With headlines like “DHS: Napolitano Is Bringing 15,000 Russian Troops to the U.S.” and others following similar suit, you might be wondering what is going on here.
It turns out, a whole lot of rumor.
The rumor mill had been churning out that “15,000 Russian soldiers trained in disaster relief and ‘crowd functions’ [i.e. riot control be pre-positioned to FEMA Region III during an unspecified upcoming disaster.”
Snopes, a website whose mission it is to correct misinformation, called such claims “alarmist, far-fetched interpretation of the original announcement, which said nothing about Russia’s providing security for events taking place within the U.S.”
The announcement that spurred this rumor was about the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, agreeing to “exchange experts during joint rescue operations in major disasters.” This agreement was made last month and is said to be a renewable of an already held partnership.
According to the Russian government website, the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Emergency Situations created a protocol “for expert cooperation in disaster response operations and to study the latest practices.”
The Russian News agency Ria Novosti further dunked the rumor, saying last week it confirmed with a FEMA spokesman that there would be “no exchange of security or military personnel.”
“The agreement continues information-sharing meetings and observation opportunities with first responders and emergency managers,” the spokesman said, according to Ria Novosti.
Here’s a video that helped spread some of the rumors: