Sun, Jul 31, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Moscow denies hand in US political e-mail hack

Reuters, MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting on the development of production and consumption of rare earth metals in Veliky Novgorod, Russia on Friday.

Photo: EPA

The Kremlin says it had zero involvement in the hacking of US Democratic Party e-mails, while US officials said the hack originated in Russia.

We might never know the truth, but one thing is for sure — Russia had the motive, capability and form.

Seen through Kremlin eyes, Moscow would only be doing what it feels the US has been doing to it for years anyway — interfering in a geopolitical rival’s domestic politics in an attempt to destabilize and shape events.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in February said he had seen specific intelligence suggesting Russia’s foreign enemies — code for Washington — were preparing to meddle in Russian parliamentary elections later this year.

Putin, in 2011 accused the US Department of State and Democratic US presidential nominee and then US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, of stirring up street protests against his rule.

“We need to head off any external attempts to interfere in the elections, in our domestic political life,” Putin, who is facing re-election in 2018, told officers from Russia’s FSB security service in February. “You know that certain kinds of [political] technologies exist and have already been used in many countries.”

That was shorthand for Ukraine, Libya, Egypt and Syria, which Putin thinks Washington irresponsibly destabilized.

People who have studied him for years say he believes the US is trying to foment the same kind of unrest to oust him.

Putin’s credo, set out when talking about the Islamic State group last year, is to strike first “if a fight is inevitable” and, as Russia has shown in its reaction to what it sees as NATO’s aggressive build-up near its borders, to respond in kind.

“Clearly, the Kremlin feels it should and can insert itself into domestic politics in other countries in much the same way it believes the United States and Europe insert themselves into Russian politics,” said Samuel Greene, the director of the Russia Institute at London’s King’s College. “In their view, it is fair play. They have seen the West involving itself in politics in Ukraine and other former parts of the Soviet space and feel they should be able to pretty much do the same thing.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top