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US government agencies trying to ‘split Russian society’ ahead of constitution vote warns Security Council boss Patrushev

US government agencies trying to ‘split Russian society’ ahead of constitution vote warns Security Council boss Patrushev
An influential Russian official has claimed that hostile Western actors are planning to “provoke nationalist and separatist sentiments” in the country in the run-up to the July 1 national vote to approve a new constitution.

According to Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev, the “coordinators of destructive activities in Russia” include the US State Department, the US Agency for International Development and regime-change specialists the National Endowment for Democracy, amongst others.

In an interview with Argumenty i Fakty, the head of the national security council alleged that steps are being taken by the West to “intensify information pressure,” with the aim of eroding Russia’s “spiritual, cultural, historical and moral values.” In his opinion, these alleged psychological operations, or psy-ops, are attempting to reduce “feelings of national identity” in order to “split Russian society.”

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Speaking to reporters, President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Patrushev is not the only one to think that Western countries are attempting to influence Russian society. “This, of course, is [also] the opinion of the Kremlin,” he said, “It is obvious and visible to the naked eye.”

To achieve their goals, Patrushev, who is also a former FSB boss, alleges that West-linked outfits will funnel money into Russian activist groups, such as “so-called alternative trade union organizations.”

“From 2015 to 2019, Russian NGOs involved in political activities officially received about four billion rubles ($58million) from foreign sponsors,” he said. However, according to Patrushev the real figure is much higher.

The vote on Russia’s new constitution will be held on July 1, after the original date of April 22 was postponed due to Covid-19. As well as the indexation of pensions and shifting certain powers between different governmental bodies, the amended constitution would also potentially –and controversially– enable incumbent President Vladimir Putin to lead the country until 2036.

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