Russian documents reveal desire to sow racial discord — and violence — in the U.S.

The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling in the 2020 election.

NBC News, May 21

By Richard Engel, Kate Benyon-Tinker and Kennett Werner

LONDON — Russians who were linked to interference in the 2016 U.S. election discussed ambitious plans to stoke unrest and even violence inside the U.S. as recently as 2018, according to documents reviewed by NBC News.

The documents — communications between associates of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked oligarch indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for previous influence operations against the U.S. — laid out a new plot to manipulate and radicalize African Americans. The plans show that Prigozhin’s circle has sought to exploit racial tensions well beyond Russia’s social media and misinformation efforts tied to the 2016 election.

The documents were obtained through the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative project funded by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. NBC News has not independently verified the materials, but forensic analysis by the Dossier Center appeared to substantiate the communications.

One document said that President Donald Trump’s election had “deepened conflicts in American society” and suggested that, if successful, the influence project would “undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.”

The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling in the 2020 election.

The documents contained proposals for several ways to further exacerbate racial discord in the future, including a suggestion to recruit African Americans and transport them to camps in Africa “for combat prep and training in sabotage.” Those recruits would then be sent back to America to foment violence and work to establish a pan-African state in the South, particularly in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

There is no indication that the plan — which is light on details — was ever put into action, but it offers a fresh example of the mindset around Russian efforts to sow discord in the U.S.

The blueprint, entitled “Development Strategy of a Pan-African State on U.S. Territory,” floated the idea of enlisting poor, formerly incarcerated African Americans “who have experience in organized crime groups” as well as members of “radical black movements for participation in civil disobedience actions.”

The goal was to “destabilize the internal situation in the U.S.”

Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI and an NBC News contributor, who reviewed the documents, said that they offer a warning to the U.S.

“Regardless of whether or not these plans are an amateurish thought experiment, the fact that these people are talking about doing this should disturb Americans of all stripes,” Figliuzzi said.

“The unfortunate reality is that we’re seeing an adversary that will consider virtually anything to get what it wants, and if it means violence or splitting America along racial lines or eroding our trust in institutions, they’ll do it.”

Some of the documents appear to have been sent by Dzheykhun “Jay” Aslanov, an employee of the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based troll farm that played a key role in the 2016 Russian meddling campaign. Aslanov was one of 13 Russians indicted by Mueller in February 2018 for his role with the IRA.

The plan was shared with Mikhail Potepkin, a Russian businessman, who then circulated it more widely, according to communications reviewed by NBC News.

Both Aslanov and Potepkin have been linked to Prigozhin, a Russian catering magnate often described as “Putin’s chef.” Prigozhin was also indicted by Mueller for funding the IRA. Widely perceived as a Kremlin operative, he has been connected to a shadowy mercenary outfit known as the Wagner Group, whose guns-for-hire are reportedto have been involved in Russian military operations in Syria and Eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. military officials.

The Mueller report exposed how Russian trolls, employed by associates of Prigozhin, deliberately inflamed racial tensions by spreading false and incendiary stories to African Americans via social media. Among the objectives was to suppress black turnout in the 2016 U.S. election.

Another of the newly obtained documents is a map of the U.S. overlaid with information about African American population size in seven southern states. Also included are the number of subscribers to websites and social media accounts that were set up by Russian trolls at the IRA to spread race-baiting rhetoric, the latter of which were later removed by the social media companies.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., who was briefed on the documents, said they highlight how ongoing racial issues in the U.S. can be used in misinformation efforts.

“Russia understands how critical the African American vote is to determining the outcome of elections,” said Demings, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. “And because we have not effectively dealt with racism as a country ourselves, I believe we’ve made ourselves vulnerable to foreign powers like Russia to continue to try to undermine.”

The documents also discuss how to expand Russia’s clout on the African continent and win business there, from arms sales to mining contracts. They outline propaganda efforts to target Africans and stir up negative opinions about Europe and the U.S.

Cooking up elaborate interference schemes is standard practice within Prigozhin’s circle, according to Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russian intelligence and author of “The Red Web,” a book on Russian information warfare.

“This is typical of the way Prigozhin and his team operate,” Soldatov said. “They come up with pitches, some of them very ambitious. They discuss many possible ideas and then send the pitches to the Kremlin to be authorized or rejected. It’s their modus operandi.”

The idea of African American statehood has an intellectual precedent in Russia. During the early 20th century, communists in America proposed forming a “black-belt nation” in the South. Some party members traveled to the Soviet Union for training.

“Even though these kinds of initiatives from the Russians aren’t new to us, what is new is the rapidity with which they can get this message out on social media and saturate the American consumer with these kinds of thoughts,” said Figliuzzi, the former FBI official. “That puts the Russian initiative on steroids and should scare all of us.”

Image: Richard  Engel

Richard Engel

Original piece, complete with videos, here:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russian-documents-reveal-desire-sow-racial-discord-violence-u-s-n1008051

15 comments

  1. Article was written before the tragic death of Mr Floyd.
    It is highly likely that antifa has been infiltrated by putinazis.

  2. The West could have avoided all this by hammering Putin in 2008, and then again in 2014. The inaction of the West only encouraged Putin, now with a Putin lover in charge at the WH, things will only get worse.

  3. Its an easy target with a willing victim.

    The same thing would work here in the UK but would need a little more of a push. Sadly not too much of a push, the sheep are willing.

  4. Time to train some Chechens to stir up some crap in RuSSia in case this is true. Concerning Dixie, there will be no war. Most of us believe in the bible, not politicians or the media, independent from one’s color.

    • It is highly likely that 1960’s race hustlers like Malcolm X and the Panthers were KGB infiltrated and part funded. As well as the other revolutionary groups around at the time. Environmental groups also were fully penetrated : Greenpeace, CND etc.

      • Concerning the absurd and suicidal immigration policies in the West, could RuSSia be behind this, in particular in Europe and Canada? I mean many leaders, not just Schroeder and Obama, were on Putin’s payroll.

        • I think so yes. We know for certain that the ‘alt-right’ is kremlin-controlled. We also know for certain that the hard left very much still is a global kremprop project.
          Schroeder is a Social Democrat/leftist not dissimilar to Macron, who has revealed himself to be a kremlin asset, as well as being a traditional Anglo-Saxon hating French leftist.

        • Susan Rice gave an interview yesterday in which she said that the riots are ‘straight out of the Russian playbook.’ I think she is right. A torrent of articles have suddenly appeared in kremkrapper sites like Sputnik and alt-right sites like Gateway Pundit, daily caller, conservative daily, Breitbart, Fox etc, to rubbish her claims; deploying the usual ‘deep state’ pejorative. Which means of course that she is probably on the right track.

          • Oh these riots are catnip for the Moskali. They will fan these flames like no other and hope they continue through the election. I’m going out with some friends tonight to do a little antifa-hunting myself. Our police can’t have all the fun ::))

  5. The possibility that mafia land could be involved in the riots was one of my first thoughts. Mafia land’s collusion with filthy subversive elements would not be the first time for something like this to happen and I certainly wouldn’t put it past the shit nugget in the Kremlin.

What is your opinion?