Dedicated Russian thread

You have to look at things in the broader context of the time, not in the isolation of just the American election.

The American election followed roughly a year after the Canadian election (2016 versus 2015). Facebook claimed that their platform had an significant effect on the outcome of the Canadian election via targeted advertising, and were promoting themselves as allowing customers to essentially buy elections for not very much money by targeting messages at very select groups, pretty much down to the individual level. This was part of the sales message they were taking to potential political advertising customers, and Canada was being cited as an example of its effectiveness.

Now I happen to think that Facebook's claims were rubbish, and the CBC published an analysis piece which also rubbished Facebook's claims with data to back up the CBC's story. What had happened was that there was a government who had long outlasted their welcome and had in the course of the election reminded people of the very worst characteristics of themselves and of the moral depths which they would plumb. Social media on the other hand had an insignificant influence on the results of the election.

However, we have to also admit that to someone outside of the Canadian political currents, Facebook's sales message may have seemed convincing.

Now to consider another aspect of the equation, American money from entities close to the American government of the day was used to try to unseat the Canadian government during the election. It is illegal for foreign money to be used in this way, but the funds were laundered through various front organizations to conceal its origin. The money wasn't funneled directly to opposition parties (who would have been extremely unlikely to have touched anything that dodgy), but was instead sent to front organizations who were dedicated to using advertising and agitation targeting marginal seats to defeat the government.

After the election what had happened leaked out. The Conservatives cried foul and demanded an official investigation into election interference. The Liberals sat on the notion and blocked any investigation from being conducted. While they weren't involved in what happened, they could only lose from anything which called the legitimacy of their victory into question. And any investigation which ended up pointing a finger at the Americans would probably result in things turning out very badly for Canada in a number of different ways.

Now imagine yourself sitting in Moscow observing all this. You have Facebook salesmen knocking on your door telling you that you can buy elections via Facebook ads and showing you their studies which they claim prove it. You have reports telling you that it is possible to interfere in foreign elections and get away with it provided the money can't be traced directly to your government. The victor will not only sit and take it, he will have incentive to actively block any investigations.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see that putting the two together could be a low risk, high reward gambit. Also recall that Americans with close connections to the Clintons had not only involved themselves in a Russian election in the 1990s, they had openly bragged about it later.

To go back to your question of "why do they bother?", it probably seemed like a very plausible idea at the time given the events which took place in the year before. They just needed to stir the pot and the Americans would be spending so much time tearing into each other that they would be too busy to bother anyone else.

It all sounds good from a purely theoretical perspective. However it suffers from three major failings. The first is that Facebook were full of shit. The second is that the governing party in Canada lost for the reasons that I outlined above, not due to foreign interference in the election. The third is that when the Russians tried it in the US, they were shit at it.

Legislation has been tabled in Ottawa recently which is intended to try to prevent interference by outside entities in the next election.
 
You have to look at things in the broader context of the time, not in the isolation of just the American election.

The American election followed roughly a year after the Canadian election (2016 versus 2015). Facebook claimed that their platform had an significant effect on the outcome of the Canadian election via targeted advertising, and were promoting themselves as allowing customers to essentially buy elections for not very much money by targeting messages at very select groups, pretty much down to the individual level. This was part of the sales message they were taking to potential political advertising customers, and Canada was being cited as an example of its effectiveness.

Now I happen to think that Facebook's claims were rubbish, and the CBC published an analysis piece which also rubbished Facebook's claims with data to back up the CBC's story. What had happened was that there was a government who had long outlasted their welcome and had in the course of the election reminded people of the very worst characteristics of themselves and of the moral depths which they would plumb. Social media on the other hand had an insignificant influence on the results of the election.

However, we have to also admit that to someone outside of the Canadian political currents, Facebook's sales message may have seemed convincing.

Now to consider another aspect of the equation, American money from entities close to the American government of the day was used to try to unseat the Canadian government during the election. It is illegal for foreign money to be used in this way, but the funds were laundered through various front organizations to conceal its origin. The money wasn't funneled directly to opposition parties (who would have been extremely unlikely to have touched anything that dodgy), but was instead sent to front organizations who were dedicated to using advertising and agitation targeting marginal seats to defeat the government.

