Fake About Fakes: Russian Election Commission Airs Apparently Falsified Video Sullying Its Critics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

In a separate development, tens of thousands of pro-government bloggers participated in a coordinated campaign to spread positive reports about the course of the parliamentary elections […]

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British Researchers Say Pro-Russian Influence Operation Targets Western News Websites

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

The websites of several prominent Western news outlets have been targeted by a pro-Russian influence operation that uses the websites’ comment sections to distort public opinion […]

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Russian Independent Media Join Forces To Urge Putin To End ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

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

Russian news journals and websites have joined … to protest against … targeting by authorities of a growing number of independent media outlets and journalists under Russia’s controversial “foreign agent” law […]

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Who Might Russia Declare A ‘Foreign Agent’ Journalist? Pretty Much Anyone, Really.

Kremlin and River

… the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin accelerates its campaign against independent journalism […]

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RUSSIALINK: “BBC journalist Rainsford will get Russian visa if London gives visas to Russian journalists – Russian Foreign Ministry” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Aug. 19 (Interfax) – Moscow will not be trying to prevent BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford from obtaining or getting her visa extended if London applies the same approach towards Russian journalists in Britain, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. “As you know, we always keep our promises. We promised to respond and we did. But this […]

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Five Former Moscow Police Officers Jailed Over 2019 Arrest Of Journalist Golunov

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

A Russian court has sentenced five former police officers to several years in prison for the 2019 arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges. … The journalist suffered bruises, cuts, a concussion, and a broken rib […]

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AUDIO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Russia Stands To Gain By Backing Belarus [Fiona Hill interview]” – NPR

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“A growing number of European countries are blocking access to Belarusian airlines. … after Belarus intercepted a commercial flight and removed and arrested Roman Protasevich, an opposition journalist who was on board. … While Western democracies try to sanction Belarus, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, seems to support Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. … Fiona Hill … spoke to NPR’s All Things […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Wants to Exempt State Media From ‘Foreign Agent’ Scrutiny” – Moscow Times

Satellite Dishes

… Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media submitted a draft bill … requiring only commercial, and not state media, to be subjected to financial audits […]

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RUSSIALINK: “After Plane Crisis, Is Belarusian President Lukashenko Becoming a Troublesome Partner for Russia?” – Moscow Times

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Analysts say Moscow’s muted reaction to the diversion to Minsk of a Ryanair flight speaks to the Kremlin’s ambivalent view of the strongman. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light – May 24, 2021) In the hours after Belarus shocked the world by forcing a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk and arresting prominent opposition […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Google Files First Lawsuit Against Russia’s Internet Censor” – Moscow Times

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

… The company filed a lawsuit April 23 against Roskomnadzor in the Moscow Arbitration Court […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pavel Durov Revealed – Almost – in New Documentary” – Moscow Times

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

Durov … found[ed] … social networking platform VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, and later Telegram, the encrypted messaging app […]

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EU ‘Rejects’ Russian Labeling Of Meduza Media Outlet As ‘Foreign Agent’

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

The [EU] has dismissed Russian authorities’ labeling of Latvia-based independent news outlet Meduza as a “foreign agent” and urged Moscow to end its “systematic infringement” of basic rights and freedoms […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Filmmaker Vitaly Mansky on Artdocfest and Russia on Film” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Reel of Film

Film director Vitaly Mansky … was in the news throughout the festival in Moscow and St. Petersburg as he was closed down by the authorities and attacked by pro-Kremlin activists […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Facing Heightened Threats, Russia’s Main Independent Paper Contemplates a Bleak Future” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Woman's Hands Typing on Computer Keyboard, adapted from image at fbi.gov

The latest attack on Novaya Gazeta is making some of its editors wonder how long it can survive in the country. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light, Pjotr Sauer – March 25, 2021) On the way to work at Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta last Monday morning, journalists noticed a strong chemical stench on the street outside their central Moscow […]

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Banning Pro-Russian Media: Fighting Disinformation, Silencing Dissonant Opinions, or Both?

