State Dept Flag
© AFP/Brendan Smialowski
US Department of State flag, Washington DC
Donald Trump speaks of "the swamp," and now Russia's embassy in Washington believes apparatchiks at the State Department have put together a hysterical report on "Russian propaganda" to prevent politicians improving relations.

The Russian diplomats say the dispatch on the "Pillars of Russia's Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem." is an attempt to obstruct Moscow's proposals to resume cooperation in key areas. They also claim the communique is obviously geared to discredit alternatives to the mainstream press, which generally toes the US establishment line. It's also notable that the publication coincides with a request for $138 million in 2021 to spend on "countering" Russian media. The embassy wrote on its Facebook account:
"(The) report is an attempt to silence Russian official proposals to resume cooperation in key areas on which the security of the entire world depends. The US State Department is not very fond of the existence of alternative sources of information. Serious resources are employed to discredit them. Any voice that contradicts Washington is dubbed 'disinformation' in the service of the 'Kremlin' and Russian intelligence."
Parts of the document are absurd, the Russian diplomats noted. For example, the authors classified far-right opposition LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the private radio station Govorit Moskva as "Official Government Communications." The officials also cite Russian media with state funding, with headlines from Sputnik, RIA Novosti, RT and others presented as examples of 'disinformation.'

The commentary states:
"If this serves as the pinnacle of the entire structure, so carefully built by our American colleagues, then it seemingly looks like a house of cards. Russian and foreign media outlets that dare to criticize the United States should bear in mind that they can and almost certainly will become the subject of thorough scrutiny. Their accounts in American social media are at risk of being suspended with no explanation."
In its Special Report Pillars of Russia's Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem, the GEC claims that Russia is a key threat in terms of disinformation and propaganda. According to the document, this "ecosystem" involves official government channels, state-run mass media, proxy-resources, and social network. The Russian authorities, as follows from the report, are responsible for the development of such tactics and platforms as part of their approach to the use of information as a weapon.

Russia repeatedly denied Western media allegations that it indulges in misinformation. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the recent allegations that Russia and China were propagating misinformation about the coronavirus infection were yet another manifestation of the West's Russophobia and Sinophobia. The US State Department has requested $138 million in 2021 to "counter disinformation and propaganda from Russia."

The US already has a government-controlled foreign broadcasting arm, the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which operates the Voice of America and Radio Liberty/Free Europe, and their various branches. The operation is entirely funded from the US budget, with its current expenses amounting to around $800 million annually, according to Voice of America. This is more than two and a half times what Russia spends on RT.