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America's Long History of Meddling in Russia
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Russia — OK, not the actual Russian government but a private troll farm company located in Russia — bought $100,000 worth of political ads on Facebook designed to change the outcome of the 2016 election. Except that only a small fraction of those ads were political. Also except that the small fraction was divvied up between pro-Hillary Clinton and pro-Donald Trump ads. And especially except that $100,000 in Facebook ads can’t affect the outcome of a $6.8 billion election.

Now the media outlets who touted special counsel Robert Mueller’s fizzled Russiagate investigation daily for two years are warning that Russia is planning to do the same thing in 2020.

Be slightly afraid, very slightly afraid.

“Our adversaries want to undermine our democratic institutions, influence public sentiment and affect government policies,” read a statement from top Trump administration security officials issued in November. “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions.”

Setting aside the question of whether it’s smart to take the U.S. government at its word — it isn’t — if Russia were to meddle in our domestic politics, we would have it coming.

To say the least.

Throughout its history, the United States has repeatedly attacked, sabotaged and undermined the Soviet Union. U.S. interference was one of the major contributors to the collapse of that country in 1991. So the Russian government that followed — the system now in place — might not even exist if not for the United States.

Imagine being one of the freshly minted leaders of Russia in the months following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. You have a lot on your plate. The last thing you need is a U.S.-led force of tens of thousands of troops invading your chaotic new country, most of which is primitive and dirt-poor. But that’s what they got. It took three years to kick out our troops.

That’s a little more interference than Facebook ads.

During World War II, the U.S. and the USSR were allies against Nazi Germany — enemy of my enemy and all that — but even after promising to jump in, the feckless Americans dragged their feet for three years before getting into the war, content to stand down as tens of millions of Soviet citizens died. Then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “deliberately made the Soviet people shoulder the hardships of war and hoped to see the Soviet Union bled white,” a wartime commander named Ivan Kuzovkov told Tass news service in 1984.


In 1962, then-President John F. Kennedy took the world to the brink of World War III because the Soviet Union had placed missiles in Cuba, 90 miles away from Florida. Yet two years earlier, the Soviets had shot down American spy pilot Gary Powers in what became known as the U-2 incident. There’s no question that the plane was over Soviet airspace. It was an act of war. But even at the height of the Cold War, the Soviets chose to look the other way. Can you imagine what would have happened if Russia had done the same thing to us?

In 1982, then-President Ronald Reagan approved an ingenious CIA operation to blow up a huge natural gas pipeline running across Siberia. “In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds,” recalled a former member of Reagan’s national security council. The result was economic disruption, environmental catastrophe and “the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.”

Blowing up the equivalent of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was a tad more dramatic than releasing Democratic National Committee emails, not that there’s any evidence Russia was behind that.

In 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 — gotta love the subtlety of the number — was shot down over northeastern Russia after its pilot turned off the plane’s transponder and ignored orders to withdraw from militarily sensitive Soviet airspace. The plane had penetrated 587 kilometers into the USSR, a world record for “off-course” aerial navigation. It’s impossible to know for sure, but given the close ties between South Korea and the U.S. at the time, it’s likely that the airline allowed the CIA to affix high-resolution spy cameras to the plane. It gambled the lives of the passengers on the assumption that the Russians wouldn’t fire on a civilian airliner.

Another Reagan-era project involved economic sabotage. Because oil and gas were major Soviet exports, the U.S. convinced Saudi Arabia to ramp up production of its own energy reserves. Oil and gas prices fell globally; the Soviet economy went into a tailspin; and U.S. taxpayers compensated the Saudis for doing them a favor. If Russia had purposefully caused the 2007-09 financial meltdown just to mess with us, we would view it as an act of war.

In 1991, the U.S. got its way; the Soviet Union collapsed; and Russia transitioned to free market capitalism. You’d think that the Americans would reach out to help. They did send money: bribes for the tiny clique of corrupt former bureaucrats surrounding Russia’s first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin, from whom soon emerged a new class of violent oligarchs. Ordinary Russians got nothing. It is estimated that between 2.5 and 3 million Russian citizens died of hunger and other causes as a result of the collapse of communism and the refusal of the international community to step up.

Talk about interference! The Americans worked hard to destroy the USSR. After they succeeded, when interference would have been welcome and appropriate, they left Russia to die.

When the U.S. worries about Russia messing with its internal politics, it sounds a lot like psychological projection.

Or just desserts.

• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: American Military, CIA, Russia, Russiagate 
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  1. Walt says:

    If Trump wants to MAGA, he could do so easily by having an alliance with Russia. Russia and the U.S. each have 45% of the worlds nuclear weapons. U.S. could control the western hemisphere and Russia the Eurasian continent as it stretches 6,000 miles across Eurasia.

  2. Then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “deliberately made the Soviet people shoulder the hardships of war and hoped to see the Soviet Union bled white,” a wartime commander named Ivan Kuzovkov told Tass news service in 1984.

    The “let’s you and him fight”-doctrine was quite universal in WWII.

  3. Technomad says:

    This overlooks quite a few things—like, for example, the fact that for its whole existence, the USSR was loudly espousing an ideology that required the overthrow of all other governments and countries. Bad as Hitler and Mussolini may have been, neither of them had covens of followers with no ethnic or other connection to their countries operating to spread their rule worldwide.

