Thursday, December 12, 2019

Who Does the Kremlin Want to Win in 2020?

In a recent news story on RT, one of Russia's official media outlets, I found this:

According to RT, Clint Watts, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and Non-Resident Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, has developed a new approach to determining who Russia wants as American president in 2020.  Before we delve into FPRI's new instrument, let's look at FPRI first, followed by an analysis that looks at a novel way of measuring the Kremlin's chosen candidate for 2020.

Here is FPRI's mission:

"The Foreign Policy Research Institute is dedicated to producing the highest quality scholarship and nonpartisan policy analysis focused on crucial foreign policy and national security challenges facing the United States. We educate those who make and influence policy, as well as the public at large, through the lens of history, geography, and culture."

FPRI was founded in 1955 by Robert Strauss-Hupe, an Austrian-born former United States ambassador to Turkey, NATO, Sweden and Sri Lanka and a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania.  It is ranked as the number one think tank in the United States among all think tanks with an annual budget of under $5 million.  Here is a table showing its receipts and expenditures for 2018:

Here is a list of FPRI's 2018 financial partners:

Here is a list of FPRI's scholars:

FPRI expends a great deal of time assessing all things Russian as shown on these projects from its 2018 Annual Report:

Given that the founder of FPRI claims that he witnessed the birth of global Communism in 1917 when he was a 16-year-old, it is not terribly surprising that the think tank focusses significant efforts on Russian issues.

Now, let's look at Clint Watts and his contribution to FPRI's analysis of Russia.  Let's start by looking at his literary contribution to the Russia/fake news narrative:

This gives us a pretty good sense of his bias.

Here is a screen capture from the webpage showing Mr. Watts' research into Russia and its narrative on the 2020 presidential election:

Through the Foreign Influence Election 2020 Project (FIE 2020), a team has been assembled to analyze and report on what the Kremlin- and state-sponsored Russia news outlets have to say about the 2020 American election and, in particular, what they have to say about the presidential candidates themselves.  In its first analysis, the FIE 2020 project examines this question:

"What does the Russian state media say about Democratic candidates?"

The FIE 2020 research team analyzed 705 stories on RT and 1006 stories on Sputnik News over the period from January 1, 2019 to November 10, 2019.  These 1711 stories mentioned either the current U.S. president, Republican candidates or Democratic presidential candidates at total of 2772 times.  Donald Trump was mentioned 1569 times and Democratic presidential candidates were mentioned 1203 times.  In addition, former presidents and presidential candidates were mentioned 319 times bringing the total up to 3091 mentions.  Each of these mentions were then evaluated by the research team as "favourable", "unfavourable" or "neutral".  

The analysts believe that the 1203 mentions of Democratic presidential clearly show the Kremlin's preferences and, in particularly, who the Kremlin does not want to see occupy the Oval Office in January 2021.  Here is a graphic showing the mentions and their favourability for each of the Democratic presidential candidates, ranked in order of the number of mentions:

We can see a few things about the top three Democratic candidates from the analysis by FIE 2020:

1.) The Kremlin clearly does not like Joe Biden who received negative mentions 53 percent of the time, the highest among all candidates.  He also received more negative mentions than he did when the number of favourable and neutral mentions are summed.

2.) The Kremlin has mixed feelings about Bernie Sanders who has an even split of favourable and negative mentions.

3.) The Kremlin does not particularly like Elizabeth Warren who has 30 percent favourable mentions and only 11 percent favourable mentions.

 The overwhelming favourite of the Kremlin would appear to be Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  She is the only candidate to receive more positive mentions (28) than negative mentions (6) and neutral mentions (27).  Perhaps this is because Ms. Gabbard, a Major in the Army National Guard and veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait, has actually taken the time to understand the conflict in Syria (in which Russia is an invited participant), and meet with Bashar al-Assad.  She takes a strong stance against Washington's regime change war policy, particularly its actions in Syria, as shown here:

This project by FPRI and FIE 2020 is an ongoing effort since Russian state media outlets mention the American election in 12 to 20 stories per day, depending on the American-related news cycle.  I will keep you posted on any updates that should appear over the coming months of the 2020 election cycle.  FIE 2020 is also planning to assess Russian state media outlets' approach to Donald Trump which should be a very interesting exercise for those in Washington who love to tout the narrative that Donald Trump is a puppet controlled by Vladimir Putin.

While the American mainstream media may take this analysis very seriously as shown here:

...just because Russian media appears to show preference for some presidential candidates doesn't mean that they will make a lousy president.  After all, Washington and its proxy, the American mainstream media, regularly cover elections in other parts of the world and show favouritism toward their preferred candidates and no one seems to think that's a problem.


  1. There are a lot of US citizens that would like someone as Tulsi Gabbard at the helm. Regardless, Russia knows that that would be irrelevant and the historical evidence shows that regardless who's in power, the US policy towards Russia will be highly antagonistic.

    This is the basic axiom that drives Russian actions and behaviour in the foreign policy realm. As such, this meaningless analyses of number of positive, negative mentions of this or that candidate are rather spurious, just a filler.

    Washington wants to remove any sovereignty from world's nations and subject them to its diktat, with great leverage for the ruling elites of those countries to do whatever, as long as they abide by US will. And Russia is not playing this game and has the means to enforce this approach.

  2. Clint Watts seems to say that much or most of RT & Sputnik mirrors US coverage though he apparently has no US data on US coverage!

    Still it seems logical to assume that the US mainstream media are now Russian puppets, including MSNBC.

    Are we supposed to assume all those stories are mandated by the Kremlin? That seems the unspoken assumption with not one iota of proof.

    This "analysis" would get an F- in a high school in my country, not national news coverage.

    BTW, I wonder if anyone looked at the Russian-language press in Russia.

    Ex-FBI! It is a wonder the FBI caught Dillinger.

    BTW, I wonder