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Putin ally boasts that Russia interferes in elections by ‘meddling with your brains — we change your conscience’

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An influential Kremlin adviser boasted that Russia’s foreign interference goes beyond elections — and actually interferes with consciousness.

Vladislav Surkov, who’s credited with shaping Russia’s authoritarian political system using techniques borrowed from reality television, wrote a lengthy essay published in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper predicting that Vladimir Putin’s governance would influence the rest of the world.

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“We need to recognize, understand and describe the Putinist system of government … as the ideology of the future,” Surkov wrote, according to The Independent.

Surkov admitted the Kremlin sought to influence Western democracies using the same techniques he has used to build what he calls a “managed democracy” in the former Soviet Union.

The so-called “grey cardinal” mocked foreign governments investigating Russian election interference, and boasted that his propaganda techniques were even more powerful than hacks and other forms of meddling.

“Things are much more serious,” Surkov said, according to Ukraine’s ambassador to Austria. “We meddle with your brains, we change your conscience — and you have no clue what to do about it.”

Surkov echoed conspiracy theories promoted by President Donald Trump and his conservative allies about a “deep state” bureaucracy managing U.S. democracy, which he said offered only the “illusion of choice.”

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“The modern model of Russian statehood begins on trust and rests on trust,” he said. “This is its major distinction to the western model, which cultivates distrust and criticism. And herein lies its strength.”

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Trump is now feuding with Iran’s Supreme Leader on Twitter: ‘Make Iran Great Again!’

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President Donald Trump is now replying directly to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Twitter.

I Friday, Khamenei tweeted a screenshot of a Trump tweet, with a message of his own.

"The villainous US govt repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian ppl. They lie. If you are standing by the Iranian ppl, it is only to stab them in the heart with your venomous daggers," Khamenei posted.

"Of course, you have so far failed to do so, & you will certainly continue to fail," he added.

https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/1218141834842660864

Trump retweeted the message, adding his own argument.

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Trump raises tensions in Virginia as local authorities fear Richmond gun rally could be the next Charlottesville

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President Donald Trump appeared to pour gasoline on a political fire in Virginia only days before a far-right protest that many are worried could result in violence.

Gun activists have been threatening civil war if the commonwealth's legislature enacts new gun safety legislation.

Right-wing militias sought to organize an armed action at the capitol, but Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to prevent firearms on the grounds.

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Trump tells Iran that political leaders must use precise language: ‘He should be very careful with his words’

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President Donald Trump went after Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday.

For the first time in eight years, Khamenei led Friday prayers in Tehran, when he mocked "American clowns" in the Trump administration.

Trump took offense.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump said, using scare quotes around Khamenei's title.

"Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering," Trump said, apparently referring to the crippling sanctions he imposed.

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