Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russia Meddling Ad Hoc Update (4) – 17 November 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The situation could best be described as cascading blowback, as predicted twelve months ago, but on an unexpected scale. Europe is now reacting as well, following the pattern in the US. Shevtsova’s summary captures it nicely. The old saying about being careful about one wishes for applies….


How Putin’s Attempts at Deception Failed in Ukraine

Russia has inherited Soviet methods of deception and has actively used them in conflicts with former-Soviet states.

Ukraine’s defense attache to U.S. tells how Putin’s attempts at deception failed in Ukraine | UNIAN

Ukraine’s defense attache to U.S. tells how Putin’s attempts at deception failed in Ukraine. Current news and events for 15 November from UNIAN Information Agency

Here’s the first evidence Russia used Twitter to influence Brexit | WIRED UK

Russia-based Twitter accounts that targeted the US presidential election also used divisive and racist rhetoric in an attempt to disrupt politics in the UK and Europe

Suspect Russian accounts tweeted about Brexit in run-up to vote | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

The Russian town of Gelendzhik, on the banks of the Black Sea, has a population of 55,000. According to Twitter, one of its inhabitants is Svetlana Lukyanc

Russia used hundreds of fake accounts to tweet about Brexit, data shows | World news | The Guardian

Researchers discover that accounts run from troll farm in St Petersburg tried to sow discord between Britons

British Researchers Say Russia May Have Tried To Influence Brexit Vote : NPR

Researchers and analysts in the United Kingdom say Russia used thousands of Twitter accounts to try to divide British society before and after the vote on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union. They say Russian accounts sent out tens of thousands of tweets both for and against the U.K. staying in the E.U.

For years Britain was soft on Russia and its money – finally we are standing up to Moscow

There are some politicians in Europe who still believe that the West should engage with Russia.

Facebook Has Finally Opened The Door To Admitting Russia Meddled In Brexit

The social media company has put out a carefully worded statement, shortly before Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in foreign elections.

Russia used a network of 150,000 Twitter accounts to meddle in Brexit | Business Insider

New data is the

British and Spanish leaders say Russian trolls meddled in their elections – The Washington Post

The allegations by prime ministers Theresa May and Mariano Rajoy contrast sharply with Trump’s stance.

Russia attacked British energy, telecom, media: UK official Ciaran Martin

Russian cyber operatives have attacked Britain’s media, telecommunications and energy sectors over the past year, a U.K. official said.

Russian hack attack on Britain’s energy grid confirmed by cyber security chief

National Cyber Security Centre chief Ciaran Martin is to confirm for the first time that the assault on major power companies was ordered by the Kremlin

Russia trying to influence Dutch public opinion on MH17 with fake news – minister | UNIAN

Russia trying to influence Dutch public opinion on MH17 with fake news – minister . Current news and events for 15 November from UNIAN Information Agency

UAWire – Spanish Government: Catalan crisis was instigated by Russian hackers

Russian hackers worked to exacerbate relations between Spain and Catalonia by spreading messages on social networks, as stated by two Ministers …

Russia Calls Spain’s Accusations It May Have Meddled In Catalonia Vote ‘Hysteria’

Russia has dismissed allegations from Spanish leaders that it may have spread “disinformation” that helped precipitate a crisis over Catalonia’s vote for independence last month.

How Putin’s Using Hungary to Destroy Europe

The Kremlin seeks out ideologues who embrace its xenophobic message and share its enemies list. Hungary’s alt-right government—and its rivals—fit that profile perfectly.

Hungary’s Vice Prime Minister: Hungarians abroad should have right to autonomy, citizenship – Hungary’s Vice Prime Minister: Hungarians abroad should have right to autonomy, citizenship –

According to him, Budapest is responsible for them

German Siemens continues to collaborate with Russian companies -Euromaidan Press |

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andriy Cherezov has announced that German powerhouse Siemens continues to work with Russian companies even after the turbine scandal in Crimea, Reuters reported.

UAWire – Serbia wants to recognize the Crimea as part of the Russian Federation

Serbian Parliament Deputy Alexander Šešelj informed Russian newspaper Izvestia that his country’s politicians wanted to officially recognize the …

