DEEP SUMMARY - The Road to Unfreedom_ Russia, Europe, America - Timothy Snyder

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Here is a summary of the key points:

  • This is an introduction written by Timothy Snyder in 2010 for his book "Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin."

  • It describes the circumstances around the birth of his son in Vienna in 2010 and how he was working on a book about mass murders in Europe under Nazi and Soviet rule.

  • He had been consulting with historian Tony Judt, who was terminally ill, about issues like the assumptions of inevitable democracy and capitalism.

  • In April 2010, a plane carrying Polish officials, including Snyder's friend Tomek Merta, crashed in Russia while traveling to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre of Polish POWs by the Soviet secret police.

  • After this tragedy, conspiracy theories emerged and polarization increased in Poland regarding the crash. Snyder expresses hope that Putin would reflect more broadly on Stalinism but recognizes this was unlikely.

  • Putin subsequently reasserted authoritarian control in Russia, cracking down on discussions of the Soviet past, as Europe faced new challenges and uncertainties.

    Here is a summary:

  • In the early 2010s, smartphones became ubiquitous but also fragmented people's sense of time as responses became instant but attention spans shrank.

  • Russia turned against the EU in 2013, attacking it as decadent. Then in 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed some of its territory after Ukraine drew closer to the EU.

  • By 2015, Russia had extended a cyberwarfare campaign beyond Ukraine to Europe and the US. In 2016, Britain voted to leave the EU as Russia advocated, and the US elected Trump, an outcome Russians had worked to achieve.

  • The politics of "inevitability" that dominated after the Soviet collapse, claiming free markets inevitably lead to democracy and rights, failed to account for realities in Russia, Ukraine, etc. and was replaced by a "politics of eternity" focusing on threats and victimhood over progress.

  • Propaganda styles shifted from "inevitability" spinning facts into a web of well-being, to "eternity" suppressing facts to dismiss reforms. Reality testing declined as fiction dominated.

  • Investigative journalism became more important to counter political fiction and distinguish leaders' accounts from real reasons for decisions, as it had in confronting wartime propaganda.

    Here is a summary:

  • The displacement of policy by propaganda and the shift from the politics of inevitability to the politics of eternity refers to how democratic politics and factual discussion of policy issues have been replaced by propaganda and the promotion of eternal crises/enemies.

  • Russian leaders embraced this shift first and helped export it. They understood weaknesses in Western societies that they had previously exploited within Russia, like inequality and the erosion of civic responsibility.

  • In the 2010s, influence began flowing from East to West as Russian political narratives and tactics spread. Concepts like "fake news" that originated in Russia were adopted in the West. Russia actively sought to undermine the EU and US through disinformation campaigns.

  • Russia promoted the "politics of eternity" to protect its kleptocratic regime - demolishing facts, entrenching inequality, and exacerbating similar tendencies abroad. It did this through both regular military intervention in places like Ukraine and amplifying divisions within the West through information warfare.

  • The events of the 2010s, from Brexit to Trump's election, represented the breakdown of the "politics of inevitability" approach in the West and its replacement with the "politics of eternity" model pioneered in Russia. This shift from democratic politics to propaganda and manufactured crises weakened Western societies and opened them to greater Russian influence and interference.

    Here is a summary:

  • Ivan Ilyin was a Russian philosopher who initially supported establishing the rule of law in Russia but became a counter-revolutionary after the Bolshevik Revolution. He advocated for fascist and violent methods to defeat Bolshevism.

  • After being exiled from Russia in 1922, Ilyin wrote works promoting fascism and authoritarianism as an alternative to Bolshevism. He admired Italian fascism under Mussolini and German Nazism under Hitler.

  • Ilyin believed that fascism represented the politics of the future and that Russia should adopt a version of Christian fascism. He hoped Russian exiles could return to power in Russia.

  • After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ilyin's works gained popularity in Russia under Putin. Putin cited Ilyin extensively to justify centralizing power and undermining democracy. Other political leaders also promoted Ilyin's anti-Western and authoritarian views.

  • Ilyin represented a rejection of values like individualism, succession, novelty, truth and equality in favor of authoritarian rule and eternally supporting the current strongman leader. His philosophy has significantly influenced the direction of politics in modern Russia.

    Here is a summary:

  • Ilyin's major philosophical work, Philosophy (1916), maintained that the one good in the universe was God's totality before creation. When God created the world, he shattered this total Truth, dividing the world into the "categorical" realm of perfect concept and the "historical" realm of human life with facts and passions.

  • For Ilyin, our world of facts and passions is senseless. He found it immoral to grasp facts in their historical setting. Passions are evil, as God erred by releasing the "evil nature of the sensual."

  • By condemning God, Ilyin empowered himself as a philosopher to reveal how the divine totality might be regained. He issued judgments about what is and ought to be.

  • Ilyin's vision was totalitarian - we should cease to exist as individuals and think/feel as one. Individuality is corrupt and antithetical to the divine totality.

  • Ilyin made an exception for Russia, seeing it as retaining innocence and purity despite history. He denied the separate existence of places like Ukraine within the Russian "organism."

  • Ilyin portrayed radical Russian lawlessness as patriotic virtue. A fascist coup would be an "act of salvation" towards redeeming God's flawed world through force against Russia's "enemies."

So in summary, Ilyin believed the pre-creation God represented a divine totality that was shattered by creation. He saw Russia as retaining innocence from this process, and advocated a totalitarian and fascist vision as a means to "redeem" the world through force and restore the lost divine totality.

Here is a summary:

  • The essay analyzes the fascist political philosophy of Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin and how his ideas shaped Russian nationalism and politics under Putin.

  • Ilyin promoted the idea of a "redeemer" leader who would direct passions and generate myth by identifying enemies. He would suppress facts, guide others to war, and merge sexual energy and mysticism through violence.

  • Ilyin's thought began with contemplations of God/truth but ended up justifying war against opponents like Ukraine. Destruction is easier than creation and he struggled to define stable political institutions.

  • Ilyin advocated a totalitarian system where the leader has total power and individuals are suppressed in favor of national unity. Elections would be public spectacles rather than democratic. Society would be a rigid hierarchy.

  • Ilyin blurred human/divine and possible/impossible by portraying the leader as eternally innocent Christ. This fantasy of Russia had no clear succession plan.

  • In the 2010s, Putin and oligarchs used Ilyin's ideas to justify their wealth and power accumulation beyond the law by reframing politics as being rather than doing.

  • Ilyin's style of argument resembled the Marxist-Leninist education of Soviet-era kleptocrats who now led Russia, drawing from their shared Hegelian philosophical roots.

    Here is a summary:

  • Hegel saw history as progressing through conflict toward an ultimate unity of spirit or God. Marx criticized this view, arguing that the goal was human liberation, not God. History involved class struggle as technology allowed some to dominate others.

  • Ilyin agreed with Hegel that spirit meant God, but argued original sin doomed humanity to suffering. Suffering came from God's flawed creation, not technology/class as Marx claimed. Redemption required a chosen nation to restore God's totality.

  • Lenin led a Marxist revolution in Russia, believing a vanguard could hasten history. This enabled the Bolshevik regime. Ilyin opposed Bolshevism but endorsed its violence and voluntarism to establish a philosophical elite.

  • Over time, Ilyin's views aligned more with Stalin and the Soviet regime, seeing Russia as the defender of absolute good against Western decadence. After WWII, Stalin portrayed Russia as defending socialism/communism.

  • In the post-Soviet era, Putin and others invoked Ilyin's ideas of Russian victimhood and eternal opposition to the West to portray themselves as redeemers and delegitimize dissent. But Ilyin's concepts cannot sustain a state and mainly helped the oligarchy portray themselves as redeemers while creating fictional enemies.

    Here is a summary:

The passage discusses the problem of political succession and continuity in authoritarian regimes. It uses the examples of Ilyin's fascist ideas in Russia and the Soviet Union to illustrate this problem.

Ilyin envisioned Russia under a heroic redeemer figure but did not address what would happen after that leader's death. Similarly, the USSR lacked a clear principle of succession. It was organized around revolutionary inevitability rather than continuity of institutions. Stalin established himself through violence but each leader's death threatened instability.

Brezhnev replaced Marxist inevitability with nostalgia for Stalin and World War II, crafting a politics of eternal victimhood. This obscured history and promised nothing for the future. The USSR could not be changed or reformed, only preserved as it was.

Gorbachev attempted reforms but faced resistance from entrenched party interests accustomed to the status quo. His calls for democratic changes in Eastern Bloc countries led to breakaway revolutions as communist regimes collapsed without Soviet protection. In summary, the passage analyzes how authoritarian regimes struggle with political succession and continuity over time.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses the transition of power from the Soviet Union to the new Russian Federation in the early 1990s. It focuses on the rise of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.

  • Yeltsin became president through elections held when Russia was still part of the Soviet Union. He remained president after independence but no new fair elections were held to legitimize his rule.

  • Powerful oligarchs supported Yeltsin to manage democracy in their favor. Yeltsin dissolved parliament in 1993 and likely faked his reelection in 1996 to consolidate power.

  • By 1999, Yeltsin was ill and the question of succession arose. Putin, who had worked for the KGB and Yeltsin, was chosen as a potential candidate due to his similarity to a popular fictional character.

  • A series of mysterious bombings occurred and Putin started a new war in Chechnya, boosting his popularity. This "political fiction" allowed Putin to win the 2000 presidential election replacing Yeltsin, beginning a new era of "managed democracy" in Russia.

