Research the revenge: what we’re getting wrong about Russia Today; Data-mining and analysis will not reveal what makes Russian propaganda tick.

Kremlin and River

(opendemocracy.net – Vasily Gatov – August 15, 2018) Vasily Gatov is visiting fellow at the Center of Communication Leadership and Policy at USC Annenberg, and is a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston. He has over 30 years of professional experience in domestic and international media, as well as media analysis, strategy and development. [opendemocracy.net/od-russia/vasily-gatov/what-we-are-getting-wrong-about-russia-today] I personally know […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Think Tank’s Tiny Lab Helps Facebook Battle Fake Social Media” – Reuters/New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“A day before Facebook announced that it had discovered and disabled a propaganda campaign designed to sow dissension among U.S. voters, it exclusively shared some of the suspicious pages with an online forensics team so busy it hasn’t put a nameplate on the door.  The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is based in a 12-foot-by-12-foot office in the Washington, […]

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NEWSLINK: “In Eastern Europe, Militaries Gird Against Russian Might and Manipulation” – New York Times/Eric Schmitt

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“… The bloggers had borrowed a page from the playbook of Russia’s so-called hybrid warfare, which American and Lithuania officials say has increasingly combined the ability to manipulate events using a mix of subterfuge, cyberattacks and information warfare with conventional military might. The 12-day military exercise, which involved 18,000 American and allied troops spread across four countries formerly part of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mueller asks to secure evidence in ‘Putin chef’ case, citing Russian intelligence and ongoing interference operations” – Washington Post/Spencer S. Hsu

Robert Mueller file photo, adapted from image at fbi.gov

“Federal prosecutors say they believe operations to interfere in U.S. elections are ongoing and want a court to tightly control how evidence gathered by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about Internet trolling in 2016 is shared with a Russian company accused of helping to mislead American voters. … The filing seeking a protective order for documents came in proceedings […]

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NEWSLINK: “David Dimbleby on a Russia in crisis and the holes in President Putin’s defence” – The Times (UK)

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

“With coercion and cunning propaganda, the president has kept Russians in line. But on a pre-World Cup visit David Dimbleby finds money is running out and the Kremlin’s cultivation of a siege mentality is starting to backfire”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It” – New York Times Editorial

Kremlin and River

“… Russia’s reaction to all accusations of foul play [has been consistent], whether … [to] well-documented charges by the Netherlands, Australia and other nations that [Russia] was responsible for downing a Malaysian jetliner over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 … the British accusation that Russia was most likely behind the poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in England […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “SUNY New Paltz graduates told to help preserve democracy, beware of fake news [Excerpt]” – Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York)/William J. Kemble

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

“Graduates of the Class of 2018 at SUNY New Paltz … were encouraged to preserve democracy by not buying into fake news coming from an apparent Russian propaganda campaign. James Ottaway Jr., president of Ottaway Newspapers, raised the urgency during his commencement address, saying there is a responsibility for people to avoid taking a shallow approach when reviewing information that […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Battle Against Kremlin Propaganda Network RT” – Daily Beast/Jamie Ross

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

“The Kremlin-funded news channel RT is facing an existential threat in one of its most important target markets. An onslaught of 10 simultaneous investigations into alleged breaches of impartiality laws leave it in serious danger of losing its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom. After years of broadcasting a pro-Russian take on the day’s news to a small but loyal band […]

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NEWSLINK: “See Which Facebook Ads Russians Targeted to People Like You” – New York Times/Keith Collins

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

“Congress last week released thousands of Facebook ads linked to Russia that ran through the 2016 presidential election, the most comprehensive look to date at the misinformation campaign mounted on the social network. Choose from the options below to see which ads were targeted to people like you or those you know, down to age, location and interests. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance; Exclusive: ministers will use series of summits to pursue containment strategy and urge rethink of diplomatic dialogue” – The Guardian (UK)/Patrick Wintour

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

“The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin’s aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria. British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything” – PBS Newshour/Elizabeth Flock

Satellite Dishes

“… Enter Radio Sputnik. Like its sister outlet RT … a Russian government-funded media outlet, widely seen by Russia experts as a vehicle to disseminate disinformation for the Kremlin, and, like its space-dwelling namesake, to make the West look bad. … RT is television[ …] Sputnik lives on the radio, a wire service and website. Both RT and Sputnik are […]

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UKRAINELINK: “With influence activities exposed, Kremlin acts even more boldly – Estonian intel chief” – UNIAN

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

“The fact that Russian influence operations were thrust into the public limelight with revelations of Moscow’s interference with U.S. elections did not deter the Kremlin; on the contrary – it takes pride in it, according to Mikk Marran, Director General of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service. From the Kremlin’s perspective, influence operations are ‘cheap, reliable and essential,’ Marran wrote ….” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Soviet roots of invoking fears about World War III” – Brookings/James Kirchick

“Editor’s Note: Dire predictions about foreign intervention leading to ‘World War III’ aren’t merely the most predictable and laziest form of anti-interventionist ‘logic,’ argues Jamie Kirchick. They’re also an insidious echo of Soviet propaganda, routinely deployed to undercut the West’s defense of democracy and important international norms. …” Click here for: “The Soviet roots of invoking fears about World War […]

