Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (and entire cabinet) Helpfully Resign To Help Vladimir Putin Consolidate Power

The principal ministers of the Russian government, from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on down, resigned Wednesday in a move designed to ease a constitutional overhaul recently proposed by President Vladimir Putin. The president accepted Medvedev’s resignation and said he would appoint his longtime loyalist to the Russian Security Council.

…”After those amendments are adopted — and it was said that this is likely to be done following discussion — there will be significant changes not only to a variety of constitution articles, but to the balance of power, namely to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power,” Medvedev explained in the meeting, Tass reports.

The package includes proposals to strengthen the country’s State Council and boost lawmakers’ power over nominations for prime minister and other major government positions. In his address, Putin said the moves are meant to buttress Russia’s democratic processes — though many observers find it more likely that they have to do with Putin’s as-yet-unclear plans to maintain influence after leaving the presidency.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Resigns As Vladimir Putin Seeks Change : NPR


Ukraine prosecutor offered information related to Biden in exchange for ambassador’s ouster, newly released materials show

Ukraine prosecutor offered information related to Biden in exchange for ambassador’s ouster, newly released materials show – The Washington Post


U.S. Probes If Russia Is Targeting Biden in 2020 Election Meddling

The probe comes as senior U.S. officials are warning that Russia’s election interference in 2020 could be more brazen than in the 2016 presidential race or the 2018 midterm election.

…A signature trait of Russian President Vladimir Putin “is his ability to convince people of outright falsehoods,” said William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

…Russia’s campaign interference in 2016 resulted in a multiagency investigation that led to a highly classified intelligence assessment, part of which was made public in January 2017. Trump has questioned the finding of Russian meddling and has asserted that government agents biased against him conducted a “witch hunt” into whether his campaign conspired with Russia.

The potential for Russia to spread falsehoods — and to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques to do so — is one of the bigger concerns that U.S. officials have as the 2020 election approaches, Demers said.”It’s possible that you will see the creation of false documents,” Demers said. “They could be mixed in with real information, which would make it very difficult to discern the difference. I worry about that as the next evolution of some of their means.”

…Russia has been openly promoting the controversy over Biden and Ukraine, feeding information back into the U.S. where there is an audience that’s receptive to it, Watts said.

Russia has been using its state-run media RT and Sputnik News to selectively promote favorable and unfavorable information about presidential candidates, according to an analysis by the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Foreign Influence Election 2020.

…Russia has a history of staging cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns in Ukraine, where it annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs armed separatists in the eastern part of the country.

The Justice Department exposed Russia’s interference in the 2016 election through public indictments of operatives who hacked Democratic organizations, leaked information damaging Clinton and used social media to sow divisions.

U.S. Probes If Russia Is Targeting Biden in 2020 Election Meddling


Ukraine Condemns Apple For Changing Map To Show Crimea As Part Of Russia

Ukraine on Wednesday criticized Apple for changing its location-based apps to show Crimea as part of Russia, implying that the company “doesn’t give a damn” about its pain, as U.S. tech companies face criticism for complying with controversial local laws in order to keep doing business in those countries.

Ukraine Condemns Apple For Changing Map To Show Crimea As Part Of Russia


That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It

[The] goal was two-fold: Grow an audience in part through heartwarming, inspiring messages, and use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and doubt.

…This tweet didn’t seek to anger conservative Christians or to provoke Trump supporters. She wasn’t even talking to them. Melanie’s 20,000 followers, painstakingly built, weren’t from #MAGA America (Russia has other accounts targeting them). Rather, Melanie’s audience was made up of educated, urban, left-wing Americans harboring a touch of self-righteousness. She wasn’t selling her audience a candidate or a position — she was selling an emotion. Melanie was selling disgust. The Russians know that, in political warfare, disgust is a more powerful tool than anger. Anger drives people to the polls; disgust drives countries apart.

…Professional disinformation isn’t spread by the account you disagree with — quite the opposite. Effective disinformation is embedded in an account you agree with. The professionals don’t push you away, they pull you toward them. While tweeting uplifting messages about Warrick Dunn’s real-life charity work, Tyra, and several accounts we associated with her, also distributed messages consistent with past Russian disinformation. Importantly, they highlighted issues of race and gender inequality. A tweet about Brock Turner’s Stanford rape case received 15,000 likes. Another about police targeting black citizens in Las Vegas was liked more than 100,000 times. Here is what makes disinformation so difficult to discuss: while these tweets point to valid issues of concern — issues that have been central to important social movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo — they are framed to serve Russia’s interests in undermining Americans’ trust in our institutions.

…They attacked moderate politicians as a method of bolstering more polarizing candidates.

…Russia strategically employed social media to build support on the right for Trump and lower voter turnout on the left for Clinton. …Russia’s goals are to further widen existing divisions in the American public and decrease our faith and trust in institutions that help maintain a strong democracy.

…Their work was never just about elections. Rather, the [Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA)] encourages us to vilify our neighbor and amplify our differences because, if we grow incapable of compromising, there can be no meaningful democracy. Russia has dug in for a long campaign. So far, we’re helping them win.

That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It – Rolling Stone