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The Americans suspect the Russian side of destabilizing the situation and sowing public unrest.
Well, no surprise here, at all.
Just the other day, I reported on Facebook that protests across the U.S. are a TOP issue in Russian propaganda media and hybrid platforms on social networks (the so-called “gray segment”). Then I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if it would eventually turn out that it was multiple accounts with Russian IPs who had provided comprehensive support for the protest moods, igniting, inciting, and catalyzing them…
Now, CNN has already aired expert accusations against Russia over Moscow’s efforts to not only support but also provoke riots in the United States.
Online disinformation expert Donie O’Sullivan told CNN that Russia has been, is, and will long be supporting a covert disinformation campaign targeting the American audiences and cultivating intolerance.
Honestly, the expert’s statement is a real grain of truth. Judging by how the topic is pulsating across the Cyrillic segment of the internet and the Russian media, there is no doubt that in the English segment, Moscow has employed hoards of Russian bots and trolls from the infamous Olgino ‘troll factory’, as well as agents of influence and affiliates from among U.S. citizens.
Over the past few years, we have observed how Russian security forces took advantage of any protest, any rally, any such element that could destabilize a country or region important for the Kremlin.
The most striking example is how they exploited a seemingly average “Yellow Vests” rally of farmers and utility workers in France to sow chaos in Paris and beyond. While rogue groups representing Russia-funded political force led by Marine Le Pen took up the role of the radicalizing element in those protests, the Russian media and online bots provided information support within France.
In Spain, it was a referendum in Catalonia, entirely supported from Russia, that has become the most significant event for Russian intelligence — both at the media level and even the latent-political one.
Today, Russian intelligence agents and assets are pro-actively overseeing the protests in Montenegro, creating information waves in support of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
That’s not to mention Russia’s ongoing interference in the Ukrainian information flow.
I can go on forever, listing similar efforts by the Russian side, but given the fact that the Kremlin had been able to influence the U.S. presidential election, it would be foolish to rule out the factor of their current efforts toward destabilization through social networks. Moreover, this could be done without employing an extensive intelligence network, while applying a wide range of psychological elements of destabilization.
All that was needed to sow discord was the impetus and pretext. In this case, it was the violent death of the African American man, George Floyd, during his detention by a white police officer. In this case, a classic job for the Russian “active measures” is radicalizing the protest moods and inciting people to riots and violence.
Therefore, the ongoing developments across the United States should be closely scrutinized by the relevant government bodies. I strongly doubt that they the findings of such probe will surprise me.