President Macron’s French government have opened a probe into “possible Russian interference” behind the nation’s Yellow Vest grassroots protests that have rocked France with a ferocity unseen in decades, and are threatening to bring down the government.
According to the ironically named “Alliance for Securing Democracy”, about 600 Twitter accounts known to promote Kremlin views have been focusing on France and stirring up the protests, boosting the use of the hashtag #giletsjaunes, the French name for the Yellow Vest movement.
Instead of listening to the concerns of the protestors, the “Alliance for Securing Democracy” is attempting to silence the voices of the protesting citizens by accusing them of being Russian operatives.
Apparently when Russians aren’t electing the President of the United States, they are protesting in the streets of Paris.
Macron’s government have even enlisted the help of French security services to look into the “Russian situation”, according to Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who gave a radio interview to RTL on Sunday.
Bloomberg report: Russia has been criticized for using social media to influence elections in the U.S. and elsewhere. Attempts to use fake news reports and cyberattacks to undercut the 2017 campaign of French President Emmanuel Macron failed, but Russian-linked sites have pushed questionable reports of a mutiny among police, and of officers’ support for the protests.
“An investigation is now underway,” Le Drian said. “I will not make comments before the investigation has brought conclusions.”
The Twitter accounts monitored by the alliance usually feature U.S. or British news. But the French protests “have been at or near the top” of their activity for at least a week, according to Bret Schafer, the alliance’s Washington-based social media analyst. “That’s a pretty strong indication that there is interest in amplifying the conflict” for audiences outside France.
The Alliance for Securing Democracy is a unit of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., which monitors pro-Kremlin activity.
The assertion of police dissatisfaction — which doesn’t appear to be supported by facts — resembles other Kremlin-backed disinformation campaigns that have tried to engender mistrust in Western governments and show that liberal democracies are in decline, Schafer says.