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(43,174 posts)
Mon Mar 26, 2018, 01:06 PM Mar 2018

PART ONE: Assessing Russian propogandist Konstantin Rykov's pro-Trump "confession"

***NOTE: THIS IS A LONG READ (perhaps my longest post ever at DU) BUT ONE I THINK IS WELL WORTH IT***

Last July, in the midst of searching for some other interesting Trump connections, I stumbled across what could only be described as an astonishing piece on Facebook:


In short, it was a boastful confession just days after the November 2016 elections from a Russian named Konstantin Rykov, claiming that over the course of four years, he helped develop an online campaign from Russia with one goal in mind: to get Donald Trump elected as the US President.

Here are screencaps of the confession, translated into English from the original Russian:

The way Rykov describes it, it's almost literally too unbelievable and too crazy to be true. The claim that he supposedly received a Twitter message on Election Day 2012 encouraging him to engage in this massive effort to get Donald Trump stretches the limits of credibility.

However, as the Mueller investigation has progressed, and we have learned more and more about intelligence findings as to how Russia was working behind the scenes with entities such as Wikileaks and Cambridge Analytica to shift the electoral landscape in favor of Trump, there are portions of Rykov's confession which definitely seem to have been confirmed by the facts around us.

I wanted to take a little time to analyze Rykov's claims and see how they jive against the facts and what we know and have recently learned. Because Rykov's confession offers so much, I figured I would break up my analysis into at least three parts, with the first part focusing on who Rykov is, the second about his seemingly wild, fantastical tale about Election Day 2012, and the third part his description of the scheme itself in the face of what we now know.

In a December 2017 profile of attorney turned Twitter pundit Seth Abramson--who has picked up heavily on Rykov's confession--Washington Post writer Avi Selk took a rather skeptical take on the Rykov confession story:

But these facts are sprinkled into his threads with more fantastic sounding claims. Read deep down into Abramson’s Twitter feed and you’ll find what he describes as a “confession” from a “Kremlin agent,” who detailed a five-year plot to help Trump win the election in a public Facebook post.
It’s dramatic stuff. But would those involved in a Kremlin-orchestrated plot to put Trump in the White House really spill the beans unprompted on Facebook?

However, what's important to recognize about Konstantin Rykov is that he's not just some completely random Russian guy who would have been in no position to run an operation like the one he claims he did. Konstantin Rykov isn't simply the town drunk who rambles on about all the things he claims to have invented and all the famous people he knows.

Rykov's resume reveals that he has some very serious credentials, long before the events he describes in 2012 took place. For example:

* He served as a member of the Russian Duma (the Russian parliament) for Putin's United Russia party from 2007 through 2011

* His presence on the internet had long been known at that point. He had run online PR for numerous political campaigns and candidates, and had also been involved in the creation of various "dark web" websites, most notably Dosug.ru, a sex ap that was once described as "Uber for prostitutes": https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/dosung-dark-net-russian-brothel/

*None less than the Washington Post back in 2007 had specifically identified Rykov as an instrumental player in pushing pro-Kremlin propoganda over social media, as they described in this article "Kremlin Seeks to Extend Its Reach to Cyberspace": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/27/AR2007102701384.html

*As the 2007 Post article notes, Rykov was the creator of his own online newspaper, Vzglyad ("View" ) and on social media would frequently cite to Vzglyad pieces during the 2016 US Presidential Campaign.

*In 2011 Rykov was invited by the Kremlin to attend a conference for "Internet Community Representatives". The conference was personally hosted by then- Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. In a photo published on the official Kremlin website, Rykov is seen here pictured on the right:

*Also in 2011, Rykov made headlines when his Twitter post calling longtime Putin critic Alexey Navaly (at the time imprisoned) a "cocksucking sheep" was re-tweeted by Medvedev. The incident even caught DU's attention at the time: https://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php/http/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102x5082877

*As reported by independent journalist Scott Stedman, Rykov was deemed by Vladimir Putin himself a "trusted confidant" of the Kremlin: https://medium.com/@ScottMStedman/kremlin-propagandist-who-claimed-he-coordinated-with-trump-team-was-previously-appointed-as-putins-2dc5f83298e5

So the notion that Rykov was just some random Russian braggart with no significant connections to either the Kremlin or the workings of the Internet is something that should be immediately be put to bed.

**PLEASE GO TO PART TWO HERE: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100210416302
13 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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PART ONE: Assessing Russian propogandist Konstantin Rykov's pro-Trump "confession" (Original Post) Tommy_Carcetti Mar 2018 OP
"...Romney was unable to wrestle then the victory of the vile liberals" dchill Mar 2018 #1
Isn't it strange. The USSR/Russians were once so far left with their communism, and repugs were so.. brush Mar 2018 #2
What is in it for me? That is all they know Roland99 Mar 2018 #3
there's not much communism/socialism left in russia. unblock Mar 2018 #11
Yes. You've hit it. Once staunch adversaries, repugs and Putin's Russia have moved towards fascism.. brush Mar 2018 #12
This looks good. herding cats Mar 2018 #4
It is good. Very good. Tommy_Carcetti Mar 2018 #5
This is HUGE - MUST READ for DUERs malaise Mar 2018 #6
Kicking. Heads up! dchill Mar 2018 #7
Shameless kick Tommy_Carcetti Mar 2018 #8
Fascinating reading PatSeg Mar 2018 #9
Well deserved kick nt backtoblue Mar 2018 #10
Kicking...Parts 4 and 5 coming up momentarily. nt Tommy_Carcetti May 2018 #13


(38,472 posts)
1. "...Romney was unable to wrestle then the victory of the vile liberals"
Mon Mar 26, 2018, 01:22 PM
Mar 2018

Indeed. Revealing in so many ways!


(53,767 posts)
2. Isn't it strange. The USSR/Russians were once so far left with their communism, and repugs were so..
Mon Mar 26, 2018, 01:44 PM
Mar 2018

far right with their conservatism, their far left and far right ideologies have come full circle 360 and merged.

Repugs used to be staunchly anti-Russian, now they work hand-in-hand.


(52,199 posts)
11. there's not much communism/socialism left in russia.
Thu Mar 29, 2018, 11:55 AM
Mar 2018

basically they privatized everything to putin's cronies with putin in essentially control of the state apparatus.

autocratic republic, i guess. or fascism with a thin veneer of democracy. the state uses its power to benefit the big state-approved businesses and everyone else best get out of their way.

which is pretty much what republicans want here.


(53,767 posts)
12. Yes. You've hit it. Once staunch adversaries, repugs and Putin's Russia have moved towards fascism..
Thu Mar 29, 2018, 12:06 PM
Mar 2018

and olicarchy. The Russians are there while trump and the repugs are wannabes.

The repugs have a problem though—the rest of us.


(43,174 posts)
5. It is good. Very good.
Mon Mar 26, 2018, 03:54 PM
Mar 2018

Or more descriptively, horrific. Very horrific.

I'm still working on the second part regarding Rykov's plan itself. A lot of it checks out with things that have only come to light recently.

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