The Consular Section of the Russian Embassy in Central London.

Image: WILL OLIVER/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Russia’s embassy in the United Kingdom is boosting a right-wing conspiracy theory.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. 

The social media staff at the embassy are well-known trolls, but this conspiracy theory has made it clear just how far the embassy will go.

Seth Rich, mentioned in the tweet above, was working for the Democratic National Committee in July when he was fatally shot while walking near his home in Washington, D.C. The reasons behind the murder are unknown, but Wikileaks founder Julian Assange implied that Rich was murdered for providing Wikileaks with leaked DNC emails.

“Whistle-blowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange said in an August interview. “There’s a 27-year-old who works for the DNC, who was shot in the back, murdered, just two weeks ago, for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.”

DNC emails leaked to and published by Wikileaks were a constant drag on the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — pictured in the background of the embassy’s tweet — during the 2016 presidential election. However, U.S. officials have pointed an unequivocal finger at Russian government-backed hackers as the ones who stole the information. 

The conspiracy theory around Rich’s death had been thought of as just that for months. But earlier this week, a personal investigator hired by Rich’s family to investigate his death said that there was “tangible evidence” Rich had contacted Wikileaks before he was killed. The investigator has since contradicted that statement, and Rich’s family now wishes they hadn’t hired him. 

But the investigator’s statements gave right-wing media — including /r/The-Donald, Breitbart, and Sean Hannity — enough fuel to relaunch the conspiracy in 2017.

That conspiracy has now made it to the Russian government, yet another way the Kremlin has weaseled its way into daily American discourse.

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