Russians who were connected to interference into the 2016 U.S. election discussed ambitious intends to stoke unrest as well as violence within the U.S. as recently as 2018, based on documents reviewed by NBC News.
The documents — communications between associates of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked oligarch indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for previous influence operations resistant to the U.S. — laid out an innovative new plot to govern and radicalize African-Americans. The plans show that Prigozhin’s circle has sought to exploit racial tensions well beyond Russia’s social media marketing and misinformation efforts linked with the 2016 election.
The documents were obtained through the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative project funded by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. NBC News has not yet independently verified the materials, but forensic analysis by the Dossier Center appeared to substantiate the communications.
One document said that President Donald Trump’s election had “deepened conflicts in American society” and suggested that, if successful, the influence project would “undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.”
The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling within the 2020 election.
The documents contained proposals for all ways to further exacerbate racial discord in the future, including a suggestion to recruit African-Americans and transport them to camps in Africa “for combat prep and trained in sabotage.” Those recruits would then be sent back to America to foment violence and strive to establish a pan-African state in the Southern U.S., including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
There’s no indication that the plan — which is light on details — was ever put into action, however it offers a fresh exemplory instance of the mindset around Russian efforts to sow discord when you look at the U.S.
The blueprint, entitled “Development Strategy of a Pan-African State on U.S. Territory,” floated the thought of enlisting poor, formerly incarcerated African-Americans “who have experience in organized crime groups” as well as people in “radical black movements for participation in civil disobedience actions.”
The target was to “destabilize the internal situation within the U.S.”