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British Media Regulator Probing RT’s Impartiality After Salisbury Poisoning

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 18, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/british-media-regulator-probing-rt-s-impartiality-after-salisbury-poisoning/29174828.html) Britain’s media watchdog has started probing whether Russian news channel RT broke impartiality rules in its programs after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury last month. Media regulator Ofcom warned on […]

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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: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

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

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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Defending Digital Democracy

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

Subject: Democracy’s Front-Line Defenders Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 From: Eric Rosenbach <erosenbach@belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu> Defending Digital Democracy America’s enemies aren’t resting. Neither are we. I hope you’ll be in touch with me with thoughts about how we can strengthen our efforts to defend democracy. Warm regards, Eric Rosenbach Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Director, Defending Digital […]

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What does the flight of a controversial news editor tell us about press freedom in Ukraine? After the editor-in-chief of a controversial (and anonymously funded) website flees for Vienna, there are questions to answer – both for Ukraine’s authorities and the editor.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Brian Milakovsky – March 8, 2018) Brian Milakovsky lives in eastern Ukraine where he works on post-conflict economic recovery. He has worked on ecological and humanitarian issues in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. Kyiv is abuzz with the news that the editor-in-chief of several popular and controversial media outlets has fled Ukraine and asked for political asylum in […]

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NEWSLINK: “We’re All Russian Bots Now; Americans don’t need help from Moscow to tear each other apart on social media” – Politico/Howard Axelrod

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

“… To call us all unwitting pawns isn’t fair, of course, as there’s no grand conspiracy at work here. Just an ongoing degradation of public discourse, which poses an ongoing and deepening threat to democracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0” – New York Times/GARDINER HARRIS

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin publishes uncensored translations of Western news; The state-sponsored InoSMI gets hundreds of thousands of Russian readers each day, who generally seem to view Western coverage of Russia as selective and simplistic. But the site also highlights how important cultural context is to understanding the news” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“One of Russia’s most popular internet news sites is one that many Russians believe to be a dedicated purveyor of ‘fake news.’ Yet it enjoys almost 300,000 daily readers, is consulted by editors around the country as they prepare their own news coverage, and is also reported to be heavily used by the Kremlin staff who compile … Putin’s morning […]

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NEWSWATCH: “State Department launches $40 million initiative to counter Russia election meddling” – USA Today/Oren Dorell

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“The State Department … unveiled a new program to counter Russian meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The $40 million initiative will battle state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda targeting the U.S. and its interests …. run from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) … starting with a new $1 million Information Access Fund, that on Monday issued a request […]

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Ukraine’s blacklists in defence of democracy and national security are doing it no favours; Fresh bans on Russian and Ukrainian cultural production are signs that Ukraine could be losing its hard-won freedom.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Kateryna Botanova – February 9, 2018) Kateryna Botanova is a critic and curator. She is founder and chief editor (2010-2015) of korydor, an online journal about contemporary culture, and cultural editor for Ukrainska pravda (2015-2016). She is the co-curator of CULTURESCAPES festival, Switzerland [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/kateryna-botanova/ukraines-blacklists-in-defence-of-democracy] In recent months, the wave of bans and blacklists in Ukraine’s […]

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Interfax: Zyuganov files complaints over biased coverage of Communist candidate’s campaign

Satellite Dishes

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov urged President Vladimir Putin on Monday to take measures to stop the use of TV programs to spread “counter-propaganda” against the Communist Party’s presidential candidate, Pavel Grudinin. In his letter to Putin, which was shared with Interfax, Zyuganov pointed out that Grudinin has publicized “a substantive, detailed, and constructive […]

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U.S. Orders Sputnik News Agency to Register as ‘Foreign Agent’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 10, 2018) The United States has ordered the Russian government-funded Sputnik news agency to register as a “foreign agent” – the latest episode in a media war that has unfolded between the two countries in the past year. U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russian media organizations of participating in a propaganda campaign to influence […]

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NEWSLINK: “RT’s editor-in-chief on election meddling, being labeled Russian propaganda; ‘There’s nothing illegal that we did … nothing murky,’ says Margarita Simonyan, who dismisses the U.S. intelligence report that says the Russian news network she heads meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election” – CBS News

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

Re: Freedom of speech in rusology

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

Subject: Freedom of speech in rusology Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 From: GORDON HAHN <gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net> The following seems to be a rather ominous development for freedom of speech in academia and journalism an attempt to discredit all dissenters from the Washington consensus on Russia. If there are people in academia willing to sign on to such a ‘brief,’ we can […]

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NEWSLINK: “Eric Schmidt Says Google News Will ‘Engineer’ Russian Propaganda Out of the Feed; ‘It’s basically RT and Sputnik,’ he said on Saturday.” – Motherboard/Justin Ling

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

“Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Alphabet, says the company is working to ferret out Russian propaganda from Google News after facing criticism that Kremlin-owned media sites had been given plum placement on the search giant’s news and advertising platforms. …”

