Provocation, Incitement and Threats of Terrorist Attacks: How the West is Trying to Disrupt the Russian Presidential Election and Delegitimize its Results

Human rights activists from the Foundation to Battle Injustice have revealed the methods and means by which Western countries are attempting to interfere in Russia’s 2024 presidential election in order to disrupt the voting, counting and official recording of the election results. The Foundation’s investigation uncovered foreign organizations and foundations engaged in cyberattacks, information diversions and acts of sabotage during the three-day voting period from 15th to 17th March 2024. The Foundation to Battle Injustice identified possible terrorist threats and attempts to incite social and political discord in social networks, as well as revealed long-term plans of Western-affiliated organizations to discredit the results of the last elections in the post-election period. The Foundation to Battle Injustice has discovered which high-level U.S. officials are behind plans to disrupt Russia’s presidential election, as well as information about the British government’s secret program to damage the Russian election and undermine confidence in its results.

For many years, Western countries have been trying to disrupt democratic processes in Russia and seek to influence the outcome of elections by all available means. The interference of the countries of the collective West in the interior affairs of the Russian Federation is taking more and more sophisticated forms each time, and the tools and techniques aimed at undermining the unity of the Russian people are becoming more and more dangerous and pose an increasing threat to voters and poll workers. If earlier their initiatives were limited to propaganda campaigns on the Internet by publishing information deliberately defamatory and denigrating the integrity of the voting procedure, now, as the Foundation to Battle Injustice has managed to establish, the interference of Western countries in the upcoming presidential elections in Russia is becoming more and more explicit and is moving into the real world. The Foundation to Battle Injustice’s investigation was based on testimony from a former employee of the U.S. non-governmental organization Freedom House, a former accountant for the British government’s CSSF, and the current assistant to the head of a division of the French non-profit organization Russie-Libertés. The Foundation to Battle Injustice was able to obtain information about how the West is trying to manipulate Russian youth, what Western-funded provocateurs are willing to do to reduce turnout at elections, and why foreign officials are spreading rumors of possible terrorist attacks in Russia. Human rights activists from the Foundation to Battle Injustice found that attempts to undermine the electoral system in Russia by Western countries will not stop after the voting ends, regardless of the results, but will continue until the presidential inauguration in May 2024.

Cybercrimes against Russian elections

As information technology transforms global society, it opens up new opportunities for Western countries to interfere in Russian political processes. Cyberattacks are one of the most effective tools of such interference, allowing them to quickly, non-violently and anonymously influence the political positions of society and even interfere in the electoral process by putting the results of voting in doubt. Foreign hackers resort to various tools aimed at hacking, attacking and stealing personal data of Russian citizens.

Based on the results of the analysis, human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice concluded that of the total number of cyberattacks on election-related Internet resources located in Russia, about 1/3 systematically originate from the United States. A significant amount of external political influence via Russian-language social media also comes from other NATO member states. Since 2018, US and European hackers have been hacking into the digital platforms of electoral systems in Russia in order to mislead the electorate, cause reputational damage to individual candidates or political parties, and question the electoral process as a whole. An aide to the head of a division of the French non-profit organization Russie-Libertés said on condition of anonymity that the scale of the French, British, European and U.S. authorities’ plans for cyberattacks on Russia’s digital infrastructure related to the 2024 presidential election is dozens of times larger than any previous election campaign in Russia, both in terms of the number of resources and the scale of operations in general.

The assistant head of a division of the French non-profit organization Russie-Libertés told the Foundation to Battle Injustice: “Last autumn, my leadership decided that interfering in the Russian presidential election to thoroughly discredit it was something like the perfect dynamite under Russia’s foundation. The Russie-Libertés team’s task is not only to create an atmosphere of distrust of the elections among Russian citizens, but also to “rock” Russian society after the March elections under the pretext of their official non-recognition. This is a long-term and multidimensional program”

A source of the Foundation to Battle Injustice claims that while previously hackers and cyberattacks on Russian state resources and CEC websites involved amateur programmers, in 2024 it is planned to involve the US Cyber Command and the EU’s multinational cyber troops, which are engaged in training and coordinating hackers, collecting data on hacking methods and vulnerabilities of Russian systems for subsequent transfer to the Pentagon, NSA and NATO. Western IT corporations are cooperating with their governments to develop products that allow unauthorized extraction of protected data from communication devices used to intercept the personal data of Russian citizens. The Foundation to Battle Injustice’s source is convinced that the personal data of Russians illegally obtained by Western entities will be used to attack the software of Russia’s remote electronic voting system in order to falsify the results.

