The Propaganda Schemes of TrumpPutinism

The Propaganda Schemes of TrumpPutinism

Illustration by Sean McCabe appeared in May/June 2016 Politico Magazine

By Kseniya Kirillova

This piece was originally published in Euromaiden Press.

While analyzing all that is happening today in the United States, I’ve often noticed the striking similarity between the behavior and propaganda of Trump with his entourage and Putin’s Russia. The similarities are so obvious that sometimes it seems that Trump and his team’s methodologies were written in Moscow.

Renown Russian opposition politician and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov recently described the typical game plan that an autocratic leader follows when he gets caught “red-handed.” This is what it looks like:

  1. Deny, lie, slander.
  2. Claim that it was a misunderstanding.
  3. Boast and jeer: “And what are you going to do about it?”

Now I will try to illustrate the similarity in the propaganda strategies of “Putinism” and “Trumpism” using specific examples.
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Urgent: Protect Mueller’s TrumpRussia Probe Today [The vote is now over]







Note: This vote is now over.

Your Action

Call your senators at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to vote ‘NO’ on the nomination of Brian Benczkowski (Bench-Cow-Ski) to head the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division.
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Russia’s Continuing U.S. Intervention

Trump and Putin meet at the APEC Summit in Vietnam.

By Kseniya Kirillova

This piece was originally published in DefenceReport.

On 16 February, special prosecutor Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian citizens with interfering in the 2016 US presidential election. The indictment reads almost like a crime novel and describes in detail how the “troll factory” tried to influence public opinion in America.  It lists the use of fake accounts created with the stolen identities of the US citizens, information about specific actions, including the amounts allocated to them, etc. Most importantly, the text of the indictment plainly states that since February 2016 Kremlin operatives had focused on supporting two presidential candidates: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and then, once the primaries were over, only Donald Trump.

The cover page of Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian citizens.

In fact, there is nothing surprising in this document. Of course, before the publication of the indictment, we did not know the exact sums or names of the defendants, and not all of the fake accounts used by Russian special services were known. However, for anyone who closely followed the course of the election campaign, it was obvious that the Kremlin was doing all in its power to advance its candidate. Let’s try to list some of the most obvious signs that we had previously brought to public attention and which fully corroborate the investigation findings.
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#10Questions with Russian Journalist & Disinformation Expert Kseniya Kirillova

#10Questions with Russian Journalist & Disinformation Expert Kseniya Kirillova

Kseniya Kirillova, now living in California, is on Putin’s hit list. In a rare informal interview, the Russian dissident journalist and expert on Russian propaganda and disinformation tells the The Loyal Opposition how Russia changed before her eyes, the murder of her editor and friend by government agents, Russian propaganda both within Russia and how it’s directed at the West, and lessons for the American press and the American people seeking to preserve our institutions and democracy. This interview first appeared as a #10Questions on twitter. In this article, LO supplements the original content with added details from Kseniya.

Question 1: What was it like to grow up in Russia? Do you remember it always being as restrictive as it is now?

Kseniya: When I grew up in the 90’s, Russia was very different. We had problems with corruption, lawlessness and abuse of power, but Russia was a free society for ordinary people.  We learned about Soviet repression of dissidents in school, but we were sure that was only history. It was impossible to imagine our government repressing ordinary people for their speech or writing or social media. We had lots of hope we could improve the issues of corruption in the government.

But Russia changed gradually after the 90’s. At first the changes were slow, but they accelerated after 2012 when the Russian/Ukrainian war started.

Before the war, Russian propaganda focused on protecting the homeland from external enemies, especially the West.  After the war started, the propaganda became more aggressive, openly calling for the destruction of other countries and arguing that Ukraine had no right to exist as an independent country.

The war was accompanied by a real wave of oppression against the press, and even against ordinary people for social media posts, protesting and doing things that had previously been considered legal. Putin has suppressed virtually all real opposition, a situation that I could not have imagined when I grew up.

America is facing a similar situation with Trump.  He even calls the press “the enemy of the people,” a term Stalin used that even Putin avoids.

I know the pattern all too well. In Russia, the rhetoric preceded the repression. Putin started calling protesters “national traitors” and within a few years was repressing ordinary people. I see the same trend with Trump who is trying to repeat Putin’s behavior.  I still hope it will not be possible to arrange real repression here.
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Trump Already Won on SCOTUS, But Democrats Can Win the War

This piece was first published in DemWritePress and is reproduced here with permission.


By Nick Knudsen

Donald Trump got a huge political win when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last week. As soon as the news came out, Democrats everywhere let out a simultaneous metaphorical primal scream. It’s warranted. This is really, really terrible. We are still seething over Mitch McConnell’s railroading of Merrick Garland, and the frustrating truth that Democrats have no mechanism to stop Trumps’ SCOTUS picks after McConnell scrapped the judicial filibuster to get Gorsuch through in 2017.

Democrats see that Republicans will do ANYTHING to win, and they want Democrats to play dirty. Calls for Democrats to block this nomination came from all sides, including from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who said, “I think if the Democratic leadership under Schumer allows this to go forward, they’re going to have a huge problem with the Democratic base.”

Democrats want “eye for an eye” because of what McConnell did in 2016 to Merrick Garland. But here’s the problem: these situations are “apples and oranges”. Swallow this disgusting pill, because it’s really important.

In 2016 during the Garland obstruction, and during 2017 when McConnell changed the rules to let Gorsuch sail through, Republicans had control of the Senate. This is still the case. IT MATTERS which party has control of the House and Senate. It is very consequential. Because Republicans are in control, they set the agenda, and to the extent that things happen on the basis of a simple majority – which is the case at the moment with judicial confirmations – they can do what they want.

Giving an ultimatum to Democrats that they’d better “stop this nomination” dead in its tracks “or we’ll vote you out” is not only counter-productive, but could have very negative consequences for our democracy’s recovery from the Trump catastrophe (if there is a recovery). This is not strategic framing, though it’s easy to understand why people have this visceral reaction.

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