Subverting Elites and Manipulating the Masses: how Russian Interference Corrupts American Politics

If the Kremlin is betting on Trump’s re-election, it is not just because of his opposition to aid for Ukraine or his isolationist foreign policy, but for the damage it can do to American democracy. The French historian argues that Russian political culture has already permeated some American political circles. MAGA voters see Putin as the “anti-woke” leader who will save and regenerate Judaeo-Christian civilization. Fortunately, concludes Saint-Gilles, American opinion remains overwhelmingly in favor of Kyiv, as does the Republican establishment, whose support is indispensable to Trump in the final stage of the race for the White House.

The tug of war between supporters and opponents of aid to Ukraine, which has just ended in extremis with a victory for the former with the vote for the $61B aid package promised by Joe Biden, is a further illustration of the intensification of Russian interference in American political life. How can we explain the fact that a minority of GOP members — Reagan’s party, traditionally hostile to Russia and in favor of “freedom fighters” — were able to veto the release of a new tranche of aid for six months, despite the wishes of President Biden and the majority of Congress men and women — including Republican members? The House’s “Putin Wing” certainly did not act alone. It benefited from the support of Russian informers capable of coordinating, on Moscow’s orders, the action of “useful idiots” in the entourage of the Democratic administration as well as among Republicans, but also in the intellectual and media spheres. A defeatist campaign since the summer of 2023 that has revealed secret channels of negotiation with Russia, combined with the efforts of Kremlin supporters in Congress to block military assistance, demonstrates this. In the context of the presidential race, aid to Ukraine is high on the candidates’ agendas. This is one of the reasons why this political event is so important to Moscow. For, in the Russian worldview — largely inherited from the Soviet era — the United States represents an omnipotent enemy capable of dictating its law to Southern states and Western allies alike. But while the United States may seem militarily invulnerable, it also has intrinsic weaknesses, inherent in its political system. Pluralism of ideas and parties, the existence of checks and balances to prevent tyranny — the hallmarks of a healthy, vigorous democracy — are seen by Moscow as loopholes into which it can slip to further its own ends. No election is more important than that of the next President of the United States, which will determine not only the outcome of the war in Ukraine, but also the future of American democracy and world order. To shape an international and domestic environment conducive to the election of their candidate, Russian services resort to an increasingly varied array of “active measures” combining disinformation, subversion of elites, psychological conditioning of the masses and support for extremist organizations.

Make Everything Great Againstreet art mural created by Dominykas Čečkauskas and Mindaugas Bonanu in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2016 // Public domain

Defeatist campaign

The first stage of this vast influence operation dates back to the summer of 2023. The launch of the Ukrainian counter-offensive was the catalyst for a defeatist media campaign aimed at undermining Ukrainian morale and convincing Western opinion to abandon Ukraine. Its launch coincided with the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11 and 12, 2023, and the first cracks in the Western camp: although NATO’s commitment to Ukraine was reaffirmed, the United States, against the advice of the majority of its European allies, refused to issue Ukraine with a formal invitation to join, on the grounds that integrating this war-torn country represented a risk of direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. The idea that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan prefers to keep this trump card up his sleeve for possible Russian-American discussions prior to future peace negotiations with Russia is gaining ground. “At some conferences, a ghost haunts the corridors (…). In Vilnius, the ghost is the American desire to negotiate with Russia if possible,” Gérard Araud, who served as Ambassador of France to the United States from 2014 to 2019, wrote on X.

Supporters of appeasement with Russia are taking advantage of this situation to suggest that the United States would be ready to impose a negotiated peace with Russia on Ukraine. The Washington Post reports that during a secret trip to Ukraine in May 2023, CIA Director William Burns unveiled his war exit plans to Ukrainian military leaders and gave them an ultimatum, giving them until summer to break through the opposing front. In the autumn, whatever the outcome, they would have to negotiate1. In the aftermath, rumors of secret contacts between members of the Democratic government, such as Jake Sullivan, and people close to President Putin began to fester in the media. Leaks even mentioned underground channels of negotiation between former high-ranking US national security officials and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was under US sanctions. In New York, in April 2023, Lavrov may have spent several hours talking with Richard Haas, a former diplomat and the outgoing president of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as with experts Charles Kupchan and Thomas Graham.