    Here is a summary:

  • After a school was besieged by terrorists in 2004, Russia abolished elected regional governorships. Vladimir Surkov justified this by claiming Russians were not ready for democracy yet.

  • Surkov claimed Russia was superior to other post-Soviet states due to its sovereignty. But countries like Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the EU by demonstrating democratic practices that Russia lacked.

  • Surkov framed Russia's lack of democracy as "sovereign democracy" instead. This allowed extreme nationalists to portray democracy as a threat to sovereignty.

  • Surkov argued personality and centralization were key to Russian statehood. He echoed Ilyin's view that people should have as much freedom as they can handle.

  • Putin consolidated power through the 2000s due to economic growth. But by 2011-12, protests emerged against plans for Putin to rule indefinitely as fraud became overt. Putin dismissed voters' wishes for rule of law and succession principles.

So in summary,Surkov and Putin undermined democracy in Russia by emphasizing sovereignty and personalities over succession,election integrity and voters' will, leading to protests over fraudulent elections designed to keep Putin in power indefinitely.

Here is a summary:

  • Putin came to power in 2000 as a mysterious hero, but by 2012 he had destroyed the rule of law by faking the election results. This put Russian statehood in limbo since he was both the ruler and the one who eliminated any future transitions of power.

  • In previous years, the Kremlin used Chechens as enemies to consolidate power. After 2012, they needed a new fictional enemy to link protestors to, portraying them as a threat rather than Putin. They chose the designs of the EU and US to destroy Russia as the fictional threat.

  • The Kremlin portrayed opposition as agents of global sexual decadence threatening Russian innocence. Putin and others made homophobic remarks linking protestors to homosexuality. Kremlin associates developed theories that the West promoted gay rights to undermine Russian birthrates.

  • Though Russian elites' own sexual orientations were ambiguous, portraying homosexuality as foreign and heterosexuality as Russian masked real domestic problems. Putin offered masculinity as an argument against democracy rather than succession through law.

  • Initially, the Kremlin blamed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for initiating the protests to distract from electoral fraud. They presented the West as a threat to consolidate dictatorship rather than address Russia's real geopolitical weaknesses like China.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses Putin's embrace of the political philosophy of Ivan Ilyin in 2012 as Putin consolidated power after the 2011-2012 protests in Russia.

  • Ilyin promoted an "eternity politics" that saw Russia as an eternal, innocent state threatened by foreign influences. Putin adopted this view to define the protests as foreign-backed threats to Russia.

  • Laws were passed restricting civil society, free speech, and defining opposition as treason or extremism. The FSB security agency was empowered.

  • Putin claimed adherence to democracy meant following laws restricting dissent. History was reinterpreted to see the Soviet era and even terror as authentic Russian responses to foreign influence.

  • Ilyin's remains were reburied with honors by the Orthodox Church and security forces, reconciling fascism and communism as inherent to Russian identity. This allowed contradictions to be ignored and an image of eternal, innocent Russian statehood to be promoted.

    Here is a summary:

  • Putin endorsed the ideology of Ivan Ilyin, who promoted the idea of eternal, innocent Russia that cannot have internal conflicts. Ilyin defined the Russian nation as inherently unified with no national minorities.

  • Putin adopted Ilyin's view of Russia as a "civilization" rather than a state, claiming territories like Ukraine are intrinsically part of Russian civilization. He argued Ukrainians are just one ethnic group within a broader Russian culture.

  • This vision rejected the legal sovereignty and borders of Ukraine and other neighboring states, asserting they cannot be divided from Russia. Putin threatened war against those who did not accept this ideology.

  • By framing disagreements over governance and national identity as attacks on innate Russian values, Putin sought to delay political succession and replace factual history with an idea of timeless Russian perfection and identity under his rule.

  • Putin mythologized himself as linked to Volodymyr/Valdemar, the 10th century prince who converted to Christianity, to present his leadership as fulfilling a mystical, eternal cycle rather than a modern political position subject to change. This obscured real historical context and complexity.

    Here is a summary:

  • Volodymyr, the ruler of Kyiv, converted to Christianity through political marriage to the Byzantine emperor's sister. This established Christianity as the legitimizing ideology in Kyiv rather than paganism.

  • However, Christianity did not prevent violent succession struggles after Volodymyr's death in 1015. His sons engaged in fratricidal warfare over succession. It took 17 years for Volodymyr's son Yaroslav to consolidate rule after multiple brothers were killed.

  • This showed the importance of establishing a clear succession principle to maintain political stability, rather than relying on intermittent wars. Lack of succession continuity could destabilize the state over the long run.

  • In the 20th century, European powers alternated between empire and integration as models. Empires dominated large territories but collapsed after WWI. Nation-states were then tried but also failed, paving the way for fascism in the 1930s.

  • After WWII, European integration emerged as an alternative to stabilizing the region. However, in 2013 Russia proposed "Eurasia" as an alternative, reviving imperialism and fascist ideas from the 1930s period of instability. This countered the European integration model and aimed to undermine it.

    Here is a summary:

  • European integration began in the 1950s as countries like Germany, France, Italy established the European Coal and Steel Community to foster economic cooperation.

  • As European empires lost their colonies after WWII, integration provided a soft landing and path to sovereignty rather than maintaining imperial control. Britain and Spain/Portugal eventually joined the integration process.

  • By the 1980s, EU states were prosperous democracies, while communist Eastern Europe lagged behind economically and politically. The EU model offered an alternative to communism.

  • After the Cold War ended, former Soviet bloc states in Eastern Europe sought EU membership to reinforce their sovereignty and independence, given the imperial failures of WWI and WWII.

  • By 2013, most of Eastern Europe had joined the EU, bringing the integration project to former imperial peripheries. Ukraine remained outside due to Russian imperial ambitions to control it.

  • The EU was unlike traditional empires in recognizing members' equal sovereignty rather than subjugation. Integration changed politics and economics through legal agreements rather than invasion or disregarding other states.

  • While economically powerful, the EU depends on its soft power of laws, democracy and market access rather than military might like traditional empires. Its vulnerability lies in members forgetting their imperial pasts and necessity of integration.

    Here is a summary:

  • After the fall of communism, many former Eastern bloc countries saw EU membership as a "return to Europe" and a chance to embrace Western values like rule of law and democracy.

  • However, once inside the EU, some nations started to glorify an imagined nationalist past and see themselves only as victims, forgetting the real reasons their states failed previously like lack of stability and democracy.

  • Without common history lessons across Europe, narratives arose that membership was a choice rather than necessity, allowing notions that nations could leave the EU and return to a romanticized past.

  • Russia under Putin could not establish rule of law or democratic succession, so it positioned itself as a model opposing the EU's values of prosperity and freedom. Putin executed a pivot in 2012 to define the West as a threat based on values rather than actions.

  • Unlike previous Russian leaders who saw the EU as a partner, Putin chose empire over integration and proposed alternatives like the Eurasian Union to rival and undermine the EU, citing nationalist philosopher Ilyin's rejection of law in favor of arbitrary rule.

    Here is a summary:

  • Putin promoted the concept of "Eurasianism" as an alternative to integration with the European Union. Eurasianism posited Russia as the center of a new civilization distinct from the West.

  • Eurasianism originated in the 1920s as a movement rejecting both Westernization and Slavophile views. It emphasized Mongol influence on Russian development and portrayed Russia's destiny as dominating and transforming Europe.

  • A key proponent was Soviet scholar Lev Gumilev, who revived Eurasianism in the 1960s-80s. He developed theories of ethnogenesis tied to cosmic rays, claiming nations like Russia were young and vibrant while the West had grown decadent.

  • Gumilev also incorporated antisemitism, depicting Jews as a "chimerical" group sapping life from true nations like Russia. He portrayed Jews as agents of a hostile Western civilization seeking to weaken Russia.

  • Putin embraced Eurasianism to promote Russia as a pristine civilizational model and justify abandonment of democratic reforms. It aimed to dissolve the EU by spreading Russian influence across Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

    Here are the three basic elements of modern antisemitism summarized:

  • The Jew as the soulless trader - Portrays Jews as unscrupulous businessmen solely focused on accumulating wealth at the expense of ethics or social responsibility. Plays into antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as greedy and manipulative.

  • The Jew as the drinker of Christian blood - Refers to the antisemitic blood libel that accused Jews of murdering Christian children and using their blood in rituals. Suggests Jews are violent predators against Christians.

  • The Jew as the agent of an alien civilization - Depicts Jews as lacking real loyalty to their home countries and promoting foreign or unnationalistic ideas and values. Posits Jews as a fifth column undermining the existing social/political order from within.

    Here is a summary:

  • The article discusses an interview with Alexander Prokhanov, a Russian fascist and prominent Eurasianist thinker.

  • In the interview, Prokhanov expresses basic Eurasianist themes like downplaying facts in favor of fiction, viewing European success as a sign of evil, believing in a global Jewish conspiracy, and being certain of Ukraine's destiny as part of Russia.

  • When asked about higher living standards in the EU, Prokhanov dismisses it in favor of a romanticized Slavic past. He claims Europe is deceitful and dying due to issues like gay marriage.

  • Prokhanov blames Jews for the world's problems, comparing them to perpetrators of the Holocaust against humanity.

  • He argues Eurasianism is Russia's messianic mission to redeem the world, starting with merging Russia, Ukraine and Belarus under Moscow's control. Ukraine's destiny is to submit to Russia to help build a new Eurasian empire.

