Or: Another Russian-influenced post, what are the odds?
I’ll preface this post by saying I have not read the now-publicly available dossier completely. There are many links that can be searched for, and I don’t want to endorse any particular news site who are hosting the content if you’re interested in reading up. It is difficult to order this information for myself, to be honest, so I’ll try and do this chronologically.
Putin’s rule as President began (again) in 2012, but he was in the high echelons of politics already in 1999. Trump made first ripples in the pond of American politics with his claims of doubt regarding President Obama’s birth country and legitimacy in his elected role in 2011 – reawakening a suspicion that went back as far as 2004. The controversial issue was heard around the world, though it left no noticeable traces elsewhere. (As an aside, I would be interested in learning if other countries have experienced an ascendancy to power by a “minority” whose eligibility/suitability has been called into question by nature of their “minority”)
Trump had mooted a run for Presidency previously; though not taken much seriously in the political world, there undoubtedly was enthusiasm then already by the demographics that raised him on their shoulders to the win in 2016. This too was known around the world, at least – I caution – by those who had an interest in American politics like myself. And by early 2016 the Trump candidacy had survived its infancy to the extent that other Republican candidates to represent their party started falling, one by one.
All of this will not have passed by the Russian (surveillance) State, given that it was a part of current affairs announced globally in media that is globally accessible regardless of intention. And it will have been of interest, seeing as Russian money has been flowing into Trump endeavours almost just as long – this pre-leak article‘s only dated reference points to 2008, well before Trump’s most serious ambitions for the role.
I can’t say I am an expert on how or whether Russian business interests are much intervened by the current Russian government – though it should be noted that businessmen who succeeded prior to Putin’s ascendancy to power and who opposed his influence in their affairs have not fared well. And from this I draw the conclusion that the Kremlin in fact does keep a watchful eye on Russian businesses, where they invest abroad, and which foreign investors bring in money from abroad to Russia.
All I have read about the “depravity” leaks, as I will call them, continues to maintain that they are unsubstantiated. While apparently there has been chatter in the intelligence community regarding this now public dossier, and the content of what it describes, for a while, the problem lies (with)in the impenetrable FSB (the modern intelligence service in Russia). People have heard audio tapes, but cannot reproduce these, and there has only been mention of video material, not confirmation of witnessing it.
The compiler is now publicly outed as a former British spy, who has gone on the run. He fears his life is in danger. Not for nothing – even lies, or unverifiable truths, cast long shadows that both Trump and Russia would have rather avoided (and I circle back to the fates of those Russian oligarchs). His reputation within the intelligence community is high, and the dossier had been in circulation in early 2016, so under discussion for a while.
Newspapers could not be provided with primary sources, so did not publish. Politicians in the United States were informed: some did not act on this information discernibly, but a cross-organisation effort was launched to investigate the claims of the dossier. Investigation may not have concluded, but may not be empowered to continue once President-elect Trump is sworn in.
I’ll leave it at this, having set the scene of the world before the leaks. My next post will look at how Trump presents himself, which will then lead to a look at what the leak will mean.
(Photo credit goes to Gage Skidmore)