Nearly a year after the start of Canada’s 2022 Freedom Convoy—a series of protests and blockades that brought together a wide variety of far-right activists and extremists, as well as ordinary Canadians who found common ground with the aggrieved message of the organizers—the question of whether and to what degree foreign actors were involved remains largely unanswered. This paper attempts to answer some of those questions by providing a brief but targeted analysis of Russia’s involvement in the Freedom Convoy via media and social media. The analysis examines Russian involvement in the convoy through the lenses of overt state media coverage, state-affiliated proxy websites, and overlap between Russian propaganda and convoy content on social media. The findings reveal that the Russian state media outlet RT covered the Freedom Convoy far more than any other international media outlet, suggesting strong interest in the far-right Canadian protest movement on the part of the Russian state. State-affiliated proxy websites and content on the messaging platform Telegram provide further evidence of Russia’s strategic interest in the Freedom Convoy. Based on these findings, it is reasonable to infer that there was Russian involvement in the 2022 truck convoy, though the scope and impact remain to be determined.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Caroline Orr Bueno