The media left started this journey by trying to tie Russian influence operations to Trump and Republicans. Now it's stuck with a Hillary Uranium scandal and Russian troll farms pretending to be Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock activists.
An Instagram account called @Native_Americans_United_ shared images related to Native American social and political issues — including the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the flashpoint for activists from all over the country, but especially Native Americans.
RBC, a Russian outlet, identified that account as one of 180 connected to a Russian troll farm intent on exploiting existing divisions and social movements in the United States, based on a major investigation into the operations of Russia’s Internet Research Agency.
So far, the accounts uncovered by RBC center around highly visible tension points in American politics: protests against police violence, protests against pipelines that have become a flashpoint between conservatives and progressives, and memes popular with the pro-Trump right.
“DEAR RACISTS IN AMERICA YOUR CAR IS JAPANESE, YOUR BEER IS GERMAN, YOUR ELECTRONICS ARE TAIWANESE, YOUR FASHION IS FRENCH, YOUR OIL IS SAUDI ARABIAN, YOUR VODKA IS RUSSIAN, AND NEVER FORGET THE LAND YOU LIVE ON IS MINE,” reads one of the posts from @Native_Americans_United that was reshared on Facebook.
Nice vodka reference. Because they just couldn't resist.
And if you wanted some vodka in your feminism...
A popular Instagram account that promoted a militant form of feminism was actually run by Russian operatives, who successfully fooled Women’s March organizers into sharing their content.
The account, which operated under the handle @feminism_tag on Instagram, had tens of thousands of followers.
An investigation into the Kremlin’s cyber operations by Russian media outlet RBC named the account, which has since been deleted from Instagram, as among those operated by the Russians.
The account promoted the view, popular among left-wing feminists, that women don’t have equal rights in America. “We fight to achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women!” the account’s description read.
By now it's fairly obvious that the Russian influence operations were apolitical. The Russians understood that Americans didn't care about Georgia, Syria or Crimea. Not unless they got inside by building front groups like these. There's nothing new about this. The Russians were doing all this in the Cold War era. But the internet made it possible to set up a whole lot of fake profiles.
And considering the left's plethora of identity politics groups, it was all too easy to make this happen.