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The Real ‘Russian Playbook’ Is Written in English

By Patrick Armstrong | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 17, 2020

I hadn’t given The Russian Playbook much attention until Susan Rice, Obama’s quondam security advisor, opined a month ago on CNN that “I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook“. She was referring to the latest U.S. riots.

Once I’d seen this mention of The Russian Playbook (aka KGB, Kremlin or Putin’s Playbook), I saw the expression all over the place. Here’s an early – perhaps the earliest – use of the term. In October 2016, the Center for Strategic and International studies (“Ranked #1“) informed us of the “Kremlin Playbook” with this ominous beginning:

There was a deeply held assumption that, when the countries of Central and Eastern Europe joined NATO and the European Union in 2004, these countries would continue their positive democratic and economic transformation. Yet more than a decade later, the region has experienced a steady decline in democratic standards and governance practices at the same time that Russia’s economic engagement with the region expanded significantly.

And asks:

Are these developments coincidental, or has the Kremlin sought deliberately to erode the region’s democratic institutions through its influence to ‘break the internal coherence of the enemy system’?

Well, to these people, to ask the question is to answer it: can’t possibly be disappointment at the gap between 2004’s expectations and 2020’s reality, can’t be that they don’t like the total Western values package that they have to accept, it must be those crafty Russians deceiving them. This was the earliest reference to The Playbook that I found, but it certainly wasn’t the last.

Russia has a century-old playbook for ‘disinformation’… ‘I believe in Russia they do have their own manual that essentially prescribes what to do,’ said Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI agent. (Nov 2018)

The Russian playbook for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories is the subject of a new three-part video series on The New York Times website titled ‘Operation Infektion: Russian Disinformation: From The Cold War To Kanye.’ (Nov 2018)

I found headlines such as these: Former CIA Director Outlines Russian Playbook for Influencing Unsuspecting Targets (May 2017); Fmr. CIA op.: Don Jr. meeting part of Russian playbook (Jul 2017); Americans Use Russian Playbook to Spread Disinformation (Oct 2018); Factory of Lies: The Russian Playbook (Nov 2018); Shredding the Putin Playbook: Six crucial steps we must take on cyber-security—before it’s too late. (Winter 2018); Trump’s spin is ‘all out of the KGB playbook’: Counterintelligence expert Malcolm Nance (May 2019).

Of course, all these people are convinced Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Somehow. To some effect. Never really specified but the latest outburst of insanity is this video from the Lincoln Project. As Anatoly Karlin observes: “I think it’s really cool how we Russians took over America just by shitposting online. How does it feel to be subhuman?” He has a point: the Lincoln Project, and the others shrieking about Russian interference, take it for granted that American democracy is so flimsy and Americans so gullible that a few Facebook ads can bring the whole facade down. A curious mental state indeed.

So let us consider The Russian Playbook. It stands at the very heart of Russian power. It is old: at least a century old. Why, did not Tolstoy’s 1908 Letter to a Hindu inspire Gandhi to bring down the British Indian Empire and win the Great Game for Moscow? The Tolstoy-Putin link is undeniable as we are told in A Post-Soviet ‘War and Peace’: What Tolstoy’s Masterwork Explains About Putin’s Foreign Policy: “In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Napoleon (like Putin after him) wanted to construct his own international order…”. Russian novelists: adepts of The Playbook every one. So there is much to consider about this remarkable Book which has had such an enormous – hidden to most – role in world history. Its instructions on how to swing Western elections are especially important: the 2016 U.S. election; Brexit; “100 years of Russian electoral interference“; Canada; France; the European Union; Germany and many more. The awed reader must ask whether any Western election since Tolstoy’s day can be trusted. Not to forget the Great Hawaiian Pizza Debate the Russians could start at any moment.

What can we know about The Playbook? For a start it must be written in Russian, a language that those crafty Russians insist on speaking among themselves. Secondly such an important document would be protected the way that highly classified material is protected. There would be a very restricted need to know; underlings participating in one of the many plays would not know how their part fitted into The Playbook; few would ever see The Playbook itself. The Playbook would be brought to the desk of the few authorised to see it by a courier, signed for, the courier would watch the reader and take away the copy afterwards. The very few copies in existence would be securely locked away; each numbered and differing subtly from the others so that, should a leak occur, the authorities would know which copy read by whom had been leaked. Printed on paper that could not be photographed or duplicated. As much protection as human cunning could devise; right up there with the nuclear codes.

