Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics

Dunder-Mifflin as Troll Farm

The Mueller indictment made public on Friday charges 13 Russian nationals with trolling the American electoral process to ‘sow discord’ by falsely representing themselves as American dissident personas. Once the field of presidential aspirants had been narrowed in 2016, their goal became to support Donald Trump’s candidacy while disparaging Hillary Clinton. There is no charge that the outcome of the 2016 election was changed by these actions.

The form of the alleged conspiracy was a ‘troll farm,’ an office populated by various functionaries who worked together from 2014 to today to magnify already existing social tensions on social media. Those charged were likewise mainly functionaries— IT workers, managers, etc. Despite allegations to the contrary in the American press, no links between the alleged troll farm and the Kremlin and / or Vladimir Putin were put forward.

The 13 people charged are Russian nationals presumably living in Russia. As of this writing none have been arrested. Unless they plan to voluntarily return to the U.S., an unlikely move, the charges will never be contested in a courtroom. This most certainly was understood by Mr. Mueller before the indictments were handed down. Lest this remain unclear, charges made without the likelihood of a trial are unlikely to ever be resolved.

In reading through the charges, what is striking is that the Russians aren’t charged with creating social tensions. They are charged…

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