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Kremlin: Election meddling worldwide is a ‘rich US tradition’ that even impacts Russia

The fact was acknowledged by the Americans themselves, Putin's spokesman has pointed out

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has redirected a question about meddling attempts in the electoral process in Russia to the Foreign Ministry. By the same token, he remarked that Washington had what he described as a "rich tradition" of interfering in elections in other countries, including Russia.

"As you may know, this question should be addressed to the Foreign Ministry. Apparently it would be not appropriate for us to comment on a Foreign Ministry statement," Peskov explained.

"That the United States has a rich tradition of meddling in the internal affairs and electoral processes in many countries throughout the world, including our country, is not a secret for anyone. This was acknowledged by the Americans themselves."

Numerous signs of outside interference

The interim commission of the upper house of Russia’s parliament for the protection of state sovereignty has exposed ‘numerous signs of interference from abroad’ in the country’s sovereign affairs during election campaigns during the period of 2011-2017, according to the commission’s annual report obtained by TASS on Monday.

"The commission has revealed that numerous signs of interference from abroad in Russia’s sovereign affairs took place in 2011-2017 during the following electoral campaigns: The election of MPs to the State Duma (in 2011 and 2016), Russia’s presidential elections of 2012, and during regional elections (in 2013 and 2017)," says the document of the interim commission chaired by Senator Andrei Klimov.

The document emphasizes, "The commission is convinced that these foreign attempts failed to noticeably influence the course of the electoral campaigns and the expression of the will of Russian citizens during the voting."

"The facts mentioned above speak not so much about the weakness of such sorts of unlawful activities but about social and political stability in Russia and the timely measures the Russian authorities are taking to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and Russia’s electoral sovereignty," the authors of the report say.

Instances of meddling

As an example of obvious outside interference in Russian domestic affairs, the report emphasizes the attempts to challenge the results of Russia’s elections.

"Moreover, foreign opponents do not recognize the elections on the Crimean peninsula at all, illegitimately depriving millions of residents in Crimea and Sevastopol of the right to elect and be elected," the report says.

As the authors of the report also point out, "Washington carried out very active work, especially using the possibilities of its diplomatic and consular presence in Russia, to gather information on the sentiments of the Russian electorate, their perception of the social and economic situation and their evaluations of the consequences of economic sanctions."

"Thus, a month before regional elections in 2017, Russia’s Foreign Ministry published data that instances repeatedly occurred when employees of the US embassy from those employed locally (in violation of the Vienna Convention) visited various regions and held polls about local residents’ attitude to the governor and the federal authorities. As a result, Russia’s Foreign Ministry had to ask US diplomats to sever work relations with these people," the report says.

Aside from "direct financing from outside the Russian politicized opposition structures," the report says that the instruments of interference include "numerous facts indicating the apparent training of promising Russian political figures abroad."

"Such sort of ‘training’ is normally anti-Russian in nature and is hosted, in particular, in the Baltic states and in the United States with the participation of officials of these countries," the report says. The authors of the survey refer to the results of prosecutors’ checks to draw attention to the fact that "foreign NGOs, part of which have already been listed as undesirable organizations, interfere most actively in Russia’s internal affairs." In 2017, 11 such organizations were recognized as undesirable in Russia.