Then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was informed about stories aired by Russian television channels, including NTV and RT, the latest batch of leaked emails has revealed; however, the State Department often fell prey to misinterpretation.
The emails demonstrated that the State Department took note of Julian Assange's talk show on RT and a 2012 documentary aired on the Russian channel NTV which explored ties between Russian opposition members and Western NGOs. The emails also revealed US officials' apparent misunderstanding of Russia and media reports concerning its politics.
"NTV broadcast the documentary hit-job we had anticipated tonight and it was the most comprehensive and outrageous report I have seen in this highly charged media environment," US Embassy Moscow' press officer Joseph Kruzich wrote.
The release also revealed a misunderstanding of Russian affairs that US officials receive through the media. In an email sent after Putin's victory speech in the 2012 Russian election, Clinton appeared to believe that Russian President Putin blamed the State Department for trying to defeat him.
"In his victory speech, did he really blame the State Department for trying to defeat him and throw Russia into chaos, as I heard reported this morning?" Hillary Clinton wrote on March 5, 2012.
Clinton was likely referring to a segment aired on NPR's Morning Edition the same day. In the speech, Putin spoke out against the destruction of Russian statehood, but did not mention foreign powers or the State Department.
"Had not seen that and don't believe it's true. But checking it out with Moscow," Clinton aide Jake Sullivan replied.
While Moscow is known as a city where the opposition enjoys a larger following and the North Caucasus is known for armed clashes, the inclusion of the Far East stands out. Numerous articles about "Siberian separatism" surfaced in US media in recent years despite little or no support for the idea among Siberia's residents.