The State Duma held the fifth meeting of the Commission on the Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs. Its participants heard the information of representatives of the Russian media who conducted their own investigations and found confirmation of foreign interference in the Russian elections held in September, as well as in the organization of unauthorized protests.
The parliamentarians heard information from MIA Rossiya Segodnya, the Federal News Agency, TV companies NTV and Russia Today, as well as the Patriot media group.
According to Chairman of the Commission Vasilii Piskarev Piskarev
Vasily Ivanovich , representatives of the MIA Rossiya Segodnya “carried out several journalistic investigations and found out that social networks, instant messengers, interactive maps, even dating apps were actively used.“
“On the eve of rallies and protests, activists distributed manuals through private Telegram channels explaining in detail how to attract relatives and friends to participate in the rallies. They revealed that the campaign is aimed at the younger generation, the organizers play on the needs of young people to experience new emotions. The mechanisms of influence on young people were found,” said Vasilii Piskarev.
At the Commission’s meeting Deputy editor-in-chief of the Rossiya Segodnya agency Sergey Kochetkov provided concrete examples of interference, in particular, a screenshot of the page of the American corporation Google, where on the day of the elections to the Moscow City Duma the first line showed a link to the so-called smart vote of the opposition blogger Alexei Navalny, which constitutes a direct violation of the law.
In his turn, the Director General of the Federal News Agency, Yevgeny Zubarev, presented the journalistic investigation “Anatomy of Protest — 2019”, which provides information about the American agent, an employee of the US Embassy in Russia, Stephen Sexton, who, according to journalists, is one of the curators of unauthorized protests in Moscow in summer. The CIA agent also actively interacted with Alexei Navalny’s structures, explaining how to organize riots and “color revolutions,” the film says.
TV company NTV presented an investigation called “Curators and Provocateurs,” which states that “there are training centers for those who later initiate protests,” said Vasilii Piskarev. The investigation focused on the Sakharov Center, where activists were trained to resist the legitimate requests of law enforcement officers.
All information provided by journalists will be carefully reviewed by parliamentarians and sent to the competent bodies, emphasized Vasilii Piskarev.
The Chairman of the Commission also said that the parliamentarians held monitoring of news content, which revealed 10 thousand negative materials of foreign media in Russian. At the same time, the Commission managed to find only 100 neutral and positive materials, that is, a hundred times less or 1% of the total number of materials.
Besides, Vasilii Piskarev informed that parliamentarians are studying international experience in regulating the media, as well as the penalties that exist for violations of election rules and illegal campaigning on the ”day of silence“.
Confirmations of violations have been found
Following a meeting of the Commission, Vasilii Piskarev informed that the materials provided by Russian journalists will also be submitted to law enforcement bodies for consideration and responsive measures.
“We also discussed the violations of the legislation that were identified on foreign media resources — Radio Liberty, Current time, Medusa, BBC Russian Service, MBK-Media, Voice of America. A representative of the agency that oversees the implementation of legislation in the field of media confirmed that indeed these media violated the legislation by carrying out an election campaign on election day. We have prepared materials concerning them, which, with the consent of the Commission, we will send to Roskomnadzor and the prosecutor’s office to take responsive measures,” said Vasilii Piskarev.
According to him, the Commission discussed the violation of the legislation by Facebook and Google and also received confirmation of such violations. “We will send materials concerning them for appropriate measures,” said Vasilii Piskarev.
Finally, he said that the Commission intends to discuss the counteraction to interference with Chinese parliamentarians, who are a target of similar foreign intervention technologies in Hong Kong.