So, The Russian Playbook would be extraordinarily difficult to get hold of. And yet… every talking head on U.S. TV has a copy at his elbow! English copies, one assumes. Rachel Maddow has comprehended the complicated chapter on how to control the U.S. power system. Others have read the impenetrably complex section on how to control U.S. voting machines or change vote counts. Many are familiar with the lists of divisions in American society and directions for exploiting them. Adam Schiff has mastered the section on how to get Trump to give Alaska back. Susan Rice well knows the chapter “How to create riots in peaceful communities”.

And so on. It’s all quite ridiculous: we’re supposed to believe that Moscow easily controls far-away countries but can’t keep its neighbours under control.

There is no Russian Playbook, that’s just projection. But there is a “playbook” and it’s written in English, it’s freely available and it’s inexpensive enough that every pundit can have a personal copy: it’s named “From Dictatorship To Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation” and it’s written by Gene Sharp (1928-2018). Whatever Sharp may have thought he was doing, whatever good cause he thought he was assisting, his book has been used as a guide to create regime changes around the world. Billed as “democracy” and “freedom”, their results are not so benign. Witness Ukraine today. Or Libya. Or Kosovo whose long-time leader has just been indicted for numerous crimes. Curiously enough, these efforts always take place in countries that resist Washington’s line but never in countries that don’t. Here we do see training, financing, propaganda, discord being sown, divisions exploited to effect regime change – all the things in the imaginary “Russian Playbook”. So, whatever he may have thought he was helping, Sharp’s advice has been used to produce what only the propagandists could call “model interventions“; to the “liberated” themselves, the reality is poverty, destruction, war and refugees.

The Albert Einstein Institution, which Sharp created in 1983, strongly denies collusion with Washington-sponsored overthrows but people from it have organised seminars or workshops in many targets of U.S. overthrows. The most recent annual report of 2014, while rather opaque, shows 45% of its income from “grants” (as opposed to “individuals”) and has logos of Euromaidan, SOSVenezuela, Umbrellamovement, Lwili, Sunflowersquare and others. In short, the logos of regime change operations in Ukraine, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso and Taiwan. (And, ironically for today’s USA, Black Lives Matter). So, clearly, there is some connection between the AEI and Washington-sponsored regime change operations.

So there is a “handbook” but it’s not Russian.

Reading Sharp’s book, however, makes one wonder if he was just fooling himself. Has there ever been a “dictatorship” overthrown by “non-violent” resistance along the lines of what he is suggesting? He mentions Norwegians who resisted Hitler; but Norway was liberated, along with the rest of Occupied Europe, by extremely violent warfare. While some Jews escaped, most didn’t and it was the conquest of Berlin that saved the rest: the Nazi state was killed. The USSR went away, together with its satellite governments in Europe but that was a top-down event. He likes Gandhi but Gandhi wouldn’t have lasted a minute under Stalin. Otpor was greatly aided by NATO’s war on Serbia. And, they’re only “non-violent” because the Western media doesn’t talk much about the violence; “non-violent” is not the first word that comes to mind in this video of Kiev 2014. “Colour revolutions” are manufactured from existing grievances, to be sure, but with a great deal of outside assistance, direction and funding; upon inspection, there’s much design behind their “spontaneity”. And, not infrequently, with mysterious sniping at a expedient moment – see Katchanovski’s research on the “Heavenly Hundred” of the Maidan showing pretty convincingly that the shootings were “a false flag operation” involving “an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland”. There is little in Sharp’s book to suggest that non-violent resistance would have had much effect on a really brutal and determined government. He also has the naïve habit of using “democrat” and “dictator” as if these words were as precisely defined as coconuts and codfish. But any “dictatorship” – for example Stalin’s is a very complex affair with many shades of opinion in it. So, in terms of what he was apparently trying to do, one can see it only succeeding against rather mild “dictators” presiding over extremely unpopular polities. With a great deal of outside effort and resources.

