Disinformation Review

The Kremlin and the Rise of the Zombie Voter: Russia pushing election fraud stories about dead US voters

A roundup of the known Russian election-related disinformation circulating.

Image for post
Image for post
EU Disinformation Review

hile most world leaders and reputable international media have identified Joe Biden as President-Elect, the Kremlin and its media continue supporting claims on election fraud. Of 74 stories about elections fraud this week, they devoted 21 to the US elections.

Russian state TV declared without any evidence, that 1.8 million dead voters took part in the election. Someone should tell the zombies that Halloween is over.

Russian state radio noted that the US cannot be called a democracy because the USPS employees supported Joe Biden. The implication was that federal employees had falsified votes delivered by mail. No evidence supports this claim and the Postmaster is a known donor to the Trump campaign.

Russia Today (RT) openly suggests the entire process was “rigged”. Of course, George Soros, a perennial Kremlin boogeyman, stands behind what is described as a “color revolution.” It’s not quite clear if that is aimed at narratives accepted by extremists. The grandest claim of all was that this past Nov 3, the US held the dirtiest election in history.

Not US history, but history.

ussian state media’s first comments on the US Presidential election expressed deep disappointment. The head of the state broadcasting, Margarita Simonyan, questioned whether Russia should recognize the legitimacy of the election it called:

Neither free, nor fair

Russian state media has shown a strong pro-Trump bias. The Kremlin’s interference in the US elections in 2016 is well documented, and the US indicted several suspects following the Mueller investigation.

In 2016, the Russian parliament greeted the election of Donald Trump with standing ovations, and while Mr. Trump remains “a favorite” of the Kremlin, its enchantment with the incumbent US president has dwindled.

An English-language site with connections to the Russian foreign intelligence services describes Trump like this in an article from the summer of 2020:

President Putin has already said in the recent past that negotiating with Team Trump is like playing chess with a pigeon: the demented bird walks all over the chessboard, shits indiscriminately, knocks over pieces, declares victory, then runs away.

The quote is colorful but fake. President Putin has said nothing similar. The quote feeds into a narrative, frequently used by the Kremlin, about the shortcomings of the democratic system itself. A former aide to Vladimir Putin, leading Kremlin ideologist Vladislav Surkov, describes democracy as merely a “battle of bastards.”

There is a plethora of bastards to choose from and complicated rules to keep the infighting between them at more or less a draw. This is how the coveted system of checks and balances works — a dynamic equilibrium of pettiness, a balance of greed, a harmony of deception. If someone goes too far, the ever-vigilant Deep State moves into action and the invisible hand draws the culprit back to the bottom.

Whoever we vote for, the Deep State prevails, so why bother voting — that’s the general sentiment in pro-Kremlin media, along with the notion that the US is collapsing:

“A coup d’etat is taking place, George Soros in instigating a civil war; we’re witnessing the Balkanisation of the United States; new countries will appear, better answering to the real conditions in North America.”

Russia Today ran stories suggesting the US political system is collapsing

Whatever happens in November, America’s future is bleak.

Because they are both embedded in America’s toxic political culture, neither Trump nor Biden (or Harris) have the capacity to deal with the looming political and social crises.

And here:

The key institutions in a democracy are losing their legitimacy as people do not trust the media, politicians, and now doubt the ability to hold fair elections as each side accuses the other of planning to rig the election or not accept the outcome. The national consensus is fragmenting, which expresses itself in the failure of democratic mechanisms and the rise in political radicalism.

Challenges certainly exist in the United States, but RT describes a conspiracy, with forces other than voters deciding America’s future:

The mainstream media, Hollywood, the academic intelligentsia, the radical Democratic party are all party to this and use lies, damned lies, fake polls and slanted news — in a word, propaganda — to seek to achieve their ends.

It is a known fact that Washington’s pay-to-play swamp monsters, the Wall Street establishment, the censoring oligarchs of Silicon Valley, and the fake news media all loath President Trump and want him out of office at any cost.

Russia-based One World argues the outcome of the election has been carefully by the “Deep State”:

An overt attempt to anti-democratically topple the incumbent President of the United States through superficially ‘democratic’ means” and “a meticulously pre-planned operation to pull off a superficially ‘democratic’ coup through mail-in ballot fraud,”

The election observers from OSCE have concluded(opens in a new tab) that the elections were “competitive and well managed”, despite certain legal uncertainties and logistical challenges.

The RT editor-in-chief comments the OSCE conclusion curtly, writing English with Cyrillic letters:

You gotta be kidding me

Image for post
Image for post

All this brings us back to the Kremlin ideologist, Vladislav Surkov, who kindly offers the world the Russian political system:

“Our system, just as everything Russian, does of course not look very elegant, but it is honest. Not everyone considers the word “honest” as a synonym with the word “better”, but it is nevertheless attractive. / — / The ability to hear and understand the people, see it right to its depths and act accordingly — this is the unique and most important characteristic of the State of Putin. This corresponds with the people and is in line with its ambitions and is not subject to any of history’s counter currents. This is efficient and lasting.”

Simonyan, Surkov, and the pro-Kremlin media are champions of freedom:

“Freedom from democracy.”

Thanks, but hard pass.

Image for post
Image for post

A Clever Plan

All the above claims have been debunked by investigation or the international elections oversight. Representatives of the Trump campaign have made no fraud allegations in courts and denied having evidence for them when asked.

The International observers from the OSCE, outsiders who come to observe the US election, described it as:

“competitive and well managed despite legal uncertainties and logistical challenges.”

In the parallel universe of pro-Kremlin media, they muse that his all may be a clever plan by the incumbent president. The stories cryptically predicted that all “fakes” will be exposed after someone catches the Biden team cheating, red-handed. Then, Donald Trump, the outlet prophesies, will be triumphantly installed for a second term as president.

Known Election-Related Disinformation for November 2020

Nov 2020 Disinformation List

Written by

Public health biologist studying at Johns Hopkins | Science writer & artist | Views reflect me alone | Subscribe @ Novel-Science.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store