Stories by Jessica Brandt

Expert Voices

Russian blame game sows U.S. discord to weaken Ukraine

view of the Kremlin compound
The Moscow Kremlin. Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/TASS via Getty Images

Kremlin-spawned influence campaigns that falsely accuse Ukraine of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have successfully furthered Russia's yearslong geopolitical battle against its largest European neighbor.

Why it matters: In addition to deflecting blame for its own well-documented meddling in American politics, the Kremlin has an interest in making support for Ukraine a more polarizing, partisan issue in the U.S. American military assistance is critical to Ukraine's efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression and territorial incursion.

Expert Voices

Social media platforms reveal China's disinformation reaching the West

protestors outside at night linking arms together and holding up glowing cell phones
Pro-democract protesters in Hong Kong. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In the past week, Google, Twitter and Facebook each deactivated networks of accounts found to be waging Beijing-backed global influence campaigns — a sign that China is taking pages out of Russia's propaganda playbook.

Why it matters: These campaigns, which aim to discredit the massive protests underway in Hong Kong, show China not only censoring information domestically but increasingly promoting disinformation abroad.

Expert Voices

Italy's Salvini embroiled in Russian scheme to aid League party

Matteo Salvini speaking
Italian Deputy Minister Matteo Salvini. Photo: Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Getty Images

The implication of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in a campaign finance deal involving Russian funds highlights the expanding reach of Russian interference in nationalist, populist political movements across Europe.

Why it matters: Russia's foreign meddling aims to further its goals of weakening liberal democracies in the West and expanding its share of global influence. But the exposure of some of its efforts has come back to haunt the intended beneficiaries.