‘Beyond understanding’: Kremlin blasts fresh US reports on alleged Russian election meddling
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Controversial reports claiming that Moscow meddled in the US 2016 elections and – as part of it – influenced African-Americans to suppress turnout causes nothing but incomprehension, a Russian presidential spokesperson said.
“What I’ve read about this report can’t cause anything but incomprehension,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. He said accusations mentioned in the papers are vague and don’t explain the link between Russia and the alleged meddling in 2016 elections.
Dubbed “Senate reports,” two documents claimed Moscow attempted to spread “fake news” to deface Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in 2016. A low turnout of African Americans during the vote that saw Donald Trump prevail over Hillary Clinton has been apparently also the work of the Kremlin… at least according to the said reports.
The papers, compiled by the New Knowledge consultancy and a research group at Oxford University, claim a Russian “troll factory” had been focused on “developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets.”
Firing back, Peskov reminded that “we are being assigned the blame that something critically views this or that situation in the US,” adding the new documents don’t explain “how it relates to Russia.”
Russian state and the Russian government had nothing to do with any sort of meddling.
US mainstream media were prompt to cite the two reports as yet more proof that Moscow had its feet in 2016 elections. However, critics voiced skepticism about their methodology and the researchers’ own bias. For instance, New Knowledge co-founder Ryan Fox was a former NSA operative and an analyst for the US Army’s Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC). Jonathan Morgan, the company’s CEO and co-founder, is a former State Department adviser on “digital counter-terrorism.”
That aside, some in the African-American community pointed out that blaming Russia downplayed the real problem of long-standing racism in US society.
Not only has Moscow denied claims of election interference, but US pundits themselves failed to present any credible proof of it.
In August, it emerged that the Senate Intelligence Committee found “no factual evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Moscow. That followed an investigation into alleged meddling which lasted more than a year.
Another observer, former US ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock said an intelligence report on alleged Russian election meddling lacked hard facts and omitted relevant agencies.
Moscow also recently said it was ready to declassify all correspondence with the US related to the alleged interference, should Washington be OK with this.
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