In chapter 23 of my book, How I Learned The Facts of Life, I deal with what the Russians actually did to subvert the 2016 election.
Thanks to the Mueller Report, I was able to give examples.
Moreover, Robert Mueller himself confirmed what they did and what they were still doing during his testimony before the House of Representatives, as reported in the New York Times (my bolding):
Robert S. Mueller III offered no new revelations on Wednesday [July 24, 2019] into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections or President Trump’s attempts to derail his probe. But he offered a stark warning on Russian election tampering — “They’re doing it as we sit here” — and a sober assessment of where politics are after the Trump campaign welcomed foreign interference in 2016.
“I hope this is not the new normal,” he told Representative Peter D. Welch, Democrat of Vermont,“but I fear it is.”
The Russians are still doing it.
If you picked up a shred of some sort of dark conspiracy surrounding the Iowa caucuses’ vote counting (seems like years ago), you were being assaulted with fake news. Not Russian conspiracy theory fake news, but American fake news, generated right in the good old U.S.A.
What did the Russians have to do with it? They jumped right onto it and began disseminating it through social media. Back in 2016, the fake news was created by the Russians and eagerly disseminated by the Trump campaign and Trump supporters. Today, it’s the Trump supporters who are producing the lies and the Russians who are spreading them around.
The Russians are nothing if not opportunistic. Any fake story which could stir up trouble and dissent in the United States, they’re on top of it. Right now, they’re taking advantage of the confusion produced by the incompetence of the federal government to offer a national policy on COVID-19.
And now that we’re engaged in protests against police violence, I’m dead sure the Russians will be messing around on social media with the dim heads of white supremacy militias, if they haven’t already done it.
They want us to dissolve into violence, into racial conflict on the streets, into a roiling mess to be shown (and condemned) on television around the world.
Aside from offering Trump direct advice in those unrecorded phone calls, Putin’s been making appearances on Russian TV, as reported in the New York Times:
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Sunday described the United States as a country gripped by a “deep internal crisis” and attributed it to what he said was a refusal by opponents of President Trump to accept his “obvious” 2016 election victory and his legitimacy as leader.
Speaking in his first interview since the coronavirus pandemic hit Russia hard three months ago and forced him to take shelter at his country residence, Mr. Putin also pointed to the racial tensions that have put cities across the United States on edge.
Russia and before that the Soviet Union, he said, always had “lots of sympathy for the fight of African-Americans for their natural rights.” But, Mr. Putin said, when protests “turn into mayhem and pogroms, I see nothing good for the country.”
He described the pulling down of statues as “undoubtedly a destructive phenomenon” and claimed that protests had at times been infected by “radical nationalism and extremism.”
Of course he’s wrong, ignorant and thoroughly dishonest in every respect.
Here’s what I usually do when someone describes someone else — or another country’s people — without understanding anything about them: I assume the statements are projection. I see this as a projection of Putin’s fears about his own country:
Russia is gripped in a deep internal crisis. Russians are having trouble accepting Putin’s demand to continue his reign beyond the current term. They are definitely debating Putin’s legitimacy as leader.
Russians have never had any sympathy for any minority (ask anyone you know whose Russian ancestors were Jewish), let alone anyone’s “natural rights.” What does that mean, anyway?
We in the U.S. are in a democratic revolution caused by the horror of Trump. Our protests are part of the countdown to what we do in a democracy: we vote.
It’s Russia that fears mayhem and has pogroms (again, ask any Russian Jew), and it’s Putin who does not like it when statues of past Russian heroes, i.e., murderous autocrats, are pulled down.
“Radical nationalism and extremism” is what Putin calls Russians influenced by the extraordinarily courageous opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. Putin most often deals with “radical nationalism and extremism” by having his opponents murdered.
Vladimir Putin, like most tyrants who use murder as a way of getting rid of opponents, is no genius, and he most certainly does not understand the United States.
But he is trying to mess around with us again, and what he will drive at is discouraging African-Americans from influencing America by voting. Because they will not be supporting a Putin-wannabe.
It’s what he did the last time and he probably thinks it worked. He’ll certainly try it again. This time, though, it won’t work.