While the government claims not to have initiated these contacts, it does not claim to be unaware of them either, especially since Charles Kupchan, President Obama’s former adviser on European affairs and a close associate of the current Democratic administration, has been a “realist” since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. After the annexation of Crimea, he even boasted of having convinced Obama not to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons likely to lead to “escalation” with Russia, despite contrary advice from Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken2. His invaluable advice thus facilitated the invasion of February 2022. But far from making amends, Kupchan presented himself as the champion of the “appeasement party”. Anticipating a Trumpist tidal wave in the 2022 mid-term elections, he was already urging the Biden administration and its European allies to force the Ukrainians back “to the negotiating table”3. And yet, during the February-March 2022 talks in Belarus and Turkey, Russia showed its contempt for its interlocutors by demanding their capitulation.

A year later, riding the new wave of pessimism, Kupchan set out his new strategy for Ukraine in a Foreign Affairs article co-written with Richard Haass, which was a reiteration of his previous positions: Ukraine had to resolve to negotiate a ceasefire with Russia, he wrote, even though the latter had systematically violated all previous agreements with Kyiv4.

These deliberate leaks, revealing secret diplomatic channels, do not augur well. They indicate that in intellectual circles close to the Biden administration, “realist” doves such as Kupchan, who have favored a “diplomatic” solution since the beginning of the war, are gaining the upper hand over “liberal hawks” such as Michael McFaul, Max Boot, and Anne Applebaum. These revelations give the unfortunate impression that the American government is looking for a way out because it doubts Ukraine’s victory — an objective that the Biden administration has never clearly stated. Indeed, public opinion is also giving in to the siren calls of defeatism: for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion, a poll released by CNN in August 2023 showed that 55% of those questioned (72% among Republicans) were hostile to the release of a new tranche of financial aid to Ukraine5.

With the onset of autumn putting an end to hopes of reclaiming Ukrainian lands before winter, “realists” blamed General Valeri Zaluzhny’s choices for these meager results. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal even referred to his differences with the US Chief of Staff, General Mike Milley, who had favored a negotiated settlement from the outset of the conflict, against the advice of most of his colleagues6. These criticisms have left a bitter taste in the mouths of Ukrainians, who have been accused of straying from the strategy put forward by the Pentagon, which has nonetheless deferred delivery of the equipment needed to implement it.

However, President Zelensky remains the main target of criticism in the American media, which questions the postponement of the presidential election initially scheduled for March 2024, amplifies his rivalry with Zaluzhny, and condemns his alleged inertia in the fight against corruption7. Time‘s long article on the Ukrainian president’s September 12 visit to Washington emphasizes the contrast with his triumphant visit in December 2022. Tense and tired, President Zelensky was not received with great pomp on Capitol Hill8. President Biden renewed his pledge to help Ukraine “as much as we can” (not “as much as we should”) — a semantic shift that reflects his weariness with the stalemate in the conflict. After all, Donald Trump, the front-runner in the presidential election despite his legal woes, has made a “24-hour” peace settlement one of his campaign promises. Blaming American aid for an unnecessary prolongation of the conflict, he accuses the Democrats of squandering taxpayers’ money instead of allocating it to defending America’s borders, an argument that allows MAGA elected representatives in the House to effectively blackmail military assistance.

Donald Trump’s meeting in Wildwood NJ, last May 12th // His Instagram account

Subverting elites and manipulating the masses

In the autumn, Hamas’s terror attacks on Israel came at an opportune moment to divert to Israel public attention and the funds promised to Kyiv. The fragile bipartisan consensus on support for Ukraine, which had cemented American opinion in the early months of the conflict, shattered. Priorities shifted, and the idea that Israel was a far more valuable ally than Ukraine was put forward, notably by Ohio Republican Senator J. Vance9. The Democrats can no longer rely on broad public support to force the isolationists in Congress to unblock aid to Ukraine, a collateral victim of the Gaza conflict. Moreover, the White House is making the mistake of agreeing to include aid in a broader negotiation, “a catch-all package encompassing military support for Israel, Taiwan, and measures to strengthen America’s borders”10.