After the election what had happened leaked out. The Conservatives cried foul and demanded an official investigation into election interference. The Liberals sat on the notion and blocked any investigation from being conducted. While they weren't involved in what happened, they could only lose from anything which called the legitimacy of their victory into question. And any investigation which ended up pointing a finger at the Americans would probably result in things turning out very badly for Canada in a number of different ways.

Now imagine yourself sitting in Moscow observing all this. You have Facebook salesmen knocking on your door telling you that you can buy elections via Facebook ads and showing you their studies which they claim prove it. You have reports telling you that it is possible to interfere in foreign elections and get away with it provided the money can't be traced directly to your government. The victor will not only sit and take it, he will have incentive to actively block any investigations.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see that putting the two together could be a low risk, high reward gambit. Also recall that Americans with close connections to the Clintons had not only involved themselves in a Russian election in the 1990s, they had openly bragged about it later.

To go back to your question of "why do they bother?", it probably seemed like a very plausible idea at the time given the events which took place in the year before. They just needed to stir the pot and the Americans would be spending so much time tearing into each other that they would be too busy to bother anyone else.

It all sounds good from a purely theoretical perspective. However it suffers from three major failings. The first is that Facebook were full of shit. The second is that the governing party in Canada lost for the reasons that I outlined above, not due to foreign interference in the election. The third is that when the Russians tried it in the US, they were shit at it.

Legislation has been tabled in Ottawa recently which is intended to try to prevent interference by outside entities in the next election.
You could always look at the MO of Russia and Putin in particular of course. All you have to do is look at threads on this site to see how effective the odd lie can be. Good read here to see what levels they go to:

Vladislav Surkov, one of the Kremlin’s most important campaign specialists, explained that my arrival in January was perfect for Putin’s reelection effort. He estimated that the campaign’s use of anti-American propaganda helped it pick up several percentage points.

Putin needed an American enemy. He picked me.
 
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British spymaster tells EU - Let's work together to counter...
I know @Graculus has posted the tweet on the primary Salisbury thread. Head of MI5 to talk about cooperation in Europe after Brexit to deal with IS and Russia:
“European intelligence cooperation today is simply unrecognisable to what it looked like five years ago,” MI5 Director General Parker will say on Monday, according to excerpts of his speech made available to Reuters.

“In today’s uncertain world, we need that shared strength more than ever,” Parker, who gives very few public speeches, will say.
He will talk about Russia becoming (even more?) an ‘isolated pariah’:
Parker accused the Kremlin of “flagrant breaches of international rules” and said the attack on the Skripals was an example of Russia’s malign activities that risked turning the country into an “isolated pariah”.
To talk about the Russian disinformation campaign we see here and elsewhere:
Russia, he said, had sought to deploy an unprecedented level of disinformation following the attack.

The West, he said, should “shine a light through the fog of lies, half-truths and obfuscation that pours out of Russia’s propaganda machine.”
 
You could always look at the MO of Russia and Putin in particular of course. All you have to do is look at threads on this site to see how effective the odd lie can be. Good read here to see what levels they go to:

Vladislav Surkov, one of the Kremlin’s most important campaign specialists, explained that my arrival in January was perfect for Putin’s reelection effort. He estimated that the campaign’s use of anti-American propaganda helped it pick up several percentage points.

Putin needed an American enemy. He picked me.
The story is certainly long. It has zero relevance to the original question though.
 
Russia postpones bill making U.S. sanctions compliance a crime
On hold for now, proposed legislation to make it an offence to comply with US sanctions. Apparently it will mean many Russian business's will become criminals in Russia for committing 'a crime punishable by up to four years in jail to refuse to supply services or do business with a Russian citizen, citing U.S. or other sanctions.'
The lower house said it would hold talks next week with businesses before proceeding further with discussion of the draft law, a day after business lobby groups on Wednesday publicly voiced opposition to it.