His “playbook” is useful to outside powers that want to overthrow governments they don’t like. Especially those run by “dictators” not brutal enough to shoot the protesters down. It’s not Russian diplomats that are caught choosing the leaders of ostensibly independent countries. It’s not Russians who boast of spending money in poor countries to change their governments. It’s not Russian diplomats who meet with foreign opposition leaders. Russia doesn’t fabricate a leader of a foreign country. It’s not Russia that invents a humanitarian crisis, bombs the country to bits, laughs at its leader’s brutal death and walks away. It’s not Russia that sanctions numerous countries. It’s not Russia that gives fellowships to foreign oppositionists. Even the Washington Post (one of the principals in sustaining Putindunnit hysteria) covered “The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere“; but piously insisted “the days of its worst behavior are long behind it”. Whatever the pundits may claim about Russia, the USA actually has an organisation devoted to interfering in other countries’ business; one of whose leading lights proudly boasted: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.

The famous “Russian Playbook” is nothing but projection onto Moscow of what Washington actually does: projection is so common a feature of American propaganda that one may certain that when Washington accuses somebody else of doing something, it’s a guarantee that Washington is doing it.

July 17, 2020 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia |

3 Comments »

  1. FIRSTLY: GOOGLE
    The Odd Chabad Connection Between Putin and Trump
    by Martin Longman
    November 27, 2017
    Three days before the presidential election, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump visited the Queens gravesite of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and, according to The Times of Israel, they prayed for Donald Trump’s victory.

    Schneerson, who died in 1994, is an interesting character. Although he never claimed it himself, some of his followers consider him the Messiah, and others believe he is still alive.

    Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known to many as the Rebbe, was a Russian Empire-born American Orthodox Jewish rabbi, and the last Lubavitcher Rebbe. He is considered one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century.

    As leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, he took an insular Hasidic group that almost came to an end with the Holocaust and transformed it into one of the most influential movements in world Jewry, with an international network of over 3,000 educational and social centers. The institutions he established include kindergartens, schools, drug-rehabilitation centers, care-homes for the disabled and synagogues.

    The Kushner family is Modern Orthodox, and of course Ivanka converted to Judaism prior to her marriage to Jared. Still, according to Ben Schreckinger of Politico Magazine, Kushner was affiliated with the Chabad house at Harvard when he was a student there. Since settling in DC, the couple has reportedly been attending services at a Chabad synagogue.
    What Jared and Ivanka want to do in their spiritual lives is their business, and I have no intention of casting any aspersions on the Chabad-Lubavitch movement or Rabbi Schneerson. I do however want to explore some things that may circle back to this pre-election pilgrimage to Schneerson’s grave.
    Let’s begin here:
    Starting in 1999, [Vladimir] Putin enlisted two of his closest confidants, the oligarchs Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich, who would go on to become Chabad’s biggest patrons worldwide, to create the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia under the leadership of Chabad rabbi Berel Lazar, who would come to be known as “Putin’s rabbi.”

    There’s a good chance that if you know of Roman Abramovich, you know him as the owner of the Chelsea Football Club of the English Premier League. You may not know that he was a victor (along with Paul Manafort’s patron Oleg Deripaska) in the bloody aluminum wars of the 1990s, or that he was reportedly the person who convinced Boris Yeltsin that Putin would be a proper successor. You probably are not aware that Ivanka Trump is very close friends with Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, with whom she recently attended the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens. Zhukova reportedly attended the inauguration as Ivanka’s personal guest.

    It takes a little more doing to understand the Trump family’s connections to Lev Leviev. To begin with, we need to go back to Bayrock, the company that Donald Trump teamed up with to build his Trump Soho project. There were three main actors in that enterprise. One was convicted mob associate and murky FBI informant Felix Sater. Another was Tevfik Arif, a shady man with likely Russian intelligence connections who was once was arrested by the Turks on Mustafa Kamal Ataturk’s yacht and “charged with running an international underage prostitution ring.” The third was the late Tamir Sapir, another man with ties to Russian intelligence. If you’re interested in this aspect of the story, I refer you to my Trump’s Soho Project, the Mob, and Russian Intelligence article and also Mike Lofgren’s piece: Mobbed Up, both written in late February.
    Interestingly, all these men have connections to the Chabad movement. Felix Sater was honored as Man of the Year in 2014 by the Port Washington Chabad house. The same Chabad house’s website lists Tevfik Arif, who is not Jewish, “among its top 13 benefactors.”
    But it’s Tamir Sapir who links Trump back directly to Lev Leviev.