However, Trumpists in the House are using the dispute over the migration issue to postpone consideration of the text, passed by the Senate in February 2024, despite Joe Biden’s exhortations: “Will you stand up for freedom or take the side of terror or tyranny. Will you stand with Ukraine or with Putin?”. The fact that elected Republicans refuse to come to the aid of a democracy in order to facilitate the victory of Putin’s autocratic regime speaks volumes about the inversion of values that has taken place within the GOP: “How did the party of Reagan… which ended the Soviet Union by restarting the arms race, come to represent Putin’s best chance of survival?”11. This reversal of alliances is symptomatic of the ideological shift of part of the Republican elite since the Reagan years.

Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo : Gage Skidmore

The long process of infiltration of the GOP by Kremlin agents is now bearing fruit, allowing Russia to lean on a small group of extremists in the House, the misnamed “Freedom Caucus”. Fiercely hostile to Ukraine, the GOP’s “Putin wing” is led by Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Green. Dubbed by her detractors “the Kremlin’s parrot” for her loyalty to Russian propaganda theses, she is the object of a cult following in the Russian media, and even surpasses Donald Trump in the heart of propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, who has taken to dreaming aloud on the state-run Russia 1 channel of seeing her win the Republican Party primaries12. According to historian Timothy Snyder, six major themes of Russian war propaganda are relayed to Congress by the Putin Wing13.

This Putinophilia may not be in the majority among Republicans, but it is extremely widespread among the mass of its voters. Without the support of this populist base, no Republican candidate can hope to get past the primaries. The Russophilia of the Republican masses is a recent phenomenon, largely attributable to Donald Trump after his election won in 2016 with the help of the Kremlin. Trump has contributed mightily to rehabilitating this dictator among Republican voters and has allowed Russian propaganda to spread unfettered on the web and in the media thanks to major financial flows from Moscow.

On the strength of their Soviet experience, the Russians are masters of information warfare and psychological manipulation. But today they are no longer content to broadcast “propaganda” to demonstrate the superiority of their model and to spread false rumors such as the one which, in the 1980s, accused the United States of making the AIDS virus. They adapt these methods to the globalized information space of the Internet: the “troll strategy” is a “technique of social interaction in the information field that aims to break with the dominant discourse” and “undermine the notion of objective truth”14.

Media outlets Sputniknews and Russia Today have been the “ambassadors” in the United States of a Russian vision of the world. Since their exclusion from cable in 2022, social networks, Fox News and alt-right media have continued to relay conspiracy theories from the late Prigozhin’s troll factories. Thus, the anti-system, anti-elite Republican electorate, defiant of the mainstream media, has entered the era of “alternative facts”: neither evidence nor scientific expertise has any value outside the fictions circulating in the virtual reality of the MAGA universe, this “bespoke reality”, as editorialist David French put it. Secluded in their “bubble,” these MAGA communities interact according to “their own norms, media, guides, and conceptual frameworks”15.

Their rallying point is their detestation of President Zelensky and their staunch opposition to aid for Ukraine. The driving force behind this attitude is in no way political: the MAGA movement does not refer to the arguments of traditional isolationists concerned with preserving the superiority of the American model16. Their irrational hatred is rooted in the legends and stereotypes of their fantasy world, in which President Zelensky plays the villain to the heroic “Vladimir the Great”. These representations derive from conspiracy theories widely disseminated under the Trump presidency, such as the claim that Ukraine and not Russia was behind interference in the 2016 presidential election, a fanciful argument long accredited by Trump because it has the merit of clearing his name. Add to this rumor the extravagant theory circulated at the start of the Russian invasion via Telegram that the Americans had developed biological weapons in secret laboratories in Ukraine, and you have enough elements to make this country the perfect scapegoat. 

In the MAGA universe, Putin is neither an authoritarian, aggressive dictator nor a threat to American democracy, supremacy, and Western values. Instead, he is the ally who will help Donald Trump win against their real enemy — an enemy within — that of “woke ideology” — the new “totalitarianism” threatening Western civilization. Although Putin constantly proclaims his detestation of the West and his transgression of Christian values, they see in him the “anti-woke” leader, according to Steve Bannon, who will save and regenerate Judaeo-Christian civilization. These ideas are also clearly expressed by ultra-conservative ideologues, including American Conservative columnist Rod Dreher, who calls on the new “crunchy conservatives” — religious, frugal, traditional-family advocates, “Birkenstock-wearing Burke followers, pro-gun organic farmers, evangelical-minded traditional ranchers, and homeschooling moms — to change America, or at least the Republican Party”. The former Methodist, who urges the faithful to band together in communities to live as Christians apart from “the world that isn’t anymore”, likes to compare wokism to a new “soft totalitarianism”17.

