US Meddling in 1996 Russian Elections in Support of Boris Yeltsin

Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States! How unprecedented! How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!

In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.” (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”

But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections of other countries?

Our friends in South America might have insights here—hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination,and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders. So too in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.), north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), and dozens of other countries on five of the six inhabited continents. (Joshua Keating, “Election Meddling Is Surprisingly Common,” Slate.com, 4 Jan., 2017; Tim Weiner, CIA: Legacy of Ashes, 2008; Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, 2006.)

In the welter of red-faced indignation, the torrents of denunciations from Senate hearings and press conferences, talk shows and podcasts, one might have expected someone to pose the rather obvious question whether American agencies have ever meddled in Russian presidential elections. And yet (surprise surprise!) America’s corporate-owned press of record, an institution that constantly flaunts its “objectivity,” has failed to raise that straightforward question.

So, let us raise it here: Has the USA engaged in this sort of meddling? And if so, what effect has it had on Russia?

The answer to the first question, of course, is a resounding Yes. Even as you read these words, you can bet that one or more of seventeenFederal agencies of the United States are busy hacking Russia. (It is a safe bet that other countries are engaged in cyber espionage against Russia and the United States, too, including China and Israel.)

Let us limit our discussion to one single case. Readers will recall that in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election in Russia, opinion polls put the pro-western incumbent, Boris Yeltsin, in fifth place among the presidential candidates, with only 8% support. The same polls showed that the most popular candidate in Russia by a wide margin was the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov. Moved to desperation by the numbers, well-connected Russian oligarchs suggested just cancelling the election and supporting a military takeover, rather than facing a defeat at the polls. Neocons in the West embraced the idea–all in the name of Democracy, of course. In the end, though, Yeltsin and the oligarchs decided to retain power by staging the election.

In keeping with Russian laws at the time, Zyuganov spent less than three million dollars on his campaign. Estimates of Yeltsin’s spending, by contrast, range from $700 million to $2.5 billion. (David M. Kotz, Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin, 2007) This was a clear violation of law, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In February 1996, at the urging of the United States, the International Monetary Fund (which describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation”) supplied a $10.2 billion “emergency infusion” to Russia.The money disappeared as Yeltsin used it to shore up his reputation and to buy votes. He forced the Central Bank of Russia to provide an additional $1 billion for his campaign, too. Meanwhile, a handful of Russian oligarchs, notably several big contributors residing in Israel, provided more billions for the Yeltsin campaign.

In the spring of 1996, Yeltsin and his campaign manager, billionaire privatizer Anatoly Chubais, recruited a team of financial and media oligarchs to bankroll the Yeltsin campaign and guarantee favorable media coverage on national television and in leading newspapers. In return, Chubais allowed well-connected Russian business leaders to acquire majority stakes in some of Russia’s most valuable state-owned assets.

Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilsoncovertly made their way to the President Hotel in Moscow where, behind a guard and locked doors, they served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for Democracy. (Eleanor Randolph, “Americans Claim Role in Yeltsin Win,” L.A. Times, 9 July 1996) Yeltsin and his cohorts monopolized all major media outlets, print and electronic, public, and private. They bombarded Russians with an incessant and uncontested barrage of political advertising masquerading as news, phony “documentaries,” rumors, innuendos, and bad faith campaign promises (including disbursement of back pay to workers and pensioners, stopping further NATO expansion, and peaceful settlement of Yeltsin’s brutal war against Chechnya). Yeltsin campaigners even floated the threat that he would stage a coup and the country would descend into civil war if Zyuganov were to win the vote.

It is now public record that the Yeltsin campaign conducted extensive “black operations,” including disrupting opposition rallies and press conferences, spreading disinformation among Yeltsin supporters, and denying media access to the opposition. The dirty tricks included such tactics as announcing false dates for opposition rallies and press conferences,disseminatingalarming campaign materials that they deceitfully attributed to the Zyuganov campaign, and cancelling hotel reservations for Zyuganov and his volunteers. Finally, widespread bribery, voter fraud, intimidation, and ballot stuffing assured Yeltsin’s victory in the runoff election.

