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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reading the Enemy's Mind

During a televised call-in session with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, an engineer from Novosibirsk asked Putin what he thought about former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's comment that Russia "unjustly controls" too many natural resources in Siberia. Putin responded that he was unfamiliar with the statement, but that he knew "some politicians play with such ideas in their heads."

Question: Where did an ordinary guy like this engineer learn about Albright's phrase?

The first mention of that phrase was made in June 2005, when a contributor to an Internet site calling herself -- or himself -- "Nataly1001" wrote the following: "Albright said that there can be no discussion of worldwide justice as long as a territory like Siberia is owned by a single country."

A heated discussion followed on the site. Skeptics demanded that Nataly1001 provide the source for her quote, while others cried, "You are quoting Zbigniew Brzezinski, not Albright!" In the end, the exact source of the quote was never found.

Nonetheless, Alexei Pushkov, the host of the television program "Postscript," chose to believe Nataly1001's assertion -- with or without a verifiable source. "The quote that Siberia is too large a territory to belong to a single state has been attributed to Madeleine Albright," Pushkov said on his June 14, 2005, program. "And even if she didn't say it exactly like that, she probably thought it, or else some other bright American was thinking it."

From that time forward, people have` referred to that "Postscript" episode as a rock-solid, credible source.

Whatever the case, I'll set the reader's mind at ease: It was, in fact, Albright's phrase. This can be concluded from an interview with Major General Boris Ratnikov, published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Dec. 22, 2006. The interview was titled, "The Secret Service Has Read Albright's Mind."

It just so happens that Ratnikov commanded a secret mind-reading division that could have been called "subliminal intelligence." So, on the eve of the war in Yugoslavia, the general, seemingly in an attempt to get more stars on his epaulet, claimed to have "hooked up to Albright's subconscious mind."

"We detected a pathological hatred of Slavs in Madame Albright's thoughts," Ratnikov said. "She is outraged that Russia holds the world's largest natural resources reserves."

The KGB actively used this "technology" of spreading disinformation in the 1970s. First, certain information was presented in foreign communist newspapers as "suppositions." Then a Soviet paper repeated the same information verbatim, quoting the foreign article as its reliable source. After that, this information was officially presented as a "well-known truth" to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Now the Internet has taken the place of newspapers in disseminating disinformation, but the technique is the same. The disinformation is planted by an anonymous source. It acquires legitimacy after a snowball effect takes place when references and cross-references to the disinformation multiply exponentially, thus giving the information credibility.

In this case, the final stage of legitimization came when an ordinary Siberian engineer mentioned the quote that so many people had attributed to Albright. The engineer completed the loop by kindly passing the information along to Putin.

But judging from the president's reaction, he had already been briefed on Albright. Surely Putin has also been warned that the United States is on the verge of starting a war to seize Siberia's oil and gas resources, that there were plans in place to assassinate him during his recent visit to Iran and that Washington is plotting a subversive Orange Revolution for Russia. Only the secret services can save Putin and Russia from all of these dangers because they are the only ones who possess extrasensory perception, which will allow them to penetrate into the inner minds of all of Russia's adversaries.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.