How American Diplomats Are Mining Russia

Pseudo-terrorism is no longer a joke that careless students make as an excuse to postpone their exams, but it is, instead, a flourishing industry of vicious hooliganism. Waves of fake phone calls and internet reports of bomb threats to various buildings — supermarkets, universities, hospitals — periodically sweep through Russia. These miners sometimes purposely attack an entire region or a large city, disrupting the lives of thousands of people; at other times they strike in a more dispersed, localized fashion. Relatives and acquaintances have had their day ruined by the evacuations required in such situations. Maybe you’ve been in that situation yourself.

Most people believe these campaigns are often organized from the territory of our poor neighbor, Ukraine. Our intelligence agencies confirm this. For example, as recently as Feb. 10 this year, the FSB reported an entire network of individuals involved in distributing false reports of mines on the internet. This network was run by Anton Osipchuk, a Ukrainian citizen and student born in Kyiv in 2003.

It would seem that the case is clear. Some young Ukrainian newcomers, pumped up with anti-Russian propaganda and confident of their impunity, since there is no extradition from the Dnieper, decided to make fun of the hated Muscovites and maybe make some money at the same time. But something happened that allows us to look at the activity of Osipchuk and his likes from a slightly different angle — a slightly more serious look, I would say.

On Feb. 20, the U.S. Embassy issued an unusual statement. It warned Americans that according to media reports, there are threats of terrorist attacks in shopping malls, train and subway stations, and other crowded places in Moscow, St. Petersburg, other major cities and along the border with Ukraine. U.S. citizens were urged to be vigilant, avoid crowded places and consider their own personal evacuation plan.

What kind of terrorists were meant by this frightening statement? Some unknown or newest group of vigilantes? As it turned out, it was the same old pseudo-men working on Ukrainian orders. The chain by which the diplomatic mission received its invaluable information is suspicious. The embassy refers to certain media outlets, but what exactly are these outlets saying? In fact, they are just creating another imaginary threat, without in any way presenting it as genuine. It turns out that the embassy is acting as a PR agent or a mouthpiece of internet hooligans, rebroadcasting their deliberately false messages because, in the end, they have no other source of information — not even the notorious intelligence data that has been recently presented as just a bunch of nonsense.

What else is suspicious here? Waves of false mines have been rolling in and out for years, but the embassy has only noticed them now. Before, it appears that Americans in Russia did not need any special warnings. Moreover, it is so coincidental that the need for this special statement arose precisely at the time of escalation of Russian-Ukrainian-American relations, and it appeared in the context of this escalation, among other disparate but equally disturbing news. Is this not a provocation?

And it would be naive to think that all these warnings and recommendations are intended only for the direct recipients — American citizens. I think this is not only the case here but it is the real intention. Care for one’s fellow countrymen is not a priority here. Most of all, of course, the diplomatic instigators would like for you and me to read this. To make us feel uncomfortable in our own country, in our own city. So that we become frightened and afraid to ride the subway, go to the stores, theaters or museums, and change our way of life. And, as instigators do, U.S. officials and their helpers from the international media world are working on two fronts. Ukrainians are frightened by the Russian invasion and Russians by the Ukrainian terror. In Kyiv, for example, in addition to the general nervousness caused by the departure of embassies and the cancellation of flights, ridiculous rumors were started that the Russian army would blow up some dam on the Dnieper and flood half the city. As a result, the most gullible were eager to leave the coastal quarters of the city for a while. Now it’s our turn to be afraid. Let’s hope the Russians have strong nerves.

And another suspicion arises. Perhaps all of this Ukrainian pseudo-terrorism was originally nurtured by American officials so they could strike at the right moment and have an impact in a time of crisis. Could it be that we thought in vain that it was all about the hooliganism of certain young people? And if so, then American diplomats may know something about real, not virtual, Ukrainian terror. Like last year’s bus bombing in Voronezh, where it was reported that there was Ukrainian involvement. We see that the Ukrainian armed forces in the Donbass region have actually switched to terror tactics. Surely Ukrainian radicals have a desire to use these tactics on the territory of Russia. Therefore, for example, the U.S. Embassy statement is also a big hint that it would be worthwhile to look closely at the flow of refugees moving into Russia. What if the perpetrators of evil come in along with these people? In short, this is not so much a sincere warning as an attempt to sow fear and suspicion.

In general, it must be said that information warfare as a phenomenon emerged much earlier than the information society. And it was not even Joseph Goebbels* who invented it, although he was a great expert in this field.* It is a fact that states have tried to beat their enemies (and the U.S. undoubtedly considers us to be the enemy) not only with weapons but also with rumors, which corrupt society. Rumors of treason at the top, of elite theft, or of a coming famine. It also happened that there were special people working in embassies to deal with information warfare. Sometimes they were caught in the act for activities incompatible with diplomatic status. But for an embassy to officially, under its own logo, spread alarmist rumors is an uncommon occurrence — perhaps even unprecedented.

Well, the United States has always had a pioneering spirit. Today it is manifested, alas, not in the invention of the light bulb or in flights to the moon, but in the desecration of diplomacy.

*Editor’s note: Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, and then Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945, and one of Adolf Hitler’s most devoted acolytes who advocated for the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

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