  • Shortly after, the Izborsk Club is established as an intellectual hub of Russian nationalism. In its manifesto, it portrays Russia as constantly under threat from Western liberalism and factuality.

  • The club calls for a mobilized and militarized Russia focused on arms production over political reform. It views the EU as an existential threat and supports far-right forces in Europe to destabilize the EU.

  • For the Eurasianists, facts about Ukraine are the supreme enemy, and their goal is to promote narratives that transport such facts towards oblivion.

    Here is a summary:

  • Izborsk was chosen as the name of a Russian think tank because it refers to a historical Muscovite fortress that resisted foreign invaders like the Livonians, Poles, and Swedes. Now the think tank sees the "liberal machine" of factuality as the invader.

  • A Russian long-range bomber, the Tu-95, was renamed "Izborsk" in honor of the think tank. Its leader Prokhanov was invited to fly in the bomber's cockpit, showing Kremlin backing. This bomber would later approach EU airspace and bomb Syria.

  • Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Putin, linked Eurasianism to Russian foreign policy. He believed in "great spaces" dominated by powers like Russia, not weak states. The EU had to fall so citizens could experience Russian totalitarianism.

  • Starting in 2013, Russia's foreign policy embraced Eurasian concepts like civilizational domination over statehood. It aimed to supplant the EU with the Eurasian Union and extend Russian influence westward.

  • To undermine the EU, Russia befriended politicians like Schroder, Zeman, and Berlusconi who would represent Russian interests. It also used RT and online propaganda to sow distrust in the EU and promote nationalists like Farage and Le Pen.

    Here is a summary:

  • In 2013, Marine Le Pen and her party, the National Front in France, embraced pro-Putin positions and Russia began financially supporting the party. Her advisor Aymeric Chauprade promised Russians the National Front would destroy the EU if in power.

  • Around the same time, prominent Americans Richard Spencer and Donald Trump also voiced support for Putin's policies and opposition to the Obama administration. Trump wondered if Putin could become his "new best friend."

  • Trump partnered with Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Russia, deepening Trump's financial and political ties to Russia.

  • Russia also aimed to weaken the EU and influence elections. It supported Scottish independence and spread misinformation about the vote. It backed Brexit and movements opposing the EU in the UK and France through media campaigns and online propaganda.

  • Russian influence efforts were seen as helping Le Pen in France and contributing to the UK's vote to leave the EU, displaying Russia's strategy of aiding far-right groups and destabilizing the West.

    Here is a summary:

  • The article argues that Russian foreign policy treats European history as constant and eternal, trying to halt integration processes like Ukraine signing an EU agreement. Putin cites a 1000-year history of spiritual unity between Russia and Ukraine.

  • However, the history of Ukraine and Russia is complex, with the lands of ancient Rus fracturing long before modern states emerged. After Mongol invasions, most territory was absorbed by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th-14th centuries.

  • The idea of "Ukraine" designating part of ancient Rus lands emerged in the 16th century, as the political relationship between Lithuania and Poland changed. Ukrainians responding to Russian interventions by creating new politics, rather than accepting Russian claims of eternal unity.

  • Thinking historically means seeing how political configurations like modern Ukraine became possible, acknowledging limits and spaces for change and freedom over centuries, rather than just replacing one national myth with another. This allows for historical thought and political judgment, unlike Russia's politics of eternal continuity and justification of empire.

    Here is a summary:

In 1569, Poland and Lithuania formed a commonwealth union, with most Ukrainian territory shifting to the Polish part. This set off conflicts that gave rise to the idea of Ukraine as a distinct political entity.

Over subsequent decades, Western Christianity challenged Eastern Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and Polish landlords transformed the fertile steppe into plantations, binding peasants as serfs. Serfs fled to the Cossacks for refuge.

In 1648, tensions erupted as the Cossack leader Bohdan Khmelnytsky rebelled against Polish landlords. He first allied with Tatars and later Moscow for support. In 1667, the lands splitting Ukraine were divided between Poland and Moscow.

Ukraine then became drawn into the Russian Empire. Its cities like Kyiv lost autonomy and academics became part of Russian imperial society. In the 19th century, a Ukrainian identity re-emerged but faced crackdowns from Russian authorities.

Galicia remained outside Russia as part of Austria-Hungary, allowing Ukrainian culture to develop freely. However, Ukraine was unable to form a stable independent state in the turmoil after World War 1 and the Bolshevik Revolution. It was divided between Poland and Soviet Russia in 1921.

Ukraine's history reflects the difficulties of forming nation-states after empires. It was also a prime target of European colonial projects in the 20th century, facing devastating loss of life under the Soviet collectivization program and Nazi occupation during World War 2 aiming to exploit its agricultural resources.

Here is a summary:

After World War 2, the borders of Soviet Ukraine were expanded westward to include territories taken from Poland and other neighboring countries. Crimea was transferred from Russian control to Ukrainian control in 1954. However, Soviet rule was resisted by Ukrainian nationalists in the western territories that had been part of Poland. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were deported to gulags (Soviet labor camps) in operations aimed at quashing nationalist resistance. During the Cold War, southeastern Ukraine was a heartland for Soviet military industries. While Soviet policy oppressed Ukrainians, the existence of a Ukrainian nation was recognized to some extent until the 1970s, when Soviet policy focused more on merging Ukrainian and Russian identities. Ukraine gained independence in 1991 after a referendum found overwhelming support for separating from the Soviet Union.

Here is a summary:

  • The Maidan protests in Ukraine started in late 2013 in response to the Ukrainian government suspending preparations for closer ties with the European Union. Students and civic activists gathered in Kyiv's central square (Maidan) to protest.

  • Over time, more Ukrainians from all walks of life and backgrounds joined the protests, troubled by the government's violence against the original student protesters. They wanted to protect civic peace and the proper form of politics in Ukraine.

  • Despite attempts by police to clear the protesters with force, larger crowds kept returning to demonstrate. After some protestors were killed, opposition to President Yanukovych grew widespread as Ukrainians saw this as breaching common decency.

  • The protests helped forge a new sense of Ukrainian national identity, where both the Ukrainian and Russian languages were used interchangeably. Ethnicity and language divisions did not factor into the protests. The protests aimed to defend the rule of law and prevent Ukraine from drifting towards more corruption and autocracy.

  • The Maidan protests played a key role in Yanukovych's removal from power and the transformation of Ukraine's political system and geopolitical orientation in subsequent years. They marked an important moment in the formation and evolution of a independent Ukrainian nation and identity.

    Here is a summary:

  • The Maidan protests in Ukraine from 2013-2014 arose from temporary, horizontal networks rather than formal political parties or hierarchies. People self-organized to provide necessary services like security, education, aid, and counter-propaganda.

  • The protests were largely non-violent and saw extraordinary generosity and cooperation as citizens provided donations, food, supplies and care for one another. This spontaneous organizing challenged Ukraine's dysfunctional state.

  • Over 80% of protesters came from outside Kiev, drawn together through shared experience on the Maidan and forming new friendships and trust. They engaged in "corporeal politics" by physically participating.

  • Russian media and leaders responded by trying to discredit the protests by associating them with homosexuality and sexual themes. This mirrored their tactics against Russian protesters in 2011-2012. They sought to define European integration as a threat to "traditional values" and Russian civilization.

  • The Ukrainian protests demonstrated an alternative vision of law and order emerging from civil society rather than state authoritarianism alone, challenging ideas from Russian political philosopher Ivan Ilyin that law required top-down imposition.

    Here is a summary:

  • Russia saw Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence and tried to keep Ukraine from aligning with the EU through political and financial pressure on Yanukovych.

  • When protests erupted against Yanukovych's decision not to sign an EU deal, Russia sent operatives to help repress the demonstrations violently. This backfired and inflamed protests further.

  • Seeing Yanukovych as doomed, Kremlin memos in early 2014 proposed invading Ukraine and destabilizing the state to secure Russian interests like gas pipelines.

  • Russian propaganda portrayed Europe as morally corrupt and framed Russian intervention as protecting traditional values against a fascist coup.

  • Despite initial lack of support, EU diplomacy eventually helped broker a compromise for new elections. But by then Russia had already decided to invade, beginning with Crimea on February 20th, the same day as mass shootings of protesters in Kiev.

    Here is a summary:

  • Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014 after bloody protests, leaving behind documents including records of large cash payments to his advisor Paul Manafort.

  • Russia saw Yanukovych as useless and invaded Ukraine to sow further chaos and disintegration. Propaganda spread about Ukrainian violence as Russian forces seized Crimea by surprise.

  • By late February 2014, over 10,000 Russian soldiers had invaded Crimea without insignia. They took over the regional parliament and installed a new pro-Russian government.

  • Putin later claimed Russia was correcting mistakes of the past by invading, as Ukraine was not a real state. A referendum was held in Crimea with high reported turnout approving annexation to Russia, though observers believe real turnout was low.

  • Russia's annexation of Crimea violated international laws and treaties regarding Ukrainian sovereignty and borders. However, it set an example that nuclear weapons should be pursued for security.

    Here is a summary:

  • Ilyin's ideology viewed Russian history and culture as eternal and predetermined, denying the importance of human choice or knowledge of the past. This view was cited to justify Russia's annexation of Crimea.

  • Critics argued this denied the rule of law and the idea of double standards. If there are no standards, anything goes. It relied on the notion that Russia was innocent while the West was perfidious.

  • Putin and others portrayed the Ukrainian resistance as fascists, even as Russian nationalism took on fascist overtones like glorifying violence and scapegoating Jews.