United States

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Meddling in US Elections Backfiring on His Own Allies at Home and on Americans Who Helped Them, Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 16 – The Kremlin’s effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 US presidential elections has provoked one consequence Moscow has long wanted – the demoralization of the American elite – but it is having other less welcome ones on both that elite and the Russian one, something only becoming clear, Liliya Shevtsova says. The American investigation into Russia’s involvement is rapidly spreading from a focus on the Trump campaign itself to the Clinton campaign and more generally to the American establishment, some of whose members have shown themselves interested in gaining wealth at any price, the Russian analyst says ( That has discredited the American elite, Shevtsova continues, but this is not the end of the story. On the one hand, the Russian scandal is spreading to Europe where 29 governments have already demanded the release of information about anonymous investors from Russia in businesses there. And on the other, she says, it is sparking developments within the American elite as well as within the Russian elite as the members of both try to figure out ways to save themselves even if they have to sacrifice those with whom they were all too ready to cooperate in order to enrich themselves in the recent past. “Over the course of decades of globalization, that is of open borders, the Russian elite has been able to form in the West a solid base for a comfortable existence. In its turn, the Western lobbyist leviathan, interested in corrupt Russia which had become for it a source of enrichment has created for the Russian autocracy a favorable international milieu.” Had it not been for Putin’s decision to engage in election manipulations, Shevtsova says, this comfortable and mutually convenient arrangement “might have continued for a long time yet.” But now the ongoing investigations are going to bring all that to an inglorious and fateful end. What has surfaced so far is “only the beginning,” she argues; and it is going to have an impact not only in the US and its relations with Russia but inside Russia as well. That is because those who will be exposed or fear being exposed in the US will seek to save themselves by denouncing Russia, and those involved in Russia will try to save themselves from sanctions by portraying themselves as opponents of what the Kremlin has been doing. That is because both groups, focused only on gaining wealth, will conclude that there is no other way to “save themselves,” Shevtsova says. And that is what they will try to do. The American elite will become more hostile to Russia, and the Russian elite will find itself trapped by the Kremlin system. Russians whose money in the West has allowed them a certain freedom aren’t going to want to repatriate that given conditions in their own country, but they also aren’t going to want to become victims of Western sanctions or other criminal penalties. They thus find themselves “hostages” to regime they are at odds with. Until very recently, Shevtsova says, “the Russian system successfully made use in its own interests of Western ‘hypocrisy,’ but now the time has come when the US has the chance to make use of the hypocrisy of the Russian elite” about having money in countries they otherwise hate. They want a way out of this trap, and Vladimir Putin clearly recognizes how dangerous this search could be for him. At the summit in Vietnam, he called for “turning the page” and forming “harmonious relations with the US,” not because he really believes in that but because he fears what will happen if that page is not turned and relations don’t change. But unfortunately for Putin, the Trump administration can’t respond as the Kremlin leader hopes because any move toward warmer ties with the Russians “will become political suicide.” How the US “will exploit the dependence of Russians is still unclear,” but it now has leverage and appears ready to use it. And consequently, members of the Russian elite, in many ways like the members of the American one, are asking what they have to do “in exchange for immunity and the preservation of their wealth.” That challenge for the Russians is even greater than for the Americans, yet another way that Putin’s actions have backfired on his country and on himself.

Where’s the 9/11 Commission for Russia’s Election Attack? – To Inform is to Influence

It’s about far more than tech companies and targeted ads. A whole of government response is needed to make sure this never happens again. BY VIKRAM SINGH, JONATHAN REIBER | NOVEMBER 13, 2017, 12:25 PM America needs a better way forward to safeguard its democracy in cyberspace. Every day the world learns more about the reach and scope of Russia’s coordinated campaign against…

Russia’s Election Meddling Is Another American Intelligence Failure – To Inform is to Influence

I’ve been one of those screaming “Russian Information Warfare!” since late 2013, when I saw it building, along with actions in the Maidan. Every reporter with whom I spoke, I have made sure they heard my warning, ‘it’s dangerous, it’s here, and it’s insidious’. (no, I don’t believe we’ve spoken or exchanged notes). The problem…

Russia is meddling in western politics as it has nothing to lose | Robert Service | Opinion | The Guardian

Putin knows Russia is no longer a superpower, but he can bolster his standing at home by destabilising the west, writes author Robert Service

Shining More Light Every Day on Russia’s Political Interference

One year after the 2016 presidential election, more facts about Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy are finally beginning to emerge. The recen

Russia will impose new restrictions on social media, in retaliation for RT’s foreign agent status in America — Meduza

Russia’s “retaliatory measures” in response to U.S. officials forcing the state-funded media outlet RT to register as a foreign agent in the United States will include new restrictions on social media, according to Sergey Neverov, who heads the State Duma faction of the ruling political party United Russia.

Duma Deputy Says Media Rejecting Foreign Agent Label Would ‘Stop Working’ In Russia

Foreign-funded media outlets that refuse to register as foreign agents under legislation drafted by Russian lawmakers would be ejected from the country, a senior legislator says.

Russia’s RT Registers Under U.S. Foreign-Agents Law

Russia’s state-funded RT television network has registered in the United States under a decades-old law intended to limit foreign governments from spreading propaganda in the country.

