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New and Noteworthy Russian Media Coverage of US Election Interference

US President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Getty Images)

by Lyubov Podgornaya

Approximately three quarters of Russian citizens are going to vote in the presidential elections on March 18.  Around 69% of Russians that participated in a recent survey said that they will vote for Vladimir Putin, 7% said that they will vote for the Communist Party of Russian Federation candidate Pavel Grudinin, 5 % said they will for vote for the Liberal Democratic Party candidate Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, and 2% of those surveyed said will vote for the Civil Initiative Party candidate Ksenia Sobchak. Other candidates got less than 1% of the votes.

70 years of Pre-election Operations: In Which Countries and Using Which Methods did Washington Overthrow Unwanted People?

by Kirill Kleimenov

The Russian Federation Council has informed us that the US is interfering in our election campaign.

Attempts by the US to interfere in the Russian elections and Russian politics as a whole are occurring regularly. This has been noticed in the majority of election campaigns – both parliamentary and presidential. The Council believes that such attempts couldn’t impact the elections results significantly, but that the attempts will grow in number.

“Methods of interference are being perfected. Americans have admitted that the CIA, from the moment it was established in 1947, has been involved in the campaigns of foreign countries using posters, banners, mail, false information published in the media and cash. And now we have websites, messengers and other information technologies,” said Andrey Klimov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Commission for Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Foreign Interference.

Senate elections in Italy in 1948 may be viewed as the first pre-election operation by the CIA. They used blackmail, bribery and mass propaganda in order to prevent the Communists, behind whom the USSR stood, from winning.

The defeat of the Communists, who were very popular in Italy after the fascist dictatorship, cost Washington $ 360 million, the equivalent of $ 1.5 billion today.

“The CIA sponsored the Christian democrat party, their politicians, mass media, organizations and leaders, and used other measures to influence Italian public opinion. It began in 1948 and continues to this day around the world,” says Wayne Madsen, former CIA employee in 1985-89.

The Washington Post, followed by the New York Times, recently published articles that state that the US interfered in foreign elections, but unlike the Russians, they did so for the sake of good. Here is an excerpt from an interview with former director of the CIA, James Woolsey:

“Have we ever interfered in the elections of foreign countries?” asks the host.

“Only with good intentions in order to prevent communists from coming to the power, for example in Europe in 1947-1949,” said James Woolsey.

“But at present we are not involved in such things?” clarified the host.

“Only when we have a very good reason, only for the sake of democracy,” James Woolsey responded.

Dove Levin, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie-Mellon University, has conducted research into US interference.

“I am studying traces of interference into election campaigns especially when super powers interfere in the elections of other countries aiming to impact their results. My research shows that from 1946 to 2000 the US was involved in election campaigns on 81 occasions, in 47 countries,” Levin told CNN.

He presented the list of countries where the US was involved directly in election campaigns supporting pro-American forces. Ofcourse often the bets were on dictators. The host called this the devil’s choice and Levin agreed.

One can remember the words of President Roosevelt: “He is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.”  He was referring to Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, whose family ruled the country for 45 years with the support of the US. Not much has changed since then.

Screenshot from Channel One Russia’s website

“They are supporting anti-governmental organizations and they justify it with the idea of democracy but everything is more prosaic: they are promoting their own interests in foreign countries. They are doing the same as the CIA has done for the past century,” said Phillip Geraldi, former intelligence officer of the CIA and Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

By “they” he means American organizations such as the National Foundation for Democracy which is financed by the US Congress.

“It has become, as it were, uncomfortable to constantly justify the CIA’s support for coups and its interference in the affairs of other countries. It was decided to delegate this function to the National Foundation for Democracy and millions of dollars started flowing through it to other countries. In Ukraine in 2013, there were 65 local special operations. In Serbia, the situation was the same,” said Raymond Mcgovern, former CIA analyst.

The coup in Serbia started a new page in the history of US’s involvement in foreign elections. The main force, “Resistance,” was sponsored by the US. ”It was the beginning of a nonstandard attempt by the US to overthrow the leader of a foreign state, not by means of hidden actions, such as those undertaken by the CIA in countries like Iran and Guatemala, but by means of a modern election campaign.”