  • Russian figures like Dugin, Prokhanov and Glazyev combined actual fascist beliefs with claiming their opponents were fascist, in a phenomenon called "schizofascism." They sought to spread this ideology throughout Europe.

  • Glazyev claimed Ukraine's government was a Western projection that needed to be destroyed, along with American and European opponents of Russian expansionism. This echoed Hitler's expansionist justifications for annexing territory.

So in summary, it critiques how Ilyin's ideology was used to justify Russian actions as predetermined and innocent, while opponents were accused of fascism, in a manner reflecting actual fascist geopolitical thinking.

Here is a summary:

  • Russia justified intervention in Ukraine by claiming to protect ethnic Russians and Russian speakers. However, this ignored the rights of Ukrainian citizens and collective Russian identity subsumed individual identities.

  • The war attracted support from fascist groups in Europe and America who praised Putin's actions. There was imagery similarity between the Confederate flag and flags used in Russian-occupied Eastern Ukraine.

  • Far-right activists from countries like France and Germany even went to Ukraine to fight alongside Russian forces, gaining terrorist training. This included recruiting for plots in countries like Montenegro and Sweden.

  • Kremlin-linked groups organized meetings of European far-right groups to support Russia's narrative that the West posed a threat. However, the Maidan uprising in Ukraine was initially about domestic issues of corruption and rule of law rather than geopolitics or ideology. Far-right groups did not control the movement. The protests aimed to improve rights and social conditions through European integration.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The Maidan protests in Ukraine were led by a multicultural group representing different ethnicities and languages, including Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Armenians, etc.

  • When President Yanukovych fled Ukraine, power was transferred through legal and democratic means rather than a military coup. The interim government was led by Russian-speaking eastern Ukrainians.

  • Subsequent elections showed very little support for far-right nationalist parties in Ukraine. The new president and parliament included ethnic Russians, Jews, and others.

  • However, Russian politicians and soldiers involved in annexing Crimea and fighting in eastern Ukraine saw the conflict as defending an eternal "Russian world" and often framed it as reliving past wars like WW2 where Russia was defending itself.

  • Figures like Igor Girkin engaged in historical reenactments and saw the 2014 conflict through the lens of past Russian glory, ignoring more complex facts about Russian history. Narratives of perfect Russian innocence dominated Russian media coverage.

  • This perpetual reliving of the past through a nationalist lens helped rally domestic Russian support, with Stalin and Brezhnev's popularity rising sharply. The conflict became a symbolic battle between good and evil outside of realpolitik.

    Here is a summary:

  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine broke the common Soviet myth of a shared Russian and Ukrainian past. The war museum in Kyiv changed its name from "Great Fatherland War" to "Second World War" after displaying captured Russian tanks from the 2014 war.

  • The Russian war against Ukraine was about more than historical memories - it was a "campaign of eternity against novelty." In other words, Russia aimed to prevent Ukraine from establishing a new independent identity and future.

  • Chapter Five examines how Russia uses politics of "eternity" to deny factuality and perpetuate a myth of Russian innocence. It relies on figures like Ivan Ilyin who argue Russians must embrace ignorance and uncertainty to maintain a singular national identity.

  • Vladimir Surkov, a key Kremlin political strategist, advanced this worldview through novels and policies that sought to undermine the concept of objective truth and support for alternative views of the world.

  • Russian television, especially state channels like RT, played a central role in disseminating propaganda that denied facts on the ground in Ukraine and framed Russian actions as inherently justified. The goal was to sow uncertainty and prevent audiences from envisioning alternative political systems.

  • When invading Ukraine in 2014, Putin and the Kremlin outright denied the invasion was happening despite clear evidence. The purpose of these lies was not to deceive Ukrainians but to create complicity with the Russian public in disregarding facts.

    Here is a summary:

  • Putin used "implausible deniability" to deny Russian involvement in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, even as evidence mounted of Russian troops invading. This exploited Western journalistic norms of presenting opposing views and trapping media into spreading Putin's propaganda.

  • Putin claimed Russia was innocently coming to the aid of oppressed ethnic Russians, blaming the West rather than taking responsibility. Tactics like having soldiers remove insignia served this narrative strategy more than factual persuasion.

  • Russian intervention continued in southeastern Ukraine using "reverse asymmetry" - strong forces pretending to be weak partisans, endangering civilians. Putin endorsed tactics that broke laws of war.

  • To justify further intervention, Putin invoked the 18th century term "Novorossiia" to claim ancient rights over territories now in Ukraine, framing it as defending against Ukrainian aggression. This ignored recent history to shift debates to imperial-era claims.

  • Maps of a broader "Novorossiia" region circulated, seen as a plan to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea if captured. Russian forces gathered at the Ukraine border as political operatives were sent in to foment rebellion in eastern Ukrainian cities like Sloviansk.

    Here is a summary:

  • After annexing Crimea, Russia's campaign to seize more of southeastern Ukraine ("Novorossiya") mostly failed, succeeding only in parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Attempts to take control of other major cities like Kharkiv, Odessa, and Dnipropetrovsk were defeated.

  • Violence broke out between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups in Odessa in early May 2014, resulting in deaths on both sides after confrontations and a building fire. This ended Russia's attempt to stir rebellion in Odessa.

  • By late May, the small Ukrainian army was defeating pro-Russian separatist forces led by Igor Girkin in Sloviansk. Over 30 Russian volunteers were killed in a failed attack on Donetsk airport, with their deaths going unreported in Russia.

  • Facing defeat, Girkin in July began using civilians as human shields by withdrawing forces into cities, guaranteeing civilian deaths from shelling by both sides. This "negative mobilization" aimed to recruit more separatists through violence and stories blaming Ukraine.

  • The conflict was then maintained as a "frozen conflict" by Russia to prevent Ukraine's integration with the West, with local sentiments exploited but no resolution allowed.

    Here is a summary:

  • Evgeny Antyufeyev was put in charge of security for the self-declared but unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine. He announced it would remain in a state of permanent limbo, neither independent nor unified with Russia.

  • Antyufeyev saw the conflict in Ukraine as part of a broader global struggle against Western conspiracies led by the EU, US, Freemasons, and Ukrainian fascists. He claimed Russia was defending itself and its natural resources.

  • Russia launched a massive artillery bombardment against Ukrainian forces from positions inside Russia starting in July 2014. This allowed Russia to attack Ukraine while making counterattacks difficult.

  • Russia denied its direct involvement despite evidence like soldiers posting online about attacks from Russia and journalists witnessing shelling from the Russian side of the border. Propaganda like claiming Ukraine crucified a Russian boy was used to justify Russia's aggression.

  • Russian supplies of advanced anti-aircraft systems from May-July 2014 changed the war by largely negating Ukraine's air power, allowing greater Russian/separatist advances on the ground.

    Here is a summary:

  • In June 2014, a Russian Buk anti-aircraft missile system was sent from Kursk, Russia to Donetsk, Ukraine as part of the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade.

  • On July 17th, this Buk system was moved from Donetsk to Snizhne, Ukraine. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over eastern Ukraine.

  • At 1:20pm, Flight 17 was hit by a missile launched from the Russian Buk system near Snizhne, killing all 298 people on board. Russian-backed separatists had boasted about shooting down another plane.

  • Russian media then spread false stories blaming Ukraine for the attack to confuse audiences and cover up Russia's involvement. They claimed Ukraine shot it down or it was an assassination attempt on Putin.

  • In August, a Russian biker gang staged a rally in Sevastopol glorifying Stalin and portraying Russia's invasion of Ukraine as defending against fascism, aiming to justify Russia's actions to its people.

So in summary, the passage describes the shootdown of MH17 by Russian forces in Ukraine and the disinformation campaign by Russian media to deny responsibility and justify the invasion to Russian audiences.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses a "bike show" propaganda event in Russia in August 2014 where ultranationalist Aleksandr Prokhanov delivered a speech justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine.

  • Prokhanov portrayed Ukraine as being "corrupted" by the West and portrayed the Maidan protests as demonic. He blamed fascism in Ukraine on Western leaders like Obama.

  • The event incorporated nationalist music performances and simulations of violence against Ukrainians to whip up support for the war. It aimed to present an eternal view of Russia that overrode Ukrainian history and identity.

  • Russian propaganda like this convinced many volunteers to go fight in Ukraine, believing myths about fascism and genocide. Large Russian forces were also amassing near the border at this time.

  • The passage discusses some Russian volunteer and military units that crossed into Ukraine in July-August 2014, with some suffering casualties shortly after in places like Snizhne. It indicates the Russian government was heavily involved in the invasion despite denials.

    Here is a summary:

  • In August 2014, various Russian military units crossed into Ukraine from bases in different regions of Russia. These included the 76th Air Assault Division from Pskov, the 137th Parachute Regiment from Ryazan, and the 31st Airborne Assault Brigade from Ulyanovsk.

  • Soldiers from these units faced combat against the Ukrainian army, with over 100 from the 76th division alone reported killed. Individual soldiers like Sergei Andrianov were also reported killed in action.

  • Other Russian military units involved included the 6th Separate Tank Brigade from Nizhegorod region and the 200th Motorized Infantry Brigade from Pechenga. Soldiers from these units were also reported killed or captured in Ukraine.

  • In early 2015, Russian forces carried out another major offensive in Ukraine, aimed at capturing the Donetsk airport and the city of Debaltseve. Units involved included the 200th Brigade again as well as the 37th Motorized Infantry Brigade and 5th Separate Tank Brigade from the remote Russian region of Buriatia.

