We recently launched the Yandex Dashboard, a tool that catalogs the information and sources Russian speakers in Russia, Ukraine, the United States, Poland, and Estonia encounter as part of their news consumption on Yandex. Try it out here.

Our Take

States should implement school voting education programs to teach students about the election process and guard against misinformation, Joseph Kirk, election supervisor for Bartow County, Georgia, told ASD Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine on the latest episode of Ballots and Bagels. Listen to the full interview and read the takeaways here. 

Yandex headlines show that the Russian government’s agenda is to convince Russian citizens that any economic decline since the start of the war in Ukraine is temporary, reversible, and will ultimately hurt the West more than Russia, Deputy Director David Salvo writes in the latest analysis of data from our Yandex Dashboard. 

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Hamilton 2.0 Analysis

Russian diplomats and state media focused on the following three topics last week:   

  • Ukraine: Russian propagandists insisted a global food crisis was sparked by Western sanctions and Ukrainian “food terrorism,” argued that Western aid would cause more deaths without changing the war’s outcome, and touted death sentences for U.K. fighters in Ukraine as “accountability… in its purest form.”  
  • Summit of the Americas: Russia state media sought to discredit the Summit of the Americas by amplifying anti-U.S. rhetoric, criticizing the U.S. decision to exclude certain countries, and highlighting protests.
  • January 6: Kremlin-linked accounts argued that the hearings investigating the Capitol insurrection were largely useless and designed to distract from the Democrats’ problems, and they amplified similar criticism from former president Donald Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson

Chinese diplomats and state media highlighted three narratives last week: 

  • Xinjiang: Beijing-affiliated accounts pushed fake quotes by real U.S. diplomats that claim to show a U.S. operation meant to disrupt China by framing it for human rights abuses in Xinjiang. 
  • Food Crisis: Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian and the Global Times accused the United States of causing a global food shortage; though, other diplomats presented more neutral calls for a solution, and CGTN Europe relayed Ukraine’s accusations against Moscow for prompting the crisis. 
  • Summit of the Americas: “Americas” and “summit” were the third and fourth most mentioned key phrases in Chinese accounts’ tweets as they portrayed U.S. involvement in South America as overbearing and destructive

Read the full report here

News and Commentary

Gazprom restricts gas supplies to Europe: Russian state gas giant Gazprom is reducing gas flows to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 40 percent, citing technical issues at its Baltic station and further exacerbating energy concerns. Research Assistant Nathan Kohlenberg said, “Russia could likely replace the lost capacity by increasing exports of gas through the pipeline across Ukraine but has so far chosen not to. This emphasizes the need for Europe to diversify energy sources beyond Russian gas to ensure resilience against supply shocks, whether they are the result of technical failures or political decisions.”

Jan. 6 Committee hearing focuses on the Big Lie: The second hearing of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol revealed that advisers and staff repeatedly told former president Donald Trump that there was no evidence to support the claim that the 2020 election was stolen; however, Trump continued to spread election-related falsehoods, providing fuel for fundraising and efforts to overturn the election results. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine said, “In this hearing, the January 6th Committee showed the lengths to which former president Trump disregarded the legitimacy of the 2020 election and pushed his own false narrative of the election results to the detriment of the American people. This narrative remains a direct threat to the United States’ national security, the integrity of its elections, and the safety of those who administer them.”

Senators warn of heightened risk of Russian interference in 2022 midterms: A group of 17 Senate Democrats sent a letter to top intelligence and national security officials urging them to prepare their agencies to counter Russian interference in the 2022 midterm elections; the same week National Security Agency Cybersecurity Director Rob Joyce warned that ransomware could threaten midterm campaigns. Deputy Director David Salvo told the Dispatch,Vigilance by national security officials is fine, of course. What would be vastly preferable is if the U.S. government stood up permanent structures to track, analyze, and coordinate defenses against foreign interference in our democracy. The fact that the ODNI still has not set up such a center, despite congressional backing, is disappointing. And DHS ought to have a permanent center monitoring threats to elections too.”

In Case You Missed It   

  • More than 100 Republicans who deny the outcome of the 2020 election have won their primaries for state and federal offices, according to the Washington Post. 
  • Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and TikTok will join the EU’s new anti-disinformation code and provide country-by-country data on their efforts to tackle disinformation. 
  • A cybersecurity executive examined the voting system used in Coffee County, Georgia to attempt to gain unauthorized access to voting machines to search for evidence of voter fraud. 
  • Bipartisan female secretaries of states in battleground states continue to be targets of violence and harassment as they work to combat dis- and misinformation ahead of the midterm elections.    
  • Xinjiang police have deeply integrated Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision’s cameras into an intelligence program to track and detain Uyghurs, a new report finds. 
  • Google terminated more than 100 YouTube channels that were part of coordinated influence operations linked to Russia that shared content justifying Russia’s actions in Ukraine and criticizing NATO.

ASD in the News

Activists Push Back Over GOP’s Plan to Contest Elections. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine interviewed on Cheddar News

A New Prospect of Taiwan-U.S. Relations Under China’s Influence. China Affairs Analyst Bryce Barros interviewed on Radio Taiwan International

Video: David Levine Speaks to Philadelphia Election Official Seth Bluestein. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine featured in The Fulcrum

‘Reputation launderers,’ disinformation campaigns hinder sanctions and financial crime compliance efforts. Malign Finance Fellow Josh Rudolph quoted in Thomson Reuters

Quote of the Week

“Democracy must be effective—in every sense. Europe must be effective. If words are said, if they were put on paper and became documents of international law, they must work. They must act. And when that happens, there will be no question of who will win and where this frontline is.”

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a speech at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on June 10, 2022.

The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.