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Montgomery, Ala. October 7, 2020 — Lancaster Patriot, a Pennsylvania politics blog that trafficked in sensational rhetoric about antiracist protesters and COVID-19 conspiracy theories in the runup to the 2020 election, had ties to pro-kremlin propagandist Charles Bausman, Southern Poverty Law Center found. The report — written by Senior Investigative Reporter Michael Edison Hayden — determined that Lancaster Patriot was mirrored online by a Russian website with the domain oc.binaria.ru, which is linked to Russia Insider, Bausman’s website.
Yesterday, Hatewatch reported that The Right Stuff (TRS), a white nationalist group, has significant links to Bausman. Through a Google Analytics email account, Bausman is tied to three other far-right websites — Russia-Insider.com (Russia Insider), National-Justice.com (National Justice), and Truthtopowernews.com (Truth to Power News) — that have featured bylines by members of the TRS. These three sites traffic in political disinformation and denigrate Jewish people, women, non-white people, LGBTQ people and leftists. Lancaster Patriot is the first website linked to Bausman to focus on local politics, and Pennsylvania is considered to be a critical swing state in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Three days after Hayden reached out to Bausman for a comment on this story, someone took both Lancaster Patriot and oc.binaria.ru offline.
“Whatever is happening with Bausman and the Russian infrastructure behind these websites, it doesn’t look good,” said Hayden. “Obviously, the websites are extremist in nature and filled with hateful content created by extremists. But Lancaster Patriot is focused on an important district in a swing state, so naturally, it immediately stands out as seeming highly suspicious.”
Before the site abruptly went dark on Sept. 29, pro-Trump media stars hyped the Russia Insider-linked website. Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld even used Lancaster Patriot’s footage from a protest on his Sept. 19 show.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.