An advisor to Russia’s defense minister said the US and other Western countries are waging a psychological war against Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“A new type of warfare … is starting to appear. I call it, for the sake of argument, mental war,” said Andrei Ilnitsky, who advises Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “A war is being waged for people’s minds,” he said in comments to Russia’s Spas TV. Ilnitsky said the US is using “informational” and economic measures to undermine Putin and Russian institutions.
When asked if he agreed with Ilnitsky’s assessment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “A deliberate policy to contain and keep Russia down is being pursued. It is absolutely constant and visible to the naked eye.”
Examples that could be considered “psychological warfare” from the US towards Russia are the constant accusations Washington hurls at Moscow that are not backed by evidence.
For example, the US blames Moscow for the hack of the software firm SolarWinds that affected several government agencies. But besides a claim from US intelligence agencies that the hack was “likely” carried out by Russia, no evidence has been presented to show Moscow was responsible, and it was revealed that a password for SolarWinds’ server was publicly available on the internet for years.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently released a report that claimed Putin ordered an influence campaign to “denigrate” President Biden during the 2020 elections. But again, no evidence backs up the claim, and the report does not explain how the intelligence officials reached this conclusion. Regardless of the lack of evidence, President Biden has said Putin will “pay a price” for the alleged interference.
In the same interview that he threatened action over dubious election interference allegations, President Biden agreed that Putin is a “killer” and said the Russian leader has “no soul.” Besides the rhetoric, the Biden administration is also taking economic action against Moscow.
The US recently slapped sanctions on Russia that were coordinated with the EU over the jailing of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Reports say the Biden administration is preparing sanctions over the claims of election interference. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is warning more sanctions are coming that will target the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that would connect Russia to Germany.