“We support postponing (discussion) for further consultations because of numerous appeals and insufficient legal preparation,” said Nikolai Kolomeytsev, a lawmaker for the Communist party, which often backs the Kremlin on important issues.
Business leaders think they can reach a compromise so that the fear of prosecution can be removed, but in general the Parliament think they need the legislation:
The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs said in a statement on Wednesday that the bill creates risks of unreasonable criminal prosecution of Russian and foreign citizens, and could harm the investment climate.

Business representatives will be invited to discuss the bill with lawmakers next Wednesday.

“I think we can find a construction under which these fears can be removed. And then the law will pass without any fears and, generally speaking, we need it,” lawmaker Valery Gartung said on Thursday. He is a member of the Just Russia party which often allies itself with the Kremlin.

The bill is one of two items of legislation drawn up by lawmakers in response to the United States’ decision to impose sanctions on Russia last month.
If/when enacted, it will give Putin the power to decide which products will be affected by the restrictions, albeit Parliament needs to approve his 'list':
Later on Thursday, lawmakers in a second reading approved the second item of legislation. The bill would give the government authority to ban trade in certain items with countries deemed to be unfriendly to Moscow.

Under the bill, the Russian president would decide which products would be affected by the restrictions, and any decision would be subject to approval from parliament.

The legislation also bars affected countries and those countries’ citizens from taking part in the privatisation of Russian property.
E2A: Putin favours status quo with new government lineup
No change at the top in the 'new' Russian government. Expect more of the same:
“Almost all the candidates are well-known people with experience and a good track record at their previous places of work,” Putin said.

“I give my approval,” he said.
And again: Putin promotes ex-bodyguard to new cabinet
Zinichev looks like he's promoting his former bodyguards, especially those who have taken a similar career to his own. A possible successor for the Crown?:
One new entrant to the Cabinet was Yevgeny Zinichev, 51, a former deputy director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), who becomes head of the high-profile emergencies ministry.

A biography carried by state-run media said he was born in St Petersburg, which is also Putin’s home city. Then from 1987 to 2015 he served in the state security services, a similar career path to the one taken by Putin, himself a former KGB spy.
Former Governer of Kaliningrad who was previously head of the FSB there. Resigned early with either no or 'family reasons' given. There's a bit in the article below which seems mostly to be confirmed by other articles: Evgeni Zinichev: Putin’s new man at the FSB
 
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Russian 'dirty money' flowing through London damages Britain: UK...
A report by the Foreign Affairs Cttee talks about a campaign by Putin ‘to subvert the international rules-based system’. I’m sure Sergey will dispute this but he’ll also be happy the Oligarch’s will spend their money in Russia, albeit they’re more likely to go elsewhere:
A report by parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said Russian money was undermining Britain’s criticism of the Kremlin and supporting what it called a campaign by President Vladimir Putin “to subvert the international rules-based system”.

“The scale of damage that this ‘dirty money’ can do to UK foreign policy interests dwarfs the benefit of Russian transactions in the City,” said committee chairman Tom Tugendhat.

“There is no excuse for the UK to turn a blind eye as President Putin’s kleptocrats and human rights abusers use money laundered through London to corrupt our friends, weaken our alliances, and erode faith in our institutions.”
They’re also recommending the UK works with allies to make it more difficult for Russia to issue sovereign bonds:
Among its recommendations, the committee said Britain should work with international allies to make it more difficult for Russia to issue sovereign bonds, which are not subject to sanctions, via banks which are sanctioned - a practice the report said undermined efforts to reign in Russian behavioor.
NCA information about money laundering is being added to the mix and bringing it all together according to the report as part of a ‘wider Russian strategy and has implications for our national security,’
The British National Crime Agency said this month that potentially hundreds of billions pounds of money-laundering impacts Britain each year, and that it is a prime destination for Russians looking to legitimize the proceeds of corruption.

“The use of London as a base for the corrupt assets of Kremlin-connected individuals is now clearly linked to a wider Russian strategy and has implications for our national security,” the committee report said.
The report implies we have leverage over Putin and co
“The size of London’s financial markets and their importance to Russian investors gives the UK considerable leverage over the Kremlin,” the report added.
Britain yet to renew visa of Russian billionaire Abramovich: sources
In a totally unrelated matter, Obramavich’s visa has still to be renewed.
 