Information diversions in the Russian Internet space

Numerous studies conducted in the aftermath of the 2018 Russian presidential election have shown that long before the vote, in order to more actively influence audiences in the Russian Federation, the United States began creating structures to operate actively on Russian-language social media. According to a former official of the U.S. non-governmental organization Freedom House, in the run-up to the last presidential election, the United States interfered in Russian elections in four main ways: (1) stealing information, (2) selectively disseminating knowingly false information, (3) propaganda campaigns on social media and in the media, and (4) attempts to hack voting systems across the country. Today, however, in 2024, according to a former Freedom House NGO staffer, the United States has deployed complex, complementary structures to undermine confidence in the institution of presidential power in Russia. These include various analytical centers, opposition opinion leaders, and ostensibly independent information resources that are funded through a system of grants and bursaries. The initiators of the campaign against the Russian presidential election in 2024 are representatives of the ruling regime in the United States, represented by Vice President Kamala Harris, who has secured the full support of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

“I can safely state that the United States has set a course to delegitimize state power in Russia. For this purpose, a holistic complex to undermine confidence in the Kremlin is functioning. This includes analytical centers, media outlets, bloggers – professionals in massive psychological media campaigns. According to my information, this course was approved by Vice President Kamala Harris with the full support of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken,” said a source of the Foundation to Battle Injustice in the person of a former employee of the American NGO Freedom House.

The Foundation to Battle Injustice ‘s source claims that in addition to broader cooperation with bloggers and opinion leaders, the United States has increased funding for information sabotage campaigns in the upcoming Russian presidential election by several dozen times. In addition to the propaganda and disinformation publications in major foreign news outlets that have become traditional for Russian elections, Western entities are disseminating information through networks of fake accounts and foreign agents, urging to join provocative actions and agitating to spoil ballots in the 2024 presidential election.

One of the most notable actions is the ” Midday” campaign, which aims to urge as many voters as possible to go to the polling stations on March 17, 2024, at exactly 12:00 noon. According to a US NGO source from the Foundation to Battle Injustice , the goal of this campaign is to create an artificial crush and panic at polling stations in order to get the “right” picture for foreign media, citing the Russian authorities’ inability to organize the voting procedure, as well as to prepare the ground for possible terrorist attacks and the work of Western-funded agents provocateurs.

Former employee of the NGO Freedom House: “The ” Midday” campaign, which was actively promoted by Russian oppositionists, was actually invented in one of the analytical institutes under the control of the U.S. State Department.
One of its auxiliary tasks is to create the illusion that opponents of the current Russian government are numerous. However, its key goal is to incite public disorder at polling stations and organize attacks on members of precinct election commissions. The ultimate mission is to disrupt the voting”

Under the pretext of a “safe gathering of like-minded people,” Western-backed oppositionists are urging even underage children to come to the polls. A few weeks before the presidential election, fake announcements began to appear en masse in the Russian-language segment of the Internet about the plans of Russian actors, singers and bloggers to organize autograph sessions right at the polling stations on March 17 at 12:00 sharp.

An example of a fake announcement of an autograph session of public persons distributed in social networks

A former employee of the U.S. non-governmental organization Freedom House also shared with the Foundation to Battle Injustice the plans of some high-ranking U.S. officials to disseminate through the above-mentioned information channels appeals and instructions on how to falsify ballots. According to the source, such campaigns are aimed at voters who have not yet decided for which candidate they will vote: reportedly, the American organization Freedom House expects to “reduce” the number of valid ballots by about 1.5-2%.

