How Vladimir Putin Weaponized Russia’s Media

After decades of wielding Soviet-style hard power, Moscow is developing a subtler form of influence.

Vladimir Putin is a news junkie.

The Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, didn’t use that expression when we talked by phone, but that’s what he described to me: a man at the center of an ever-churning machine processing vast amounts of news and data at his command.

“Sometimes we’re wondering what is the limit for a human being for absorbing this huge amount of information,” Peskov told me, “but, well, it’s really a very, very, very heavy job.”

Peskov, speaking fluent English, described the operation. “First of all, the information and press department of the presidential administration prepares digests on print media, on Internet sources, on domestic media—federal and regional. Continue reading

Red scare: Blind Chinese dissident claims Chinese communist conquest of U.S. academia

Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has now released a statement concerning his allegations that New York University is severing relations with him to curry favor with China’s oppressive Communist government and assure completion of a gleaming portal campus in Shanghai.

The statement, obtained Sunday night by The Daily Caller, is a humdinger. In addition to squarely accusing NYU of caving to Chinese pressure, the self-taught lawyer and famed human rights activist charges that a large number of American academics and academic institutions have become wrapped in the tentacles of China’s communist government.

The work of the Chinese Communists within academic circles in the United States is far greater than what people imagine, and some scholars have no option but to hold themselves back,” Chen said. “Academic independence and academic freedom in the United States are being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime.” Continue reading