18 votes

New report on Russian disinformation, prepared for the Senate, shows the operation’s scale and sweep.

3 comments

  1. [3]
    Nitta Link
    Why did that country, not any other one, decide to use that tactics worldwide so broadly? Why China, the actual superpower that pours several times more concrete per year than the US, didn't seek...

    Why did that country, not any other one, decide to use that tactics worldwide so broadly? Why China, the actual superpower that pours several times more concrete per year than the US, didn't seek for election influence much, but Russia, a country with GDP less than of Italy, did? Whose minds were behind this method of influence? Why were they allowed to succeed, are they smarter in some way?

    5 votes
    1. nacho Link Parent
      Russia is a country in serious decline that's gone from being one of two superpowers to being a backwater. Moscow is desperately trying to retain some semblance of mattering on the international...

      Russia is a country in serious decline that's gone from being one of two superpowers to being a backwater. Moscow is desperately trying to retain some semblance of mattering on the international stage to try to make the population forget how terribly things are going.


      Russia has population issues: low life expectancy, declining population, almost 1 percent of the population have HIV and it's on the rise, issues with alcoholism and so on.

      On top of that, the Russian economy is going terribly. So much so that Putin had to raise the retirement age by five years this year. He has become hugely unpopular nationally.


      When things are going poorly, try to distract the people and project strength. Olympics nuclear weaponry, external power and success in foreign policy.

      Additionally, actually trying to remain relevant by increasing global influence by any means necessary works.

      Why is it that NATO is refocusing on Russia so much as a threat even though Russian military power is extremely weak compared to individual NATO countries, much less the whole alliance? Why is it that the Soviet Union managed to create on of the two axes of power and maintain it through the entirety of the Cold War even though their economy was not even close to that of the US, much less the West?


      Countries can punch above their population/economic standing through policy, diplomacy and other soft and hard power.

      Why have a state doping program? What other countries do the same, but not well enough that they've been caught yet?

      Russia has a class of operatives who've grafted millions from the state (Putin is likely the world's richest person by far). Many still have political power. Russia is not a functioning democracy. This is yet another reason why the country has different international aims than others.


      China is exerting soft power through economic might throughout Asia, South America and not least in Africa. They're building development projects, providing funding, negotiating long-term deals for resources the Chinese economy needs to continue to grow.

      Russia doesn't have that kind of money, but they've had an extremely strong apparatus for control and intelligence work from long before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

      China is purportedly responsible for huge hacking programs to access technology and information. They have massive programs for research and technology that're being published more and more in the world's most reputable and competitive publications.

      China has massive market power due to the size of their market. Russia has none of this.


      I don't have answers to your questions. However, even the public picture of Russia show circumstances, tools and history other countries simply don't have.

      9 votes
    2. deadaluspark Link Parent
      I honestly think about it a little bit like how Cuba has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, in terms of overall health and life expectancy, but they spend a ridiculously low amount...

      I honestly think about it a little bit like how Cuba has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, in terms of overall health and life expectancy, but they spend a ridiculously low amount per year on paying for healthcare for individuals, because they are a poor country. They literally cannot afford to not be efficient in that regard. Now, most countries don't have healthcare as a human right like Cuba does, so obviously it's a little unusual in that regard. Cuba puts a big emphasis on healthcare. So, obviously, Russia puts a big emphasis on propaganda.

      I guess my point would be that Russia is poor, and so it has to be efficient in how it allocates and uses its resources to "do battle" with other countries. This means propaganda and subterfuge can be quite cost effective in terms of desired outcomes without a lot of investment.

      The reality is the reason this low-budget situation works is almost entirely because Western democracies are refusing to address the economic malaise that austerity has brought most of the Western world. While the stock market booms, most of us are scraping by, suffering, and so it makes it a lot easier for a disruptive voice to pipe up and start spreading divisive propaganda, because people are upset and looking for answers. Answers their leaders refuse to give them because they are difficult subjects to talk about without clear answers, basically poison to a politician.

      If it weren't for a confluence of a multitude of factors, the propaganda would have been less effective, but Russia was smart and used their small tactics to make big waves at the right moment.

      5 votes