RUSSIALINK: Moscow Times: “U.S. Spams Russians With Texts Offering Rewards for Election Meddling Info”

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Cellphones, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Aug. 7, 2020) Russians are receiving spam text messages offering huge rewards in exchange for information about their country’s efforts to interfere in the United States’ presidential election. News of the SMS messages came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the $10 million reward in an attempt to prevent foreign interference in the […]

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Report: U.S. Officials Say Russia-Backed Websites Spread Coronavirus Disinformation

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

U.S. officials have identified three English-language websites that they say Russia is using to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to exploit the U.S. struggle to contain the outbreak […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Intelligence Agencies Push Disinformation on Pandemic” – New York Times/ Julian E. Barnes, David E. Sanger

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

“Declassified U.S. intelligence accuses Moscow of pushing propaganda through alternative websites as Russia refines techniques used in 2016.” “… Russian military intelligence, … the G.R.U., has used … ties with … Russian government information center[] InfoRos[] and other websites to push out English-language disinformation and propaganda about the pandemic, such as amplifying false Chinese arguments that the virus was created […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s disinformation campaigns are targeting African Americans” – Washington Post/ Zilvinas Svedkauskas, Chonlawit Sirikupt, Michel Salzer

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

“Russia is masking its involvement by outsourcing its disinformation operations to West Africa.” “… The Kremlin’s previous attempts to hijack movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline indicate that the Kremlin can skillfully reframe social protests to increase mistrust between U.S. citizens and their government. If African Americans continue to be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian disinformation operation relied on forgeries, fake posts on 300 platforms, new report says” – Washington Post/ Ellen Nakashima, Craig Timberg

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

“The report underscores the ambition, sweep and scale of Russian disinformation operations” “Russian operatives used online forgeries, fake blog posts and more than 300 social media platforms to undermine opponents and spin disinformation about perceived enemies throughout the world, including in the United States, according to a new report ….  The list of figures that operatives targeted over six years […]

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‘The Message Sends Itself’: In Coverage Of U.S. Protests, Russia Reveals Its Own Fears Of Unrest, Disorder

File Photo of Moscow Protest with Riot Police

… Putin’s government has clamped down on protests at home, sometimes deploying violent methods that have earned it opprobrium from Washington and the West and demands that it respect human rights. … Accusations of U.S. hypocrisy are nothing new for the Kremlin and the media outlets it controls […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s coronavirus offensive; As the epidemic ravages Europe, the Kremlin has dialed up the disinformation and propaganda” – Politico.eu/ Hannah Roberts

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Russia appears to be observing the adage that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Seeking to capitalize on the chaos and promote its own soft power, the Kremlin has taken Beijing’s lead and started love-bombing struggling nations with medical aid, and stepping up its efforts to broadcast propaganda and sow disinformation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Long War Against American Science” – New York Times/ William J. Broad

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses. “… the pandemic has swept the globe … accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information – an ‘infodemic,’ according to the [WHO] …. Analysts say … Putin … has played a principal role […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s state-backed media uses the pandemic to spin anti-Western views. They are not alone.” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan

Satellite Dishes

“After a Russian military contingent with medical equipment arrived in Rome last month, the Kremlin’s English-language media outlets RT and Sputnik found video gold. They highlighted an Italian man replacing an E.U. flag with a Russian one — deriding how Italy’s European partners “failed” to provide assistance to the coronavirus-stricken country while Russia ‘filled in.’ But when questions were raised […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, Security Officials Say” – New York Times/ Michael Schwirtz

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

“… a destabilization campaign in Moldova … the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria …. a thwarted coup in Montenegro. … an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain using a nerve agent. … Western security officials have … concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Global Health: Friend or Foe?” – Center for Strategic and International Studies/ J. Stephen Morrison and Judyth Twigg

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… Over the course of this decade, Russia has consciously enlarged its engagement and commitments, at home and in the wider world, in battling both tuberculosis (TB) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Despite these positive steps, Russia remains a serious global health security threat. … [with] a live risk of uncontrolled HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) epidemics within Russia itself … […]

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Russians’ Trust in TV News Falls 25% in 10 Years – Report

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 1, 2019) Russians’ trust in television news as a news source dropped by 25% in the past decade, according to the independent Levada Center pollster’s latest report on the national media landscape. Television remains the biggest news source for Russians despite becoming less trusted over the past decade, past Levada polling has said. Trust […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow warns London of possible reciprocal measures to UK media” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. July 11 (Interfax) – British members of the press working in Russia should be prepared for symmetrical measures after the United Kingdom authorities have denied Russian media access to a conference in London, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. “We have always acted based on the principle of reciprocity, and in this context, the British media working in […]

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Russian State Media Highlights The Negative In Ukrainian Presidential Vote

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“As Ukrainians voted for a new president, Russians keeping track of the election on state TV were bombarded with coverage of Ukraine’s failures as an independent state and reports of alleged electoral fraud. … Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who has consistently played on the threat from Russia to rally his supporters, was not a popular choice in Moscow. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “When the Mueller report shows Trump didn’t collude with Russia, will anyone be punished?” – Fox News/ Tucker Carlson 3.21.19

