Putin’s hackers are the ones who have been pumping up the propaganda of Lega Nord and Beppe Grillo supporters for the upcoming elections. It’s not Matteo Renzi who is saying it this time, even though he’s been promising to deal with the issue of fake news every two weeks during the election campaign. It’s not even The New York Times or BuzzFeed with their own inquiries, limited as they are by relying on research by a former Renzi consultant. This time, it is none other than the former vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, who is claiming this, in an article about the Russian threat to democracy.
In Italy, the news broke out in the press Friday, and was then picked up by Beppe Grillo’s blog — of course, in order to deny it. The Italian Democratic Party dialed up the drama, to the point of asking the Italian foreign minister to summon the Russian ambassador to ask for explanations. Morani, the Renzi-backing deputy, also called for the convening of the American ambassador, ignoring the fact that Biden is arguing that the Trump administration is covering up the maneuvers by the Kremlin.
Published on Tuesday on the website of Foreign Affairs, a diplomatic magazine that is a stronghold of Atlanticism, and signed together with another former member of the Obama administration, ex-Undersecretary of Defense Michael Carpenter, Biden’s article is a tale told in the unmistakable Cold War style. It contains a long discussion of Putin’s initiatives to spread the Kremlin’s “malign influence” to the West, ranging from corruption to the spread of “fake news” in order to undermine democracy in European countries.