NBC News, on Monday, ripped off the savage bandage that Russia has devised to again grossly interfere with America’s 2020 election, enlarging the horror that used sophisticated meddling into the 2016 U.S. free-voting democracy balloting system.
Three NBC journalists reviewed Russia’s overzealous plans in the international vote scamming.
It was revealed that Russians who were linked to interference in the 2016 election discussed ambitious plans to stoke unrest and even violence inside the United States as recently as 2018.
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 offensive 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 journalists who broke the story are Richard Engel, Kate Benyon-Tinker and Kennett Werner.
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 shadow mercenary outfit known as the Wagner Group, whose guns-for-hire are reported to 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 a plan 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.
Voting is a sacred trust to our democracy, founded in the 18th century. America’s government agencies must unite forces and eliminate the Russian interference soon so the 2020 presidential election can be formulated without any obnoxious Russian interference.