Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute's

Latest News
Thomas Kent Writes about How to Combat Russian Disinformation for Columbia News
September 16, 2020

Thomas Kent (Adjunct Associate Professor of International Affairs) wrote an essay for Columbia News about “How to Combat Russian Disinformation in the U.S. Presidential Election”:

As in 2016, Russia is looking to intensify whatever can further divide American society. The Kremlin isn’t ideological. Its outlets have agitated for and against the Black Lives Matter movement, for and against vaccinations, and boosted Bernie Sanders when he seemed to be splitting the Democratic Party. The Russian goal is simply to encourage any force that can add stress to U.S. politics and society.

The Kremlin also encourages doubt about America’s ability to hold a fair election amid political chaos. Russian operators seem to enjoy Americans worrying about their power. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, a bizarre website purportedly run by Russia’s Internet Research Agency told Americans, “Whether you vote or not, there is no difference as we control the voting and counting systems. Remember, your vote has zero value.

Kent’s new book Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation will be published on September 30 (The Jamestown Foundation).