Russian President Vladimir Putin, doubtlessly having reached his fill of mudslinging by the U.S. political establishment — which insists Russia tampered, somehow, in the presidential election to throw the election in favor of Donald Trump — reiterated to filmmaker Oliver Stone in an interview those yet-unproven allegations amount to the United States pompously throwing stones from inside a glass house.
For the final segment of the long-anticipated documentary series, Putin Interviews, on Showtime Thursday night, Putin recounted how the U.S. government effectively meddled in a number of Russian elections via diplomatic staff and through funding non-governmental organizations — which, the Russian leader asserted, “are frequently financed through a number of layers and structures either from the State Department or some other quasi-governmental sources.”
Washington influenced Russia’s elections, Putin told Stone, “in 2000, and in 2012, this always happened. But especially aggressively in 2012. I will not go into details,” but, he added, the U.S. has done the same with elections in every nation spawned through the breakup of the Soviet Union.
“As one of the most glaring examples,” Russian state-run RT reports, “Putin pointed out that US diplomatic workers had actually campaigned for the Russian opposition.”
Diplomatic staff, Putin noted, should be attempting to “establish interstate relations,” but Washington’s pawns instead “gathered opposition forces and financed them, went to opposition rallies,” thus, actively interfering in a sovereign state’s affairs.
Putin balked at the running contention in the U.S., insisting the ongoing narrative of Russian election tampering is a mere “lie” manipulated by D.C. establishment as “a tool in the intra-political fight in the United States.”
Further, he stated,
“We have not engaged in any cyberattacks. It is hard to imagine that any country, including a country like Russia, could seriously influence the electoral campaign and its results.”
Election meddling, ironically enough, is so common a tactic by more powerful nations as to be virtually expected in elections at every level of government — but Washington’s obdurate stance on Russian hackers having penetrated voting machines or other electoral infrastructure has not been proven, despite months of supposed investigations into the matter.
But at least one glaring instance of election meddling decades ago proved influence over the popular vote can indeed be accomplished by a State determined in its goals.
“Since the early 1990s, we assumed that the Cold War was over,” Putin continued. “We thought there was no need to take any extra security measures because we were an organic part of the world community.”
In 1996, Washington attempted successfully to prop up the re-election campaign of Russian President Boris Yeltsin — whose approval ratings had plummeted, but whose politics matched the U.S. agenda.
TIME Magazine’s Michael Kramer authored Rescuing Boris on July 15, 1996 — an in-depth exposé covering admitted election manipulation by the United States, whose subtitle summarily extinguishes all firey sanctimony from the current politik on just about anything blaming The Russians:
“THE SECRET STORY OF HOW FOUR U.S. ADVISERS USED POLLS, FOCUS GROUPS, NEGATIVE ADS AND ALL THE OTHER TECHNIQUES OF AMERICAN CAMPAIGNING TO HELP BORIS YELTSIN WIN.”
Kramer summarized the lengthy piece,
“The outcome was by no means inevitable. Last winter Yeltsin’s approval ratings were in the single digits. There are many reasons for his change in fortune, but a crucial one has remained a secret. For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin’s campaign. Here is the inside story of how these advisers helped Yeltsin achieve the victory that will keep reform in Russia alive.”
Yeltsin falling out of favor with the Russian public concerned Washington because, TIME noted, at the time he was “arguably the best hope Russia has for moving toward pluralism and an open economy.”
Kramer’s expository should be required reading for the American public, not to mention D.C. politicians, amid this astonishing revival of Red Scare propaganda; but one statement explaining the gist from an insider involved in the effort — George Gorton, then-California Governor Pete Wilson’s longtime top strategist — as told to the TIME journalist truly encapsulates the hypocrisy Putin underscored.
“We were brought in to help win,” Gorton told Kramer, “and that’s what we did. The Russians are prideful and say that people like us won’t be necessary in the future because they’ve learned what to do. You hear that everywhere after the hired guns have done their work — and it may be true. All I know is that for every guy who thinks he can go it alone, there will always be another guy who knows he can’t.”
Perhaps Washingtonian pols would appreciate a reminder from their constituents that election rigging has traditionally been a two-or-more-way street — and the pomposity of mounting a political high-horse on the topic is little more than farcical façade covering guilt over similar or worse tactics in a succession of years.
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Contributed by Claire Bernish of The Daily Sheeple.