Staunton, February 23 – Just as Russian athletes continue to be caught using illegal drugs even after the international sports community sanctioned Russia for its state doping program, so too Russian operatives are continuing to interfere in American politics to this day in support of Donald Trump even after their role in 2016 has been exposed, Kseniya Kirillova says.
On the one hand, this is an act of brazen contempt for the US, the Russian analyst says; but on the other, Moscow is clearly doing so it because it believes the stakes are so high and that it can escape ever being held completely responsible by changing “fake news” just as Moscow and Trump regularly do.
In a 3150-word article on the Planeta Media portal, Kirillova, who has been tracking Moscow’s interference in the US for the last four years, argues it is a major mistake to focus only on the events of 2016 and thus fail to note what the Kremlin did before that time and has been doing since (planeta.media/articles/13916-kak-rossiya-vmeshivalas-v-dela-ssha-polnoe-dose/).
“Interference by Russia in the internal affairs of the US and its support for processes favorable to itself and destructive for America is not restricted to past or future elections. It continues even today, without ceasing for even a single day,” the US-based journalist says. Unless that is recognized, Moscow will win additional victories it does not deserve.
In her article, Kirillova describes what is known about the Kremlin’s use of social networks in the US, its exploitation of its own media, and its promotion of ties with ethnic Russians abroad and with American politicians it supports in the past. But her most important insights build on that record and concern what Moscow is doing now.
According to the journalist, the Kremlin “even today is continuing is support of Trump with all the same measures which were used during the pre-election campaign” and that the Mueller investigation has reported. Kirillova draws that conclusion on the basis of a report she prepared in July 2017 (stopfake.org/kseniya-kirillova-propagandistskie-shemy-tramputinizma/).
As in 2016, the Russian media and Russian Internet trolls used the same methods both to support Trump and to attack his opponents, a program that has been effective enough that last month one Russian commentator even claimed that “Trump is again ours” (topwar.ru/135288-tramp-opyat-nash.html).
Others have reached a similar conclusion about the Russian effort. The American Alliance for the Defense of Democracy examined during the second half of January 159 articles on URL sites connected with Kremlin accounts on Twitter and found that 31 percent of them were devoted to the notion of an anti-Trump “deep state” and attacks on the FBI.
Moreover, she continues, just as during the 2016 campaign, the Russian-connected sites continued to attack individuals that the Kremlin and the White House define as enemies of Trump and his policies (throughthelookingglassnews.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/release-the-memo-democrats-refuse-to-view-the-4-page-memo/).
The Russian media continues its support for Trump and his memes (vz.ru/news/2017/11/26/896886.html, vz.ru/news/2017/12/11/898940.html and vz.ru/world/2017/6/26/876059.html), sometimes passing over to the point where Moscow commentators give the US president advice (echo.msk.ru/blog/taratuta/1939608-echo/).
And outlets within the Russian diaspora also continue to act as they did during the 2016 elections, not only overwhelmingly supporting Trump but threatening his opponents with street protests if they try to impeach him or even continue the investigation into the campaign (e.g., 7days.us/opasajtes-teorii-gosudarstvennogo-perevorota).
A year ago, Kirillova notes, she warned that Moscow has shifted the Cold War to “within the United States” (lb.ua/world/2017/03/10/360818_ssha_holodnaya_voyna_vnutri_strani.html). Now, the situation has gotten worse, and “on its outcome depends the future not only of American democracy but also the direction of the development of Western civilization”