The story is certainly long. It has zero relevance to the original question though.
You post quite long stories yourself. It has every relevance to the topic, it illustrates that Russia CGAF about normal conventions and everything is fair game in their information war.
 
For first time, Ukraine showcases its American-made Javelin missiles
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the first test of the missiles over Twitter.

“Finally this day has come! Today, for the first time in Ukraine, the launch of Javelin missile complexes took place,” Poroshenko wrote. “This is a very effective defensive weaponry, which is used in the event of Russian offensive on the positions of Ukrainian troops.”
Russian officials, meanwhile, view the sale of Javelin missiles as an unnecessary provocation.
:biggrin:
 
Moscow, escalating tensions with London, investigates British media
Russia doing some 'tit for tat' on British media as Ofcom open another three investigations into RT. I'm still waiting for the RT investigative piece on civcas by the RuAF in Syria:
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Ofcom, the British media regulator, had not yet explained its latest concerns about RT’s content and accused it of unfairly harassing Russian media.

“I can confirm that there will be a tough response to this whole show and its outcome,” Zakharova told a news briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.

“The relevant structures in our country have started to study in detail the output of British media which are represented in Russia.”

She said London’s treatment of Russian media had forced Moscow’s hand, which is why it had decided to respond in kind and would be going further than merely calling out what it regarded as propaganda in the British media.
Apparently they publish 'inconvenient facts'. More like lies, disinformation and obfuscation:
Zakharova, who has previously warned that not a single British media outlet would be allowed to work in Russia if RT lost its British licence, lashed out at Ofcom.

“We have absolutely no doubt that what we have here is another attempt by the British regulator to limit the activity of our media in Britain which publish inconvenient facts for official London,” she said.
 
I just watched the Moscow 2018 Great Patriotic War (1941-45) victory parade on an RT France clip (a link to which was on a French veteran's association newsletter I subscribe to). Not having watched one of these things for a while, I was actually quite taken aback to see flags with Hammer and Sickle emblems and pictures of Lenin paraded. I reckon that it won't be long before Stalin is rehabilitated as a great Russian leader and hero; just like Ivan Grozny became Ivan Veliki despite his mass-murderous tendencies.

It just underlines the fact that under the "Muscovite Mindset" Russia remains true to its autocratic self. It doesn't matter what the political system purports to be; it is in its nature to be a totalitarian dictatorship with the country and all within it at the service (and mercy) of those who rule it.

Russia cannot admit to itself that it was actually an initiator of World War Two in 1939 with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact allying it with Germany and the subsequent joint invasion and partition of Poland in September 1939. The attack on Russia in 1941 was enabled by misjudged Russian policies which calculated on a repeat of the bogged down stalemate of WW1 exhausting both Germany and France/UK so that the Red Army could march in the back door a few years later and take over a Europe incapable of defending itself.

As is usual in Russian history lessons, in his speech before the parade, Putin claimed that Russia defeated Germany - no mention was made of the western allies. In fact an allusion was that Russia defeated Germany despite foreign hindrance.

I fear that Moscow is building up for further aggression and aggrandizement Putin has stated previously that the collapse of the Soviet (read Russian Empire) was the greatest disaster to befall Russia. I hazard a guess that he wants to leave a legacy for his years of rule and that legacy would be to restore the Russian Empire by reclaiming the borders of the former Soviet Union (or as much of them as he possibly can together with possible alternative additions).

In order to achieve this he has to weaken western resolve and institutions. This program has been under way for some time. The splitting-up of NATO and the EU are primary aims. The rise of nationalist extremist political parties, agendas and views has been supported by Russian cyber-war and is bearing fruit. The election of Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK were both Russian foreign policy successes which are weakening western institutions and the ability to unite against an aggressor.

Sweden has taken the threat seriously and is issuing instructions for its population for when war comes (the following leaflet is in English): https://www.msb.se/Upload/Forebygga...ller Kriget kommer/If crises or war comes.pdf

We are approaching some very interesting times (what with Chinese expansion and assertion as well).
 