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Once the Mueller report appears, and it becomes incontrovertible that whatever his faults, Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians, the many people who have persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians, ought to be punished. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Opposition Activist Defects to Kremlin-Run RT” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 28, 2019) A onetime Russian opposition activist has taken a job at the Kremlin-run RT television channel, stirring heated debate among former colleagues and observers. Once described as the face of Russia’s opposition, Maria Baronova had recently headed the Moscow branch of the Open Russia pro-democracy movement. In 2012, she was detained and charged […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Accuses Facebook, Twitter of Failing to Comply With Data Laws; Social-media giants’ servers for storing Russian’s personal data must be located in Russia, says watchdog” – Wall Street Journal/Ann M. Simmons

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

“Russia launched administrative action against Facebook … and Twitter … for failing to comply with its data laws … just days after Facebook removed … accounts of what it said were two misinformation campaigns based in the country. … Roskomnadzor, the federal executive body responsible for censorship in media and telecommunications, said the social-media networks hadn’t submitted … formal and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Behind Russia’s cyberwarfare lies a serious case of cyber-phobia” – Washington Post/ Lincoln Pigman

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

“… Russia grapples with its own deep cyber insecurity. Notwithstanding their bold moves in cyberspace, Russia’s leaders have spent much of the last decade panicking about cyber tools and the prospect of falling victim to their use by foreign adversaries. To be sure, the Kremlin isn’t worried that U.S. spies are hacking its voter systems. Rather, as my new study […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “America’s exposure to Russian information warfare; U.S. democracy remains inexcusably vulnerable to hijack” – Financial Times (UK) Editorial

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

“Some now call it an ‘information world war.’ Whether Russia tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump is unknowable. But it is no longer possible to deny that the Kremlin is waging a multi-pronged form of information warfare on western democracies. The problem is by no means confined to the U.S. Other democracies, including the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Effort to Influence 2016 Election Targeted African-Americans” – New York Times/ Scott Shane, Sheera Frenkel

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

“The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Why It’s Still in Russia’s Interest to Mess With US Politics” – AP

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

PARIS – Sweeping accusations that the Kremlin tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election haven’t chastened Russian trolls, hackers and spies – and might even have emboldened them. U.S. officials and tech companies say Russians have continued online activity targeted at American voters during the campaign for Tuesday’s election, masquerading as U.S. institutions and creating faux-American social media posts to […]

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NEWSLINK: “Is a New Russian Meddling Tactic Hiding in Plain Sight?” – New York Times/Kevin Roose

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

“To an untrained eye, USAReally might look like any other fledgling news organization vying for attention in a crowded media landscape. Its website publishes a steady stream of stories on hot-button political issues like race, immigration and income inequality. It has reader polls, a video section and a daily podcast. But this is no ordinary media start-up. USAReally is based […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System” – Lawfare/Suzanne Spaulding, Harvey Rishikof

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

“The ‘Secure Borders’ Facebook group was not the product of outraged Twin Falls residents. It was created by Russian operatives as part of Russia’s ongoing campaign to weaken our institutions of American democracy — in this case, by sowing discord and painting the justice system as an agent of politicians. …”  

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NEWSLINK: “Russia is gearing up to misinform the U.S. public about Syria. Here’s our cheat sheet to identify Twitter trolls” – Washington Post/Jack Nassetta, Ethan Fecht

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

“Russia has begun laying the groundwork for an online influence operation …. How would this Twitter campaign unfold? Here’s what we learned from our recent analysis of a database of over 850,000 tweets collected following the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria. We uncovered a major increase — approximately 300 percent — in the creation of new Twitter accounts […]

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[Re:] American Intelligence [… Trump, Ukraine, Russia … “Fear: Trump in the White House/Woodward” … Politico ]

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Fear: Trump in the White House Bob Woodward – p.230 “McMaster (National Security Adviser) said that, at 6:03 a.m., Trump had tweeted:

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Gets Love From New State TV Show as Poll Ratings Slide” – Moscow Times

Kremlin and River

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 3, 2018) [https://russia.tv/brand/show/brand_id/63170/] Russian state television started a new weekly show devoted to Vladimir Putin, lauding the president’s leadership qualities, physical energy and attentiveness to public needs. The first hour-long episode of “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” broadcast in prime time on Rossiya-1 TV on Sunday featured breathless commentary on Putin’s meetings and visits in the […]

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Moscow has Complex System to Run Agents of Influence Abroad, Khmelnitsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 26, 2018) As Moscow’s geopolitical isolation has increased, Dmitry Khmelnitsky says, the role of its agents of influence abroad and the enormously variegated organizations that recruit and direct them has increased far beyond what they were during the Cold War when anti-communism served as a constraint. “The Russian network of agents […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s got the gas and is ready to set fire to our system of democracy” – Miami Herald/Markos Kounalakis

Kremlin and River

“… even a currency crunch won’t stop Russia’s foreign interventions because, despite punitive sanctions, the price of oil, ultimately, pays for its troublemaking. High energy prices are the cost of power transferred from Europe and the United States to Russia and other petrostates. The higher the Brent crude price and the market for natural gas, the greater Russia’s domestic tranquility […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “The CIA funded a culture war against communism. It should do so again” = Washington Post/Sunny Bunch

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

“… Set aside the vaguely totalitarian suggestion that art must, by its nature, exist either in support of or opposition to the political establishment. Today, I’d like to focus on the CIA’s involvement in the Cold War’s culture war and think back to a better time, when ideas were taken seriously and art was considered transformative — and keep in […]

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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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