Washington Post

Agents of doubt: How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth

State-controlled Russian media unleashed a fusillade of falsehoods after the 2015 assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, shown speaking during a rally on Pushkinskaya square in Moscow on March 5, 2012. Foto: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg

SALISBURY, England - The initial plan was a Cold War classic - brutal yet simple. Two Russian agents would slip onto the property of a turncoat spy in Britain and daub his front door with a rare military-grade poison designed to produce an agonizing and untraceable death.

But when the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal was botched, the mission quickly shifted. Within hours, according to British and U.S. officials who closely followed the events, a very different kind of intelligence operation was underway, this one involving scores of operatives and accomplices and a scheme straight out of the Kremlin's 21st-century communications playbook - the construction of an elaborate fog machine to make the initial crime disappear...

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