(...) I reckon that it won't be long before Stalin is rehabilitated as a great Russian leader and hero; just like Ivan Grozny became Ivan Veliki despite his mass-murderous tendencies.
A murderous dictator, reviled upon his death, later rehabilitated as a great leader who made a few minor errors in judgement which ought to be swept under the carpet, but still remembered in formerly conquered but now independent territory primarily as being a murderous dictator? So, he would be Russia's Oliver Cromwell then? Yes I can certainly see that happening.

As is usual in Russian history lessons, in his speech before the parade, Putin claimed that Russia defeated Germany - no mention was made of the western allies. In fact an allusion was that Russia defeated Germany despite foreign hindrance.
If that offends you I would recommend avoiding most Hollywood movies about WWII, where the US defeated Germany single handed.

I fear that Moscow is building up for further aggression and aggrandizement Putin has stated previously that the collapse of the Soviet (read Russian Empire) was the greatest disaster to befall Russia. I hazard a guess that he wants to leave a legacy for his years of rule and that legacy would be to restore the Russian Empire by reclaiming the borders of the former Soviet Union (or as much of them as he possibly can together with possible alternative additions).
Read the works of Russian nationalists such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn was much admired in the west as an opponent of communism. After the fall of the Soviets he was much honoured in Russia. You can find videos on YouTube of him being visited by Putin.

Solzhenitsyn wanted shot of the Central Asian republics, and wanted a Russia that consisted primarily of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, possibly with some other minor bits and pieces (the precise borders were not a matter of great import to him). "Russia" was to be defined by its common cultural, linguistic, religious, and historic characteristics.

I would suggest that Putin's concept of Russia fits in very closely with those of the Russian nationalists.

In order to achieve this he has to weaken western resolve and institutions. This program has been under way for some time. The splitting-up of NATO and the EU are primary aims. The rise of nationalist extremist political parties, agendas and views has been supported by Russian cyber-war and is bearing fruit. The election of Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK were both Russian foreign policy successes which are weakening western institutions and the ability to unite against an aggressor.
Ah, so both the pro-Brexit and the pro-Trump partisans are the lapdogs of Putin, are they? Did you know that there are advocates of both who regularly post on this site. In fact there is a whole part of the forum which is devoted to discussing Brexit.

Have you considered logging on to one of those threads and confronting them with their treason? I am sure they would welcome being shown the error of their ways and will return to EU fold much chastened and apologetic over having been so deceived.
 
A murderous dictator, reviled upon his death, later rehabilitated as a great leader who made a few minor errors in judgement which ought to be swept under the carpet, but still remembered in formerly conquered but now independent territory primarily as being a murderous dictator? So, he would be Russia's Oliver Cromwell then? Yes I can certainly see that happening.
I say! Comparing Stalin to Cromwell is rather disingenuous. Yes Cromwell was a hard leader and responsible for some acts that would be considered beyond the pale today, but Stalin is really in a category of his own with Hitler close behind.

....... If that offends you I would recommend avoiding most Hollywood movies about WWII, where the US defeated Germany single handed.........
Apples and pears old chap.

Western politicians speeches and western history books do not avoid the part of Russia in finally defeating the Germans. The Russians do. WW2 prior to 1941 does not exist for them. The British defiance against Germany (while they were Germany's allies and supplying trainloads of oil, steel, coal, grain and other raw materials) does not exist for them. The fact that they invaded Poland, the Baltic States, Bessarabia (Moldavia) and Finland before 1941 (as part of their agreement with Germany) does not exist for them.

...... Read the works of Russian nationalists such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn was much admired in the west as an opponent of communism. After the fall of the Soviets he was much honoured in Russia. You can find videos on YouTube of him being visited by Putin.

Solzhenitsyn wanted shot of the Central Asian republics, and wanted a Russia that consisted primarily of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, possibly with some other minor bits and pieces (the precise borders were not a matter of great import to him). "Russia" was to be defined by its common cultural, linguistic, religious, and historic characteristics.

I would suggest that Putin's concept of Russia fits in very closely with those of the Russian nationalists. ......
I do not dispute greater Russian nationalism. But I would name it for what it is - Muscovite expansionism. Moscow does not countenance an alternative Russian narrative - that of many Russias descended from that great mediaeval polity Kievan Rus.