Russia’s RT America registers with DOJ as a foreign agent – To Inform is to Influence

We are still seeing predictions of Russian retaliation, but at least we are seeing action from Russia, registering as foreign agents. This allows their RT and Sputnik operations to continue.  Russia to Retaliate Against Foreign Media Over RT Within Weeks Russia drafts legislation targeting foreign media </end editorial> by Hadas Gold   @CNNMoney November 13, 2017: 7:13 PM ET…

RT America: Company Linked To Russian TV Network Registers As Foreign Agent In U.S. : The Two-Way : NPR

In the filing, RT America’s production company said it wasn’t sure how much of its funding comes from Russia.

CNN, Radio Liberty Likely Targets of Kremlin Retaliation – To Inform is to Influence

Russia intends to retaliate for the US requiring RT and Sputnik to register as a foreign agents within the United States.  Putin Says U.S. Pressure On RT An ‘Attack,’ Will Get ‘Proper Response’ RT, which used to be known as Russia Today, said in a statement on its website on November 9 that it had been given a November…

Russia’s Justice Ministry warns the U.S.-government-funded media outlet ‘Current Time’ that will be treated as a foreign agent — Meduza

The Russian Justice Ministry has threatened to restrict the activities of the independent U.S.-government-funded television network Current Time on the grounds that the news outlet “shows signs of performing the functions of a foreign agent.”

Former KGB Agents On What They Think Happened With Russia In The 2016 Election – To Inform is to Influence

November 9, 20174:49 PM ET Heard on All Things Considered 3:11 Download audio Transcript LUCIAN KIM The U.S. intelligence community believes there was direct Russian interference in the 2016 election; the Kremlin steadfastly denies it. Two former KGB agents tell NPR what they think really happened. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: There’s been talk that President Trump might meet…

How did WikiLeaks become associated with Russia? – CBS News

WikiLeaks is back in the news, after Donald Trump Jr. admitted to occasionally direct-messaging the site on Twitter

Facebook’s Russia Problem Proves Feds Are Missing the Point | WIRED

Opinion: It’s time for the government to establish a Federal Platform Commission and treat companies like Facebook as a state.

Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016”

The FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies across the globe, most of them bearing a note that said the money was to be used “to finance

Gazprom says new U.S. sanctions pose risks for gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine | UNIAN

Gazprom says new U.S. sanctions pose risks for gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine. View news feed in news about economy for 14 November from UNIAN Information Agency

Trump Says Putin ‘Means It’ About Not Meddling in U.S. Elections – The New York Times

President Trump said, “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”

Trump won’t argue with Putin over election interference | TheHill

President Trump said Saturday he isn’t going to “argue” with President Vladimir Putin, who denies that he sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.

President Donald Trump Said Vladimir Putin Again Denied Interfering In The 2016 U.S. Election : The Two-Way : NPR

Trump said he spoke with Putin several times during a summit in Vietnam. Trump also told reporters he thought the Russian president was “very insulted” by the allegation of election interference.

Trump Says Putin Again Denied Election Meddling After Meeting at Asia Summit – NBC News

President Donald Trump on Saturday hinted that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

Top Intel Dem blasts Trump for accepting Putin’s word over intelligence agencies | TheHill


Why There’s More to Alex Ovechkin’s Team Putin Movement than Meets the Eye

The Atlantic Council promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic Community in meeting global challenges. Founded in 1961, the Council provides an essential forum for navigating the dramatic shifts in economic and political influence that are shaping the twenty-first century by educating and galvanizing its uniquely influential, nonpartisan network of international political, business, and intellectual leaders. Through the papers we write, the ideas we promote, and the communities we build, the Council’s ten regional centers and functional programs shape today’s policy choices and foster transatlantic strategies to advance international security and global economic prosperity.

What Hillary Knew About Putin’s Propaganda Machine – To Inform is to Influence

The author, Rick Stengel, was, until the end of the Obama administration, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  His perspective is unique in that he is one of the very few people in Washington DC that deals with information operations and information warfare, all under the title of strategic communications and…

U.S. Lawmakers Push Attorney General On Russia-Related Contacts During Campaign

Congressional lawmakers pressed the United States’ top law enforcement official on his recollection of interactions between President Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials.

‘Dossier’ author Christopher Steele: Trump’s hotel and land deals with Russians need to be examined | Business Insider

Christopher Steele, the former British…

Christopher Steele believes his dossier on Trump-Russia is 70-90% accurate | US news | The Guardian

The respected ex-MI6 officer told Guardian journalist and author Luke Harding that his FBI contacts greeted his intelligence report with ‘shock and horror’