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LA STAMPA

Report: Proof Russians Trying To Influence Italy Elections

Five Russian-linked Twitter accounts are clearly favoring anti-establishment Italian parties Five-Star Movement and Northern League ahead of March 4 national elections.

Pro-Salvini rally in Turin on Feb. 1
Pro-Salvini rally in Turin on Feb. 1
Paolo Mastrolilli

TURIN — A social media operation to influence the Italian general election on March 4 is well underway, according to a report obtained by La Stampa from an international expert on Russian interference in elections around the world. The report links this campaign to Russian operatives and identifies five Twitter accounts used to spread political propaganda ahead of the elections: @DoctorWho744, @CorryLoddo, @lucamedico, @Outis2000, and @Franco SuSarellu.

All five accounts shared pro-Russian content, as well as posts that strongly backed the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement and the right-wing Northern League, two Italian parties previously suspected of having links to the Kremlin. The accounts stand out because they do not behave like those of real Twitter users. They send tweets at all times of the day, posting constantly from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. One account went from an average of 15 tweets a day in 2015 to 105 in 2016, reaching a high of 125 a day last year.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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