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E22: Russia's Viral Election Ads

Today's episode looks at a series of flashy viral ads that have appeared on YouTube recently, advertising Russia's upcoming presidential election, asking: *What are these viral election ads? What are they about? How do they use humor to try to get people to vote? *How does the advertising industry get involved in this kind of work? *What’s the Kremlin’s role in all this? And don't forget to read Meduza's article on this story:...


E21: A Dog Day for Navalny

After almost two months, The Russia Guy is back! Here's the outline for today's episode: Who is Vitaly Serukanov and how did he end up betraying Alexey Navalny? How did the political strategist Andrey Bogdanov end up working with Serukanov? How does Serukanov justify double-crossing Navalny like this? And don't forget to read Meduza's report on this story, which is my source for most of this information:...


E20: Going Vertical

In this episode, Kevin discusses “Going Vertical,” a new Russian blockbuster film about the USSR's 1972 Olympic basketball defeat of the United States, which was both an upset and upsetting to the Americans, who refused to accept silver medals, arguing that the game ended unfairly. This episode features audio clips from the film and from the actual game. Meduza also spoke to several of the 1972 team's members, including two of their widows, who have not exactly welcomed the new movie....


E19: Kimberly Zenz

In this third installment of The Russia Guy's interview series with professionals in the expert community specializing on Russia, Kevin spoke to Kimberly Zenz, a senior international threat intelligence researcher at the Deutsche Cyber-Sicherheitsorganisation (German Cyber Security Organization) who's spent more than a decade working on Russian cybercrime. If you're a student of Russian area studies and want to know more about the career opportunities Kimberly describes in this interview,...


E18: Nina Jankowicz

Behold the second guest in The Russia Guy's new interview series: Nina Jankowicz, an expert in disinformation and democracy promotion in Eastern Europe. Kevin found out how she got into Think Tank Land and asked her just what it means to work toward democratic aims, both abroad and at home. You can follow her on the Twitters here: She also runs a whole newsletter for your education and edification enjoyment. You can sign up at her website here:...


E17: Aric Toler

Today's the first in The Russia Guy's new interview series. Kevin sat down (remotely. don't read too much into that word) with Aric Toler, one of Bellingcat's top analysts and the lead Eastern Europe digital researcher at DFR Lab, to find out how he got into the Russia expertise biz, and what life is like in the open-source intelligence world. Follow him on Twitter, y'all.


E16: False Flags! Treason! Hacker Conspiracy!

Kevin discusses three stories in this episode: A conspiracy theory says the FSB leaked a hacker's confession to incriminate the U.S. government in the DNC hack! Related to this story, see Ellen Nakashima's WaPo report:...


E15: Dumb Americans and Crazy Anti-Semites

Kevin commits Internet treason by criticizing his own country, moaning about Washington's inability to live up to its own word about FARA registration not interfering with media outlets' work. Then he moves on to moaning about the Russian Orthodox Church's weird obsession with an old and ugly conspiracy theory about Jews murdering the Romanovs in a “ritual killing.” How the U.S. says it treats ‘foreign agent’ journalists versus what it actually does...


E14: Internet Sovereignty for BRICS and Raised Eyebrows for Bastrykin

Kevin's back and he's talking about four stories today: Russia's Security Council tells the government to develop a separate Internet for the BRICS The Russian Investigative Committee's ‘Jewish problem’ Navalny's supporters accuse Ksenia Sobchak's campaign of inflating its...


E13: Russians lose faith in U.S. journalism and RT registers under FARA

In this episode, Kevin reviews Oleg Kashin's recent op-ed savaging the Western media's coverage of RussiaGate stories, which he says has robbed the country's young political culture of a celestial constellation (deep, right??). Kevin also reviews the hilarity of Russia Today's foreign-agent registration documents in the U.S. Kashin's op-ed, in English For more on RT's FARA docs...


E12: Putin's Sandwich Buddy and Some Damn Good Reporting

After several weeks of silence, Kevin is back with a look at Evgeny Prigozhin, “Putin's favorite chef,” to talk troll factory, procurement deals, and American shortsightedness. He's also going to gab about two very fine pieces of original reporting — one very long, and the other not as much. For background about Mr. Prigozhin: For a summary of Navalny's May 2017 research on Prigozhin's "cartel":...


E11: Russia's Troll Factory

Today (Oct. 15), Kevin discuss an interview published hours ago with a former member of St. Petersburg's infamous Internet Research Agency. Read Meduza's summary of the interview in English here: Or read Dozhd's original text (in Russian, paywalled):


E10: Help Wanted in Grozny and American Sleeper Agents

Today (Oct. 13), Kevin talks about Russian Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin's prickly, revealing outburst at an academic conference. He also reviews a new Russian TV show all about American “sleeper agents” in Moscow. It's called “Sleepers” (not “The Russians”). Bastrykin's outburst Meduza's review of “Sleepers”...


E09: Who Watches the Watchmen? and ‘Foreign Agents’ Everywhere

Today (Oct. 11), Kevin looks at a developing scandal involving top officials from Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal censor, and the still-escalating “foreign agent” conflict in the U.S. and Russian news media. Russia's Justice Ministry threatens ‘special restrictions’ on the work of U.S. journalists


E08: An Embarrassing Interview, Banning U.S. Media, Navalny Protests, and Russia's YouthArmy

Today (Oct. 6), Kevin talks about a ridiculous interview by the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman; rumors circulate that Moscow might ban American media outlets outright; Navalny plans nationwide protests on Oct. 7; and Meduza's new deep-dive report on “YouthArmy,” a “military-patriotic movement” created with support from the Defense Ministry. The Huntsman interview: Police vs. Navalny activists:...


E07: Putin's Answer, Osetinskaya's Stanford Experiment, and Russia's Lousy Emmys

On today's episode (Oct. 4), Kevin talks about this Putin quote: “I still haven’t decided if I’ll run at all, let alone against whom I’ll run.” He also summarizes a new interview with Russian media star Elizaveta Osetinskaya, and looks at five fake stories reported by Russia's “best evening news program” and “best analytical review program.” The Osetinskaya interview: The TEFIs roundup:...


E06: Jailed Navalny, Jilted Military Families, and a Robbed Mom

Today (Oct. 2), Kevin discusses three stories: Alexey Navalny's return to jail (and world headlines); a long report on how the Russian govt is saving money by denying compensation payments to dead soldiers' families; and how social workers in Yekaterinburg seized a woman's two adopted kids after her elective double mastectomy. How Alexey Navalny and his campaign manager landed in jail again for another 20 days...


E05 — Banning RT and Hiring Robots to Parent

On today's episode of The Russia Guy(Sept. 28, 2017), Kevin talks about a new op-ed by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and a weird new “parental control” service offered by a Russian tech company specializing in big data. McFaul's op-ed: Meduza's story on “Parental Control”:...


Episode 04 — Russian Disinformation and CIA Rubber Duckies

In today's episode (recorded Sept. 26), Kevin discusses the “Straight Out of the Kremlin’s Toolkit: Strategies of State Actors” panel at the Atlantic Council's “StratComDC” conference, and a ridiculous defense by the city of Izhevsk against Alexey Navalny's presidential campaign.


Episode 03

On today's episode, Kevin talks about a really gross crime story out of Krasnodar (involving cannibals and maybe the worst selfies ever), a film review of “Matilda” (Russia's most controversial movie in years), and the Russian government's weird, love-hate fascination with Telegram channels.