Is Zero Hedge a Russian asset? Stop laughing and think it through. Zero Hedge started roughly when the American Financial Crisis started. It was linked to a Bulgarian trader. Here is that trader's father's website. His dad runs a tabloid news outlet and political/business consulting company. Papa was a military journalist during the Soviet era as an envoy in multiple third world nations. Some jobs run in the family. Zero Hedge is merciless with attacking the US war machine. It is one of the few places that will connect the dots or even explain the financial machinations of the mandarins that rotate between DC and Wall Street. There are multiple contributors but the general message is against the crony corporatists running the US at this time and that your pre-set foreign villains might be better than your chosen domestic leaders. To follow Lasswell's media model, Zero Hedge is a free anti-USG/Wall Street message for Americans in English to look at the truth behind the American Empire.
It is like Radio Free Europe just on the Internet. It is not just financials (like government tampering with every official statistic), but the entire surveillance system, war machine and welfare state (corporate and social). Zero Hedge called into question protests that we now know had State Department or CIA help. They mock US military foreign adventures and propaganda process like Youtube clips being used as a bloody shirt. What lefties envision Fox News is, Zero Hedge actually is but shining a light at every corrupt politician and with great financial analysis. Zero Hedge follows the money. Zero Hedge will not pull punches on Putin (citing Russian self interest, nationalism + strategic oil interests, wait what a nation should behave like), but find me a news source that gives Putin a fair approach? Find me one that give him a positive portrayal? Find me a source that is positive towards Putin but negative towards China? Zero Hedge is it. Go to their homepage now, and you will find one pro-Russia or Putin article.
Putin booted out Western NGOs. Putin has openly discussed the the self-destruction of the west through immigration. Putin also cleaned house of the original oligarchs who got rich through privatization, which was enabled by Harvard, the US Treasury, Soros and Wall Street. Putin made his bones as a KGB agent when Barack Obama was finding himself in college. Putin witnessed the direct effects of Western propaganda on the entire Eastern Bloc. In the brutal game of the KGB and '90s Russia, Putin won. Reading any book on the KGB or post-USSR wild west Russia, one will know it is not a schmooze fest from Harvard to Yale to campaigns to the presidency in Russia. Mobsters, oligarchs, asset stripping, Chechens, hyperinflation, default and lower life expectancy would destroy many an egotistical leader.
It is possible Russia's current leadership circle learned a lesson from the effect of Western propaganda and decided to return the favor and fill a hole in the US media space that would also create seeds of doubt in the USG regime. This is also timed as Americans trust the media at historic lows. They push gold non-stop, but what Zero Hedge analyzes becomes investigative reports months or years later in mainstream sources. Zero Hedge is also friendly with showing Russia Today clips and links and vice versa. They are hyperbolic at times (some specific contributors), but with each report that is verified later, with each analysis that follows the money trail and with each explanation of why the chain is off the bike, Zero Hedge gains credibility and chips away at any remaining credibility the official media has with the chattering classes.
How much was it going to cost them to fund a trader barred from trading by the SEC but fully aware of the corrupt dukes at the top who have skated free for coming up on seven years now? Not much. Zero Hedge gives the people of America some red meat (down with bankers! politicians are bought! fight the power!) while slipping in anti-USG regime messages daily if not in every single post. Alexa ranks Zero Hedge as the 608th most visited website in the US and globally 1,554th. They don't have to reach or convince every American, just enough of the Americans that matter. I want to believe that this is one guy leading a small crew at ZH with their many contributors, but there is a part of me that says it smells of well funded opposition media. I'm going to open the odds on this at 9-1. It is not a long shot, but I want to believe that this is a success story of a smart crew taking on the system more than a Putin puppet. Even if it is, sometimes interests can overlap.
Note: Long time ZH reader and fan.