Russia is global master of deep fakes, but don’t expect China to be clumsy for long

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Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping | Photo by Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is a real-life Bond villain. His staged photo opportunities, meant to showcase his masculinity, are, ironically, extremely camp. Here is the Russian President riding a horse bareback and topless; there he is pumping iron in the gym in a $10,000 outfit; or catching and kissing a ‘70 kg’ pike. He might as well be stroking a white cat while he plots his global domination. No surprise, then, that with his reputation for being a ‘badass’, President Putin has secured a place in the pantheon of Internet memes. However, these humorous associations with the image of Russia may lead us to underestimate the true threat the country represents in the Infocalypse.
Putin is one of the most dangerous men in the world. Over the last decade of his rule, Russia has started to enjoy an outsized geopolitical influence, partly because it uses the chaos of the Infocalypse to perpetrate ever-bolder attacks on the United States and the rest of the West. Russia was already a master of information warfare long before the Infocalypse came to define our information ecosystem. But by tracking three Russian …

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