Russia’s Destructive Disinformation Igniting American Political Scene

Илустрација: Ѓорѓе Јовановиќ

Regardless of the fact that since the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russia Today and Sputnik closed their offices in many countries across Europe and in the USA – due to the sanctions against Russia – the disinformation narratives they had been building for years are fruitful


Key witness in the impeachment investigation of President Joe Biden, regarding the alleged receipt of bribes from an Ukrainian company through his son Hunter Biden, initiated by a Republican politician from the US House of Representatives, apparently did not tell the truth when sharing confidential information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Not only that, but according to his statements, he had contacts with Russian representatives who shared this disinformation with him. The effect of this is evident – the overall situation shows how influential Russian disinformation can be, even in a country like the USA.


Author: Matej Trojacanec


Alexander Smirnov, a longtime informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was accused of falsifying information about American President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Specifically, it untrue that President Biden and his son had asked for a 5 million USD bribe from the Ukrainian company “Burisma”, which was under investigation during Biden’s vice presidency, i.e., when he had the opportunity to influence US foreign policy.

This was presented in the indictment of the special counsel David Weiss, in the documents made available to the public by the California Federal Court. The motivation behind Smirnov’s actions, according to the document, is for political purposes. As the prosecutors allege, Smirnov sent “a series of messages expressing bias against Public Official 1,” i.e., Joe Biden.

The most delicate information that portrays Smirnov as the culprit is that he had contact with Russian officials:

“When interviewed by FBI agents in September 2023, the accused reiterated some of his false claims, changed his narrative with other claims, and promoted a new false narrative having stated that he had met with Russian officials”, as the document states on page 4

Photo: Screenshot from the indictment against Smirnov

Broader context

Since his time as Vice-president in the administration of Barack Obama, members of the Republican Party accused Biden of receiving bribes, generally through his son Hunter’s business dealings. Given that Hunter Biden is embroiled in a series of scandals, Republicans wanted to “get back” at current President Biden through his son. Specifically, they launched a detailed impeachment investigation as to accomplish this, similar to what the Democrats did with the former President Donald Trump.

The main protagonist was the House Representative James Coomer from Kentucky, who is also a member of the House Committee on Oversight. According to the New York Times, when some of the information reached the Republicans on the Committee, Coomer threatened FBI Director Christopher Wray that if he did not disclose the details, he would accuse him of Court contempt.

Coomer, along with his peer from the Senate Chuck Grassley from Iowa, issued an official request to the FBI to obtain the documents, even though they had been warned several times not to use them because the information in them had not been verified and confirmed. It was precisely those documents that formed the basis of the impeachment investigation, as well as the information that Alexander Smirnov shared with the Investigation Bureau.

After Special Counsel and Prosecutor David Weiss decided to criminally prosecute Smirnov for false statements, the entire Republican impeachment investigation seemed to have fallen through. But that did not stop the right-wing news agencies and columnists from interpreting events as “tactic of intimidation by the Department of Justice”, or that “even without the key ‘evidence’, the investigation will succeed”. Others blamed the Investigation Bureau and demanded an explanation for the whole mess.

Russian Disinformation in the USA

Regardless of the fact that since the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russia Today and Sputnik closed their offices in many countries across Europe and in the USA – due to the sanctions against Russia – the disinformation narratives they had been building for years are fruitful. Aspenia Online reported that such disinformation was designed to sow discord, to exacerbate existing tensions, to shift blame onto others, and to reduce trust in democratic institutions. All of this, coupled with intentions for political retaliation at any cost, leads to the current situation in America.

If we set aside the motive for political revenge and look at the bigger picture, it can be noted that the goal of Russian disinformation is not to successfully impeach Biden, but to undermine the central political issues (such as migration), and to create even greater polarization and deadlock in Congress. And consequently, in such a state, the aid intended for Ukraine would be made uncertain or completely stopped. This happens precisely now when Ukraine needs assistance the most, considering that its stocks of ammunition and artillery are running low.






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