Jordan Peterson // His Instagram account

The idea that Russia and its president represent a bulwark against the existential threat posed by woke culture to Western societies is ubiquitous in the ultra-conservative media and the statements of their guides. Among the new gurus of the Trumpists, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson is an emblematic example of these “anti-politically-correct” ideologues who have pledged allegiance to Vladimir Putin. A celebrated polemicist, well-versed in the art of provocation, this academic, who is very popular in the Anglo-Saxon media, targets “radical feminists”, anti-racist and transgender activists in his videos, accusing them of threatening freedom of expression with their “linguistic diktats”18. But in a curious paradox, Jordan Peterson, the new “masculinists’ herald”, sees Vladimir Putin as the cultural war against wokism and freedom of expression champion. He sees the Russian attack on Ukraine as merely a defensive gesture motivated by the fear of an invasion of this country by decadent Western culture. In a political climate that is hyper polarized by extremes and skilfully nurtured by Kremlin agents, Trumpists support Vladimir Putin in his war against Ukraine because they see him as their ally in their domestic political struggle to block Joe Biden’s re-election.

Framing Joe Biden and destroying American democracy

In this way, the interests of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are converging to make the 2024 presidential campaign a high-risk election. Seen from the Kremlin, the Republican candidate’s victory represents an opportunity to quickly put an end to Ukraine’s resistance by exploiting Donald Trump’s resentment against President Zelensky, responsible, in his eyes, for the first impeachment proceedings triggered against him in 2019. It would enable Moscow to pursue its expansionist designs in Europe, as Trump adopts an increasingly isolationist posture, threatening not only to leave Europeans alone against Russia but also to “encourage” Russia “to do whatever it wants” to a NATO member that has not paid its dues to the organization19.

Synergies between Russia and the Putin Wing are already at work to damage the Democratic candidate and turn his campaign into a trail strewn with traps, as the revelations of the Smirnov affair demonstrate. To discredit Joe Biden, Russia has had no qualms resorting to the well-worn technique of Kompromat, a court case caused by the circulation of a compromising document (usually fabricated). It was on the basis of allegations by Alexander Smirnov, an American-Israeli binational fluent in Russian, that the House of Representatives launched impeachment proceedings on December 13, 2023 against Joe Biden for alleged corruption. With a majority in the House, the Republicans were able to launch the procedure thanks to their votes alone, despite the absence of formal evidence. They accuse the Democratic president of using his influence when he was Obama’s vice-president (2009-2017) to help his son do business in China and Ukraine. Informer Alexander Smirnov reportedly passed on evidence to the FBI that Joe Biden and his son each received $5M from a Ukrainian energy company. However, the Republicans’ source — indicted and arrested on February 14, 2024 for fabricating false accusations against the Biden family — was in fact linked to Russian intelligence20. Despite this indictment, the Republicans continue their parliamentary trial, and time will tell whether these elected officials were misled by the Russian source or were complicit in it. To cut short any new accusations of conspiracy, Vladimir Putin immediately stated that he preferred a victory for Joe Biden, who was considered more “predictable”.

Two Trump supporters wearing T-shirts with the slogan “I’d Rather Be A Russian Than A Democrat” at a Trump rally in Ohio in August 2018. This photo by Jeremy Pelzer (Cleveland.com) went viral.

Russia’s intrusions into American political life have never really ceased and they have intensified in recent months. The Washington Post recently revealed the contents of a secret appendix to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, confirming Russia’s role in the movements currently destabilizing Western societies21. “Active measures” are aimed at spreading chaos by instrumentalizing sovereignist or extremist groups.

Added to this is support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas, in line with Soviet strategy. According to General Ion Mihai Pacepa, “today’s terrorism was conceived in the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War”22. After the humiliating defeat of Arab countries, the KGB decided to arm its Palestinian neighbors against Israel. While Russia’s involvement in the October 7 attacks — Vladimir Putin’s birthday — cannot be proven, there is a body of evidence to support the theory of its complicity: Russia has had relations with the organization for 17 years, and the visits of several Hamas leaders to Moscow in March and September 2023 (when the terrorist attacks were already being planned) may have been more than mere courtesy23.