The day after his victory, Yeltsin disappeared from the scene and did not reappear until months later, drunk. During Yeltsin’s second term, the “non-ideological” IMF provided another infusion of money, this time $40 billion. Once again, more billions disappeared without a trace, much of it stolen by the President’s chronies, who placed it in foreign banks. The re-elected President didn’t even pretend to make good on his campaign promises.

Serious observers, including leading Democrats, agree that even if the recent hacking allegations against Russia turn out to be true, the “dirty tricks” did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election. By contrast, American meddling and financing of the 1996 presidential election in Russia clearly played a pivotal role in turning Yeltsin from a candidate with single-digit approval at the beginning of the yearinto a winning candidate with an official (but disputed) 54.4% of votes cast in the second-round runoff later that same year.

Let us consider some of the consequences of Yeltsin’s electoral win:

–In the first years of the Chubais-Yeltsin privatization scheme, the life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 65 years to 57.5 years. Female life expectancy in Russia dropped from 74.5 years in 1989 to 72.8 years in 1999.

–Throughout Yeltsin’s terms as President, flight of capital away from Russia totaled between $1 and $2 billion every month.

–Each year from 1989 to 2001 there was a fall of approximately 8% in Russia’s productive assets.

–From 1990 to 1999 the percentage increase of people living on lessthan $1 a day was greater in Russian and the other former socialist countries than anywhere else in the world.

–The number of people living in poverty in the former Soviet Republicsrose from 14 million in 1989 to 147 million in 1998.As a result of the 1998 financial collapse and the devaluation of the ruble, the life savings of tens of millons of Russian families disappeared over night. Since then, the Great Recession and low oil pries have only made matters worse.

–In the period from 1992 to 1998 Russia’s GDP fell by half–something that did not happen even under during the German invasion in the Second World War.

Under Yeltsin’s tenure, the death rate in Russia reached wartime levels. Accidents, food poisoning, exposure, heart attacks, lack of access to basic healthcare, and an epidemic of suicides—they all played a role. David Satter, a senior fellow at the anti-communist, Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, writing in the conservative Wall Street Journal, described the consequences of this victory of Democracy: “Western and Russian demographers now agree that between 1992 and 2000, the number of ‘surplus deaths’ in Russia–deaths that cannot be explained on the basis of previous trends–was between five and six million persons.” (Accessed 8 April 2015. American sociologist James Petras has given a figure of 15 million surplus deaths since the demise of the Soviet Union.)

NATO continued its expansion east. Yeltsin turned the Chechen city of Grozny into a field of rubble, and he quickly became the most reviled man in Russia. But as one observer put it at the time, “Yeltsin didn’t seem to notice, which is hardly surprising, since he was drunk for most of his tenure in office.”By the time he left office, the American-approved President of the Russian Federation had an approval rating of 2%. (CNN, 2002) But by that time it didn’t matter: the kleptocrats were safely installed in power, and American-imposed Democracy had achieved its aims in Russia’s “transition.”

Yeltsin died in 2007, celebrated as an anti-communist hero by the neocons in Washington and New York, but hated by the vast majority of Russians. Four years later, Dmitri Medvedev, then-President of Russia, eulogized Yeltsin for creating “the base of a new Russian statehood, without which none of our future successes would be possible.” But a Time magazine writer reported that, despite Medvedev’s public praise, the story he told privately was quite different. On 20 February 2012, he reportedly told attendees at a closed-door meeting: “Russia’s first President did not actually win re-election in 1996 for a second term. The second presidential vote in Russia’s history, in other words, was rigged.” (Simon Shuster, “Rewriting Russian History: Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Presidential Election?” Timeonline, 24 Feb. 2012.)

Some readers, perhaps, do not see the point of reminding ourselves of America’s role in the election of Yeltsin and America’s responsibility for the resulting misery and mass death. But let us remind ourselves that the recent hacking accusations are just one element of a full-on media assault against Russia, led by Washington. From supposed Russian war crimes in the fight against the murderous jihadi occupiers of Syria to Russia’s re-annexation of overwhelmingly pro-Russian Crimea and the doping of Olympic athletes, America’s neocons are engaged in a propaganda blitz with high stakes.

