PRETORIA, May 17. /TASS/. The Russian embassy in South Africa has castigated the recent media reports that Russia allegedly plotted its interference in the parliamentary elections in that country.
The diplomatic mission posted its official position on Friday on the Daily Maverick web portal, which alleged on May 8 that political technologists from Russia were plotting an information attack on the leaders of the South African opposition.
"Having gone through this piece, we must regretfully conclude that this is yet another poorly disguised attempt from certain South African media outlets and journalist personas to ‘cash-in’ on the election period public fever," the statement says.
The Russian diplomats’ criticism comes in response to the reports of an allegedly planned information campaign elaborated by Russian structures to raise the rating of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). As the authors of the articles in the Daily Maverick and also the UK’s newspaper The Guardian claim, referring to papers of unidentified origin, the Russian political technologists allegedly intended to discredit the leaders of local opposition parties - the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters. At the same time, the materials indicated that the plan had not been executed for some reasons or, in any case, there was no clear evidence of such activity.
As the evidence, the authors of the scandalous publications only provide scanned copies of instructions for campaigning in favor of the ANC compiled using ordinary text editing software. There is no way to verify or identify these papers, the diplomatic mission pointed out.
"In serious investigative journalism, which regretfully seems to have largely become a thing of the past, this ‘evidence’ would not stand basic scrutiny," the Russian embassy’s statement reads.
The Russian diplomats also drew attention to the fact that even opposition politicians themselves did not notice any traces of outside interference in the election campaign, in particular, DA Federal Executive chairperson James Selfe who admitted this in a comment for the Daily Maverick.
"All of this brings up a question. If this alleged information campaign has not left a single trace, sans the blurred unidentified PowerPoint scans, and had zero influence on the election, did it exist in the first place? Occam's razor principle says that the answer is evident," the Russian embassy noted.