From the New York Times:
By ANDREW HIGGINS NOV. 23, 2017
MOSCOW — … “Enough already!” Leonid M. Volkov, chief of staff for the anti-corruption campaigner and opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, wrote in a recent anguished post on Facebook. “What is happening with ‘the investigation into Russian interference,’ is not just a disgrace but a collective eclipse of the mind.”
What most disturbs Mr. Putin’s critics about what they see as America’s Russia fever is that it reinforces a narrative put forth tirelessly by the state-controlled Russian news media. On television, in newspapers and on websites, Mr. Putin is portrayed as an ever-victorious master strategist who has led Russia — an economic, military and demographic weakling compared with the United States — from triumph to triumph on the world stage.
“The Kremlin is of course very proud of this whole Russian interference story. It shows they are not just a group of old K.G.B. guys with no understanding of digital but an almighty force from a James Bond saga,” Mr. Volkov said in a telephone interview. “This image is very bad for us. Putin is not a master geopolitical genius.” …
“The image of Putin’s Russia constructed by Western and, above all, American media outlets over the past 18 months shocks even the most anti-Putin reader in Russia,” Oleg V. Kashin, a journalist critical of the Kremlin, wrote last week in Republic, a Russian news site. He complained that the American media has consistently misconstrued the way Russia works, presenting marginal opportunists and self-interested businessmen with no real link to the Kremlin as state-controlled agents working on orders from Mr. Putin.
Every hustler on the make in Russia claims to know a guy who knows a guy who knows Putin. Some actually do.
Unlike China and India, which are far more distant culturally and geographically from the United States, he added, Russia is a country on to which alarm over America’s own internal problems can be easily projected. …
“This helps the Kremlin a lot. It promotes Putin’s image as a geopolitical mastermind, the smartest and strongest man in the world,” Mr. Volkov said. …
The state-run Russian news media, while echoing the official Kremlin line that Russia has not interfered in any way, often takes barely disguised delight in American accusations that Mr. Putin masterminded a stealthy campaign to undermine the United States.
Michael Idov, a Russian-American screenwriter, author and former magazine editor, said the idea that Mr. Putin, through hacking, fake news and other tools, could outfox and disorient the world’s most powerful democratic nation makes the Russian president look invincible. But this image of a “globally victorious Putin is hard to accept when you can’t even find decent cheese in Moscow” because of Western sanctions and Russian countersanctions, Mr. Idov said.
Americans often tend to see Russia as a tightly controlled and finely tuned state machine that induces business people, academics and other Russians to subvert American democracy on orders from Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin’s critics instead see a far more ramshackle structure racked by infighting over access to money, favors and the president’s ear. …
A few independent Russian media outlets have investigated the Russian meddling story, including RBC, a newspaper that recently produced an in-depth report on how a so-called troll factory of paid online agitators based in St. Petersburg had tried to incite street protests in the United States through postings on the internet by a phony group claiming to represent disenfranchised black Americans.
Comment at Unz.com]
This week, police officers in two U.S. cities shot and killed black men. President Obama framed both incidents as part of a systemic problem.
President Obama delivers remarks from Warsaw
… But after arriving in Warsaw for the NATO Summit Thursday night, Obama gave extended remarks that fleshed out his concerns over the shootings and what they mean to minority communities in America.
“When incidents like these occur, there’s a big chunk of our fellow citizens that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same—and that hurts,” Obama said, at roughly 12:30 a.m. local time.