The" common cultural, linguistic, religious, and historic characteristics" that you refer to as those imposed by Muscovy. There is no tolerance for a separate Ukrainian or Belarussian identity (let alone an independent Tatarstan, Buryatia etc.)

I would suggest that Putin wants to restore the borders of Soviet Russia and beyond. Either by direct or indirect control in order to assuage the Muscovite inferiority complex maintained since they were a vassal state of the great Khan.

......... Ah, so both the pro-Brexit and the pro-Trump partisans are the lapdogs of Putin, are they? Did you know that there are advocates of both who regularly post on this site. In fact there is a whole part of the forum which is devoted to discussing Brexit.

Have you considered logging on to one of those threads and confronting them with their treason? I am sure they would welcome being shown the error of their ways and will return to EU fold much chastened and apologetic over having been so deceived.
Please don't twist my words. Supporters and Brexit and Trump have their erstwhile reasons for doing so. However both have been encouraged by Putin and both Brexit and Trump facilitate Moscow's strategy of weakening western alliances and unity in general. This is obvious to any observer of geopolitics.

To sum up I have often remarked on your ( @terminal ) pro-Russian nationalistic stance and wondered why you have such an intrinsic bias. And I know I'm not the only one.[/QUOTE]
 
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I say! Comparing Stalin to Cromwell is rather disingenuous. Yes Cromwell was a hard leader and responsible for some acts that would be considered beyond the pale today, but Stalin is really in a category of his own with Hitler close behind.
The point being not "who was worse", but rather that historical revisionism is neither a purely modern day phenomenon, nor unique to Russia. Since your point was about a "Muscovite Mindset" which you have elaborated upon many times before and which you see as unique to Russia, I would think that is a rather significant observation.

I would say instead that historical rehabilitation (and its reverse) is something that is universal and often reflects contemporary political currents within that society. Putting things down to a "Muscovite Mindset" is in my view simply a way of avoiding understanding what those political forces are.

(...) I do not dispute greater Russian nationalism. But I would name it for what it is - Muscovite expansionism.
You might call it that, but most of the rest of the world calls it "Russian Nationalism", so I will stick with that description. "Russian Nationalism" is not normally used to mean people who just happen to be both nationalists and Russian, but rather a particular set of ideas encompassing the idea of who the Russian people are and what their destiny is.

Solzhenitsynis was well known as a writer who publicised these idea, but the ideas themselves seem to go back to the 19th century.

(...) I would suggest that Putin wants to restore the borders of Soviet Russia and beyond. Either by direct or indirect control in order to assuage the Muscovite inferiority complex maintained since they were a vassal state of the great Khan.
That hardly makes him unique in the context of the past few centuries across the globe, does it? You don't need to look for something uniquely Russian to find examples of territorial aggrandisement. You would be very hard pressed to find many places on earth which over the past couple of centuries have not been either the originator or target of territorial aggrandisement.

Please don't twist my words. Supporters and Brexit and Trump have their erstwhile reasons for doing so.
Yes, the people who supported Brexit and Trump had their own reasons for doing so. But you had earlier said:
The election of Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK were both Russian foreign policy successes ...
Trump won in the US, and the Brexit campaign won in the UK for reasons that are found within the political dynamics of those countries, not as a result of "Russian foreign policy successes".

You could argue that Russian foreign policy benefited from these events. To imply however, as you did, that Russian foreign policy were a cause of them is something that I strongly object to. I'm not a fan of Trump and I'm at best ambivalent about Brexit, but to call either the result of a "Russian foreign policy success" is I believe a very superficial view and an insult to the people within each who worked towards those goals. Those people deserve to be taken seriously and understood on their own terms and not trivialised in terms of how this may have arguably benefited another country in some way.

(...) To sum up I have often remarked on your ( @terminal ) pro-Russian nationalistic stance and wondered why you have such an intrinsic bias. And I know I'm not the only one.
Ah, I disagree with you and say that I think you are wrong, therefore I must be a tool of Moscow. I guess that lumps me in with the Trumpists and Brexiteers in your view then.
 

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