Russia Ramps Up Propaganda Efforts to Meddle in Upcoming US Presidential Election with Broad Use of #MAGA Hashtag

  • Russia is attempting to meddle in the upcoming US presidential election.
  • The Kremlin is using New York Times articles for propaganda purposes.
  • It also ramped up the idea of civil war in the US.

At present, the number of infected with coronavirus passed the two million mark around the globe. Fortunately, stock markets are slowly rising around the world, which is a bit of a positive during the current difficult economic times. Meanwhile, the US is in the midst of a presidential election campaign scheduled for this fall. As of this week, Russia has ramped up its efforts to use social media propaganda and increase its internet presence.

Russia loves to use The New York Times as their source either for positive or negative antics. They are all used to cause either divide. The recent campaign is specifically geared against Joe Biden, a presidential candidate on behalf of the Democratic Party in the US. Recently, Biden was endorsed by former US President Barrack Obama and even by Bernie Saunders, who recently dropped out of the presidential race himself. It is plausible Bernie could be a Vice President nominee on the Democratic ticket going into this election.

Search Engine Russian Market Share Comparison.

One of Russia’s main sources, Rambler.ru, posted an article siting The New York Times, which ran a piece on Joe Biden’s plan for reopening the US economy and lifting certain measures pertaining to the coronavirus. Rambler is a Russian search engine and one of the biggest Russian web portals.

It is owned by the Rambler Media Group and Prof-Media since 2006. It was launched in 1996 by Stack Ltd, including Sergey Lysakov, Dmitry Kryukov, Vladimir Samoylov and others. All Russian media and internet is controlled by the Kremlin either directly or indirectly. Rambler controls close to half of the Russian market.

Rambler.ru Serach engine Interface.

A Rambler news article claims that Joe Biden would make Vladimir Lenin proud of his manifesto. Lenin was one of the main drivers of the Russian Revolution in 1917. He was a communist, when it suited him of course.

During the 1920s he was in favor of NEP (New Economic  Policy), which is quasi capitalist, since at the time the Soviets had run out of money. The NEP policy was drafted by Kondratiev, who was a prominent economist and creator of the Kondratiev Waves. His model is still accurate even in the present time and very reliable.

In economics, Kondratiev waves are cycles– such as in the modern world economy. It is stated that the period of a wave ranges from forty to sixty years. The cycles consist of alternating intervals of high sectoral growth and intervals of relatively slow growth. For example, we would be in a Winter cycle at this time according to his model.

Vzglyad Newspaper Recognized Logo In Russia.

The same nation that accepts Vladimir Putin and his desire to resurrect the Soviet Union is the one that is meddling in the US election. The purpose of comparing Joe Biden to Vladimir Lenin is purposely to stoke far right views and to create new invigorated attacks on Biden and associate him with the words “socialist and “communist.” It is hypocrisy at its best, but very effective as it was immediately carried around Russian message boards and social media. Within 12 hours it had reached twitter and western social media where a lighter version was picked up by hard core Trump supporters.

Russian popular newspaper Vzglyad went a step further and started claiming the US is on the brink of civil war this year during the election. Vzglyad is a Russian online newspaper, established in 2005.

The article was immediately reshaped under a #MAGA hashtag by Russians on a majority of platforms from Russian social media to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

The MAGA hashtag became synonymous with Donald Trump during the last election campaign and has continued. The acronym stands for Make America Great Again. How many Russian trolls and bots are being used and why are Russian media and portals doing this without even hiding it any longer?

MAGA Hashtag utilization by Russian social media and portals.

Russia also keeps replaying videos of the mass graves in New York State as a result of coronavirus. The same footage is being replayed by Russian speakers who have their own channels on Youtube and reside in New York and New Jersey. The purpose is to cause divide.

First one side posts about how Donald Trump dropped the ball by not taking coronavirus seriously earlier and then immediately switches to accusing Joe Biden of being in line with the Communist Manifesto. The videos go even further by actually predicting a hypothetical civil war scenario in New York over Trump’s failure. Consequent videos attack Joe Biden for his close relationship with New York Governor Cuomo, of course citing another article in The New York Times to boost credibility. These efforts started during the Easter weekend and efforts have ramped up this week.

Russia is hoping the US will not unite because of the coronavirus pandemic but want the crisis to cause further divide and discord to weaken the US economy and to make sure that Democrats loose the election this fall. The pattern is very clear, lightly attack Donald Trump and then go with vengeance against Joe Biden.

What is despicable is that US citizens of Russian descent aid such propaganda via their Youtube channels. Are they doing it for monetization of their channels for additional revenue or did they never stopped being patriotic about Russian, even though they live in the US? Could they be Russian agents or somehow indirectly pawns in the social media Russia Red propaganda machine?

It may be time to broaden treason laws in the US to allow such individuals to be charged, as clearly the acts fall into the category of causing damage to the US and national security. These efforts are used to find weak spots within the US infrastructure and supply chain, or even the same individuals are being used to gather information for the Kremlin.

Russia is stepping up its efforts and it will only get worse in the upcoming months, if it is not curbed. Clearly, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are not doing enough to stop such disinformation.

It is necessary to unite to fight this pandemic and to make sure that the economy remains strong and the only way to to ruin America is by dividing within. That is the goal of the Kremlin. Both sides should not allow it to happen. America is unique. Its freedom should be preserved from foreign adversaries, such as Russia and China.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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