November 02, 2017

Source: Bigstock

But the best election-meddling campaign we ever ran was in Russia in that same year. When the Communist Party gained a working majority in the Duma, or Russian parliament, in December of 1995, it looked like the Communist candidate for the presidency, Gennady Zyuganov, was poised to win the June 1996 election.

The Russian people were sick of the government run by Boris Yeltsin. They had just gone through four years of gangsterism, with their country’s infrastructure being carved up into fiefdoms by violent corrupt oligarchs. The Caucasus was in a full-scale revolt, and it was well-known that Yeltsin could do very little about it, partly because he was an alcoholic in declining health.

Yeltsin’s approval rating in January of 1996 was 8 percent, and it was clear that a majority of the common people in Russia wanted to return to the security of Communism.

We decided that was not going to happen.

Our allies: the oligarchs.

By law, Russian presidential candidates were limited to $3 million in campaign spending. Yeltsin had $2 billion. (See Method Numero Uno above.)

Suddenly the International Monetary Fund gave Russia a $10.2 billion loan, which Yeltsin used to pay everyone’s back wages and pensions.

Suddenly a well-funded disinformation campaign got started. If Zyuganov wins, there will be cruel purges. People will lose their jobs and be sent to Siberian prison camps. There will probably be a civil war.

Pamphlets started showing up on the streets, outlining the Communist platform—only it wasn’t the Communist platform, it was a fake platform promising a return to Stalinism.

Everything worked beautifully. In the first round of voting, Yeltsin got 35 percent of the vote, Zyuganov 32 percent, and the rest was spread among nine candidates.

Inconveniently, Yeltsin had a heart attack before the runoff election and was still in the hospital on the day of voting. But media control is a wonderful thing, and nobody found out.

Final vote: 40 million for Yeltsin, 30 million for Zyuganov. The lopsided victory was helped greatly by vote counts in Tatarstan, Dagestan, and Bashkortostan that resembled the 1946 gubernatorial election in Georgia, the one where several hundred deceased residents rose from the Telfair County cemetery in alphabetical order and cast their write-in votes for Herman Talmadge.

It was, all things considered, one of the CIA’s finest moments. I’m sure Vladimir Putin noticed, and was envious. I’m sure he took notes, especially on the first principle of all CIA operations: “plausible deniability.” I’m sure he’s gloating now that the “Russian meddling” story has been on the front page for weeks. There’s only one thing that could make him worry.

When things get quiet.

Let’s do that.

Everybody shut up so our guys can do their jobs.


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