUSSIAN INFO OPS”

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Russia is engaged in an unprecedented, sophisticated attack on the American political system. Defeating it won’t be easy.”

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Moscow’s Disinformation Efforts Move Far beyond Mere Lying and Obfuscation

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 1, 2016) Most Western discussions about countering Russian disinformation have focused exclusively on unmasking the ever-growing number of lies and other formers of obfuscation Russian government propagandists and their surrogates are putting out and identifying the chief sources of such duplicity. But it is important to recognize and then think about […]

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NEWSWATCH: Andrew S. Weiss/@andrewsweiss: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” [re: New York Times: “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets”]

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Andrew S. Weiss [Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment, Russia and Eurasia Program], on twitter at @andrewsweiss, “retweets” the New York Times article “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets,” commenting: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” The “tweet” should appear below, although it might take […]

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NEWSWATCH Strobe Talbott/@strobetalbott: “Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed because no one “could distort the truth so infamously.” [Re: New York Times: A Powerful #Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories]

Satellite Dishes

Strobe Talbott of The Brookings Institution comments on twitter about Russia’s information war, forwarding a link from a New York Times article. His “tweet” should appear below, yet it might take some time to load for some users. You can also click here to go directly to the “tweet:” twitter.com/strobetalbott/status/770368906531901440 Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories” – New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The New York Times addresses concerns about Russian disinformation campaigns, including Russia’s reputed involvement with a rash of misleading material on social media disrupting NATO-related debate in Sweden. With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “While the world is distracted, Putin escalates his war in Ukraine” – Washington Post

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… The … FSB, claimed … one of its officers was killed … near the de facto border between Crimea and Ukraine. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014, then backed a violent uprising in … Donetsk and Luhansk. … According to the FSB … a second attempt occurred … with support from Ukrainian artillery, killing a Russian … […]

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Subject: Recommending JRL

Satellite Dishes

Subject: Recommending JRL Date:     Wed, 27 Jul 2016 From:     An American professor expert on Russia I’ve been a JRL fan for many years, and have recommended it to students and friends as the best way to follow commentary on Russia. At times, however, JRL seems to tilt toward non-substantive pro-Russian propaganda articles.  Today’s post (#139) led with articles claiming that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian ‘Firehose of Falsehood’ Propaganda Model. Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It.” – The RAND Corporation

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

… there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia’s approach to propaganda … [with] new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO …. high-volume and multichannel, … it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. … rapid, continuous, […]

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Russia ranks among top 30 countries worldwide in terms of soft power

A British agency has given Russia high marks for its engagement in the resolution of global problems, its culture and influence in the media. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – June 15, 2016) Russia has made its debut on the ranking of the world’s 30 most influential countries in terms of soft power, as compiled […]

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Russian Elite Not Only Believes Its Own Propaganda But is Basing Its Actions on It, New Russian Document Shows

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 7, 2016) The Moscow Council on Foreign and Defense Policy released at the end of May a document describing Russian foreign policy for the remainder of this decade. It is filled with propagandistic shibboleths heard every day on Russian TV, and the policies that it recommends flow from them rather than […]

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Boycott Russia Today facebook page: “BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016”

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Facebook – Boycott Russia Today facebook page – reused with permission) Bullough, Oliver (2013) Inside Russia Today: counterweight to the mainstream media, or Putin’s mouthpiece?: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/world-affairs/2013/05/inside-russia-today-counterweight-mainstream-media-or-putins-mou Fitzpatrick, Catherine (2010) More Moral Equivalency from Vadim Nikitin: http://3dblogger.typepad.com/minding_russia/2010/04/more-moral-equivalency-from-vadim-nikitin.html Gray, Rosie (2014) How The Truth Is Made At Russia Today: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/how-the-truth-is-made-at-russia-today Ioffe, Julia (2010) What Is Russia Today? http://www.cjr.org/feature/what_is_russia_today.php?page=all Kincaid, Cliff (2011) Russian […]

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Boycott Russia Today: “BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016”