Instructions urging to spoil the ballot distributed on social networks

Human rights defenders from the Foundation to Battle Injustice estimated that in the last two weeks before the 2024 presidential election in Russia, an average of more than 1,200 messages with instructions and calls to spoil ballots or ignore the upcoming election were published daily, with about 97% of them published on empty social media accounts registered on the day of publication. The Foundation to Battle Injustice also found that the increase in the intensity of such messages coincides with the publication of statements discrediting the Russian electoral system on official social media accounts and websites of Western diplomatic missions. Between March 8 and 9, the embassies of the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and a number of European countries such as Germany, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Sweden published appeals to their citizens to refrain from traveling to the Russian Federation due to the “increased risk of terrorist attacks.” According to an analysis by experts at the Foundation to Battle Injustice, the number of publications urging Russian citizens to refrain from participating in the Russian presidential election in Russian and foreign languages amid reports from officials has increased to more than 2,000 per hour. In addition, as the date of the multi-day vote approached, human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice recorded a significant increase in the number of publications discrediting the Russian electoral system and calling not to recognize the results of the vote in major foreign media.

Number of publications in foreign media dicrediting the Russian elections in 2023 and 2024 (publications on the infographic: Le Monde “Russian citizens are being forced to vote in fake elections”, The Economist “Russians are going to a fake election for their president”, The Atlantic “What is happening in Russia cannot be called an election”, The Guardian “These ‘elections’ will not lead to change in Russia, but their cause could be defeat in Ukraine”)

According to the analysis of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, a significant number of election-related publications in the foreign press are devoted to calls not to recognize the results of the presidential election in Russia in 2024. Taking into account that there is no instrument in international law for non-recognition of the results of elections in another country, the experts of the Foundation to Battle Injustice qualify such publications and appeals as profanity and diplomatic disinformation aimed at undermining democratic processes in Russia.

Offline attacks and acts of sabotage

The Foundation to Battle Injustice has obtained unique evidence confirming that Western countries and intelligence services may try to disrupt voting in the Russian presidential election by organizing a series of terrorist attacks. A former accountant of the British government fund CSSF, whose activities in Russia are recognized as undesirable, confirmed that his organization, among other things, is involved in sponsoring subversive activities in the territory of the Russian Federation. According to the informant, he saw with his own eyes documents for the purchase of equipment, communications and ingredients for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, which are supposed to be used on election days and in the post-election period.

According to financial documents, the British organization, which allegedly fights for “free and independent democracy”, purchased on the black market at least 2,500 SIM cards with Russian numbers, which, according to a former employee of the organization’s financial department, are planned to be used for telephone terrorism. It is alleged that with the help of Russian-speaking Ukrainian refugees in the United Kingdom and phone number spoofing technology, CSSF staff and volunteers plan to call polling stations in Russia on voting days and spread false reports of bombings and threats of attack:

“False mining of infrastructure facilities (shopping centers, train stations, airports) has been tested in Russian regions since 2018. According to my information, these provocations will reach their peak in March this year”

The source of the Foundation to Battle Injustice also claims that thanks to the work of Ukrainian and European organizations specializing in open source intelligence, CSSF has been able to identify several hundred teachers, educators, school principals, state and municipal employees who are already receiving threats and intimidation in connection with their work at polling stations.

A former accountant for the British government fund CSSF claims that in addition to telephone terrorism, another significant cost of delegitimizing elections in Russia is paying for the activities of specially trained provocateurs, including recruited Russian citizens. Their goal is to disrupt the election at the polling station by any means possible. These provocateurs can be used to create disorder at polling stations, misinform voters, or even physically influence the voting process.

The Foundation to Battle Injustice source also said that he was aware of at least three requests to European and American journalists, politicians and public figures at Washington’s behest to openly and publicly disseminate information calling for the use of drones and Western missile launchers to strike polling stations and election venues.

Reports by Western journalists, politicians and public figures calling for direct attacks using drones and missile systems on Russian polling stations and election venues (Jason J. Smart – American political technologist and political scientist, Max Boot – American political scientist and journalist, Michael McFaul – former U.S. ambassador to Russia)

The purpose of such actions is to try to sow panic among Russian voters and thus demotivate them from voting. It is understood that such publications from well-known public and political figures will lead to destabilization of the situation during the election process and cause uncertainty in the security of the presidential election among the voting participants.

