Evidence is a collection of logical assumptions that convincingly justifies the correctness of a given assumption.1 Evidence can be divided into two large groups – direct and indirect. Factual data that validate or invalidate an assumption are considered direct evidence. Indirect evidence is more about characterizing an attitude towards the assumption – has there been direct evidence about a particular situation or assumption in the past. However, a case can have both direct and indirect evidence. What concerns the latter, it is becoming more crucial to talk about assessing evidence as a whole without isolating any of it, because a series of indirect evidence provide understanding of a case only if viewed collectively.2
The introduction sounds just like a legal text, however this piece won’t be about legal matters but something entirely different. I wrote the introduction for you to have a better understanding of why I put forward particular assumptions.
We will talk about the widespread protests in the US that began after the death of Afro-American George Floyd. The issue of racism has been ever-present in the US and protests in this regard are nothing new. But the current unrest was and is the most widespread in recent history, featuring the dismantling of different monuments, as well as talks of cutting funds for the police and reassigning some of its functions to other institutions.3
It is only natural that the current situation significantly affects domestic processes in the US, its foreign policy and national security as a whole. Therefore, it is possible that other nations will want to capitalize on this and will use the situation to reach their own goals.
It would be naïve to assume that these nations will openly demonstrate their participation in inciting the domestic situation in the US. If no mistakes were made, we may never find out about it. But we can determine which countries could potentially be interested in doing so and whether something similar has already happened in the past, and if it has there is no reason to believe that this time these countries decided not to become involved.
Let’s not begin with the protests themselves but instead the events prior to them – the US presidential election. American intelligence services had already concluded that Russia meddled in its 2016 presidential election in support of Trump. This was the reason for the investigation lead by Robert Mueller – an investigation Donald Trump called a “witch hunt”. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has taken a significantly softer approach towards Russia.4 This is why no one was surprised when US intelligence officials informed the members of Congress about Russia’s attempts to get Trump reelected as president.5
You may ask – why should Russia care who becomes the president of the US? Oh, it definitely should care. Up until now, you could say the world was divided into two large blocs – the US and the USSR, now Russia. Both countries competed on every imaginable issue. Therefore, it is foolish to think that Russia would want a strong US president. We should also keep in mind that the Russian political elite consists of former KGB officers (as we know there are no former KGB members).6 It is common knowledge that intelligence services pay great attention to the psychological portraits – the weaknesses and strengths – of people they are interested in. That is why I am convinced that Trump has been deemed the most appropriate candidate for Russia.
This is the first assumption – Russia wants Trump to become president of the US.
The protests taking place in the US can either increase or decrease Trump’s chances to become reelected.
We can see Russia’s approach if we read what is being published in its mass media. As we know, media in Russia only publish what corresponds to the Kremlin’s interests, i.e. the content and style of these publications is indirect evidence to the Kremlin’s actual policies.
Here is an excerpt: “And what should Russia do in this situation? Support one of the sides? Peacefully observe the American chaos, hoping that it will drag on and weaken the US even more? It is clear that we share Harry Truman’s notion – let them fight among themselves for as long as possible. “A plague on both of your houses”, “the worse, the better”, democrats and republicans warring to eliminate each other – it’s no wonder that Russia has such a negative attitude towards the US. Not the people, but the elite that our country faced after the war. If the US becomes weaker, we will only benefit”.7 You have to agree that this is a rather loud and clear statement by the Kremlin. After that, an opinion is given regarding the US presidential election. “And what if Trump wins? Then America will have the opportunity to become a normal nation once again – with its own national interests that it will protect. You can talk, argue and be friends with such a nation, because it has national interests and a national elite that is aware of its limitations and most importantly listens to its citizens. Such an America corresponds with Russia’s interests; but with the globalist America we can only have deadly confrontation. You also can’t hope that the American perestroika will bring about changes in the US that will make it a safe country for others. On the contrary, the anti-Trump protests are aimed at keeping the same old America – the America that the entire world wants to get rid of.”8 I think that the author wrote “the entire world” with mainly Russia in his mind.
