Here is what Reuters is reporting:
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.
The first Russian institute document was a strategy paper written last June that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government but was not addressed to any specific individuals.
It recommended the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-backed global news outlets to encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama, the seven officials said.
Russia, however, is denying the Reuters report that RISS drew up a plan to sway the US election.
The New York Times is reporting that RISS is known in Russia as a "semiretirement refuge" for former intelligence officers.
Leonid Bershidsky says that many are "seriously overestimating" the power of the think tank. He notes that until 2009 it was part of the SVR, Russia's intelligence service.
According to the University of Pennsylvania, Russia has 122 think tanks.