    SECONDLY:

    JEWRY IS THE MOTHER OF MARXISM
    “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.”
    Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23
    This list suggests there was nothing ‘Russian’ about the ‘Russian Revolution’, yet this fact is mostly obscured by contemporary historians.
    1. “Some call it Marxism, I call it Judaism.” – Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, in the American Bulletin of May 15, 1935.
    2. “The revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution” – The Maccabean (New York), Nov. 1905, p, 250.
    3. “Jewry is the mother of Marxism.” – Le Droit de Vivre, May 12, 1936.“Judaism is Marxism, communism” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 64.
    4. “The communist soul is the soul of Judaism.” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 143.
    5. “We Jews cannot be called upon to denounce Communism.” -The American Hebrew (New York), February 3, 1939, p. 11“The picture which the Soviet Union presents today is one that should bring rejoicing to world Jewry.” – The Youngstown Jewish Times, Sept. 18, 1936, page 51.
    6. “It would be absurd to deny the intensity of the Jewish participation in the Russian revolutionary movement.” – Leon Dennen, in The Menorah Journal (New York) July-September 1932, p. 106.
    7. “That achievement – the Russian-Jewish revolution – destined to figure in history as the overshadowing result of World War, was largely the outcome of Jewish thinking, of Jewish discontent, of Jewish effort to reconstruct.” – The American Hebrew, September 10, 1920.
    8. “The Bolshevik Government of Russia is the key-stone of the arch of the proof of the Jewish conspiracy for radicalism and world-domination.” – William Hard, The Great Jewish Conspiracy (New York: American Jewish Book Company, 1920), p. 31.
    9. “The Jewish elements provide the driving forces for communism” – Dr. Oscar Levy, in George Pitt-Rivers, The World Significance of the Russian Revolution (Oxford, 1920), p. ix.
    10. “The Jews have been furnishing for the Bolsheviks the majority of their leaders” – The Jewish World (London), April 16, 1919, p. 11.
    11. “Russian Jews have taken a prominent part in the Bolshevist movement” – The American Hebrew (New York), November 18, 1927, p. 20.
    12. “Jewry has come to wield a considerable power in the Communist Party.” – Dr. Avrahm Yarmolinsky, in The Menorah Journal (New York), July 1928, p. 37.
    13. “The East-Side Jew [Trotsky] that Conquered Europe” – The Liberator (New York), March 1920, pp. 26-27.
    14. “The real East Sider [New York Jew Trotsky] is at the head of things in Russia.” – M. L. Larkin, in The Public (New York), November 23, 1918, p. 1433.
    15. “It is not an accident that Judaism gave birth to Marxism, and it is not an accident that the Jews readily took up Marxism; all this is in perfect accord with the progress of Judaism and the Jews.” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 148
    16. “Karl Marx, who came from an old family of rabbis and brilliant Talmudic scholars, was to point the path of victory for the proletariat.” – L. Rennap, Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Question (London, 1942), p. 31.
    17. “Among his [Karl Marx’s] ancestors were Rabbis and Talmudists, men of learning and keen intellect.” – Henry Wickham Steed, in The American Hebrew (New York), December 9, 1927, p. 206 “The peculiarly Jewish logic of his [Karl Marx’s] mind” – Henry Wickham Steed, in The American Hebrew (New York), December 9, 1927, p. 206.
    18. “Mr. Wickham Steed lays the rise of Bolshevism at the doors of Jewry.” – The Jewish Guardian (London), November 28, 1924, p. 4.“The Bolshevik Revolution has emancipated the Jews as individuals” – Dr. Avrahm Yarmolinsky, in The Menorah Journal (New York), July 1928, p. 33.
    19. “There are many Bolshevik leaders of Jewish extraction” – D. L. Sandelsan, in The Jewish Chronicle (London), February 20, 1920, p. 22.
    20. “There is no Jew who does not hope with all his heart that the Soviet Union will survive and be victorious” – Zionist Review (London: Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland), September 26, 1941, p. 7.
    21. “Communism and internationalism are in truth and in fact great virtues. Judaism may be justly proud of these virtues” – Harry Watan, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 80.
    22. “If the tide of history does not turn toward Communist internationalism … then the Jewish race is doomed.” – George Marlen, Stalin, Trotsky, or Lenin (New York, 1937), p. 414 “The [Jewish] Commissaries were formerly political exiles. They had been dreaming of revolution for years in their exile in Paris, in London, in New York, in Berlin, everywhere and anywhere. They saw in the Bolshevist Movement an opportunity of realizing the extreme ideas of Communism and internationalism to which their fate had compelled them.” – Dr. D. S. Pazmanik, in The Jewish Chronicle (London), September 5, 1919, p. 14.
    23. “The Jewish people will never forget that the Soviet Union was the first country – and as yet the only country in the world – in which anti-Semitism is a crime.” – Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), January 1942, p. 16.
    24. “Anti-Semitism was classed [by the Soviet Government] as counter-revolution and the severe punishments meted out for acts of anti-Semitism were the means by which the existing order protected its own safety” – The Congress Bulletin, (New York: American Jewish Congress), January 5, 1940, p. 2.
    25. “There is no official anti-Semitism in Russia; anti-Semitism in Russia is a crime against the State.” – Dr. Chalm Weizmann, The Jewish People and Palestine (London: Zionist Organization, 1939), p. 7.
    26. “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.” – Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23.“The part which Jews play in the [Communist] Government of the country [Russia] does not appear to be declining” – Harry Sacher, in The Jewish Review (London), June-August 1932, p. 43.
    27. “The Jews have a right to subordinate to themselves the rest of mankind and to be the masters over the whole earth. This is the historic destiny of the Jews” – Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), pp. 99-100.
    28. “We Jews, we the destroyers, will remain the destroyers forever. Nothing that you will do, will meet our needs and demands. We will destroy because we need a world of our own.” – Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, page 155.
    29. “The Russian intelligentsia . . . saw in the philosophy of Judaism the germs of Bolshevism – the struggle of … Judaism versus Christianity.” – Leon Dennen, in The Menorah Journal (New York, July-September 1932, p. 105.
    30. “Soviet Russia has declared war on Christianity, and on those who profess this faith. In the Russian villages today Bolsheviks and Herbert H. Lehman . . . were called the ‘secret government of the United States’ and were linked with ‘world communism.’” – Dr. Louis Harap, in Jewish Life (New York), June 1951, p. 20.