    And the USSR basically made the Third Reich possible. Without imports from the Soviet Union, the Germans couldn’t have built their war machine. Germany lacks many essential metals and other things, which the Soviets were happy to supply them with. The fact that the monster they had helped create turned on them was poetic justice. Churchill should have cut a deal with Hitler in which the Germans un-assed the Western countries in return for the British lifting their blockade on trade with Germany.

    After the war, the Soviets got stuck into every quarrel they could find, mainly to stir up trouble and create new Communist regimes. Why else would they have meddled in Latin America, which is our “near abroad?” Or Africa? Neither of those can be explained by Russian security needs—neither of those continents was even on the Tsars’ radar screens.

    The only tragedy about foreign intervention in the Russian Revolution was that it was unsuccessful. Strangling that monster in its cradle would have been a boon to civilization.

    • Disagree: Crazy Horse, jsigur
    • Replies: @jsigur
  4. Imagine being one of the freshly minted leaders of Russia in the months following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. You have a lot on your plate. The last thing you need is a U.S.-led force of tens of thousands of troops invading your chaotic new country,

  5. fnn says:

    The worst part of the “meddling” was the building of the Soviet industrial base in the 1920s and 1930s:


    The incredible but little known story of the manner and extent to which Western Capitalism came to the rescue of Soviet Communism, was told in abundant and fascinating detail half a century ago, by American scholar, Dr Anthony Sutton, a former Research Fellow of the prestigious Hoover Institution in California, in his massive three-volume study, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development 1917-1965.

    The key finding of this exhaustively documented historical survey, based on literally hundreds of official and unofficial Western and Soviet sources, and abounding in statistical charts, tables, footnotes and appendices, was that 90% of all Soviet technology was of Western origin.

    To explain this finding in more detail, Dr Sutton examined 75 major technological processes in such crucial and diverse sectors as mining, oil, chemicals, machine building, aircraft, communications, agricultural equipment, etc, and estimated the percentage that originated in Russia. The startling results were: between 1917 and 1930, 0%; between 1930 and 1945, only 10%; and between 1945 and 1965, a mere 11%.

    While there were some indigenous Soviet advances between 1930 and 1945 in the development of machine guns (!), synthetic rubber, oil drilling techniques and boilers, such advances were temporary and later abandoned in favor of foreign designs and processes. Between 1946 and 1965 most of the progress of Soviet innovation depended on the ‘scaling up’ of existing plants and technologies imported and copied from the West. This was particularly the case in iron and steel making, electricity generation and rocket technology.

    Famous Western Companies Flocked to the Soviet Union
    Western capitalism’s breast-feeding of Soviet Communism began in the 1920s, during the period of Lenin’s ‘New Economic Policy’, when more than 350 foreign concessions were employed within all sections of the Russian economy except furniture and fittings. Among the foreign firms that flocked to the Soviet Union with their technicians, machinery and capital were famous names like General Electric, Westinghouse, Singer, Du Pont, Ford, Standard Oil, Siemens, International Harvester, Alcoa, Singer, Krupp, Otto Wolf, and many others, including important British, French, Swedish, Danish and Austrian companies. And their beneficial impact on the Soviet economy was dramatic.

    Thus, for example, by the end of the 1920s, 80% of Soviet oil drilling was conducted by the American rotary technique and all refineries were built by foreign corporations. As a result of this transfusion of Western capital and expertise, there was a recovery of Soviet production from almost zero in 1922, in the wake of the civil war provoked by the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917, to pre-First World War figures in 1928.

    The same pattern carried over into the decade and a half of 1930 to 1945. During these years, the huge industrial plants built for the machine-tool, automobile, aircraft and tube mill industries, were erected by foreign companies, and 300,000 high-quality foreign machine-tools were imported between 1929 and 1940.

  6. jsigur says:

    You assume a lot to be fact that basically isn’t such as “Hitler was evil”. THe cold war in reality was a fake war between two communist nations, Jews running both behind the curtain
    Ever wonder why the Jewish media talks or refers to communist thought in humanic terms while demonizing Hitler’s fascism as pure evil?
    Fascism = goyim rule. That in essence was what WW II was about and it was the time to take a stand for preserving your ethnicity. Unfortunately, Jews controlled the propaganda of most “white” nations and we mostly served the enemy (assuming you like the idea of your folks ruling yourself)
    Jews have dominated the politics of Europe for quite some time. So long, whites that didn’t know this believe the behavior is self-inflicted.
    THis is also why exposing and removing Jew rule is a daunting task

  7. Franz says:

    I see the USA meddling in Russia, sure.

    But it cut both ways, at least at one time.

    The crucial aid the Tsar gave Lincoln in the 1860s was a factor that kept the American Union from collapsing right then and there. Would have been an amazingly peaceful world, a world without Uncle Sam, no Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Rockefeller UN, no NATO and no, repeat NO, damn CIA. No “economic hitmen”. No New World Order. No Globo-homo. No Statue of Liberty. No huddled masses yearning to breath smog and typhus poop.

    Russia maybe meddled not so much… but the timing was very bad. And the reason the Tsar gave? Saving Christianity! Oh man. Even after a long week, that one hurts to remember.

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