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23 Jan, 2024 14:48

CIA recruiting on wrong social media platform – Kremlin

Posting ads for Russians on X, which is blocked in the country, is not likely to benefit the US, Dmitry Peskov has said
CIA recruiting on wrong social media platform – Kremlin

Running a social media campaign in Russia on X (formerly known as Twitter) in an attempt to recruit locals as potential CIA assets is unlikely to be successful, since the platform is blocked in the country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has remarked.

On Monday, the CIA released a three-minute video in Russian appealing to the country’s citizens to tell the “truth” to American intelligence officials about what is really happening there. Doing so will help their motherland prosper and have a secure future, the video claimed.

Commenting on the video on Tuesday, Peskov noted that attempting to reach out to a Russian audience is “common practice” for intelligence agencies.

”Numerous secret services across the world quite often resort to mass media, and social networks to recruit new agents,” he said, adding that the CIA is no exception.

However, the spokesman added: “someone should have told the CIA that VKontakte [social media network] is much more popular in our country than X,” which has been blocked since March 2022 for discriminating against Russian media and allegedly spreading false information about the Ukraine conflict.

According to data provided by VKontakte, as of June 2023, its monthly audience was around 107 million people, of which 84 million are from Russia. Although similar statistics are not available for X, as of 2024, the number of users from Russia on the platform was estimated at about 767,000, according to the World Population Review analytical company. 

In May 2023, the CIA created a Telegram channel where it shared instructions on how Russians could secretly get in touch with the intelligence agency. In November 2022, David Marlowe, the CIA’s deputy director of operations, said that the US was “open for business” with Russians who disapprove of Moscow’s actions against Ukraine. 

At the time, Moscow’s embassy in Washington stated that the official’s remarks only confirmed that the US was continuing on a “hostile course” against Russia to “weaken our country from within through sophisticated subversive methods.”

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