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COVID-19 Effects and Russian Disinformation Campaigns

By: Wesley R. Moy and Kacper Gradon

The effects of the novel coronavirus and its related disease COVID-19 have been far reaching, touching American society and its Western partners’ health and mortality, economics, social relationships, and politics. The effects have highlighted longstanding societal divisions, disproportionately harming minority groups and the socioeconomically disadvantaged with Black Americans and their communities hit especially hard. The problem being considered is the potential for Russian malign foreign influence to exploit the divides exacerbated by the coronavirus and target the United States and its European allies during the period leading to the 2020 elections and beyond. Possible coronavirus effects are inventoried and categorized into economic, healthcare, and environmental issue areas that may be leveraged and weaponized. The article includes the scenarios of such weaponization, including the description of focal points that may be attacked. We conclude with a set of recommendations to counter malign foreign influence.

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