Soros-Funded Group Blames ‘Russians’ for Italian Populist Victory

Lega far right party leader Matteo Salvini laughs during a press conference held at the Lega headquarter in Milan on March 5, 2018 ahead of the Italy's general election results. A surge for populist and far-right parties in Italy's weekend election could result in a hung parliament with a right-wing …

The far-left Swedish magazine Expo — whose parent organisation the Expo Foundation is funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros — has claimed that Russian media influenced the Italian election by “whipping up hatred of immigrants”.

The magazine cited a study by Alto Data Analytic that was featured in Spanish newspaper El Pais which claimed that the Russian-owned media outlet Sputnik greatly affected the election with its reporting.

The report claims that Sputnik’s Italian-language news website was shared more than any other by those who expressed a critical opinion on mass migration leading to the surge in support for populist, anti-mass migration parties like the Five Star Movement and the La Lega party led by firebrand Matteo Salvini.

The Italian version of the left-wing Huffington Post was the only other foreign media company to be shared more than the Russian outlet.

The author of the Expo piece then claims: “Russian propaganda follows the same pattern in Italy as previously seen in other contexts: dubious sources and experts as well as sensational headlines shared by tens of thousands of accounts with the goal of making the content viral and reinforcing the perceived problem.”

Similar accusations of Russian meddling have been made in every election since the Brexit vote in 2016. When the claims were critically analysed, it was revealed that Russians had spent a total of 73p on Brexit ads on Facebook.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced they found no evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit vote, and Twitter, where fake accounts are much easier to create, said that “Forty-nine such accounts were active during the referendum campaign, which represents less than 0.005% of the total number of accounts that tweeted about the referendum.”

The Expo Foundation, which publishes Expo magazine, has been proven to have links to Hungarian-American left-wing billionaire George Soros, having received $25,000 US from the Open Society Foundations in 2014.

The group is also linked to UK far-left group HOPE Not Hate (HnH), which is also funded by Soros, through far-left activist Patrik Hermansson who has written for Expo magazine in the past and is currently employed by HnH.

HnH has also been accused of providing misleading, or even false claims about “hate” on social media. Last year, the Economist pointed out that the group had inflated cases of “hate speech” following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by 3,000 per cent.

Following the murder of Ms. Cox, the husband of the late MP Brendan Cox helped raise money for the far-left group to “fight hate”. Recently embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, Mr. Cox has stepped down from several posts, though HnH has so far been silent regarding the entire affair.

 Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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