    “Anti-Communism is anti-Semitism.”
    Jewish Voice (New York: National Council of Jewish Communists), July-August 1941, p. 23
    STALIN AND ANTISEMITISM

    J. Stalin
    January 12, 1931

    Reply to an Inquiry of the Jewish News Agency in the United States

    In answer to your inquiry:

    National and racial chauvinism is a vestige of the misanthropic customs characteristic of the period of cannibalism. Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.

    Anti-Semitism is of advantage to the exploiters as a lightning conductor that deflects the blows aimed by the working people at capitalism. Anti-Semitism is dangerous for the working people as being a false path that leads them off the right road and lands them in the jungle. Hence Communists, as consistent internationalists, cannot but be irreconcilable, sworn enemies of anti-Semitism.

    In the U.S.S.R. anti-Semitism is punishable with the utmost severity of the law as a phenomenon deeply hostile to the Soviet system. Under U.S.S.R. law active anti-Semites are liable to the death penalty. [*]

    J. Stalin
    January 12, 1931

    First published in the newspaper Pravda, No. 329, November 30, 1936

    SOURCE:
    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1931/01/12.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Dave Rubin | July 17, 2020 | Reply

  2. I don’t have time to read this in the detail it deserves. Stupid, puritanic, dumbed-down, beer-swigging, obese ‘mericans have to have a “devil for distraction” — one can’t count the numbers of them through many decades that have been fueled by the Dem-Rep duopoly + corporate MSM + TV/IT age (might Fidel be the no. 1 ‘infidel’?). Currently it’s Putin who is the devil du jour…a badge of honor, I say verily….

    One needs a mask if only to ward off the stench….

    (Challenging comment by Dave Rubin…so little time and focus available to study it….)

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by roberthstiver | July 17, 2020 | Reply

  3. Blaming the Russians for everything that is wrong in America today is just totally ‘see through’. It is totally predictable, because it shifts the focus from the “REAL VILLAINS embedded in the highest levels of the American Government”, onto America’s “Villain De Jour”, the EVIL VLADIMIR PUTIN……I don’t think that the average American is as stupid as the American Media portrays them to be.

    You do not have to be Albert Einstein to figure out what is wrong with America today, President Eisenhower warned America(and the World) about it 70+ years ago…….And, still, Nothing has been done to address it, and it’s worse today than it was then. Eisenhower would be horrified if he came back tomorrow, and saw how OVERPOWERING it has become.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | July 17, 2020 | Reply


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