Russia’s False Propaganda: How “US Entering Great Depression” Moves from Russian Main News Outlets to Trolls

  • Russia praising China for beating Coronavirus.
  • Social media false narratives by Russian trolls intensified after the Putin and Xi teleconference.
  • Russia and China tend to meddle in US politics.

Russia has amplified its own misinformation attacks against the US. Meanwhile, China continues its defamation narrative (with Russia’s aid), issuing false statements about the US bringing coronavirus to Wuhan, China. A majority of Russian news outlets picked up an article from CNBC titled “Bank of America says the recession is already here: ‘Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed.’” The article published on March 19th by Michelle Meyer discussed a full-scale financial crisis.

The article also claims that the US has officially fallen into recession. Meyer predicts that the US faces rising unemployment, lost consumer confidence, and savings destruction. According to their estimates, by the end of the second quarter of 2020, the US economy will collapse by 12% of GDP quarter-on-quarter, and by the end of the entire year it will shrink by 0.8%.

So what does Russian social media immediately do? They start claiming that the US will enter a Great Depression by summer. They also immediately add that US President Donald Trump knew about the virus even last year and allowed the US to suffer. Donald Trump is not well received in China, due to the trade war. Hence, Russia is throwing a bone to China with that misinformation, At the same time, similar statements immediately started to appear on March 20th on LinkedIn and Twitter. Then Democrat Party supporters picked it up, genuinely believing it to be true, and began using it to advocate for US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. This is how propaganda fertilizer works. Russia is busy trolling even during the global pandemic.

There are always going to be conspiracy theorists that come out of the woodwork during a crisis and with social media it is easy to spread false claims.

Interestingly, the amplified trolling activities appeared after a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin ad Chinese President Xi Jinping on the evening of March 19th. The teleconference was initiated by the Russian side. However, none of the details pertaining to the conversation between the two leaders are available at this time.

Chinese President Xi and Russian President Putin.

Additionally, every newspaper in Russia is praising China for beating the virus, yet vigorously attacking the US about quarantines and mandatory closures of dine-in restaurants and businesses.

Russian trolls are working overtime and online ads hiring for trolls increased significantly. An average troll in Russia gets free beer nightly and snacks delivered. Now the going rate has increased from the previous offers in January.

The Kremlin strategy with China is to meddle in the 2020 US election. Russia just wants to cause fear, disarray and infighting within political parties and opponents. China specifically wants US candidates that are favorable to China or have affiliations with China to get elected, in order to control and influence US politics from within. The latter is more dangerous and unfortunately they are using “diversity” as another wedge issue to nudge people, even though their agenda is solely to aid China.

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Christina Kitova

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

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