  • Throughout 2014-2015, Russia denied the presence of its troops in Ukraine despite clear evidence that various regular Russian army units had deployed into Ukraine and been involved in heavy combat there. The conflict resulted in thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians killed.

    Here is a summary:

  • Throughout the conflict in Ukraine from 2014-2016, Russia engaged in implausible denials of its military actions and spread misinformation. This included falsely claiming election results in Ukraine and denying the presence of Russian troops despite clear evidence.

  • Russia also penetrated networks of the White House, State Department and others in the US beginning in 2014, planting malware in US infrastructure networks. However, Russian interference in the 2016 US election was what led Americans to start paying attention.

  • Ukraine largely lost the information war as Russia sow confusion abroad about Ukraine's situation, though Ukrainian citizens understood it. Russians were misled by the state's denials of responsibility.

  • The Russian war aimed to weaken Europe and the US through invasion and information operations. This "strategic relativism" sought to damage others more than Russia was hurt by its own actions.

  • However, the invasion backfired by consolidating Ukrainian society and identity against Russia. It also isolated Russia internationally through sanctions and dependence on China without gaining concessions in return.

  • In 2014, Russian and European far-right groups meeting in annexed Crimea simultaneously denied and celebrated the invasion, seeking cooperation. This included support for the emerging German far-right party AfD.

    Here is a summary:

  • Russia undertook cyberattacks against the German parliament and security institutions in 2014-2015, aiming to support the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and undermine Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • When Merkel accepted large numbers of Syrian refugees in 2015, Russia began bombing civilian targets in Syria to generate more refugees flowing into Europe, exacerbating anti-immigrant sentiment.

  • In 2016, Russian media seized on the story of a 13-year-old German girl of Russian origin falsely reporting a refugee rape. Russia launched a propaganda campaign around this to turn Germans against Merkel and refugees.

  • The propaganda campaign boosted support for the AfD, which gained representation in Germany's parliament for the first time in 2017, threatening Merkel's position.

  • Poland's government, which supported Ukraine against Russia, was also undermined when private conversations of politicians were secretly recorded and released, eroding trust and the distinction between private and public life. The recordings benefited pro-Russian interests in Poland.

In summary, Russia carried out covert and propaganda campaigns aiming to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany and undermine pro-Western governments in Germany and Poland supportive of Ukraine, through generating refugee flows, spreading disinformation, and compromising politicians' privacy. This helped far-right nationalist parties threatening those governments.

Here is a summary:

  • Antoni Macierewicz, a right-wing Polish politician, benefited from a political tapes scandal in 2014 that weakened the ruling party. Despite promises, he was then appointed Minister of Defense by the new ruling Law and Justice party.

  • Macierewicz has a history of recklessly handling sensitive military and intelligence information in ways that compromised national security. As defense minister, he made controversial personnel changes and questioned the official investigation of the 2010 Smolensk plane crash that killed Polish leaders.

  • Macierewicz promoted an unsupported conspiracy theory that Donald Tusk and Russia conspired to cause the Smolensk crash. This deepened divisions in Poland and alienated allies who accepted the official investigation.

  • As defense minister, Macierewicz appointed some officials with unclear or pro-Russian ties. He made changes that decreased military professionalism and increased a paramilitary force under his personal control.

  • Under his influence, Polish foreign policy shifted away from strong support of Ukrainian independence, adopting a view more favorable to Russian narratives. This change in policy surprised and concerned Western allies.

  • Macierewicz has connections to American politicians also seen as too sympathetic to Russian foreign policy aims, raising questions about his geopolitical agenda and allegiances.

    Here is a summary:

  • Andrzej Macierewicz is a Polish politician who served as Minister of Defense from 2015 to 2018. He had connections to Russian officials like Aleksandr Dughin.

  • When allegations surfaced about his Russian ties, Macierewicz did not deny them and instead attacked journalists investigating him. He tried to prosecute one journalist for terrorism for publishing a book about his links to Moscow.

  • Macierewicz took up defenses of politicians seen as close to Russia, like Donald Trump. He was replaced as defense minister in 2018 as Poland faced criticism and potential EU sanctions over rule of law issues.

  • Some Western politicians and commentators helped spread Russian propaganda narratives. They echoed claims that the Maidan protests in Ukraine were Western-backed coups and that the Ukrainian government was a Nazi junta. Few provided actual evidence to support these claims.

  • Figures like Ron Paul and Stephen Cohen in the US cited Russian state media sources uncritically and borrowed Russian framings, even as events like the downing of MH17 showed Russian aggression in Ukraine. This mirrored strategies used by politicians with far-right views in Europe.

    Here is a summary:

  • The passage describes how Russian propaganda and misinformation helped undermine Ukraine and influence politics in the UK, US and Europe in 2014-2016.

  • It argues left-wing journalists like John Pilger, Seumas Milne, and others at The Guardian and The Nation uncritically parroted Russian talking points that denied or downplayed Russian aggression in Ukraine.

  • Figures like Ron Paul and Lyndon LaRouche also took a pro-Russian line. None of these commentators actually visited Ukraine or cited independent reporting from there.

  • Their narratives helped legitimize false claims about Ukraine in the West and distracted from Russia's true invasion and hybrid war.

  • This success emboldened Russia's broader campaign to undermine Western democracies through disinformation. In 2016, these techniques were applied to influence the US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

  • Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort had previously worked for pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine. The passage argues Russian propaganda aided Trump's rise, and thus undermined US democratic processes and equality.

So in summary, it describes how Russia weaponized disinformation to first obscure its invasion of Ukraine, and then interfere more directly in Western politics through figures like Trump, aided by unwitting allies in the Western left-wing media.

Here is a summary:

  • Many Russians welcomed Trump's election victory and hoped he would destabilize American democracy and containment of Russia. Russian media actively promoted Trump and criticized Hillary Clinton.

  • Trump had financial ties to Russian oligarchs and criminals dating back to the 1990s, when Russian mafia began laundering money through Trump properties. He was deeply in debt and dependent on Russian capital after bankruptcies.

  • Russian deals allowed Trump to profit from real estate projects around the world with little risk or investment from him. Questions remain about undisclosed business dealings and the source of money pouring into his properties during his campaign.

  • His television show The Apprentice portrayed him as a powerful businessman and helped spread this fictional image, which likely contributed to his electoral success. Russian propaganda also helped boost conspiracy theories that undermined President Obama and positioned Trump as a spokesman for them.

    Here is a summary:

The passage discusses Russian perspectives and operations regarding Trump and the 2016 US election. It describes how from a Russian perspective, Trump was seen as a failure who could be used to sow havoc in the US. At a 2013 pageant in Moscow, Russians saw Trump as needing money and willing to be influenced.

The passage then discusses "active measures" operations by Soviet/Russian intelligence agencies to influence enemy societies through propaganda and manipulation rather than direct violence. It argues technology and social media gave Russia an advantage in this type of "cyberwar" by allowing direct access to individuals' minds.

Russia is said to have viewed the US election in 2016 as a favorable opportunity for an active measures operation. The goal was to bring Trump to power through seeming normal election procedures to disrupt the US, as Russian military doctrine discussed influencing populations' will. The fictional character of Trump as a successful businessman won due to protest votes and paranoid beliefs, aligned with Russian aims.

The passage analyzes how Russian operations in Ukraine and propaganda influenced European and US views on its actions there. It suggests these operations were part of a broader goal to destabilize Western societies, and that Russians saw their 2016 influence activities as a form of cyberwar victory over the US. Americans' lack of awareness of such threats left them vulnerable to Russian manipulation on social media.

Here is a summary:

Russian cyber operatives extensively targeted social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google to spread propaganda and misinformation to American voters during the 2016 US election. They created millions of fake accounts and automated bots to amplify divisive political messages. Content was specifically tailored based on information about users' views and susceptibilities. Key tactics included associating refugees with crime, promoting anti-Muslim and pro-Trump narratives, and attempting to suppress voter turnout. The Russian campaign was facilitated by WikiLeaks, which strategically released hacked Democratic emails and internal communications at opportune moments, such as right before the Democratic National Convention. Russian entities also scanned state election systems for vulnerabilities. Overall, the extensive Russian interference campaign online sought to polarize American voters and influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

Here is a summary:

  • Russian hackers released private data and communications from the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional campaigns. This led to death threats against Democrats and harassment of donors.

  • Releasing this private information helped create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in American politics, benefiting one party over the other. It was a precursor to modern totalitarianism, where public officials and citizens cannot act freely due to the threat of future revelations.

  • Paul Manafort, who led Trump's campaign for several months, had deep past connections working for Russian-backed political interests in Ukraine. He offered private briefings on the campaign to a Russian oligarch to whom he was in debt.

  • Steve Bannon, who replaced Manafort, promoted white supremacist voices and portrayed journalists reporting on Russian connections as "enemies." He aimed to sow confusion and darken political discourse.

  • Jared Kushner failed to disclose business ties to Russian investors after the election. Overall, the article argues that open sources already revealed troubling connections between Trump's campaign and Russian interests that were obscured by hacked email releases.

    Here is a summary:

  • Russian state-linked companies channeled over $1 billion to Facebook and $191 million to Twitter to influence the 2016 US election. Deutsche Bank, which had loaned money to Trump and laundered money for Russian oligarchs, loaned Kushner $285 million shortly before the election.

  • Kushner attended a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton but did not disclose this contact on his security clearance forms. The meeting participants had close ties to Russian oligarchs.

