A Reuter’s exclusive cites seven anonymous “informed sources” with access to the “confidential” reports of the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). Reuters claims that these reports “provided the framework and rationale” for the Kremlin’s “intensive effort …. to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system.” My own reading of RISS published reports (in Russian) finds that RISS’s experts were ambiguous on which candidate to favor, despite the US intelligence community’s conclusion” that “Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference [my italics] for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton,”
Putin’s spokesman denied the Reuters claims during a regular press briefing and cautioned that “seven anonymous sources are not worth one real one.”
RISS is indeed an authoritative Russian think tank, headed by top security veterans and staffed by qualified senior researchers. RISS maintains an active working paper and publication series and has its own TV interview network. RISS’s evaluation of candidates Clinton and Trump could therefore provide a glimpse into Putin’s own thinking.
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