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

The basic questions at play … are not unique to Ukraine, though they are sharpened by Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea: Who defines the boundary between disinformation and dissonant opinions? […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: NEW BOOK: “Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation” – Jamestown Foundation/ Thomas Kent

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

Disinformation by Russia and its allies has increased sharply … Western responses have been weak and uncoordinated … Striking Back presents concrete recommendations for aggressive messaging to combat Russian disinformation […]

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Eliot Borenstein: “The Saker and Unz Review”

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

Subject: The Saker and Unz Review Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2021 From: Eliot Borenstein <eb7@nyu.edu> Dear David, As you know, I’ve been an avid reader of Johnson’s List for over two decades, and I really appreciate all that you do. But I continue to be puzzled by your editorial policy. While I understand and applaud the desire to go beyond […]

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U.S. Lawmakers Call For New Sanctions If Russia Moves Forward With Fines On RFE/RL

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

… Republican and Democratic lawmakers called for new sanctions against Moscow if the Kremlin moves to enforce stringent restrictions and punishing fines that threaten RFE/RL’s news operations in Russia […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Telegram shuts down hundreds of calls for violence in U.S. last week – app founder Durov” – Interfax

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

Telegram has blocked and shut down hundreds of public calls for violence on channels connected to the recent events in the United States, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said […]

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Navalny’s Expected Return To Moscow Lights Up The Russian Internet

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

… Navalny has announced … he will return to Russia … following months of recuperation after being poisoned by a Novichok-type nerve agent …. Compelling evidence indicates he was poisoned by … FSB[] operatives …. The Kremlin has said it was not involved … but has refused to cooperate […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Mixed Censorship Model Is a Boon for Online Activism” – Moscow Times

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

New research shows the growth of mobile internet leads to falling trust in governments, with Navalny as the prime example. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Dec. 4, 2020) The rapid spread of mobile internet around the world over the last decade has directly contributed to falling levels of trust in government and a surge in populism, according […]

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RUSSIALINK: “IMEMO, Interfax launch new online analytical project Russia and the World: A Professional Conversation”

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

MOSCOW. Oct 26 (Interfax) – The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) and the Interfax Group have announced the launch of a new joint project called Russia and the World: A Professional Conversation. They signed an agreement on its implementation on Monday, October 26. The project will include a series of expert meetings dealing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus protests stoke sea change at state media outlets” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, James Shotter

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Hundreds of journalists have gone on strike demanding fair coverage of demonstrations.” “… [In] a sea change at … [Belarus’s] normally pliant state media[,] [h]undreds of journalists have gone on strike demanding fair coverage of the [anti-Lukashenko] protests and … brutal police crackdown …. Several have resigned …. [S]tate media … remains a crucial tool in … Lukashenko’s attempt to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The contest after the vote; Eight major takeaways from the immediate aftermath of the Belarusian presidential election” – Meduza

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“… Belarusian election officials published … preliminary results … [indicating that] Lukashenko … won more than 80 percent …. radically contradict[ing] [opposition] reports … say[ing] [Svetlana] Tikhanovskaya won 70 percent. … Tikhanovskaya’s campaign refuses to recognize the election’s results … [S]he called on ‘those who believe their vote was stolen’ ‘not to remain silent.’ … [R]eporting suggests … tens of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Is No Russian Plot Against America; The Kremlin’s Electoral Interference Is All Madness and No Method” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

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

“… Researchers and investigators have revealed … activities of [Kremlin-connected] Russian actors … during the 2016 election. … [yet with] comparatively little information about the real impact[,] … still less about … precise objectives. … Russian officials say and write a great deal about the United States …. What emerges is not a cunning, systematic scheme to corrode American democracy […]

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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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YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia

Youtube(TM) Logo, adapted from image at oakridge.doe.gov

YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. … Google, which owns YouTube, said … that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations […]

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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: “New FBI Notes Re-Debunk Major NYT Story, Highlight Media Collusion To Produce Russia Hoax” – The Federalist/ Mollie Hemingway

