The 2020 Presidential Election is likely to be the most consequential United States election in our lifetime. Most Americans view the election as a battle between two evils. On one side, there is a rising authoritarian leader. He is someone who has disregarded every check and law designed to limit his overt abuse of power, reinstated racist and discriminatory policies, and threatened to ignore the outcome of a “rigged election”—but only if he loses. On the other side is a leader pledging to restore a sense of normalcy to American politics; someone to restore honor to the Oval Office and bring back “the good old days” of the Obama presidency. Despite this, Joe Biden gets ripped apart by the extreme sides of his supporters which claim he is either too conservative or a puppet of the far left, waiting to be elected only to transform the U.S. into a “radical socialist country”, in President Donald Trump’s words. What most people miss is the group standing in support of both sides, ready to raise the flag of victory as soon as the results are in. This group differs from the citizens in support of Joe Biden or Donald Trump because they are not American; they are Russian.

The sane American public has now known for years that Russia and other American adversaries have and continue to interfere in our electoral systems. The Special Counsel investigation, widely known as the “Mueller Probe”, concluded that Russia did indeed aid Trump’s election effort in 2016 and is doing it again in 2020. What the majority of Americans do not understand is that Russia is not attempting to elect Donald Trump because his policies are good for their country. Instead, they are attempting to stock racial and extremist divides in American politics as a way to destabilize our country. Right now, Russia’s plan is succeeding.

The book, Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia, quite excellently details Russia’s global political philosophy. It was published in 1997 by author Aleksandr Dugin, and as stated in 2017, “It reads like a to-do list for Putin’s behaviour on the world stage”. Dugin lays out instructions in incredible detail for how Russia is to regain its status as a superpower. Focusing on the specific instructions for Russia’s actions towards the United States, it states that Russia should use its “special services” to fuel instability and separatism. A quote from these instructions states, “[Russia should] introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements—extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S.”

Americans have been so focused on Russia’s aid to the Trump campaign that they have ignored the true motive of their disinformation campaigns. Congress was briefed early this year that Russia was attempting to help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination because they rightfully believed that would lead to the most polarized presidential election possible. There is evidence of Russia promoting false claims on the internet in support of both remaining candidates because they do not care who wins; Russia just wants the other side to be as angry as possible.

Now that we are heading into an election where Russian disinformation (with the help of an authoritarian lunatic) has placed doubt on the legitimacy of the results, the question about who will win has already been answered. It does not matter if Trump or Biden gain more electoral votes than the other, the likely resulting civil unrest has demonstrated that we are just pawns on Putin’s chessboard and he has already put us in check.