Leaked Kremlin documents reportedly show Putin wanted to sow chaos in the US by supporting Trump. He succeeded.

a close-up of putin's face with a slight smile
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Leaked documents purportedly from the Kremlin claim that Putin planned to sow discord by supporting Trump.
  • The reported Russian plan worked remarkably well.
  • Sparking dissent and division is a new way to attack democracies around the world.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Leaked documents reportedly from the Kremlin suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a concerted effort to sow chaos in the US with a plan to “facilitate” Donald Trump winning the presidency in 2016.

The plan worked.

In the biggest upset in modern political history, Trump stunned America and the world to become the 45th president of the US. And it was just as divisive as Putin reportedly desired.

The documents, which The Guardian first reported on, serve as an eye-opener as to how Putin capitalized on the divisiveness of American politics leading up to the contentious presidential election, and sowed dissent to further those divides.

According to the papers, Russian officials believed a Trump win would cause internal turmoil in the US and weaken the nation on the world stage. Putin approved a bold plan to use “all possible force” to help move Trump toward victory, the documents say.

The resounding success of Russia’s reported plan shows that hostile nation-states no longer need to send in tanks or flex military muscle to disrupt democracies. Instead, they can just nudge citizens toward discord and then let the countries tear themselves apart from the inside.

Putin apparently understood a harsh truth – that America’s people could be used as a weapon against it.

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