  • Trump's speechwriter and several advisors had concerning ties to Russian business interests and actively corresponded with Russian contacts about helping Trump and hurting Clinton.

  • Flynn, Sessions, Ross, and other Trump administration appointees had undisclosed contacts with Russian officials and financial dealings with Russian oligarchs, raising conflicts of interest. Flynn later pled guilty to lying about his contacts. The summary outlines numerous questionable connections between Trump's campaign and transition team and Russian government and business figures.

    Here is a summary:

  • Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had personal financial connections to Russian oligarchs close to Putin through his ownership of a shipping company that transported Russian gas. This presented conflicts of interest as he could profit from lifting US sanctions on Russia.

  • Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State oversaw the purge of many US diplomats, weakening American diplomacy and representation abroad at the benefit of Russia.

  • The Trump administration was slow to act on warnings about Russian interference in the 2016 election and connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Comey's actions around the Clinton emails also seemed to benefit Trump.

  • Trump fired those investigating Russian interference like Comey, Yates, and attempted to fire Mueller. He also shared classified intelligence with Russian officials.

  • Russia aided Trump's candidacy by promoting the fictional image of him as a successful businessman. US media also gave Trump extensive free coverage, aiding his campaign. Social media platforms became major news sources without proper regulations. This environment allowed fictional candidates and misinformation to spread easily.

    Here is a summary:

  • Two Facebook products, News Feed and Trending Topics, spread misinformation which helped Russia interfere in the 2016 US election by spreading divisive conspiracy theories. Russians exploited American's distrust of the media and preference for free news online.

  • Russian hacking of John Podesta's emails led to fictions like "pizzagate" and "spirit cooking" which were amplified by conspiracy sites and spread on social media. This polarized Americans and legitimized fringe views.

  • Russians created fake personas and groups on social media like a nonexistent "Heart of Texas" page to push propaganda and Russian political agendas like secessionism. Americans were drawn in by emotionally charged, partisan content that conformed to their views.

  • The internet and social media platforms lacked transparency about who was behind accounts and content, allowing Russia to manipulate Americans by feeding their prejudices without knowing it was foreign interference. This undermined democracy by damaging faith in elections and the ability to discern truth.

    Here is a summary:

  • The purpose of Russian interference in the 2016 US election was to influence events and exploit vulnerabilities in the American political system.

  • Two prominent members of Russia's Right to Bear Arms group, Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin, had close ties to the American NRA and helped coordinate between them.

  • The NRA became a major supporter and donor for Donald Trump's campaign after having shifted its stance on relations with Russia.

  • The American electoral system, including the electoral college and disproportionate representation of small states, made it possible for candidates to win without majority support. This created opportunities for foreign interference.

  • Racial gerrymandering and voter suppression laws weakened American democracy and disenfranchised minority voters, which Russia tried to exploit through divisive social media campaigns.

  • Russia viewed the political divide over Obama's Supreme Court nomination as a sign of weakness in American governance that could be exploited. This likely contributed to Russia launching its email hacks and influence operations targeting the 2016 election.

    Here is a summary of the key points about politicians and activists from the passage:

  • In June 2016, Republican leaders like Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy discussed concerns that Donald Trump may have been paid by Russia, but Ryan wanted to keep it private to avoid embarrassment. This showed partisanship was prioritized over national security.

  • After Russia began hacking Democratic politicians and activists' emails in July 2016, Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell denied or downplayed Russia's involvement, seeing the issue as helping Hillary Clinton rather than defending the country.

  • Some Republicans like Mitt Romney, John Kasich and Marco Rubio were early voices warning about Russia as a threat, but key Republican leaders in Congress surrendered to Russian cyber attacks by refusing to confront them.

  • The passage criticizes how Republican partisanship prevented a united defense against Russian interference in the election and allowed Russia's cyber campaigns to expand and influence the election outcome. Obama administration was also afraid to act alone to not worsen partisan divisions.

  • Inaction by Republican leaders and Obama administration meant Russia was able to successfully attack and influence the US election with little resistance from American politicians and institutions.

    Here is a summary:

  • In the 1980s, the US government weakened unions and private sector union membership sharply declined. Worker wages stagnated while executive pay drastically increased.

  • At the same time, the US lacked basic policies like pensions, education, healthcare that stabilized middle classes in other countries.

  • Tax policy became more regressive, with workers paying more in payroll taxes while corporations and the wealthy paid significantly less taxes.

  • This led to vastly increasing inequality from the 1980s onward. By 2012, the top 0.1% owned 22% of wealth while the bottom 90% gained essentially nothing.

  • The opioid crisis in the 2010s was exacerbated by unchecked marketing of addictive drugs like OxyContin. Areas hard hit by inequality and declining prospects became epicenters of the opioid epidemic.

  • Together, these economic and public health trends fueled a sense of desperation, doom and the loss of hope for a better future among many Americans, making them more susceptible to the politics of inevitability and nationalism promoted by Trump.

    Here is a summary:

  • The article draws parallels between the political polarization and economic hardship seen in Ukraine/Donbas region and parts of the U.S. like Appalachia and Portsmouth, Ohio in the 2010s. Opioid addiction was rampant in these areas and served as a form of currency.

  • The opioid crisis grew nationwide from the late 1990s-2010s, disproportionately impacting middle-aged white males. Areas hardest hit by the crisis tended to strongly support Trump in 2016.

  • Trump promoted a "politics of eternity" based on nostalgia for a mythical past when America was "great." However, his version of the past celebrated inequality and racial division.

  • Like Russian leaders, Trump used constant lying and rejection of truth to undermine trust in institutions and debate policy substance. He portrayed opponents and minority groups as enemies of the people.

  • Trump downplayed America's role in WWII and the fight against fascism/racism. His rhetoric and supporters promoted white nationalist ideas attacking minority power.

So in summary, it analyzes the political and economic factors behind Trump's rise, drawing parallels to trends in Ukraine/Russia, and how his agenda undermined democratic norms and racial progress.

Here is a summary:

The passage argues that Trump promotes a "politics of eternity" that defines politics as an endless struggle against enemies rather than work to reform and improve freedom. Key aspects of this politics of eternity include:

  • Denying the need to fight fascism at home or abroad, and defending Confederate monuments and Nazi/white supremacist groups.

  • Questioning the wisdom of ending slavery and the necessity of the Civil War.

  • Making racial inequality the basis for policies that increase economic inequality, turning whites against blacks and minorities.

  • Governing through generating conflict and inflicting pain on opponents rather than formulating positive policies. The sole major policy was tax cuts that increased inequality and took away healthcare.

  • Enabling citizens to find meaning and pleasure in the suffering of "enemies" like blacks, immigrants, Muslims. Pain becomes the new currency of politics over achievement.

The passage argues this is turning American politics into a negative-sum game like in Russia, where citizens accept their own pain because they believe others suffer more. It undermines expectations of government to improve lives through policy and reform.

Here is a summary:

  • Long-term, a government that cannot gain majority support through reforms will undermine democratic rule by majority. Trump seemed inclined toward this anti-democratic path.

  • Trump benefited from undemocratic aspects of the US system and sought to restrict voting further to construct an artificial majority. There were fears this could lead to erosion of democracy through limiting the vote and holding elections under emergencies.

  • Russia's influence appealed to those wanting oligarchy and racial divisions in the US. Inequality risks consolidating fascist ideals and threatening democracy like in Russia.

  • Local issues like inequality, history of race relations, and economic disparities contributed to these trends in the US and must be addressed through public policy reforms to restore faith in the democratic system and future progress.

  • Failure to address inequality risks enabling racial oligarchy and the end of American democracy. International politics influence local issues, but repair must come from within through democratic reforms and policies to reduce inequalities.

In summary, it analyzes how domestic issues like inequality combined with foreign influences like Russia to threaten US democracy, and argues democratic reforms and policies addressing root causes are needed for repair. Unaddressed, the trends risk undermining majority rule and democratic principles.

Here is a summary:

The passage discusses the concepts of inevitability and eternity in relation to history and politics. It argues that viewing history as inevitable or eternal can undermine efforts for political change and responsibility.

It introduces the Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin, who pursued ideas of Russian conservatism and fascism in the early 20th century. Ilyin's writings were rediscovered and promoted under Vladimir Putin as offering a vision of Russia's special destiny. Key Russian political figures like Vladislav Surkov embraced Ilyin's view of history as an eternal struggle between Russia and the West.

This resurrection of Ilyin, along with Putin's repeated references to him, illustrates how ideas of inevitability and eternity have entered contemporary Russian politics. It suggests these concepts are used to frame Russian and Western relations as part of an eternal clash, downplaying alternative political paths. The passage critiques this framing for hindering a "politics of responsibility."

Here is a summary of the key points about Ilyin's political views based on the sources provided:

  • Ilyin was initially drawn to leftist politics in his youth but later embraced authoritarian right-wing ideologies like fascism. He admired Mussolini and was impressed by Hitler.

  • He saw fascism and National Socialism as means of spiritual renewal and salvation for Russia. He believed in a völkisch form of Russian nationalism.

  • Ilyin thought a strong, authoritarian leader was needed to redeem Russia from sin, foreign threats, and the evils of Bolshevism. He advocated a "patriotic excess" to save the nation.

  • He believed in organicist ideas of the nation as a whole rooted in Orthodox Christianity. Minorities had an obligatory role to play for the sake of the national organism.

  • Ilyin's views aligned with political theorists like Carl Schmitt who advocated sovereign dictatorship and a politics driven by the distinction between friends and enemies.