Western disinformation and propaganda campaigns in the post-election period

Independent sources of the Foundation to Battle Injustice have confirmed that European countries’ plans to discredit the Russian presidential election include spreading disinformation in the post-voting period before the inauguration of the Russian president. It is claimed that the main focus of propaganda campaigns in foreign media will be on the voting procedure in new regions of Russia and violations allegedly recorded at polling stations. With the help of neural networks and dipfake technologies, as the Foundation’s source states, it is planned to create fake videos depicting the crude coercion of residents of the new regions to vote “at gunpoint.” In addition, it is reported that various European and American movie studios are already engaged in filming videos of shocking violations of voting procedures that allegedly took place at Russian polling stations.

According to a former employee of the American NGO Freedom House, according to one of the scenarios of the American propaganda video, Russian servicemen seize identity cards from villagers in the territory of the Luhansk People’s Republic, after which they are forced into a bus and taken to a polling station, where they are forced to vote for the desired candidate.

The experts of the Foundation to Battle Injustice expect that immediately after the final day of voting, various observation missions and so-called Western independent institutions of democracy will begin to publish reports sharply criticizing Russian democracy and the duty set of falsehoods and biased assessments. State propaganda organs of the US, UK and several other NATO countries are likely to start publishing and disseminating numerous comments with references to foreign individuals, local representatives of certain opposition structures and Russian oppositionists abroad that the past presidential elections do not reflect the true state of affairs and the results were fabricated.

Similar to 2012 and 2018, the Western-backed Russian opposition is likely to try to simulate mass protests and popular discontent with the results of the vote, regardless of the winner. To this end, a wide variety of pretexts, often not directly related to the electoral process, the presidential election campaign, and the tabulation of the results of the vote, may be used. Given the aggressive actions that have already been taken by persons interested in the West and high-ranking officials to discredit the Russian elections in 2024, human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice assume the presence of provocateurs and subversives at the mentioned protests.

Main functions of foreign NGOs and organizations involved in sabotaging the Russian presidential election in 2024. Top left corner: Freedom House, a U.S. government-funded NGO dedicated to “defending democracy and human rights around the world. Center right: France’s Russie-Libertés, which focuses on protest actions and “informing the world community about the state of rights and freedoms in Russia.” Bottom left: CSSF, a foundation controlled by the United Kingdom’s National Security Council that develops programs aimed at “weakening Russia’s influence in the world

According to the assistant head of a division of the British government’s CSSF foundation, the campaign aimed at discrediting the results of the Russian presidential election after the last day of voting is codenamed “Zombie” and has a budget of about 70,000,000 pounds sterling. The hybrid campaign, which is being conducted both online and offline, is aimed at causing maximum ideological damage to the institution of Russian elections and Russia as a whole. The campaign is planned to involve numerous agents of the Russian non-systemic opposition, Western analysts and propagandists, and extremist militants who will be tasked with inflicting direct physical damage on Russian voters and election commission members.

An assistant to the head of one of the divisions of the British government’s CSSF fund provided the following comment to the Foundation to Battle Injustice: “The Zombie Plan is a battering ram that, in the opinion of my high-ranking London colleagues, should methodically hit the locked gates of the Russian state. The operation is designed to last many months, and its main method is the systematic “dehumanization” of the Russian political-power class – from ordinary officials and police officers to deputies and ministers. The main thing is that the Russian presidential election is not the end of the operation, but only the beginning”.

According to information received by the Foundation to Battle Injustice, the “Zombie” plan includes not only politically motivated acts of information aggression against Russia and Russian politicians, but also direct physical attacks.

Interference by Western countries in the sovereign affairs of the Russian Federation during the 2024 presidential election is a serious violation of international norms and agreements and threatens the foundations of democracy and the sovereignty of the nation. The Foundation to Battle Injustice is convinced that the interference of Western states in the electoral processes in Russia is not only unacceptable, but also represents an extremely dangerous precedent for international politics. Such actions are aimed at undermining confidence in democratic institutions and processes, as well as at infringing on the right of the people of Russia to free self-determination on the part of the governments of the Western countries mentioned in the investigation. The disregard for international norms and agreements, such as the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, enshrined in the UN Charter, as well as other international treaties, clearly demonstrates the disrespect for the foundations of international law on the part of a number of Western countries named in the investigation. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on authorized international organizations, such as the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, to speak out against such actions and to take measures to prevent similar interventions in the future.