By Natylie Baldwin,, 12/6/21

Establishment institutions usually start their implementation of censorship and the throttling of press freedom by going after individuals and outlets that are small and/or not well liked by a cross-section of the public. The obscurity or general unpalatable nature of the target ensures the success of setting the precedent.

Most Americans have probably never heard of Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) and many would be unsympathetic once they learn that the U.S. government claims it is a think tank and journal associated with Russian military intelligence, although no evidence is offered to back up this assertion, and SCF denies it has ties to the Russian government. But years of anti-Russia sentiment in the political sphere and in most American media ensures that the claim alone will suffice to tar any Americans associated with Strategic Culture Foundation with a black brush.

I have confirmed that two American writers for SCF have received letters from the US Treasury Department in recent weeks warning them of fines of over $300,000 if they continue to write for the journal. These threats are in response to alleged Russian interference in the 2020 US election and part of the US government’s enforcement of Executive Order 13848 signed by President Donald Trump in September of 2018 which sought to ascertain foreign interference in any future elections in the US and to punish those deemed guilty. Threats to US elections included not only tampering with actual voting and its supporting infrastructure but “covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation.”

According to the Treasury Department’s April 15, 2021 press release in connection with the designation of SCF and other Russian entities to be sanctioned pursuant to the executive order, the US government stated its intent to target those they see as Russia’s enablers on behalf of its alleged program to interfere in US elections:

“Treasury will target Russian leaders, officials, intelligence services, and their proxies that attempt to interfere in the US electoral process or subvert US democracy,” said Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “This is the start of a new US campaign against Russian malign behavior.” (emphasis added)

The release also accuses SCF specifically, without evidence, of being directed by Russian military intelligence and that its articles spread “disinformation” — which appears to mean opinion and analysis that the US government doesn’t like:

The Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) is an online journal registered in Russia that is directed by the SVR and closely affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SCF is controlled by the SVR’s Directorate MS (Active Measures) and created false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning US officials involved in the 2020 US presidential election. It publishes conspiracy theorists, giving them a broader platform to spread disinformation, while trying to obscure the Russian origins of the journal so that readers may be more likely to trust the sourcing…

…Treasury designated…the Strategic Culture Foundation pursuant to E.O. 13848 for having engaged in foreign interference in the US 2020 presidential election.

The ordeal started for the two American writers in July of 2020 when they each received a visit at their home from FBI agents inquiring about SCF and its connections to Russia.

Read full article here.



Author and independent writer/analyst specializing in Russia and U.S.-Russia relations. She blogs at

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Natylie Baldwin

Author and independent writer/analyst specializing in Russia and U.S.-Russia relations. She blogs at