  • Though Orthodox, Ilyin inverted Christianity by saying one must hate enemies to love God. He viewed political struggle and war as divinely justified.

  • Ilyin tried to design a political system with a powerful, electorally-validated leader at the top and organic bonds between classes/groups in service of the nation.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The passage discusses fascist ideology in Ilyin's time and how it informed his views, which emphasized nationalism, redemption through suffering, and distrust of democracy.

  • It provides historical context on the USSR, noting how Marxist-Leninist ideology emphasized class struggle and national liberation. The Bolshevik revolution disrupted conceptions of time and nationalism intensified within the USSR.

  • The economic and political crisis in the late Soviet period is described, culminating in Yeltsin declaring independence in 1991 and the dissolution of the USSR. Ilyin's ideas emphasized redemption through suffering of the Russian nation.

  • Democracy failed to fully take hold in Russia. Yeltsin cracked down on opposition and turned to Putin as his chosen successor. Putin improved the economy and consolidated power by limiting regional autonomy and cracking down on separatism and terrorism.

  • Surkov developed the concept of "sovereign democracy" to justify democratic procedures without liberal democratic norms. Sources cited include speeches by Surkov and analyses of Putin's use of Ilyin's writings to support his ideological stance.

    Here is a summary:

This text discusses Vladimir Putin's invocation of philosopher Ivan Ilyin as an intellectual influence and source of justification for his regime in Russia. It analyzes how Ilyin's ideas of democracy led by a “dictator,” the priority of community over individual, and distinguishing between friends and enemies of the nation were adopted by Putin. Putin laid flowers at Ilyin's grave and highlighted him as a thinker who correctly analyzed the flaws of Western liberalism and the Soviet Union. Films by director Nikita Mikhalkov also popularized Ilyin's ideas. More broadly, the text examines how Putin constructed national identity and external threats from the West and framed himself as defending traditional values. It details the legal crackdowns on opposition groups, NGOs, and independent media that accompanied Putin's consolidation of power and move to a permanent "guided" democracy with himself as long-term leader. The passage also touches on Putin's support for Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine and Russian political medaling there. Overall, it analyzes how Putin developed an ideology of conservative nationalism and sovereignty based on the thought of Ilyin to justify an increasingly authoritarian ruling system.

Here is a summary:

This section discusses Ivan Ilyin's fascist ideas and influence on Putin. Ilyin advocated national dictatorship and saw democracy as a failed system. The chaos of WWI and the interwar period discredited democracy in some views. WWII brought more devastation and led to Soviet control over Eastern Europe. Stalin brutally annexed the Baltic states. The Cold War division of Europe followed. Communist states suppressed nationalism until collapsing in 1989. European integration began after WWII to prevent future wars and support economic recovery. Decolonization movements complicated European politics. Russia now rejects further European integration and poses a threat to destabilize the EU. Cyberattacks have accompanied Russian aggression against countries like Estonia and Georgia. Kleptocracy and authoritarianism have taken hold under Putin, inspired partly by Ilyin's ideology. Peace and stability in Europe remain complicated issues with Russian ambitions challenging the postwar order.

Here is a summary:

  • The passage discusses the rise of Eurasianist ideology in Russia under Vladimir Putin after 2010. It traces the roots of Eurasianism back to early 20th century Russian philosophers like Ivan Ilyin and Lev Gumilev.

  • Key figures who promoted Eurasianist thinking in Russia in the 2000s-2010s include Alexander Dugin, Aleksandr Prokhanov, and Sergei Glazyev. Dugin helped spread the ideas through networks in Europe and founded the nationalist Izborsk Club in Russia.

  • The Izborsk Club manifesto articulated a vision of Russia uniting former Soviet states into a "Eurasian space." Prokhanov supported Russian intervention in Ukraine as part of this project.

  • Glazyev argued for an alternative model of regional integration to the EU, based on Russia and Eurasian economic unions. The 2013 Russian foreign policy concept also emphasized the Eurasian geopolitical space.

  • Zeman is discussed as a friendly European leader to Putin, who took a similar nationalist and anti-immigration stance. Eurasianist ideology thus gained influence under Putin and shaped Russian foreign policy thinking after 2010.

    Here is a summary:

  • Some European populist and far-right leaders, such as Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage, have openly supported Putin and aligned themselves with Russian positions. They have embraced Russian backing and media support.

  • Leaders like Le Pen and her National Front party in France have received loans from Russian banks. Le Pen has echoed Russian views opposing gay rights and supporting "traditional values."

  • Far-right figures in other countries like Austria have formed cooperation agreements with Putin's ruling party in Russia. The Austrian Freedom Party has long-standing connections to Moscow.

  • Russian state media like RT and Sputnik have promoted far-right stances and conspiracy theories, aiming to undermine the European Union and support nationalist forces. Bots and trolls backed these online.

  • Russia conducted cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns against elections in France, Germany, and the UK to sway outcomes in favor of pro-Russian candidates and stances like Brexit. Their goal was division and weakening of Western democracies.

  • Figures like Trump, Farage, and some in the UK Conservative party had ambiguous or supportive views of Russia that aligned with the Kremlin's geopolitical agenda in Europe. Russian interference aimed to influence outcomes in ways that damaged Western unity.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the provided texts:

  • In September 2013, Vladimir Putin argued that Russians and Ukrainians were one people and criticized the growing influence of the West in Ukraine. He promoted an "organic model" of union between Russia and Ukraine.

  • The relationship between Russia and Ukraine involved geopolitical tensions dating back centuries. After the breakup of Kievan Rus in the 10th-11th centuries, Poland and Lithuania competed for influence over Ukrainian lands. Russian rule over Ukrainian territories grew over subsequent centuries.

  • In the 19th century, Russian imperial policies suppressed the development of a separate Ukrainian identity and culture. However, Ukrainian national consciousness continued to develop in eastern and western Ukrainian lands.

  • After the Bolshevik revolution, Ukraine was subjected to Soviet collectivization and industrialization drives in the 1930s that led to widespread famine and death. Stalin heavily repressed Ukrainian nationalists and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

  • During World War 2, Nazi Germany pursued brutal genocidal policies in Ukraine as part of its colonial ambitions. Millions of Ukrainian civilians were murdered. The post-war Soviet police state continued repressing Ukrainian national aspirations.

  • In late 2013, Ukrainian President Yanukovych rejected an EU association agreement, sparking massive protests known as the Euromaidan revolution. Protesters were violently cracked down upon, leaving over 100 dead by February 2014.

    Here is a summary of the key events discussed in the quotations:

  • Protests in Ukraine began in late 2013 in response to President Yanukovych rejecting an EU trade deal. They escalated in January 2014 after harsh laws were passed against protests.

  • In February 2014, negotiations between Yanukovych and opposition leaders failed to end the crisis. Violent clashes occurred between protesters and police, resulting in many deaths.

  • Yanukovych fled Kyiv on February 21, 2014 after a deal was reached between the opposition and government. Ukraine's parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from power and set an election for May 25.

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in late February/early March 2014, backing a referendum on secession. Russian troops seized government buildings and military bases.

  • The Russian role grew from supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to an open invasion and annexation of Crimea. This marked a major escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

  • By late February/early March, Russia had established control over Crimea through "local" defense forces and annexed the peninsula after a disputed referendum, sowing the seeds for a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the cited sources:

  • The Night Wolves motorcycle gang, which has close ties to Putin, planned to ride to Ukraine in February 2014 to support the pro-Russian cause after Ukraine's revolution.

  • In Crimea in early March 2014, local pro-Russian groups prepared to welcome a possible advance by Russian forces into the region.

  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in March 2014 after a disputed referendum. The results showed implausibly high levels of support for joining Russia.

  • Far-right and nationalist groups from Russia, Hungary, and France supported Russia's positions and actions regarding Ukraine. Some foreign fighters even traveled to Ukraine to fight.

  • Conspiracy theories and anti-Western rhetoric were promoted by Russian figures like Alexander Dugin and Sergey Glazyev to justify Russian intervention in Ukraine.

  • Glazyev was later implicated in audio recordings as directing separatism in eastern Ukraine and Crimea for the Kremlin.

  • Igor Girkin and other Russian nationalists established separatist republics in eastern Ukraine in April 2014 with backing from Moscow.

  • Putin continued promoting the narrative that Kyiv's government was illegitimate and came to power via a Western-backed coup, justifying Russian intervention.

  • Various Russian and European far-right figures and groups collaborated with each other and the Kremlin in support of Russia's positions and actions regarding Ukraine.

    Here are the key points summarized from the sources:

  • May help defuse Ukrainian crisis (WP): Discusses how involving Ukrainian oligarchs in the political process may help resolve the crisis.

  • Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help (NYT): Reports on how some Ukrainian oligarchs like Kolomoisky are gaining political power and influence in Ukraine.

  • Avakov appointed interior minister of Ukraine (ArmenPress): Reports on the appointment of Arsen Avakov as Ukraine's interior minister in February 2014.

  • Different perspectives are presented on the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the conflict's origin and how it relates to WWII myths and Stalinism in Russia. Pro-Russian separatists are portrayed as receiving support from Russia.

  • Ilyin's ideas influenced Russian political thought in the 2010s. Russia developed a strategy of spreading disinformation and ambiguity to weaken the distinction between truth and lies.

  • RT and other Russian media aim to sow dissent in the West. Early separatist leaders in Ukraine like Girkin had ties to Russian nationalists.

  • Putin initially denied but later acknowledged that Russian troops annexed Crimea without insignia in 2014. The conflict spread to the Donbas through support for separatists.

