Russian Interference in Elections

Russian Interference in Elections

© David Burton 2019

Russian Interference

     “ Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections was not a one-off act of Russian interference.
     “U.S. Special counsel Robert Mueller on Feb. 16 {2019} indicted Russian individuals and entities for interference in the U.S. presidential election.

     “This is not a one-off act of Russian interference . . . {Russian interference in the electoral process of other nations dates back centuries.}
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     “At the beginning of the 17th century, Poland was a great power that not only meddled in Russian politics but even sent an army to Moscow in 1610 and put a Polish prince on the throne. However, Russia grew in power through the next hundred years. By the early 18th century, Russia was routinely meddling in internal Polish electoral politics. At this time, the Polish king was elected by the noblemen. Peter the Great and his successors bribed nobles to vote against attempts of the king and central government to strengthen the central government and national army. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “From its very birth in 1917, the Soviet regime sought to turn its communist revolution into a global communist revolution. But it was really the only victory in World War II that gave the Soviet Union superpower status and the ability to intervene in other countries on a global scale.” (Ref. 1)

     Russian interference in the elections of other countries is not a phenomenon unique to the United States or to the 2016 election of Donald Trump. One glaring example of similar interference occurred in England in 1982. The Russian spy agency, “the KGB was working hard to try to ensure that {Margaret} Thatcher lost the 1983 general election. In the eyes of the Kremlin, Thatcher was ‘the Iron Lady’ – a nickname intended as an insult by the Soviet army newspaper that coined it, but one in which she reveled – and the KGB had been organizing ‘active measures’ to undermine her ever since she came to power in 1979, including the placing of negative articles with sympathetic left-wing journalists. The KGB still had contacts on the left, and Moscow clung to the illusion that it might be able to influence the election in favor of the Labour Party, whose leader, after all, was still listed in the KGB files as a ‘confidential contact.’ In an intriguing harbinger of modern times, Moscow was prepared to use dirty tricks and hidden interference to swing a democratic election in favor of its chosen candidate. [Emphasis mine]
    ”. . . KGB efforts to swing the election had no impact whatsoever, and on June 9 Margaret Thatcher won by a landslide . . . “ (Ref. 2)

     That Russia interfered in America’s 2016 elections is incontrovertible. Such interference was not discouraged by the Trump campaign, just the opposite. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, the Trump campaign hoped “to benefit politically from Russian hacking . . .
      - - -
     “The Mueller report provided overwhelming evidence of how the Russians carried out their effort to interfere with the election. The details in the report buttress the earlier findings by the U.S. intelligence community of Russian meddling with the intent of helping Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.  . . .
     “. . . The number of contacts between associates of the Trump campaign and Russians connected with their government are anything but normal in presidential campaigns. The contacts were ‘numerous,’ according to the report . . . “ ( Ref. 3)

     “On Russian interference . . . {Robert Mueller, in his testimony before Congress,} made clear that his investigation did turn up evidence of a conspiracy {between Russia and the Trump campaign}. Indeed, the conclusions drawn about the ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials are incredibly damning.
     “There was a ‘systematic effort by Russia to influence’ the 2016 presidential election — and on behalf of Donald Trump, because they believed they would benefit from Trump winning the election.
     “Trump campaign officials ‘welcomed’ that influence, because they believed it would help them win the election. Trump publicly called on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and praised Wikileaks for releasing information that had been stolen by Russia. Afterward, the Trump campaign built a ‘messaging strategy’ around these stolen documents.
     “{Paul} Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, briefed Konstantin Kilimnik, an official with ties to Russian intelligence, about the state of the campaign [Emphasis mine] — sharing internal polling data and campaign strategy for winning key battleground states, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Manafort also offered to give a similar private briefing to a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin.
     “Mueller confirmed that “several individuals associated with the Trump campaign were also trying to make money during the campaign and transition” based on foreign connections, and that included the president. He also found that five Trump campaign officials lied about their contacts with Russian officials.
      - - -
     “What emerges from Mueller’s testimony . . . {is} a tale of a candidate and campaign intent on welcoming the assistance of a foreign government — and attempting to profit from it.  . . .” (Ref. 4)

     “Russia’s suspected interference in last year’s U.S. presidential election may have come as a surprise to some. But to many European nations, such an intrusion is nothing new.
     “For years, Russia has used a grab bag of illicit tactics, including the hacking of emails and mobile phones, the dissemination of fake news and character assassination, to try to undermine the political process in other countries.
      - - -
     “Moscow has recently stepped up this type of activity, targeting political processes in France, Germany and the Netherlands, among other nations, according to experts who testified on the first day of a series of Senate hearings {in 2017} on Russia’s propaganda and intelligence campaign aimed at undermining the 2016 vote.
     "Some of the nations Russia has stung are Western foes, others former Soviet republics, or states that fall within Moscow’s sphere of influence.
      - - -
     “Ukraine was hit during its 2004 and 2014 election campaigns . . . Malware was used to infect the servers at Ukraine’s central election commission . . .
     “Hungary, the Baltic States, and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, which Russia invaded in 2008, have also been the target of political subversion by the Kremlin, which has often sought to bolster the political ambitions of far-right and Euro-skeptic parties or foster instability or social unrest . . .
     “ ‘It is really in central and Eastern Europe that they’ve really been able to practice and hone these techniques and you’re now starting to see that they’re comfortable enough with them to start to export them to other parts of the world . . .'
     “. . . {The} Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman . . . warned Russia was ‘actively involved’ in efforts to interfere in the upcoming French and German elections.
     “. . . ‘A very overt effort, as well as covert in Germany and France, already been tried in Montenegro and the Netherlands.’
      - - -
     “Experts said Russia’s aim was to support France’s far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, whose National Front party received an $11.7-million loan from a Russian bank in 2014, according to several international news reports. Russia has also reportedly lent money to Greece’s Golden Dawn, Italy’s Northern League, Hungary’s Jobbik and the Freedom Party of Austria — all far-right nationalist parties.
      - - -
     “The Kremlin’s political favorites in other European nations — typically populists — have been given favorable news coverage by Russian news outlets, such as the state-owned satellite network RT and the website Sputnik, while their opponents are denigrated, often in fake news stories and by Internet trolls . . .
      - - -
     Germany is also believed to have fallen prey to Russian attempts to undermine the country’s presidential election, scheduled for September. The country’s domestic intelligence agency has accused Russia of cyberattacks and cyberspying . . .
     “. . . Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service said material hacked from the German parliament and published by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks came from the same Russian group that hacked the U.S. Democratic National Committee . . .” (Ref. 5)

     There is no reason to believe that Russia will cease interfering in the elections of foreign countries. Vladimir Putin comes from the old school of political and militant interference that was a feature of the Stalin type of expansionist communist aggrandizement. Such policy was famous for its ruthlessness and lack of respect for any nation’s independence. Robert Mueller testified that Russian interference remains today and he expects it to continue into the upcoming 2020 presidential election.


  1. A Brief History of Russian Interference in Foreign Elections, Eric Lohr,
    Global Security Review , 20 February 2019.
  2. THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR, Ben Macintyre, Broadway Books , Page 176, 2018.
  3. Mueller’s report paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidency, Dan Balz,
    The Washington Post, 18 April 2019.
  4. Optics Aside, Mueller’s testimony was damning, Michael A. Cohen, Boston Sunday Globe, Page k2, 28 July 2019.
  5. Russia’s meddling in other nations’ elections is nothing new. Just ask the Europeans,
    Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, 30 March 2017.
  25 October 2019 {Article 382; Suggestions?_31}    
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