Armenia is one of many frontline positions in Washington’s escalating media campaign against Russia. Yes, the Russian Federation is an imperialist state, in V.I. Lenin’s technical sense of the term. And yes, Russia wields undo influence in Armenia. But by now it is clear that greater sovereignty for Armenia is not what is at stake when it comes to the Russophobe opposition. After all, the Russia haters do not seem to have much problem with the idea of giving up sovereignty to the American imperialists and their regional surrogate, the Republic of Turkey. More importantly, the cause of greater national sovereignty will be harmed if the Russia haters have their way. They only confirm the pervasivesense of vulnerability, economic isolation, and military encirclement among Russians, a people who have endured three decades of enormous destruction and humiliation, after a century of invasion and wars that claimed the lives of tens of millions of their compatriots.

Let us remind ourselves that the loudest of Yerevan’s Russia haters are the same fanatics who led Armenia to its present state of ruin. After so much failure and disaster, they continue to hawk the old dangerous fantasy of Uncle Sam as Armenia’s savior. They are unrepentant, and like Yeltsin, they take their marching orders from Washington.


Originally published on 2017-01-13

About the author: Markar Melkonian is a teacher and an author. His books include Richard Rorty’s Politics: Liberalism at the End of the American Century (1999), Marxism: A Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, 1996), and My Brother’s Road (2005).

