Russian TV Ties Biden to Its Saakashvili Organ Trade Conspiracy Theory
As the 2020 United States presidential electioncomes closer, the Kremlin media targeted candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden by incorporating his name into a preexisting disinformation campaign focused on a former president of Georgia.
From May 21 to May 23, 2019, Russian state-controlled TV channel “НТВ” (NTV) released a three part “documentary” about Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili, accusing him — among other things — of being controlled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, blackmailing Ukrainian ex-President Poroshenko, and engaging in the human organ trade. At first glance, there was nothing new in the Kremlin media’s reports, with the exception of one detail: NTV claimed that Biden played a role in covering up the Saakashvili family’s alleged role in the organ trade.
By introducing Biden, who entered the race for the 2020 U.S. Democratic presidential nomination at the end of April 2019, into an old disinformation narrative about “Saakashvili’s crimes,” NTV likely aimed to damage his reputation ahead of the U.S. elections. Before announcing his candidacy, Biden had warned of the efforts of foreign countries — particularly Russia — to meddle in upcoming U.S. elections, as well as of the threats influence and disinformation operations pose to the democratic process.