Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone is set to release a documentary series with the President of Russia called “The Putin Interviews.” Towards the end of the series, Vladimir Putin discusses interference in the American presidential election. To exonerate himself, he makes the audacious claim that the United States has been meddling in Russian politics for years.
“[They did it] in 2000, and in 2012, this always happened. But especially aggressively in 2012. I will not go into details,” Putin said. He added that other former members of the Soviet Union have been subject to this same expression of power from the United States.
“They gathered opposition forces and financed them, went to opposition rallies,” he elaborated. He claims to have brought up this problem with former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry.
Putin argued that diplomats should “establish interstate relations” rather than interfere in domestic politics. He said that they also use Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which “are frequently financed through a number of layers and structures either from the State Department or some other quasi-governmental sources.”
Putin claimed that accusations of Russian interference are a “lie,” a mere product of the heated bipartisan political climate in Washington, or what he called “a tool in the intra-political fight in the United States.”
He said, “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.”
Despite his rhetoric, it is not that difficult to imagine how hackers or people manipulating media sources could swing an election. By flooding news feeds with fabricated pro-Trump support, and stoking conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, Russian-based agents could easily have created a general spirit of skepticism around the election in general and the Democratic candidate in particular.