MOSCOW–With Vladimir Putin’s popularity already in decline, news of the United States’ latest round of sanctions on Russia has alarmed the Kremlin, prompting its cast of experts, advisers, and anti-American ideologues to float several possible responses.
Senator Olga Kovitidi promised that Russia would “send America to a blind knockout.” One expert suggested publishing lists of Russian media “spreading fake news.” Certain military experts proposed the formation of “information battalions” in cyberspace, modeled after the masked Russian soldiers deployed in the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Ultimately, the government landed on a familiar strategy: they will try to change the perception of Russia by pouring even more money into propaganda.
After the sanctions were announced—this time in response to the poisoning of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny–the Russian government is reportedly aiming to expand the global audience of the Kremlin-funded RT television channel from 800 to 900 million viewers. They want to raise viewership…