Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Meme Of The Week
Putin: I Am Not Disappointed With Trump, But With The Entire System
In an interview with anchorman Vladimir Solovyov in the documentary "World Order 2018," Putin discussed Russia-U.S. relations.
Commenting on President Donald Trump, Putin said:
"No, I am not disappointed, moreover, he made a very good impression on me on personal level. I am disappointed not in the partner but in the entire system. One cannot but be disappointed in it as it has proved ineffective and self-destructive. It is hard to deal with such a system because it is unpredictable."
He then added: "I think he is a reasonable man, despite his flamboyant ways – a result of his previous activities and experience." Putin also opined that while talking business, Trump "gets to the core of issues, he listens and communicates with the other party. It is possible to make agreements with him, I can see that compromises may be reached."
(Tass.com, March 7, 2018)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017 (Source: Rt.com)
Putin To FSB Board: I Am Asking You To Prevent Foreign Intelligence Services To Obtain Political, Economic, Technical And Military Information
In an expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service Board, Putin said:
"Colleagues, in my March 1 Address, I spoke about new armament technologies and systems that are to protect Russia and provide a strategic balance, which means improving global security.
"We have been working on this advanced equipment for many years, with thousands of people and hundreds of design and research teams and industrial enterprises. I would like to note that we have managed to provide an effective operational and counterintelligence cover for these large-scale projects. I would like to thank you and everyone who took part in this highly important, complex work for this result; the work was carried out and continues in difficult conditions.
"As you know, in recent years foreign intelligence services have stepped up their activities. They are working very closely on Russia, using the most advanced methods of clandestine and technical intelligence. Last year alone we stopped 72 employees and 397 agents working with foreign secret services. I am asking you to continue working in this crucial area in a most organized and effective manner, and to prevent any attempts of foreign intelligence services to obtain political, economic, technical and military information."
(Kremlin.ru, March 5, 2018)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Source: Kremlin.ru)
In The News:
U.S. Meddling In Russian Elections
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "That the United States has a rich tradition of meddling in the internal affairs and electoral processes in many countries throughout the world, including our country, is not a secret for anyone. This was acknowledged by the Americans themselves."
(Tass.com, March 5, 2018)
After talks with Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:
"We never interfere in the internal affairs of any country, although we fear allegations to the contrary on a daily basis in Washington and several other Western capitals, but they have not provided a single, I repeat, a single fact concerning this.
"I believe The New York Times has recently published a big item on the history of U.S. interference in elections and in the internal affairs of dozens and dozens of states over the past decades. When this question was raised in the U.S. media, I heard incredible statements to the effect that the Americans really do this only for the good of the countries concerned, because together with their interference they bring freedom and democracy to these countries. We do not share this philosophy at all. I see this as a neo-imperial position. We will never do anything of the kind."
(Mid.ru, March 8, 2018)
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said: "[Washington] not only interferes in Russia's internal affairs through various channels and in various forms, but also tries to blame Russia for pseudo-interference in America's domestic affairs… The Russian Foreign Ministry streamlined efforts to collect the relevant information. That concerns both attempts to meddle in our affairs and broader detrimental efforts of this kind that the U.S. stoops to committing."
(Tass.com, March 5, 2018)
At a meeting of the Russian Federation Council Temporary Commission for Protection of State Sovereignty and Prevention of Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs, Ryabkov stated:
"In the past years, the number of attempts to interfere in our domestic processes always increased ahead of presidential elections, as well as in the run-up to parliamentary elections… Such trends can also be seen during the current presidential campaign. The Foreign Ministry has been taking note of them, our agencies have been dealing with this issue."
(Tass.com, March 5, 2018)
Russian Senator Andrey Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council's Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty, said that the U.S. wants to portray the upcoming presidential elections as illegitimate. According to Klimov, Washington is trying to force to the Russian and international public opinion the idea that if the turnout will be more than 45% then is a proof that the elections were a fraud.
Klimov said: "The U.S. through its propaganda channels is forcing the following point of view: if the turnout of the Presidential elections is more than 45% according to the official numbers of the Central Elections Commission, thus it constitutes a fraud, rig and distortion of reality, because [from their point of view] the turnout could not be higher than 45% without certain factors. They push [this idea] not only into the heads of Russian citizens, but also abroad".