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“The New York Times in 2017 falsely reported that the Trump campaign had ‘repeated’ contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 campaign, and instead of being held accountable for publishing lies, the story’s authors received Pulitzer prizes.” “The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the … Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Wave of Sexual Harassment Claims Is Rocking Russia’s Independent Media” – Moscow Times/ Evan Gershkovich

File Photo of Empty Chair and Desk with Computer, adapted from image at osha.gov

“Novaya Gazeta has blazed a trail by instituting a sexual harassment policy after taking internal accusations of misconduct seriously. Some independent outlets are following suit.” “As her shift at Russia’s investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper was coming to an end on a late Monday afternoon last January, Elizaveta Kirpanova stopped by a senior reporter’s office to catch up. Kirpanova, a 23-year-old […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Authorities Are Targeting Journalists, Historians and Activists. The Rest of Us Could Be Next” – Moscow Times/ Ilya Klishin

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

What’s going on? Nobody knows, but this time it really is scary […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Famous ex-defence reporter arrested, accused of treason” – bne Intellinews

FSB Building file photo

“In what appears to be an escalating crackdown on Russian journalists by the Federal Security Service (FSB), famous defence reporter Ivan Safronov was arrested … and charged with treason. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted. The arrest is only the latest of a series of arrests and cases brought against leading Russian journalists who have simply […]

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Russia and the West

Satellite

From: David C. Speedie <davidcspeedie@gmail.com> Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2020 Subject: Russia and the West To: <letters.editor@ft.com> (Financial Times) Philip Stephens [“Russia cannot afford a war with the west”, 26 June] contains some home truths about Russia under Vladimir Putin, but comes significantly short of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To focus on but a few illustrations: […]

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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin’s anti-American propaganda in Ukraine isn’t working” – Kyiv Post/ Mykhailo Basarab

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

“Over the past six months, we have witnessed a sharp increase in anti-American rhetoric not only by the Viktor Medvedchuk’s pro-Kremlin TV channels but also by representatives of certain political groups. And this rhetoric is happening not just from the 44-member Opposition Platform For Life faction in Parliament, which officially advocates a pro-Russia policy. It’s happening among billionaire oligarch Ihor […]

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Russia, George Floyd, and the end of the imaginary West; Why are Russians so angered by America’s latest protests?

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

From liberal columnists to pro-Kremlin pundits, Russia’s opinion formers take the same line on the protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd. Once poles apart, they have merged into a chorus chanting about the death of the West, exposing “political correctness,” and gleefully sharing racist jokes.

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A brazen foray into the Barents yields predictable Cold War-type friction” – Responsible Statecraft/ Lyle J. Goldstein

File Photo of U.S. Naval Ships in Joint Exercises with UK in Barents Sea, adapted from defense.gov image with photo credit to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Nichols

” … [M]ilitary escalations in the High North need more attention … [not] the [U.S.] media focus … on … Russian trolls, social media influence peddlers, spies, and various ‘useful idiots.’ … [W]hen the New York Times … seemingly … tr[ied] to investigate what might actually be going on under the … waters of the Barents and off the Norwegian […]

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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: “Pro-Kremlin entrepreneur buys leading Russian business newspaper; Media executive Ivan Eremin to acquire Vedomosti after censorship row sinks alternative deal” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

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

A little-known Russian media executive with close commercial ties to the state has bought leading business newspaper Vedomosti […]

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Russia Demands Apology From Bloomberg Over Report About Putin’s Low Ratings

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

… The report on Bloomberg noted that only 27 percent of respondents in the poll, published on April 27, named Putin when asked to name a politician they they most trust. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Anatomy of lies; Russia’s covid-19 outbreak is far worse than the Kremlin admits” – The Economist

Kremlin and River

“Like its Soviet predecessor, Vladimir Putin’s system is steeped in falsehoods.” “… official numbers reveal less about covid-19 than they do about Russia’s political system … like its Soviet predecessor, … saturated with lies. Russian elections throw up similarly strange graphics. Many Russian athletes … took performance-enhancing drugs … their cheating … covered up … with official connivance. … [One […]

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