Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice Claims Russia Could Be Behind George Floyd Riots

June 1, 2020 Updated: June 1, 2020

The last national security adviser of the Obama administration claimed on May 31 that the violent demonstrations across the United States which followed the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis could be funded by Russia.

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Susan Rice said she believes there is a pattern in the nationwide demonstrations against police brutality following Floyd’s death, and that Russia could be behind the widespread violence and riots.

“This is right out of the Russian playbook as well,” Rice said during a televised interview, without offering evidence to back up her claims. “We can’t allow the extremists, the foreign actors, to distract from the real problems we have in this country.” 

She told the news outlet that “foreign actors” have been trying to sow discord in the United States “for years” during chaotic periods.

“They take any divisive, painful issue … and they play on both sides,” she said. “Their aim is to not simply embarrass the United States, their aim is to divide us.”

“I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media,” Rice added. “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they are funding it in some way, shape, or form.”

Her comments followed an announcement from President Donald Trump Sunday that his administration will declare Antifa, a far-left group that is closely tied to communist and quasi-Marxist movements, as a terrorist organization as violent protests continue to grip cities nationwide. 

“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump wrote in a series of messages on Twitter blaming rioting during police brutality protests on Antifa and other “radical left” elements.

Members of Antifa group march
Members of an anti-fascist or Antifa group march as the Alt-Right movement gathers for a “Demand Free Speech” rally in Washington, on July 6, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds//AFP/Getty Images)

“To designate Antifa a terrorist organization, fine, but let’s also focus on the right-wing terrorist organizations,” Rice said Sunday.

“We have peaceful protesters focused on the very real pain and disparities that we’re all wrestling with that have to be addressed, and then we have extremists who’ve come to try to hijack those protests and turn them into something very different,” she continued. “And they’re probably also, I would bet based on my experience, I’m not reading the intelligence these days, but based on my experience this is right out of the Russian playbook as well.”

The Epoch Times has previously linked the extremist anarchist-communist group Antifa to tactics modeled on the Russian Soviet regime.

The organization was initially part of the Soviet Union’s front operations to bring about communist dictatorship in Germany, and it worked to label all rival parties as “fascist.”

The organization can be traced to the “united front” of the Soviet Union’s Communist International (Comintern) during the Third World Congress in Moscow in June and July 1921, according to the German booklet (pdf) “80 Years of Anti-Fascist Action” by Bernd Langer, published by the Association for the Promotion of Anti-Fascist Culture. Langer is a former member of the Autonome Antifa, formerly one of Germany’s largest Antifa organizations, which disbanded in 2004.

The idea of the united front strategy was to bring together left-wing organizations in order to incite communist revolution. The Soviets believed that following Russia’s revolution in 1917, communism would next spread to Germany, since Germany had the second-largest communist party, the KPD (Communist Party of Germany).

Protests erupted across much of the United States last week over the treatment of Floyd, who died in the custody of Minneapolis police. The protests in some cases have shifted to violent riots in cities nationwide.

Protesters march along the freeway
Protesters march along the freeway that exits St. Paul on their way to US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis via the Saint Anthony Falls bridge on the fourth day of protests and violence following the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 29, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

A widely circulated video showed Floyd, 46, lying down and handcuffed as a police officer was seen kneeling on the man’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The footage showed Floyd telling officers that he “can’t breathe” before his body went motionless. According to a Minneapolis Fire Department report (pdf), Floyd was unresponsive and “pulseless” when he was being transported into an ambulance by paramedics from the site of his arrest to the hospital.

The police officer who was seen kneeling on the man’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Friday. Chauvin and three other police officers involved in the arrest have since been fired.

According to preliminary autopsy findings by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, there was no sign that Floyd died due to strangulation or traumatic oxygen deprivation. The autopsy report cited in the complaint (pdf) against Chauvin suggests Floyd died from a combination of heart disease and “potential intoxicants in his system” that were aggravated by the restraint placed on him by officers.

Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, Cincinnati, Portland, Oregon, and Louisville, and Kentucky are among regions which have been heavily rocked by civil unrest in recent days.

Joshua Philipp and Janita Kan contributed to this report.