Subversion of a Foreign Government

The subversion of a foreign government can weaken it as both a competitor and a threat; it can be part of a long-term strategy.

‘Fake news’ ( can be used for subversion.  It is a new manifestation of an older strategy: disinformation.  Russia has actively used disinformation as a tactic for decades, as described in a Guardian article entitled Russian fake news is not new: Soviet Aids propaganda cost countless lives.

Using social media such as Facebook or Twitter, ‘fake news’ can be passed between individuals and it can be almost impossible to trace its origin.  This makes it ideally suited for covert subversion of a foreign government.

Repeating Internet messages, or ‘liking’ them, increases their profile and has the effect of strengthening their credibility.  The Euronews article, Scale of Russian bots promoting Trump on Twitter revealed, revealed that “Russian bots retweeted Donald Trump almost half a million times in the run-up to the US presidential elections” for example, to strengthen his support in 2016 and thereby weaken American democracy.  Such activity hasn’t stopped.  FPRI reported that Russia’s Use of Domestic Disinformation Isn’t Stopping Post-Election Day in November 2020, supporting Donald Trump’s false claims that the election had been rigged.


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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/7345.htm.