This article gives us the Kremlin’s view on the events taking place in the US – in order for Trump to be reelected we have to create circumstances that make him look like a savior. I will stress – to create circumstances. Of course, the American policemen didn’t act in the interests of Russia when they sparked the protests, but Russia can use this situation to its advantage. As I already said, this assumption is logical. How exactly does Russia benefit from the protests? I would say in multiple ways. First, it is an opportunity to say to Russian citizens: “Look how bad is the police in the US. They’re murdering people.” Second, to show that it isn’t so bad in Russia after all – some of you may be discontent, but at least we’re friendly and live in peace, unlike the Americans. Third, protests and unrest tend to destabilize the situation and sow confusion among the people, which is perfect to “inject” them with the notion that nothing like that would ever happen in Russia. You don’t believe me? Just read the news and you will never come across information of protests of this scale being held in Russia. Therefore – life is better in Russia than in the US. Fourth, by eroding the public’s trust in the police and other law enforcement institutions, it’s much easier to engage in “dirty deeds” because the people won’t turn to the hated law enforcement for help. Fifth, an unstable situation leads to confrontation between political powers. And again – both are being weakened, which is good. Sixth, domestic issues divert attention from foreign ones. Seventh, it is a good opportunity to show that the Kremlin’s favorite, Trump – perhaps even with help from the Kremlin itself – is able to resolve the built-up tensions and the grateful people will then reelect him. Eighth, if none of the above happens Russia can still be happy that its lifelong enemy has problems and becomes weaker.
We don’t have direct evidence for this – yet – but what about indirect evidence? For this, we have to look at the past to see how Russia has acted in order to achieve its goals.
In 2018, it was widely reported that the Athens expelled two Russian diplomats and denied entry into Greece to two additional diplomats. The official reason was that these people had violated the law. In an interview, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias said that “Russia has to understand that it can’t disrespect the national interests of other states just because it feels superior to them”. Athens were not pleased with Moscow’s attempts to interfere in the agreement on Macedonia changing its name. It was also reported that there were attempts to bribe Greek members of the parliament to vote against this document.9
Another example was in 2007 in Estonia, i.e. the Bronze Night unrest. Russian intelligence services actively supported emotional reporting on the relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, which was one of the reasons why the protest against the relocation turned into street riots, as reported by Postimees citing the annual report of the Estonian Internal Security Service.10
These are only two examples of different countries getting to know Russia’s “friendly” nature.
So how does the Kremlin achieve its goals? There have for quite some time now been numerous reports mentioning Russia’s generous funding for different organizations around the world. These also include reports that Russian intelligence services are using banks to fund destabilizing operations in several countries.
What is the evidence of Russia using funding to destabilize a country and further its own goals? If we talk about the US, Russia’s goal is to weaken it and get Trump reelected as president. A logical question – if Russia wishes to destabilize the situation in the US and get Trump reelected and if it has already done something similar in other countries – how likely is it that Russia is currently doing this in the US?
It is no secret that Russia allocates a significant portion of funding to different organizations abroad. There is a large Russian-speaking community in the US, as well as the Russian Coordination Council of the USA which has its own website.11 The aim of this organization is to spiritually unite Russian compatriot organizations in the US, to protect the legal rights and interests of compatriots, to maintain and popularize the Russian language and culture and to strengthen the ties between Russian compatriots and Russia. Upon reviewing the information available on the website, it is evident that it strictly follows the Kremlin’s course, and it is well known that Russian intelligence services use such organizations as covers. Again, we have to ask – would the US be an exception?
As I mentioned in the beginning, the correctness of an assumption can be justified by direct and indirect evidence. Russia itself has numerous times expressed interest in destabilizing the situation in the US. There isn’t any direct evidence for this yet, but the collection of indirect evidence and Russia’s actions allow us to assume with great certainty that Russian intelligence services did not merely watch how the protests in the US unfolded.
 Latvijas Republikas Augstākās tiesas Senāta Administratīvo lietu departamenta 2005.gada 7.jūnija spriedums lietā Nr.SKA-176