Disinfo: British analyst explains in Foreign Policy why Washington needs a “Russian intervention”


While US Democrats talk of a Russian interference in the elections, Republicans talk about Chinese interference. Those statements have a very specific purpose and it has nothing to do with foreign policy, said Elisabeth Braw, analyst of the Royal Joint Institute for Defense Research. Accusations against Russia started after the 2016 election, when Democrats, having lost it, tried to accuse Donald Trump of collusion with Russia and Russia itself of meddling in the election. The investigation led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found nothing. Now, these accusations were renewed. According to an article written by Braw in Foreign Policy magazine, this bipartisan logic is clear: if Biden loses, Democrats can talk again about Moscow intervening and support of Donald Trump. If Biden wins, Trump may say that Beijing was behind its defeat. “But it doesn’t matter at all if US rivals are actually hacking the electoral infrastructure of the country this year. What matters is that people believes that interference campaigns work”, Braw says.


This is a deliberate manipulation of the original article of Elisabeth Braw in Foreign Policy to promote the long-discredited pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Russia never interfered in the US election in 2016 and that the Mueller investigation found no evidence of it. Braw’s article doesn’t say that accusations of foreign interference are a narrative promoted by both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the affirmation that Russia and China are interfering respectively against the candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties is an estimation of the US intelligence community, and Braw quotes a statement in this regard by US National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina. The claim that Braw concluded that both parties are falsely talking about these alleged interference for political reasons is a lie.

Braw’s main argument is that Russia and China are indeed trying to interfere in the US election and that their main success may be not as much to sway the ballots as to convince voters that they did. The direct quote has also been altered: “It doesn’t matter whether China, Russia, or any other country in fact manages to sway the ballot. What matters is whether voters believe they did”, says the original. She also argues that if any country interferes in the electoral process, there should be a retaliatory reaction to serve as future deterrent, something vastly different from the claims in the manipulated article. 

Pro-Kremlin media frequently resort to this manipulative technique of quoting sentences from serious publications and then introducing a distorted message as if it was part of the original article, in this case to promote a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia being falsely accused of interfering in elections abroad. See other examples in our database, such as false claims that British outlet The Guardian pointed to ruling elite as the real instigators of the racial crisis in the US and reported that the EU remained silent as the Europeans couldn’t buy food for the first time in 75 years; that Newsweek magazine explained how the US coup in Iran will end; that Soros’ structures in the media and think tanks saw an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic to attack the “bad guys”; that the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre put Wikileaks at the same threat level as jihadist organisations in its last report; or that the US special envoy for Syria admitted that Washington’s goal was to defend terrorists from Russian attacks.


  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: China, Russia, US
  • Keywords: US Presidential Election 2020, election meddling, Democratic Party (US)


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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