george floyd protest
© Reuters / Carlos Barria
George Floyd's apparent murder by a Minneapolis police officer wasn't just a shocking display of police brutality. It was part of Russia's plan to topple the US, according to the twilight-zone takes of the liberal intelligentsia.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody after he was crushed under the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday. Since his death, the city has been consumed by riots, looting and arson. The incident was just one in the US' history of police beatings and killings of unarmed black males, from Rodney King in 1991 to Eric Garner in 2014.

However, a cohort of Russia-obsessed pundits and influencers have already decided that Vladimir Putin, not Derek Chauvin, is the real villain in the story.

"#George Floyd's murder fits into Russia's master plan to promote VIOLENCE in US., per intelligence community," Leanne Watt, a clinical psychologist, tweeted on Friday. Watt, though clearly educated, accused President Trump of "fanning flames" of a race war between 'Black Lives Matter' protesters and "White Supremacists," ignoring not just the complete lack of evidence of Russian involvement, but also the fact that almost nobody - whites included - has taken Chauvin's side in the Minneapolis case.

These facts also didn't bother writer and activist Xeni Jardin who reminded her followers that Russia wants to provoke "racial conflict between Americans to weaken the US." In a series of unhinged tweets, Jardin claims that Putin "might have given" President Donald Trump advice on how to attack the press, accused the president of being a Russian "surrogate," and accused Russian media of pushing "weaponized content" about the Minneapolis incident.

Vladimir Putin did not tell Derek Chauvin to choke George Floyd, nor did he tell NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo to strangle Eric Garner to death. Likewise, Boris Yeltsin did not tell the NYPD to gun down Amadou Diallo in 1999, and Mikhail Gorbachev didn't tell the LAPD to beat Rodney King half to death in 1991. Some of the most persistent 'Russiagaters' managed to grasp this, but still blamed the Kremlin for pushing "disinformation" in the aftermath of Monday's killing.

Russian media outlets are covering the fallout of Floyd's death, just like American and world media are. Russia, however, bears no responsibility for the outpouring of rage consuming the streets of Minneapolis. Racial tension existed in the US long before the liberal establishment decided some time around 2016 to blame the Kremlin for every political predicament the US found itself in.

After all, Russians didn't sail slave ships across the Atlantic for two centuries. The Kremlin didn't pass Jim Crow laws to legally enshrine the concept of black inferiority. Muscovites didn't join the Ku Klux Klan en masse in the early 20th century. Despite the ramblings of the Russiagaters, racial tension and division in the US is as American as apple pie.