General Chaos is the Kremlin’s Favorite Candidate

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There can be no doubt that over the past ten years, Russia has honed its active measures operations – or covert action in U.S. intelligence parlance – into strategic tools to be taken seriously. A great deal of time and effort has been focused on the specific methodologies used by Russia: trolls, bots, cyber intrusion teams with names like Fancy Bear, fake Facebook accounts, and so on. It is critically important to understand the nuts and bolts of how the intelligence services controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin are running these complex, multifaceted operations.

But while better analysis of the technical aspects of the Russian operations is important, understanding the strategic goals and the reasons for them is equally, if not more important. The Kremlin may favor a particular candidate in an election – say, Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen – but his primary goal is to delegitimize and disrupt democratic processes in the West. As Germans prepare to go to the polls, it is worth reviewing Russia’s overarching goals – not just the how, but also the why of the attacks on Western democracies.

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