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VIDEO: US Envoy to Russia Slams Moscow’s Pending Curbs on US-funded News Outlets

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

(Voice of America – VOA’s Daniel Schearf contributed to this report – WASHINGTON – November 20, 2017) [Video and article also appeared at voanews.com/a/us-ambassador-to-russia-attacks-on-us-funded-agencies/4125489.html] The U.S. ambassador to Russia has attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network […]

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Russia’s New Law Against Foreign Media ‘Won’t Even Work’; New amendments targeting U.S. media could implicate news organizations from other countries too

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – November 15, 2017) After the Kremlin-backed RT news outlet begrudgingly registered as a foreign agent on Monday, Russia promised to retaliate. Earlier on Wednesday, its lawmakers did just that. New legislation, which will allow authorities to brand any international media organization a “foreign agent,” passed swiftly through three readings in the State […]

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NEWSLINK: “Independent Journalists in Russia Will Have to Live Without Their Western Role Models; The Western media’s controversial reporting is affecting independent journalism in Russia” – Moscow Times/ Oleg Kashin

File Photo of Oleg Kashin Outdoors with Boat and Water in Background

“The Western press has discovered that structures close to the Kremlin bought shares in Facebook and Twitter – obviously with far-reaching political designs. * * * At some point, quantity becomes quality, and the Western press has already published so many inaccurate, exaggerated, and knowingly untrue things about this country that the only Russians who seriously consider Milner a Kremlin […]

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Russian Info War Against U.S., Far Broader than Last Year’s Elections, an Act of Terrorism, Latynina Says

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 12, 2017) Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow didn’t interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections has the effect, like the focus on Watergate during the Nixon Administration of distracting attention from something much larger and more evil. In the case of what has come to […]

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Surkov’s ‘Crisis of Hypocrisy’ Not Just in the West but in Russia Too, Inozemtsev Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2017) In an essay posted on the RT portal yesterday, Vladislav Surkov argues that the West is suffering from “a crisis of hypocrisy” in which people are no longer prepared to accept the shibboleths of the past and are demanding a clearing away of the existing political and social system […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Michael @McFaul: I applaud @Twitter for making this decision ….”

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Michael McFaul – Twitter – @McFaul – October 27, 2017) “I applaud @Twitter for making this decision. [re: ban on RT and Sputnik advertising]” [embedded live feed of tweet should load below; or click here to jump directly to tweet] I applaud @twitter for this decision: Announcement: RT and Sputnik Advertising https://t.co/QnCHBEckD8 — Michael McFaul (@McFaul) October 27, 2017

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Twitter Bans Ads From Two Russian Media Companies

Twitter Logo and Faint World Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 26, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/twitter-bans-rt-sputnik-russia-us-election-meddling/28817851.html) Twitter has banned advertisements from the accounts of state-owned Russian media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, citing assertions by U.S. intelligence agencies that these networks interfered with last year’s U.S. presidential election. The San Francisco-based social network said in an unsigned […]

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Ellen Mickiewicz: Re: “New York Times on RT and YouTube”

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

Subject: New York Times on RT and YouTube Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 From: Ellen Mickiewicz <ellen.mickiewicz@duke.edu> New York Times on RT and YouTube Ellen Mickiewicz James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy and Political Science Duke University In the New York Times of October 24, 2017, a front-page story repeats some of the errors about the U.S. audience for […]

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Mark Galeotti on Russia (facebook page)

Europe Map

(Mark Galeotti on Russia – facebook page – facebook.com/markgaleottionrussia/ – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of facebook post should load below, or click here to go to post on facebook, with accompanying comments]  

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[PDF 53 pages] NEWSLINK: “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact ” – EuropeanValuesNet

Satellite Dishes

“This Report provides a detailed overview of the history, agenda, and evidence of impact of the Kremlin-funded international broadcasting network RT (Russia Today). In recent months, RT has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign against the West. Unlike other agents of this campaign, which operate primarily behind the scenes and whose ties to the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “[Re: European Values]” – Fred Weir (facebook profile)

Europe Map

(Fred Weir – facebook profile – https://www.facebook.com/fred.weir – Oct. 21, 2017) [embedded live feed of abbreviated facebook post should load below; or click here for direct link to full post on facebook, with accompanying comments]

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NEWSLINK: “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact” – EuropeanvaluesNet

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

“European Values Think-Tank presents a new Kremlin Watch Report, ‘The Kremlin’s Platform for “Useful Idiots” in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact’, authored by Monika Richter, Kremlin Watch Analyst. The Report is accompanied with an appendix document, the RT Guest List.”    

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New York Times Covers Russia [Headlines & Links]

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

October 3, 2017 ‘Look Up! Sputnik!’ 60 Years Later By MICHAEL KHODARKOVSKY https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/opinion/sputnik-cold-war-space-race.html [“America’s response in 1957 was a huge investment in space technologies; within 12 years, it had put the first men on the moon. Today, too, a major investment in cybersecurity by a much wealthier and more innovative West might remind Moscow that it cannot afford or win […]

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