Source: Hetq.am

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

Save

Save 

READ MORE!
Trump’s Straw Nazis: A Horror Story
Introduction – Nothing is More Dangerous than a Discreet Nazi People have been digesting the appointment of Stephen Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist and the sudden rise in overt racism and Nazi symbology. There are people saying “Heil Trump”, giving Nazi salutes, and spray-painting swastikas in alarming numbers. The US is a large, populous, diverse country, but there is clearly something of significance here beyond just a few ignorant teenagers with spraycans and emotional issues. The overt Nazism is very disturbing. It was less than reassuring when Anne Coulter sought to tweet some perspective “Rachel shows FIVE PEOPLE at Richard Spencer meeting ...
READ MORE
Crimea: Was it Seized by Russia, or did Russia Block its Seizure by the U.S.?
Both before and after Crimea left Ukraine and joined Russia in a public referendum on 16 March 2014, the Gallup Organization polled Crimeans on behalf of the U.S. Government, and found them to be extremely pro-Russian and anti-American, and also anti-Ukrainian. (Neither poll was subsequently publicized, because the results of each were the opposite of what the sponsor had wished.) Both polls were done on behalf of the U.S. Government, in order to find Crimeans’ attitudes toward the United States and toward Russia, and also toward Ukraine, not only before but also after the planned U.S. coup in Ukraine, which occurred ...
READ MORE
The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media
Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies. For several months, Western officials and media outlets repeated thousands of times that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 civilians trapped under Syrian and Russian bombardment in East Aleppo. Western reports rarely mentioned the Syrian government’s estimate that there were only one-third that number of civilians in the rebel-controlled enclave – nor that its estimates were solidly based on what it had found in Homs and other ...
READ MORE
Chile, September 11, 1973
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile!  Long live the people! Long live the workers!”  President Salvador Allende’s farewell speech, 11 September 1973. “It’s hard to find someone with the fighting spirit, courage and the story of Allende. He was a man who actually had the branded name in history: democratically the left came ...
READ MORE
Russophobia – Symptom of US Implosion
There was a time when Russophobia served as an effective form of population control – used by the American ruling class in particular to command the general US population into patriotic loyalty. Not any longer. Now, Russophobia is a sign of weakness, of desperate implosion among the US ruling class from their own rotten, internal decay. This propaganda technique worked adequately well during the Cold War decades when the former Soviet Union could be easily demonized as «godless communism» and an «evil empire». Such stereotypes, no matter how false, could be sustained largely because of the monopoly control of Western media ...
READ MORE
Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims
The day commemorates lost lives of US servicemen and women sent to war for the wrong reasons – from the 18th century to today, notably America’s so-called War of Independence, its Civil War, WW I and II and all subsequent wars of choice. America’s only enemies in the past 70 years and throughout at least most of its history were and remain ones it invents. It could have been a model peaceful nation had it chosen a different path. Instead, its history reflects unbridled militarism, endless wars of choice, related violence and chaos, contempt for rule of law principles, along with unparalleled ...
READ MORE
NATO’s War Crimes: The Crime of Propaganda
The NATO military alliance is a world encompassing threat. It is now conducting various forms of hybrid warfare against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most of Africa. They have destroyed directly or are largely responsible for the destruction of the socialist nations of the USSR, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and too many to name in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Destruction is the fate that each nation on earth can expect unless it pays homage and obeisance to these neo-feudal overlords who promise protection in return for national servitude, in return for the complete ...
READ MORE
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
We are witnessing a presidential election of epic farce. The Republican Party nominates the caricature of a tinpot dictator. The Democratic National Committee is a caricature too, of comic opera: exposed in collusion with a favored candidate it anoints a felon, shown to be such but unindicted. We are witnessing the collapse of democratic presidential politics. It is a derelict process, complex, absurdly long, insanely expensive, tedious, inconsistent and now chaotic. Professional football is a public extravaganza, its six-month season culminating in the tangible climax of the Superbowl. It is dwarfed in spectacle however by the same suspense and dramatic finale of ...
READ MORE
US Imperialism Wages Permanent Warfare to Prevent its Inevitable Collapse
The US has always been a warfare state. However, the character of US imperialist warfare has changed dramatically. For over two centuries, the US regime’s purpose for war, whether on indigenous peoples, Black people, or nations all over the world, was to expand the productive forces of capitalist exploitation. War preceded the vast profits accumulated from chattel slavery, land grab, and resource extraction in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The foundation of white supremacy and capitalism allowed the US regime to consolidate its expansion despite episodes of periodic crisis. Recent events, alongside a steady fall in the rate of capitalist profit, indicate ...
READ MORE
The War on Yugoslavia, Kosovo “Self-Determination” and EU-NATO Support of KLA Terrorists: Dietmar Hartwig’s Warning Letters to Angela Merkel
It seems that the recent developments in Europe, and in particular the rising secessionism (Catalonia, Flandreau, Corsica, Veneto, Scotland), rings a bell, or rather is reminiscent of certain events. The ensuing ones are shedding more light on the roles of the EU (EEC), the USA, Great Britain and Germany. One wonders to what extent those democracies have been guided by the principles of international law and democracy pertaining to the Kosovo crisis. How much did they appreciate the reports of their (expensive) missions in Kosovo and Metohija (КDОМ, КVМ, ЕCMM) depicting the realities on the ground? To what extent have ...
READ MORE
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism in Latin America
