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The Daily Vertical: Corruption, The Kremlin's Soft Power (Transcript)


The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The scale of Russian cheating revealed by the new World Anti-Doping Agency report was truly eye popping.

With approximately 1,000 athletes in 30 sports implicated, it's probably safe to conclude that the Olympics will never be the same again.

And the Kremlin's systematic corruption of international sports is a useful metaphor for how Vladimir Putin's regime has managed to erode confidence in so many other institutions that we once trusted.

Take elections, for example.

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With the emerging consensus among U.S intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the American presidential election, and the warnings from German intelligence that Moscow was doing the same in that country's parliamentary elections, one has to wonder whether elections will ever be the same again.

Or, while we're at it, take the media.

A well-documented and unprecedented Kremlin-sponsored disinformation campaign that has featured fake news stories, troll factories, cyberattacks, leaks, and lies has distorted the information market beyond recognition.

One has to wonder, will we ever look at the news the same way again?

Or take the financial markets, which have been compromised by the Kremlin's black cash.

Or take Interpol, which the Putin regime has repeatedly manipulated for political ends.

For Putin's Kremlin, corruption is the new communism and graft, deception, and manipulation are Russia's dark version of soft power.

And they're spreading.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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