KGB, Vladimir Putin, Russia discussed on Radio Specials
To doubt, the accuracy of other news outlets, and we'll look at the evolution of internet trolling from individuals to large farms, and finally what can be done to counter all this. But first what happened in Lithuania is nothing new throughout the nineteen sixties seventies and eighties. The KGB spread fake news. And rumors and some of what they did looks a lot like the fake news campaigns. We see today, you know, it worked then. And maybe they're trying to have it work. Now. That's kimberly. Martin a political science professor at Barnard college. One of the things that they did was try to undermine particular American politicians. They went after a Senator from Washington. Henry Jackson scoop Jackson who was one of the big engines behind the jackson-vannik amendment. It put restrictions on US trade with Soviet Union. And so they would not have liked scoop Jackson very much. So the KGB's spread a rumor at that time. If we go back to the nineteen seventy s it would have been shocking, if someone had been gay the KGB forged FBI documents stating that scoop Jackson belonged to a gay sex club. We've seen those things more recently. The best example is that they tried to make some incident. Nations about the French president Macron when he was running for office very similar to what they did. Whisk jackson. The KGB didn't just go after politicians. It didn't like it had bigger aspirations to turn Americans against each. Other. Take Martin Luther King junior in the nineteen sixties the FBI tried to discredit him by painting him as an extremist the KGB also tried to discredit him. But in the opposite way, they did that by planting sources in actually African newspapers with the hope that they would be picked up by American newspapers saying that he was too peaceful that he wasn't being strong enough. And the goal apparently was to try to turn the American civil rights movement in the late nineteen sixties, violent more recently, Russian social media accounts posed as black lives matter activists. They spread memes. They organize protests, and they did this to stoke racial tensions in the US. The big change between what they tried in the nineteen sixties and seventies on what they're trying now. Is that back then we didn't have social media. It's very difficult as an outsider to get a story planted in an American mainstream newspaper because you can't buy a story. This type of Russian information warfare came out of Soviet political culture, the sense of being constantly under threat and of believing that Russia is up against everybody else in the world is something that both fits with that long standing Soviet culture and that fits in with how Putin seems to see the world in current events terms. But it wasn't conventional war that Russia was worried about it was mostly about how foreigners might use domestic sources of opposition to undermine Soviet rule. Just this notion that every time that's something goes wrong in Russia. It must be a a western agent who is actually causing it to happen. That has just a lot of resonance from the old KGB culture as a young, man. Vladimir Putin was immersed in that KGB culture. He was a KGB agent in Dresden. In the twilight years of the Soviet Union in one thousand nine hundred one the Soviet Union collapsed and Boris Yeltsin became president President Yeltsin came to power probably the most democratic period ever history of Russian empire. If you will that's William Courtney. He's a former US ambassador to Kazakhstan and Georgia thorough political reforms reforms, but the security sector in Russia. Did not get reformed the military former KGB of a parts of the security sector Instead Yeltsin just split them up. Here's Kimberly Martin what it effectively meant is that there was nobody overseeing what these new agencies were doing. There is no personnel change. So it was the same people in the same jobs under new bureaucratic names, but a lot of KGB agents opted for a career change. So for example, Vladimir Putin went into politics, and so we now looking back or quarter century now, we're seeing a circumstance in which the security sector of Russia is really in charge. Now, those are the people running carmont policy. Meanwhile, many other ex KGB agents went into Russia's newly formed private sector, some of those KGB people became very much mashed in Russian businesses, and especially in Russian businesses that sort of blurred the distinction between state enterprises and private enterprises. And so what we saw was. This intermingling of business interests and intelligence interests that has really very much continued to this day throughout the nineteen nineties Russia focused on strengthening its economic and diplomatic ties with the west when Putin first came to office as president in two thousand he presented himself as being an economic technocrats and he talked about cooperating with the west and early on. There was a fair amount of cooperation with the west, but it wasn't long before the US snubbed Russia. I by pulling out of a key ballistic missile treaty and then by going around the UN Security Council during the two thousand three Iraq, invasion, the west and in particularly the United States made it very clear that it no longer needed Russia as a security partner. It was like a slap in the face to Putin. And then there was the Russian economy. The Russian economy remains very dependent on oil and natural gas. And so when oil and natural gas prices were high Putin could afford to do whatever he wanted to do because money was pouring in. End. But when oil prices fell Putin could no longer deliver on his economic promises. Then in two thousand eleven Russia held a parliamentary election..