The Russian government has ramped up its attempts to stir up racial tensions in the US, the New York Times reported, citing seven American officials, who are all anonymous.
All seven of the officials were briefed on recent intelligence that suggested that Russia was trying to incite violence by white supremacist groups and to stoke anger among African-Americans, mostly online.
This is much similar to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that suggested the same, but also had no evidence to back up the claims.
Operatives from the Russian intelligence agency SVR inspired by the violence at the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., have urged “white nationalists to more aggressively spread hate messages” and have helped amplify their posts through social media, officials told the outlet. Russian intelligence services concluded that “promoting hate groups was the most effective method of sowing discord” in the U.S., officials told The Times. Russia has also tried to “push black extremist groups toward violence.”
It is entirely unclear how Russia plans to do so.
The alleged Russian trolls, however, have learned from past mistakes in using social media. Instead, the operatives have used “far-right message board 4chan and private chat rooms to push their messages.”
Russia’s aim, multiple officials told the outlet, is to “foster a sense of chaos in the United States,” though the effect of their efforts is less clear. Much of what Russia is doing is “trying to amplify the messaging of existing groups,” according to the report.
“We see Russia is willing to conduct more brazen and disruptive influence operations because of how it perceives its conflict with the West,” David Porter, a senior agent on the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, said at an election security conference last month. “To put it simply, in this space, Russia wants to watch us tear ourselves apart.”
Stoking racial tensions is just one part of Russia’s strategy to influence the 2020 Presidential elections, but could “do the most damage to the country’s social fabric.”
“One of Russia’s goals is weakening institutions and the weaponization of race is a way they can do that,” Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told the outlet. “A divided America is a weaker America. When we are unable to solve our challenges together, Russia is more able to flex its power around the world.”
The FBI has already begun investigating whether Russians are funding any white supremacist groups. Investigators are looking at whether Rinaldo Nazzaro, the American founder of the neo-Nazi group The Base, who now lives in Russia, has ties to “Russian intelligence services or their proxies.”
“The most successful efforts in these kinds of interference activities are those that exploit real division,” Rosenberger told the outlet. “Race is certainly one in the United States.”
This is entirely based on anonymous sources, and there’s no actual evidence to back any claims.
It also, could be some sort of Russian all-encompassing strategy, since back in May 2019, there were reports based on alleged Russian documents who revealed that Moscow was attempting to recruit “African-American rebels” to start a “Racial War” in the US.
It could be that that plan was unsuccessful, or is simply continuing, but Russia has decided to play both sides and stoke both sides in the war.
Some reports even say that influencing the elections may not be Russia’s goal, however, they also provide no suggestions as to what the “evil plan’s” objective may be.
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