Over and above their impact on aid to Ukraine, we are today measuring the interference of Middle Eastern events and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Western societies, and particularly in the United States, where the relationship with Israel is as much about domestic policy as it is about foreign policy due to the weight of the Jewish electorate, the pro-Israeli lobby, and the influence of evangelical Christians within the Republican Party. Since the October 7 attacks, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become an integral part of the presidential campaign, exacerbating community tensions in American society, as evidenced by the clashes between Jewish students and young pro-Palestinian activists on campus. It weakens the Democratic coalition, without which Joe Biden cannot win. For over six months, rallies in support of Palestine have been held every week in American cities to protest against the Democratic government’s unconditional support for Israel: “The entire, diverse Democratic camp is represented”24. Women, young people, Black people, Latinos and Americans of Palestinian or Arab origin say they have been betrayed by Joe Biden, whom they criticize for his unwavering loyalty to Israel.

The resurgence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is politically damaging for the Democratic president, who is seeing his support erode among Muslim and Arab-American voters — a bloc that had ensured his victory over Trump in Michigan25. In this key state, narrowly won by Joe Biden in 2020 by a low margin of 150,000 voters, the Muslim population (240,000) and its leaders are highly critical of his Middle East policy. Young people also disapprove. Yet, without the massive mobilization of this electorate, particularly in Durham, Raleigh, or on the huge Chapel Hill campus, Joe Biden will also have no chance of winning back North Carolina, which he narrowly lost to Trump in 2020. In South Carolina, it is the mobilization of the African-American electorate in the name of the “intersectionality of struggles” that could be his undoing. Part of the Democratic left is likely to switch to the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, another creature of the Kremlin, according to the American press, whose candidacy in 2016 had already deprived Hillary Clinton of precious votes26. Given that the election seems set to be close and will be played out in a few key states, the abstention-sanction of minorities or pro-Palestinian young leftists may offer victory to Donald Trump.

If the Kremlin is betting on Trump’s re-election, it is not just because of his opposition to aid for Ukraine or his isolationist foreign policy, but for the damage he can do to American democracy. After the 2016 election, Boris Yeltsin’s former foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, pointed out that, for the first time, the same kind of men governed both the Kremlin and the White House. “With Trump, the Russification of America is making rapid rapidly, Vladimir Putin’s macho authoritarianism, disdain for the media, and willingness to distort reality have taken root on the Potomac”, remarked Roger Cohen ironically in The New York Times.  

In fact, Russian political culture has already infected the House’s Putin Wing: verbal outrage, insults against the outgoing president (“Joe the crook”) and President Zelensky, compared to a “strip club manager”, are commonplace27. For these “anti-woke” people, unabashed vulgarity is a mark of rejection of the elites and the hallmark of a true populist leader, just as the language of the underworld is the prerogative of power for the oligarchs in the Kremlin. During his campaign, Trump’s rhetoric have reached an unprecedented level of violence. He accuses Biden of importing “carnage, chaos, and killing from around the world”, vows revenge on his opponents, the judges and prosecutors handling his court cases and, at a rally in Ohio, promised “a bloodbath” if Biden is re-elected. The storming of the Capitol by his supporters proves that political lies and the use of violence are two levers that Trump would not hesitate to pull in the event of victory (or if he again refused to concede defeat).

Some observers fear that the United States is tipping toward authoritarianism, as Donald Trump has not ceased undermining American institutions since 2016. The numerous charges brought against him concern not only his private life, but also attacks on the proper functioning of the institutions he swore to defend when he took office as president. Thus, his indictment in early August 2023 for “conspiracy against the state”, because of his role in the assault on the Capitol, is simply “the most important indictment ever filed to safeguard American democracy and the rule of law in a United States court”28.

