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In-Depth Interview: Yasha Levine Tells How Russiagate Impacted Soviet Emigres

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Journalist/author Yasha Levine returns for a very personal discussion about how Russiagate changed perceptions of immigrants like him: is he a Kremlin mole?Levine has been a guest on this podcast many times, talking about his book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet or one of the many articles he has written about tech and its influence.

In this conversation, Levine shares some very personal experiences, as a Soviet Jew who emigrated with his family, landing in San Francisco when Yasha was 9. He was imbued with many positive perceptions of his adopted country, and tells us he worked hard to be a “good American”.  We talk about the influence of American propaganda outlets like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; the latter, run by the CIA, being more toxic than the former.

As he explains in this essay, Russiagate has changed American attitudes toward Russians, who are now viewed with suspicion in the current Russophobic environment.  We note the dramatic shift among the Democratic center/left, where Russia is blamed for Hillary Clinton’s self-inflicted loss in 2016, and demonized to the point that some would support a military showdown with Putin.  In part, this is because Americans have been treated to the kind of propaganda associated with Radio Liberty.