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Kompromat Goes Global?: Assessing a Russian Media Tool in the United States

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2017


The Russian and American media spheres converged to an unprecedented degree during the 2016 US presidential elections when reports of a possible dossier on Donald Trump emerged. This article considers the degree to which the media tactic of kompromat, which is the Russian abbreviation for “compromising material,” can infiltrate the US media ecology.

Critical Forum: Russian Influence in 2016 US Presidential Election
Copyright © Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2017 

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1. Andrew Higgins, “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them,” New York Times, December 9, 2016, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

2. Stefan Meister, “The ‘Lisa Case’: Germany as a Target of Russian Disinformation,” NATO Review Magazine, July 25, 2016, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

3. Kragh, Martin and Åsberg, Sebastian, “Russia’s Strategy for Influence through Public Diplomacy and Active Measures: The Swedish Case,” Journal of Strategic Studies, January 5, 2017: 144, doi: 10.1080/01402390.2016.1273830 (last accessed April 27, 2017)Google Scholar.

4. Sarah Oates, “Russian State Narrative in the Digital Age: Rewired Propaganda in Russian Television News Framing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17” (paper, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting [Political Communication Pre-Conference], Washington, D.C., August 2014), available online at

5. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung, “Decision to Brief Trump on Allegations Brought a Secret and Unsubstantiated Dossier into the Public Domain,” Washington Post, January 11, 2017, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

6. Missy Ryan, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung, “Obama Administration Announces Measures to Punish Russia for 2016 Election Interference,” Washington Post, December 29, 2016, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

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8. Elizabeth Nelson and Robert Orttung, “Measuring RT’s Impact on YouTube” (paper, Postcommunist Politics Social Science Workshop, Washington, D.C., 2016).

9. David Leonhardt provides an overview, but each of the discussions of how the president lied is linked to an individual news story: David Leonhardt, “All the President’s Lies,” New York Times, March 20, 2017, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

10. Sarah Oates and Wendy W. Moe, “Donald Trump and the ‘Oxygen of Publicity’: Branding, Social Media, and Mass Media in the 2016 Presidential Primary Elections” (paper, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, August 2016). Available online at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

11. Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman, “Study: Breitbart-Led Right-Wing Media Ecosystem Altered Broader Media Agenda,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 3, 2017, at (last accessed April 27, 2017).

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.