Donald Trump // His Instagram account

In the face of his accusers, Trump constantly accuses the justice system of being politicized and promises revenge. His provocations, scandals, and trials in no way alter the hold he exerts over his supporters, particularly evangelical Christians: on the contrary, they cry conspiracy and give no credence to the accusations levelled against the man who presents himself as a martyr, or even as “a prophet blessed by God”29. Trump’s personality cult — skilfully nurtured through the sale of merchandising products (the notorious orange wig cap) — and the idolatry of his loyal supporters are “warning signs of a sectarian drift”30. In his mass-like rallies, Trump transforms his campaign into a final crusade against “the hell of Joe Biden and his gang”: “Our country is being destroyed, and the only thing standing between you and its annihilation is me. November 5 will be our new day of liberation. It will be the day of their judgment” — an apocalyptic speech that sounds like something out of a Vladimir Soloviev TV show.  

The reason the Kremlin is betting so heavily on Trump is that it sees him as the providential man who will sow chaos, break the transatlantic link, and destroy American democracy. Then Moscow will have free rein to enslave the peoples of Europe. Seeing America descend into civil war has been a clear objective of the Kremlin since the fall of the Soviet Union. The far-right leader Zhirinovsky was already prophesying this under Yeltsin, and in 2017 a commentator on Ekho Moskvy radio was jubilant on the evening of Donald Trump’s inauguration:

“I want these four years to see a tidal wave of political confrontation in the United States […] I want to see the US elite confront a new Gettysburg […] I want Americans to know what we’ve been through. I want Mexicans to demand the return of Texas. I want new confederates and grassroots activists in Vermont to rise up against federal power […] I want African Americans in Ferguson to remember the white activists who killed their own. That’s why I’m so hopeful about Donald Trump taking office.”31

Trump has refused to commit to recognizing the result if he loses the election to Joe Biden. So the riots of January 6 may occur again or turn to “carnage”, as in a scene from Alex Garland’s Civil War. The success of this film is indicative of the zeitgeist: more than half of Americans are convinced that democracy is under serious threat32. Political scientist Barbara Walters of the University of San Diego has said that the United States is not far from returning to the climate of hatred and political violence of the Civil War33. But unlike the militias of the last century, today’s extremist groups are part of international networks actively supported by Russia and China34.

Conclusion

The threats posed by a re-election of Donald Trump to both the outcome of the war in Ukraine and the fate of American democracy are very real. In the Putin project, the fates of one and the other are inseparable: the defeat of Ukraine would discredit America, leading Europe in turn to collaborate with Moscow. But the Kremlin’s most sophisticated scenarios are sometimes thwarted by the vagaries of democratic life. Just imagine Moscow’s disappointment when, on April 20, 2024, the House of Representatives, after months of procrastination, finally adopted the $61bn aid package for Ukraine put to the vote by Mike Johnson with Donald Trump’s approval. But this about-face was to be expected.

In Donald Trump’s priorities, the question of his political survival far outweighs the Kremlin’s diplomatic agenda. Certain of winning the primaries, Trump must now polish his image as a presidential candidate (damaged by his legal affairs and the memory of Russiagate) to win the votes of the electorate. Yet, contrary to the MAGA movement’s conspiracy-minded base, American opinion remains overwhelmingly in favor of Kyiv, as does the Republican establishment, whose support is indispensable to Trump in the final stage of the race to the White House. Too compromised with Russia, “Marjorie Moscow”, who graces the front page of the New York Post wearing a shapka, has suddenly fallen out of favor with the Murdoch Group’s Trumpist media35. As Vladimir Putin laments in his speeches, the problem with democracy is that it’s unpredictable! Everything can change from one day to the next: “One day a country is pursuing this or that goal with insistence, and the next day changes in domestic policy occur, and they start wanting to achieve goals that are sometimes completely different, even opposite, with the same insistence and the same nerve”36.   

Laurence Saint-Gilles is an associate professor of history. She teaches the history of international relations at the Faculty of Arts at Sorbonne University. A Fulbright scholar, she dedicated her thesis and numerous articles to Franco-American diplomatic and cultural relations. She is the author of Les États-Unis et la nouvelle guerre froide (Sorbonne University Press, 2019), among other works.