One year prior to the elections, Serbian students were invited abroad to attend seminars. They were trained ideologically and taught the tactics of “non-violent protests,” which as far as we know can easily turn into violent ones.

Washington liked their new interference technique so much that it was exported to dozens of countries. It was a “copy-paste” approach to coups.

Russia was not exempt. According to data by the Russian Federation Council, in addition to the direct financing of opposition groups in Russia, there is evidence that activists of these groups have been invited abroad for so-called training.

However, statistics show that despite the money spent by the US, the political preferences of Russian citizens do not change. Therefore the main efforts of the anti-Russian forces are focused on discrediting the elections themselves.

“Tactically our overseas opponents make bets on a maximum decline in voter turnout and the de-legitimatization of the election results on March 18. They even set a bar – to recognize the turnout only at a level of 45% or higher,” says Andrey Klimov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Commission for Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Foreign Interference.

Let us again remember the words of Dove Levin: “In the 21st century, interventions are too expensive, now ballots are being used instead of bullets.”

This article was published on Channel One Russia’s website. Channel One Russia is a government-owned television channel and the first channel to broadcast in Russia.

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Snapshot from Channel One Russia’s website.

The United States Has Interfered in the Affairs of Other Countries

by Mikhail Akinchenko

In search of traces of mythical Russian interference in US elections, government organisations and US special services in the meantime do not hide their attempts to influence the political situation in Russia. A report by the Russian Federation Council’s Commission for Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Foreign Interference, said there is unequivocal evidence that Washington planned to interfere in the political situation in Russia.

“500 to 700 CIA employees are involved in planning of operations in Russia. There are also thousands of people in the State Department, Pentagon, Congress and their supporting services,” says Andrey Klimov, member of the Federation Council.

What is happening today, according to the authors of the report, can be called an information war. The battlefield is the presidential elections.  Many experts believe that the situation today is identical to that of 2012, when the previous presidential elections took place.

“They realized that it is very difficult to discredit the authority of the President of the Russian Federation. The majority of the population in Russia support Vladimir Putin and they do not care what Americans think about the Russian President so now their main aim is to delegitimize the elections and the results,” says political scientist Andrey Manaoylo.

The preparations have started. The number of cyber-attacks by the US have increased. Of course not all of them are politically motivated.

“Russia’s cyber-attacks against the US constitute 2-3% of the total number of such attacks carried out on the country’s territory. The US’ cyber-attacks against Russia constitute 25-27%” says Andrey Klimov.

It is impossible to reach the set objectives from abroad. Local non-governmental agents are necessary. In Russia, they often call themselves “non-system opposition.” Their activities are well paid. Although the law on foreign agents, adopted in our country in 2012, significantly reduced the opportunities for the financing of such organizations, new financing channels were found.

The report by the Interim Russian Federation Council’s Commission said: “to circumvent the legislative restrictions, the “grey” areas of financing are being used more often by foreign entities including cash payments and transfers to personal accounts.”

“In 2016, this amount was 72 billion Russian Rubles. The recipients of the money were 4.5 thousand NGOs,” says Oleg Morozov, a member of the Federation Council.

For comparison: as proof of Russia’s interference in the US elections, Washington gives an example of tens of thousands US dollars which they claim were transferred to the Russia Today television channel in the US. But can we compare this figure to the billions from the US budget allocated to achieve only one goal?

“In US legislation, officially declared in national doctrines, Senate and House of Representatives resolutions, it is clearly stated that these measures are aimed “against the Russian Federation,” said Andrey Klimov.

“Against Russia” means that it does not target specific people, but a whole country where almost 150 million people live. These were the conclusions made on the basis of the non-confidential part of the report. There is a section of the report which cannot be published at present. However, after the elections all of the information will be available to the public.

This article was published on Channel One Russia’s website. Channel One Russia is a government-owned television channel and the first channel to broadcast in Russia.

 

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