Some statements from unnamed American officials have come out that provide more detail on Russian President Putin’s strategy for influencing American politics. Reuters reports that some confidential policy papers from a Putin-controlled Russian thinktank outline the strategy:
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.
A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.
The idea that Russians want a “softer line” from U. S. policy with respect to Russia does not surprise or terrify me.
I don’t think that Russia should engage in propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the U. S. electoral system but then I don’t think that the U. S. should engage in propaganda campaigns to influence Russian politics, either.