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Russia’s New ‘Useful Idiots’?

There are echoes of Soviet times in the way Russia has been courting far-right activists in the West.

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

There are echoes of Soviet times in the way Russia has been courting far-right activists in the West. A new book looks at how and why it does it.
 
Remember Richard Spencer, the U.S. white supremacist whose “alt-right” followers celebrated Donald Trump’s presidential election victory with a show of Nazi salutes?
 
Back in 2011, Spencer was appearing in another guise, as an expert on Libya, on Russia’s English-language propaganda channel RT.  Deriding the West’s strategy, he accused NATO of siding with the “thugs” who killed the Libyan dictator — and erstwhile Western ally — Muammar Gaddafi.
 
Given the chaos in Libya since, Spencer’s argument hardly looks controversial now. But that’s not why RT and other Russian state-controlled outlets have been so keen to book him and other Western far-right activists as guests.
 
For the Kremlin’s information machine, these activists serve a bigger purpose, to help promote the narrative of the West in chaos — and thereby also boost the idea of Russia as the alternative global power.
 

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Bradley Jardine is a journalist based in Moscow covering the post-Soviet region and China. @Jardine_bradley

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

Russia’s New ‘Useful Idiots’?

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