Footnotes

  1. John Hudson and Shane Harris, “CIA director on trip to Ukraine, hears plans for wars”, The Washington Post, 06/30/2023.
  2. Anders Aslund, “Washington Defeatism”, Kyiv Post, 11/20/2023.
  3. Charles A. Kupchan, “It’s Time To Bring Russia and Ukraine to the Negotiating Table”, New York Times, 11/02/2022.
  4. Richard Haass and Charles Kupchan, “The West Needs a New Strategy in Ukraine”, Foreign Affairs, 04/13/2023.
  5. Jennifer Aglesta, “Majority of Americans Oppose more US Aid for Ukraine in War with Russia”, CNN Poll, 08/04/2023.
  6. Piotr Smolar, “The Critical support of American strategists in reaction to Kyiv’s counter offensive”, Le Monde, 09/01/2023.
  7. Nahal Toosi, “Leaked U.S strategy on Ukraine sees corruption as the real threat”, Politico, 10/02/2023.
  8. “Nobody Believes in Our Victory Like I Do. Inside Volodymyr Zelensky’s Struggle to Keep Ukraine in the Fight, Time, 11/24/2023.
  9. Caleb Ecarma, “A McConnell-Vance Split Has Opened Up on Ukraine Funding Packaging,” Vanity Fair, 10/23/2023.
  10. Piotr Smolar, “Ukraine et Gaza, Joe Biden entangled in his contradictions”, Le Monde, 04/22/2023.
  11. “The US election calendar will determine the future of the Ukrainian conflict”, Slate, 05/21/2023.
  12. Isabel Von Brugen, “How Marjorie Taylor Greene became a Russian State Media Darling”, Newsweek, 09/05/2023.
  13. Timothy Snider, “Doing Russia’s Bidding: Snyder calls out GOP Putin Wing to their faces in Hill Hearing”, MSNBC, 04/19/2024.
  14. Roman Volkov, “The troll strategy: what are the objectives of Russian information warfare?”, National Defense Review, 2018.
  15. David French, “Putin a hero? Ukraine a villain? How MAGA has inverted American Foreign Policy”, New York Times, 02/08/2024.
  16. Max Boot, “Republicans aren’t isolationists. They’re pro-Putin”, The Washington Post, 05/24/2022.
  17. Gaël Brustier, “Rod Dreher, the American eager to get Conservative Europe to rise up”, Slate, April 24, 2023.
  18. Zyneb Drief, “Jordan Peterson, masculinists’ new herald”, Le Monde, 02/06/2018.
  19. Michael Gold, “Trump Says He Gave NATO Allies Warning: Pay In or He’d Urge Russian Aggression”, New York Times, 01/10/2024.
  20. Simon Petite, “Moscow interferes in the presidential election”, Le Temps, 02/28/2024.
  21. Catherine Belton, “Secret Russian Foreign Policy document urges action to weaken the U.S.”, The Washington Post, 04/17/2024.
  22. Ion Mihai Pacepa, “Russian Footprints”, National Review online, 24/08/2006. General Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc officer to have defected.
  23. Jonathan Sweet, Mark Toth, “Putin’s fingerprints are all over the Hamas Attack”, The Hill, 12/10/2023. James Sherr Obe, “Putin’s Gaza front”, ICDS. Jamie Dettmer, Christian Oliver, “Hamas’s Gift To Vladimir Putin”, Politico Europe, 10/10/2023.
  24. Frédéric Autran, “In the United States, the Democratic coalition is cracking in the face of the Gazan tragedy”, Libération, 03/04/2024.
  25. Simon Petite, “Russia interferes in the US presidential election ”, Ibid.
  26. Alexander Nazaryan, Jill Steins Explains Her Relashionship to Putin, Newsweek, 03/08/2017.
  27. David French, Ibid.
  28. Richard L. Hasen, “Donald Trump’s trial for plotting against the United States, a challenge for American democracy”, Slate, 08/08/2023.
  29. Frédéric Autran, “Trump. The mechanics of a cult”, Libération, March 5, 2024.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Quoted in Françoise Thom, Understanding Putinism, Desclée De Brower, 2018, p.211.
  32. Philipp Löpfe, “Why Americans are talking about civil war again”, Watson, 05/12/2024.
  33. Barbara Walters, “How Civil Wars Start”, Penguin, 2022.
  34. Anne Applebaum, ‘Democracy is Loosing the Propaganda War’, The Atlantic, 05/06/2024.
  35. Piers Morgan, ‘Moscow Marjorie’ Taylor Greene is Putin’s useful idiot and the real betrayer of America, New York Post, 04/22/2024.
  36. Vladimir Putin, Valdaï speech, translated and quoted by Françoise Thom, “Why Putin chooses chaos”, Desk Russie, 10/13/2023.”

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