How Does the Kremlin Influence Russians Living Abroad?

How Does the Kremlin Influence Russians Living Abroad?

This piece was originally published in The Integrity Initiative & subsequently in DemWritePress.

By Kseniya Kirillova

The Russian-speaking diaspora abroad is quite numerous in many Western countries and is made up of many different waves of emigration – from descendants of White Russian émigrés to those who are arriving today. However, all these waves are characterized by a fairly high level of support for Vladimir Putin. It’s especially surprising to see such sentiments amongst people who emigrated in Soviet times, not so much for economic reasons but rather in search of freedom. However, even among them, support is quite high for a president who is far from democratic and rules a Russia that is far from free.

This leads some Western experts to wonder if Russian speakers are a potential “fifth column” – people who, even if they are not conscious agents of the Kremlin, can easily be manipulated into promoting Russian policies and influence operations abroad. And it should be recognized that the Kremlin is making great efforts to try and turn the diaspora into just such an arm of foreign policy.

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Donnie’s Fake Empathy for Kids

Artwork by Julie Frontera

Donnie loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow; black and white. They are precious in his sight.

By Adam Cohen

Early in his presidency, some had hope. Donald Trump was incensed that Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on his people, violating international law and killing civilians. “[E]ven beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” the president lamented.

In the wake of his disastrous Muslim ban, Trump took this moment to avenge the killing of Syrian children by ordering an airstrike on combined Syrian and Russian forces. At the time, some wondered whether this was a turning point for the blustering billionaire. Could it be that the president was beginning to understand his role as the leader of the free world, and with it the responsibility to hold those who commit atrocities accountable for their heinous actions?  Was this finally the moment he would “pivot” from campaigning to governing? Did he really care about the suffering of children?

Omran Daqneesh, 5, after Syrian regime forces struck Aleppo
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LO Joins 17 Rule of Law Orgs to Urge Senate to Require Commitments from AG Nominee Barr

The Loyal Opposition Joins 17 Organizations Committed to Rule of Law to Urge Senators to Require Specific Commitments From Attorney General Nominee William Barr To Protect Mueller

The Loyal Opposition is one of 18 groups that have sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to demand commitments from Attorney General nominee William Barr as part of the hearings on his nomination. The commitments are designed to protect special counsel Mueller’s investigation. Barr must commit to allowing the special counsel to follow the facts and complete the investigation, protect the integrity of the Justice Department by preventing President Trump or the White House from interfering in any prosecutorial or investigative decisions, and release the special counsel’s findings to Congress and the American people without the White House withholding any evidence.

The groups write: “Absent public commitments from Mr. Barr to protect the special counsel investigation, we strongly urge each senator to vote against confirming him… [T]he commitments from Mr. Barr might be the difference if President Trump orders him to fire Special Counsel Mueller. Mr. Barr’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee provides every senator with the opportunity to uphold the integrity of the rule of law and protect Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.”

Read the complete letter below.
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CIA Veterans Say Russian Hostage Paul Whelan Could Not Be A Spy

By Kseniya Kirillova

This piece was originally published in EU Today and subsequently in DemWritePress.

On December 28th, 2018, Canadian-American Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow. According to the Russian side, Whelan was detained during an “espionage operation,” in connection with which the FSB opened a criminal case against the American, charging him with “Espionage”, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. On January 3rd, it became known that the Moscow City Court has ordered Whelan held under arrest for two months as a preventive measure.

According to Rosbalt, which refers to its sources in the special services, Whelan was caught red-handed receiving a flash drive with a classified list of employees of one of the secret agencies. However, Whelan maintains his innocence, and his twin brother, David, told the press that Paul was in Moscow for a wedding of a fellow Marine, which took place at an upscale hotel in central Moscow on Dec. 28, the day he was detained.

It is inconceivable to me that he would have done anything to break the law in Russia,” David Whelan told The Washington Post. As the American media discovered, Whelan joined the Marine Reserves in 1994. He was deployed in Iraq for several months in 2004 and 2006, but according to the press, in 2008 he was convicted at a special court-martial on several charges related to larceny and was given a bad-conduct discharge in December 2008 with the rank of Private.

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Trump’s Strength Is As Shallow As He Is

Trump plays tough, because he’s always playing with other people’s lives.

By Avi Bueno

Donald Trump’s base spends a lot of time celebrating his alleged strength. In fact, throughout Trump’s presidency, he has retained positive polling numbers on the attribute of “strength” from a majority of Republicans, even as his overall support has often dipped. Yet, what Republicans see in Trump as strength is a complete facade. While Trump’s actions may take on the appearance of strength, he only puts on this show of power when using other people as bargaining chips, knowing that any and all repercussion will be levied against someone else.

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