  • Stalin's image has undergone a revival in Russia amid rising nationalism. Some see the Ukraine conflict as a "second world war" against fascism.

    Here is a summary of events in 2017:

  • There was an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region. Fighting had been taking place since 2014.

  • Russia maintained ambiguity about its direct involvement but was providing weapons, supplies, and troops to support the separatists. Numerous reports documented evidence of Russia weaponry and soldiers crossing the border.

  • The separatists controlled parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts but fighting fluctuated over control of various cities and towns. A ceasefire line separated the sides but violence continued.

  • Civilians living in the conflict zone faced difficult conditions with the threat of shelling and being caught in crossfire. The humanitarian situation was poor in separatist-held areas facing Ukrainian economic blockade.

  • Diplomatic efforts led by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine attempted to negotiate a political solution but with limited success in implementing agreements due to ongoing clashes. The conflict remained essentially frozen without a resolution.

  • Russian propaganda and disinformation spread false narratives to support the separatists and undermine Ukraine's position. This included denying or downplaying Russia's direct military role.

  • Investigations continued into the 2014 shootdown of MH17 passenger jet over eastern Ukraine, which killed 298 people. Evidence increasingly pointed to the plane being shot down by a Russian missile system.

    Here is a summary of the key points across the sources provided:

  • The Battle of Donetsk Airport in eastern Ukraine saw fierce fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists from 2014-2015 as each side sought to control the strategic airfield. Ukrainian troops nicknamed the "Cyborgs" defended the airport despite being heavily outgunned and surrounded.

  • Journalists tracked movements of Russian soldiers and equipment into eastern Ukraine, confirming direct Russian military involvement despite denials from Moscow. One account followed a Russian soldier's selfies on social media as he moved from Siberia to the Donbas region of Ukraine.

  • Russia's 200th Motorized Brigade was identified as actively fighting in eastern Ukraine through open-source evidence like photos and testimonials. Retired Russian soldiers also confirmed deploying to Ukraine on Kremlin orders.

  • Ukraine's government maintained casualty counts but Russia denied its direct role, so Russian losses are uncertain. Over 1.6 million Ukrainians were internally displaced by the ongoing conflict.

  • Russia began larger cyber operations against Ukraine in 2014, including hacks that disrupted the power grid. This marked an escalation in Russia's "hybrid war" approach combining military, information and cyber components.

  • Beyond Ukraine, Russian state media promoted pro-Russian narratives in Europe. Meanwhile cyberattacks from Russian groups targeted U.S. institutions like the DNC and state department around the same time.

  • The conflict heightened existing divisions in European societies and politics. Russia exploited refugee issues and events like sexual assaults to promote anti-immigration and anti-Merkel sentiment.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the provided text:

  • The rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election was viewed positively by some in Russia, like Aleksandr Dugin who said "In Trump We Trust" and expressed hope he could shift US foreign policy away from confrontation with Russia.

  • Russian state media actively supported Trump's campaign through outlets like RT and Sputnik, which helped spread pro-Trump messages and stories like WikiLeaks releases and "fake news." Trump also frequently appeared on RT.

  • After Trump's unexpected victory, he was celebrated on Russian state TV shows, with hosts like Dmitry Kiselyov calling him their "president." His policies were seen as more favorable to Russian interests.

  • Trump had pursued business deals and real estate projects in Russia for many years, and had grown accustomed to visiting Russian investors and celebrities. He even appeared in a music video with Emin Agalarov.

  • Russian money had allegedly helped bail out Trump properties during financial struggles. Individual oligarchs like Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased Trump properties. Deutsche Bank, which loaned to Trump when others wouldn't, was also linked to Russian money laundering.

  • Trump's financial dependence on Russian investors and creditors raised conflicts of interest with his policies as president regarding Russia. His campaign's and associates' contacts with Russian officials also came under investigation by the Mueller probe.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • During the Cold War and into the 1970s, the USSR portrayed itself as defending against Western aggression, while also targeting previous Western spheres of influence. Under Putin, this defensive narrative continued as information warfare was prioritized over actual military conflict.

  • Russia's actions in Estonia (2007 cyberattacks) and Ukraine (2014 invasion/annexation of Crimea) showed its willingness to use cyber and military force against neighboring states. Propaganda outlet Izborsk Club advocated expanding Russia's borders.

  • Leading up to the 2016 US election, Russian intelligence services hacked Democrats and used social media influence operations to spread divisive messages. The Internet Research Agency troll farm in St. Petersburg was a key actor in these operations on Facebook and Twitter.

  • WikiLeaks played a role in releasing hacked emails to sway voters. Susceptibilities in American society were exploited through targeting of specific demographics. Bots amplified pro-Russian/pro-Trump messages and sought to undermine Clinton.

  • Paul Manafort had financial ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska from 2006-2009 and may have provided private briefings during the 2016 campaign. His history in Ukraine connecting Russian interests to politicians there raised concerns about Russian influence efforts.

  • Overall, the sources showed Russia pursuing information warfare and covert measures to undermine Western democracies while promoting a narrative of defending against Western aggression dating back to the Cold War. Social media was effectively utilized to influence the 2016 US election as part of this broader strategic approach.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the articles:

Time, Oct. 31, 2017:

  • Reported on communications between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank in Russia, raising questions about possible communications between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, the significance of the communications remains uncertain.

Franklin Foer, “The Plot Against America,” The Atlantic, March 2018:

  • Details Steve Bannon's extremist right-wing political views and connections to figures like Vladimir Putin and Alexander Dugin who advocate authoritarian nationalism.
  • Argues Bannon saw Trump's election as an opportunity to promote an ultranationalist agenda and cultivate ties between the far-right in America, Europe, and Russia.
  • Discusses how several Trump aides like Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Jared Kushner had concerning connections to Russia before and during the campaign.
  • Suggests these connections, as well as Trump's praise of Putin, weakened American diplomacy and made the US vulnerable to Russian influence.

In summary, the articles raise questions about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign, explore adviser Steve Bannon's extremist ideology, and outline various Trump aides' ties to Russia that drew FBI scrutiny and raised counterintelligence concerns.

Here is a summary:

  • NYT reported that Trump told Russian officials firing Comey eased pressure from the Russia investigation. Putin later praised Comey's firing.

  • Russian propaganda efforts aimed to sow division and distrust in American democracy and institutions like the FBI and justice system. They promoted conspiracy theories and skewed coverage.

  • Russian platforms and bots amplified extreme messages and spread misinformation on issues like immigration, race relations, and gun rights to heighten tensions. Some specific examples are given.

  • Russian operatives cultivated relationships with prominent Americans, including attempting to broker meetings between Trump and Putin. The NRA received foreign money which it used to support Trump.

  • Weakened trust in the US democratic system and polarized political climate enabled Russian interference. GOP leadership in Congress resisted investigating Russian efforts for partisan reasons.

  • Inequality in the US and oligarchic systems in Russia meant wealthy elites in both countries benefited from destabilizing the other's democratic system and governance. Offshore money networks obscure the flow of funds between the two countries.

So in summary, it outlines how Russian influence operations aimed to sow discord in the US and undermine trust in democratic institutions, how this exploitation of divisions was enabled by the political climate, and how economic interests may have aligneda cross countries as well.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • The passage discusses rising inequality in the US according to studies by Piketty, Saez and Zucman. The top 1% wealth share has risen from 22% to 40% since 1980.

  • Many Americans now feel a "lost generation" with declining expectations and opportunities compared to past decades. Student debt loads have increased dramatically.

  • Inequality has far-reaching social impacts like decreased social mobility and increased political polarization. It has also contributed to health and addiction crises in parts of the country hit hardest by job losses.

  • The opioid epidemic took off in the late 1990s, devastating communities in Ohio and Appalachia that had lost manufacturing jobs. Death rates from drug overdoses have tripled.

  • The passage argues Trump's politics capitalize on these grievances through an "eternity politics" that rejects facts, history and compromise. It pits groups against each other and relies on fear and nostalgia for a fictional past.

  • Critics argue this approach undermines democratic principles of inclusion and shared history. It promotes division and has correlated with increased discrimination and violence in some areas.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the source text:

  • Trump has been accused of using coded or suggestive language that recalls authoritarian regimes. Examples given include referring to protestors as "paid" and calling an NFL player a "son of a bitch."

  • Some research suggests many white Americans see issues like racism and inequality as a zero-sum game that they are now losing. This may help explain the appeal of politicians who suggest restoring a lost status or advantage.

  • When a congressional candidate physically attacked a reporter who asked about health care, it revealed how some see even discussing such issues as a provocation.

  • Trump has championed policies that could increase inequality, like repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, while claiming to help the working class. This contradiction echoes authoritarian "populist" rhetoric.

  • Fears of loss or chaos open the way for strongman politics that scapegoat others and promise imaginary solutions rather than realistic policy proposals.

  • Russia has aimed to turn Western democracies toward negative-sum thinking and away from cooperation, as seen in its information warfare.

  • Trump has praised authoritarian leaders in a way that normalizes dictators and moves away from democratic norms. He also suggested violence against political opponents.

  • Voter suppression efforts aim to strengthen the electoral position of one party by making voting more difficult for some citizens. The rhetoric of "voter fraud" serves this end.

  • Times of political instability and feartempt nations to strike dangerous geopolitical bargains, as Russia offered during the 2016 election interfence.

The summary aimed to synthesize the key topics, arguments and examples discussed across the source text. Let me know if any part needs further explanation or context.

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