According to Klimov the main goal in Washington is to raise doubts on the overall legitimacy of the Russian political system. Klimov continued: "Next [thing Washington will do], according to data we have, is to promote early elections [in Russia] by the premise that the previous ones were non-legitimate. They will also promote a protest which will be created through their agents of influence in Russia in order to continue rocking the boat."
Klimov also added that the Commission is aware of the fact that "one of the global Anglo-Saxon broadcasting companies may air a pseudo-documentary about Putin fighting against his political opponents".
(Interfax.ru, March 5, 2018)
Russian Federation Council Report On U.S. Meddling In Russian Elections From 2011 To 2017
Russian news agency TASS reported that the interim commission of the Russian Federation Council for the protection of state sovereignty exposed in its annual report "numerous signs of interference from abroad" during Russia's election campaigns during the period of 2011-2017 (i.e. the election of MPs to the State Duma in 2011 and 2016, Russia's presidential elections of 2012, and during regional elections in 2013 and 2017."
The document states: "The commission is convinced that these foreign attempts failed to noticeably influence the course of the electoral campaigns and the expression of the will of Russian citizens during the voting… The facts mentioned above speak not so much about the weakness of such sorts of unlawful activities but about social and political stability in Russia and the timely measures the Russian authorities are taking to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and Russia's electoral sovereignty."
(Tass.com, March 5, 2017)
On the left, Senator Andrey Klishas, chairman of the Federation Council's Commission on Constitutional Law. On the right, Senator Andrey Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council's Commission for the Protection of State Sovereignty. (Source: Meduza.io)
Independent media outlet Meduza.io published an article, titled "Russia's Senate released a report accusing the U.S. of meddling in foreign countries. Its sources are a Stalinist pseudo-historian, Wikipedia, and an American postgraduate," analyzing the report of the Russian Federal Council. In the articles' introduction, Meduza.io writes: "The Russian Federation Council's Commission on Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Foreign Interference published its first major report on Monday, March 5. Much of the 83-page document is a digressive look at America's history of meddling in various countries' domestic affairs over the past half century. In their introduction, the commission members write that this study is an 'objective analysis based on reliable data.' Meduza took a closer look at the report and found that a significant part of its data was taken from an article written by a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in September 2016, with some additional excerpts copied from a book by the Stalinist pseudo-historian Igor Pykhalov, plus a bit lifted from Wikipedia."
Read Meduza.io's full article here.
Russian Report: Washington Has Been Interfering In Russia's Presidential Elections Since Putin Came To Power
The Russian media outlet Izvestia reported about a document, authored by Andrey Manoilo, a member of the member of the scientific advisory board to the Russian Security Council, on the U.S. interference in Russia's 1996-2018 presidential campaigns. According to Manoilo's report, the U.S. has stepped up its attempts to meddle in Russia's internal affairs since Vladimir Putin came to power. "That is, precisely at the time when Russia started to 'make itself felt as an independent player on the global stage, aspiring to sovereignty in domestic political questions'," states the report. The report also specifies that the chief purpose of Washington's interference is discrediting Russia's leadership, Putin and his inner circle.
See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7353, Russian Report: Washington Has Been Interfering In Russia's Presidential Elections Since Putin Came To Power, February 25, 2018.
Fake News – Senator Kosachev: 'It Is The West That Creates Entire Fake News Factories'
Chairman of Russia's Federation Council International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said:
"The key area today is information warfare. Agencies to fight fake news are mushrooming throughout the West. Meanwhile, Russia is routinely branded as a source of fake news... However, when you look closely at what is considered to be false, it becomes obvious that these fake news reports are not disseminated by us, but rather they are spawned by the West... It is the West that actually creates entire fake news factories, which professionally provide its so-called 'one-hundred-percent hard facts,' video footage and eyewitness accounts."
Kosachev then added: "Traditional diplomacy with regard to Russia has been substituted with information blitzkrieg diplomacy. Instead of politics and politicians, we are dealing with propagandists and mediators who are using public opinion instead of armies."
(Tass.com, March 5, 2018)
News In Short:
Moscow is concerned about several Ukrainian radical nationalist organizations' plans to hamper voting in the Russian presidential election on March 18, 2018, at Russian diplomatic and consular institutions in Ukraine. Mid.ru, March 13, 2018; see the full article here.