Satellite Dishes

The facebook page “Boycott Russia Today” has compiled an updated BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016 at https://www.facebook.com/notes/boycott-russia-today/brt-reading-list-of-critical-online-articles-about-rt-2010-2016-updated-4-june-2/815909395145453 [featured image is file photo]

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In Estonia, we should be careful not to overstate the impact of the information war

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Baltic States are now seen as the next frontline in Russia’s hybrid war. But the political preferences of ethnic Russian communities are more complicated than meets the eye. (opendemocracy.net – Vassilis Petsinis – May 30, 2016) Vassilis Petsinis is a political analyst at the European Commission’s representation in Greece. His specialisation is european politics and ethnopolitics with a regional […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The danger of Russian disinformation” – Washington Post/Anne Applebaum, Edward Lucas

…authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives. Because national media is often weak, it has become far easier for channels such as RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik (a Russian “news” agency) to establish credibility in smaller European markets. … even in larger countries, the Russian use of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Long Arm of Russian ‘Soft’ Power” – Atlantic Council/Orysia Lutsevych

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Anxious about losing ground to Western influence in the post-Soviet space and the ousting of pro-Russia elites by popular electoral uprisings in the early 2000s, the Kremlin has developed a range of proxy groups in support of its foreign policy. This network of pro-Kremlin groups promotes the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), a flexible tool that justifies increasing Russian actions in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The West needs to stop panicking about Russia’s “hybrid” warfare” – Vox/Mark Galeotti

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

… The fact is that Russian security discussions are dominated by an awareness of the country’s vulnerabilities to a stronger, richer, larger, more advanced West. Up to now, though, we have not let ourselves acknowledge our strengths. The greatest risk for the West is, after all, not its weakness of means but a perception of its weakness of will, both […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Inside Russian top investigator’s latest manifesto against extremism. It remains to be seen whether the Kremlin will listen to the ideas of one of the country’s top law enforcement officers to impose even greater censorship and control over Russian society as part of enhanced efforts to win the ‘information war’ with the West”

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “The Baltic Elves Taking on Pro-Russian Trolls; What at first looked like as a social media grudge match could be a precursor to invasion, war, and resistance in the Baltics” – TheDailyBeast.com

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Mindaugas is an unassuming, thirtysomething advertising agency director by day … ferocious cyber-warrior by night. He started a phenomenon … in Lithuania … countering Kremlin propaganda and disinformation …. ‘We needed to call our group something. … we were fighting trolls. … I said, “Let’s be elves.”‘ There were 20 or 30 at first, when the trolls began … leaving […]

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Russia Is Giving up on Its Tragedies-and on Itself

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 45 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Pavel K. Baev – March 7, 2016) Pavel K. Baev is a research professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and nonresident senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is regularly accepted as a proxy […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How does the Internet fit into Russia’s security strategy? Against the background of continuing confrontation with the West and growing domestic authoritarianism, the Kremlin is continuing on a path of increased state control of the Russian Internet and a significantly expanded view of information security.”

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The Great Manipulator

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 24, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then […]

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What Do Russians Really Think? The Truth Behind the Polls

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – February 4, 2016) [Charts here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/what-do-russians-really-think-the-truth-behind-the-polls/558537.html] The champagne corks were already popping for New Year’s Eve celebrations when several thousand Crimeans received an unexpected phone call. The voice on the end of the phone was a pollster from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). The pollster had just two questions:”Do you […]

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When In Doubt, Blame The West

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 9, 2015) So Russia went there after all. The crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Egypt on October 31, which killed all 224 people on board, was more than the worst aviation disaster in the country’s history. Once it became clear that the cause of the crash was probably terrorism, it also […]

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Kremlin’s Campaign against Russophobia Threatens both Russia and the West, Polish Experts Say

Europe Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, November 11, 2015) The Kremlin’s revival of a campaign against what it calls “Russophobia” constitutes a threat not only to Western countries but to Russia’s future as well, according to two Polish experts. As such, they argue, it can properly be described as “a weapon of mass destruction.” In a new study, “Russophobia in the Kremlin’s […]

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