The US sanctions against Venezuela, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 18, 2014, resulted from charges of protestors’ rights being violated by the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro. The sanctions allow the Obama administration to deny visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of anti-government groups. These groups, comprised mainly of the right-wing opposition, have been leading violent protests in Caracas since last February. US leaders blame the Venezuelan leadership, headed by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, for the deaths of 43 people during such demonstrations, which included both government ...
READ MORE
The Most Dangerous Weapon
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?
The term Back Door Man has several connotations. In the original blues song written by Willie Dixon, it refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door to flee before the husband comes home. During the Gerald Ford Presidency, Back Door Man was applied to Dick Cheney as Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and his “skills” at getting what he wanted through opaque means. More and more as Cabinet choices are named, it looks like the entire Trump Presidency project is emerging as Henry A. Kissinger’s “Back Door Man,” in the Cheney meaning of ...
READ MORE
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
The opposition in Montenegro unanimously decided to boycott the local elections in Niksic, scheduled for March 12. This decision was made in protest against the political trial against the deputies from the Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knežević. DF, Democratic Montenegro, Demos, civil movement URA, the Social Democrats and the Socialist People’s Party refused to participate in the elections after the Mandic and Knežević were deprived of parliamentary immunity. Andrija Mandic said that the prosecution was launched in order to weaken the Democratic Front. He added that he wants to raise the question about the legitimacy of the removal ...
READ MORE
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists — Ernest Hemingway Military spending is the second largest item in the US federal budget after Social Security. It has a habit of increasing significantly each year, and the proposed 2019 defense budget is $886 billion (roughly double what it was in 2003). US military spending exceeds the total of the next ten largest countries combined. Although the US government acknowledges 682 military bases in 63 countries, ...
READ MORE
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
The Chinese have a genius for pithy expressions and few are more packed with meaning, while immediately understandable, than "paper tiger". NATO is one, but paper tigers that overestimate their powers can be dangerous. Some Russians are concerned that there are today more hostile troops at the Russian border than at any time since 1941. While this is true, it is not, at the moment, very significant. The Germans invaded the USSR with nearly 150 divisions in 1941. Which, as it turned out, were not enough. Today NATO has – or claims to have – a battle group in each of the three ...
READ MORE
Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence. Pro-peace conspiracy emanating from Moscow On August 28, the New York Times published an article by its Moscow bureau chief about the troubling news (from the Times‘ viewpoint) that the people of Sweden are not happy with their government’s wish to join up with the NATO military alliance. The ruling elites in Sweden and Finland have been quietly pushing for NATO membership for years. In May, the Swedish government pushed through the Riksdag a proposal for a ‘cooperation agreement’ with NATO, ...
READ MORE
The Hidden Structure of U.S. Empire
My father was a doctor in the British Royal Navy, and I grew up traveling by troop-ship between the last outposts of the British Empire – Trincomalee, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Malta, Aden, Singapore – and living in and around naval dockyards in England and Scotland.The British naval bases where I grew up and the fading empire they supported are now part of history. Chatham Dockyard. a working dockyard for over 400 years, is now a museum and tourist attraction.  Trincomalee Dockyard, where I was born, has been in the news as a site where the Sri Lankan Navy is accused of torturing and ...
READ MORE
What is July 4th to US Imperialism? What is It to the Oppressed?
“The Declaration of Independence implicitly legalized the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native people within the context of the developing American capitalist nation-state.” July 4th is once again approaching and principled left forces need to use the day as a teaching moment. In a speech given on July 4th, 1852, Frederick Douglas spoke before a packed Rochester Hall and did just that, highlighting the hypocrisy that stains the July 4th celebration of the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence, as Douglass emphasized, held no worth to the millions of Black people in the United States whose existence was ...
READ MORE
The Albanian Question in the Balkans
Since the fall of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Albanians are among the main actors of instability in the Balkans. At the same time they are the most loyal servants of the US in the Balkans. The Greater Albania project, which dates back to the 19th century is an idea of the unification of all Albanians into one state. Namely, the Prizren League then demanded the recognition of the national identity of Albanians and the autonomy of Albania within the Ottoman Empire. Today, Albanians live in two countries Albania and Kosovo (Serbian breakaway southern province) and in neighboring countries. The scenario ...
READ MORE
Trump’s Straw Nazis: A Horror Story
Crimea: Was it Seized by Russia, or did Russia Block its Seizure by the U.S.?
The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media
Chile, September 11, 1973
Russophobia – Symptom of US Implosion
Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims
NATO’s War Crimes: The Crime of Propaganda
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
US Imperialism Wages Permanent Warfare to Prevent its Inevitable Collapse
The War on Yugoslavia, Kosovo “Self-Determination” and EU-NATO Support of KLA Terrorists: Dietmar Hartwig’s Warning Letters to Angela Merkel
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism in Latin America
The Most Dangerous Weapon
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?
Democratic Front of Montenegro will Continue to Fight Against NATO Membership
U.S Military Bases Worldwide: 682 Military Bases in 63 Countries
NATO: А Dangerous Paper Tiger
Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
The Hidden Structure of U.S. Empire
What is July 4th to US Imperialism? What is It to the Oppressed?
The Albanian Question in the Balkans

Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu