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 Grozy 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).
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.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) was created by Pax Americana to provide a cover for CIA agents under the pretext of helping the 3rd World. US Imperialism has to do some good or its potential targets would not open their doors to intelligence agents posing as do gooders, so USAID was created.
Today the USAID is headed by Gayle Smith, formerly the “Special Advisor” to President Barack Obama and Senior Director of the National Security Council. To put it simply, Gayle Smith is one of the top “spooks” in the USA, someone who told the CIA what to do.
All of the Balkans, legendary German Reichskanzler (Imperial Chancellor) Otto von Bismarck famously said, were not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. And Bismarck, a Prussian landowner or junker had nothing but amused contempt for Pomeranian grenadiers who were regarded as a standing joke in the German Army.
In 1890, brash, young new German Emperor Wilhelm II fired Bismarck after 28 years as minister-president of Prussia and then first Imperial Chancellor of Germany. He abandoned the priority policy of maintaining warm ties and close communications with Russia that Bismarck had always followed and scrapped the Dreikaiserbund, the League of ...
US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 16 years ago in October 2001. It’s has been a continuous war marked by US military occupation.
The justification is “counterterrorism”. Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism, allegedly responsible for attacking America on September 11, 2001.
The war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. US troops are still present and deployed in Afghanistan.
The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an ...
As of this moment, from the gentrified hipster hellholes in Brooklyn to the pedophile-infested devil-den of Hollywood to Satan-occupied Washington DC, liberals nationwide are wailing, howling, shrieking and blubbering over Barack Obama getting out of the White House. Their tears are gushing like rushing rivers breaking through weak dams in pusillanimous sadness, their little Judaized hearts are breaking into pieces of Gefilte fish because an end has come to the presidency of this man they repetitiously and affectionately refer to as “American’s First ‘Black’ President” who brought “hope and change” not only to the USA but the world at large. ...
With the pounding of 59 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles on Shayrat airbase in Syria the Empire has widened its aggression in the strategically crucial country. The sounds of destruction announce imperialism’s and aggression, interference and intervention. This is the sound of “peace” imperialism likes to impose on peoples of other countries.
Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Donald Trump, the US president, branded Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, a “dictator”, and called on “all civilized nations to join” the US “in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and ...
The full extent of the damage to international peace and security caused by the US-led Syrian strikes will take some time to become clear. But its impact on the very concept of legality in international affairs is already evident.
Simply put, the most powerful county in the world and its chief satellites, the UK and France, have thrown the rule of law into the trash can. The only "law" now is the law of the jungle. There is no going back.
Ironically, the attack itself was claimed by its perpetrators as enforcement of legality, not of its obliteration. For example, NATO Secretary-General ...
Few people know that, in fact, in those years, overseas aircraft inflicted an unpunished blow on the Soviet territory. It happened in the Far East in October 1950.
On October 8, 1950, at 4.17 p.m. local time, two Lockheed F-80C Lockheed "Schutting Star (Meteor)" violated the state border of the USSR and, having deepening into the territory for almost a hundred kilometers, attacked the Soviet military airfield Suhaya Rechka 165 kilometers from Vladivostok, in the Hasan district. As a result of firing by the US Air Force seven Soviet squadron aircraft were damaged, one completely burnt in the parking lot.
That autumn ...
Syrian constitution is questionable
The Russian-proposed constitution for Syria is raising a storm in Media. Not only the opposition but the governmental circles are discussing it. Many forums are endlessly debating its 85-controversial articles. Some Syrians feel insulted by a charter authored by one outside power and approved by two others, Turkey and Iran.
The Islamists are furious, because the draft constitution scraps Article 3, which specifies Islam as the religion of the president of the republic. This is a long-standing article since 1920 which several Syrian leaders, including Hafez Al Assad, tried to change, with little luck. Arab nationalists are also ...
The US, Britain and France trampled international law to launch missiles against Syria, claiming to have “evidence” of the government’s use of chemical weapons. That evidence is based on terrorist lies.
After a week of outrageous tweets and proclamations by POTUS Trump, which included continued accusations that Syria’s president ordered a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, east of Damascus, with Trump using grotesque and juvenile terminology, such as “animal Assad,” the very evening before chemical weapons inspectors of the OPCW were to visit Douma, America and allies launched illegal bombings against Syria. The illegal bombings included 103 missiles, 71 of ...
Is it necessary to prove that Vladimir Putin is poorly regarded by the western press? He’s so despised that the review L’Express wrote about a report addressed to the Pentagon that asserts that « Putin’s neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy » and that « the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality. » The authors of the report say that “ his behaviour and facial expressions reveal someone who is defensive in large social settings.”
The implicit conclusion of such a report that was acted on by the Pentagon, is that Putin can’t communicate, that he is unable to have an open and ...
Exclusive photos of the Russian war crimes in Syria and the Middle East by "Free Media Group" volunteers, 2016-2018 with a proper illustrations of the Russia's militant imperialism.
The authenticity of photos and their descriptions are certified by the UK Cabinet of Boris Johnson & Theresa May:
The My Lai Massacre by Russian soldiers
The Russian soldiers at the spot of My Lai Massacre with their victims
Aleppo citizen with a daughter during the Russian destruction of the city
Russian Orthodox monk in Moscow in protest against the Russian invasion of Syria
Syrian children of war and the Russian occupant soldier
Killed Russian student in ...
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet.
Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people ...
The Liberal-Globalists are carrying out another socio-political experiment in the Balkan petri dish, this time using the Macedonians as lab rats for testing how to most effectively erode a people’s identity before rolling out their weaponized model for replicating this on a continental scale, which they hope will enable them to erase the various nationalisms of Europe in their quest to transform the EU into a “federation of regions”.
The Republic of Macedonia and Greece reached a tentative deal to change the former’s constitutional name to the so-called “Republic of North Macedonia” as a “compromise” for Athens agreeing to Skopje’s membership ...
Western allies raped hundreds of thousands of German women, writes German historian Miriam Gebhardt in a book published under name “When the soldiers came” (Als die Soldaten kamen) and which received both praise and criticism in Germany.
“At least 860,000 women and girls, but also men and young boys, were raped by ally soldiers after the fall of the Third Reich and in the postwar period. It happened everywhere,” writes Gebhardt, noting that US soldiers were the ones who did it the most.
The book strongly echoed in Germany, where information on such crimes was known before, but was almost exclusively ascribed ...
GR Editor’s Note
Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
What is the record of the US with regard to doping?
The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.
As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it, and then pushing on regardless, all came down to “credibility”: the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved ...
Today the Old (dying out) Continent is under multi-faced crises pressure some of them having older roots but the others are product of current political decisions and moves by the European decision makers (and those who are behind them across the Ocean).
The European oldest and mostly painful crisis-problem is a biological declination of the whole continent what from the economic point of view means, at least for the western countries, an import of a huge number of the „outsiders“ in order just to keep the same level of the economic production and national GDP. This solution of course produce as ...
The bleak truth is that a careful review of the activities of the CIA and the organizations from which it sprang reveals an intense preoccupation with the development of techniques of behavior control, brainwashing, and covert medical and psychic experimentation on unwitting subjects including religious sects, ethnic minorities, prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and the terminally ill. The rationale for such activities, the techniques and indeed the human subjects chosen show an extraordinary and chilling similarity to Nazi experiments.
This similarity becomes less surprising when we trace the determined and often successful efforts of US intelligence officers to acquire the records of ...
UN Third Committee Resolution L.23 IN, Legitimizes Stranglehold Economic Sanctions., Used as a Means to "Obliterate" North Korea
On November 15, 2016 the United Nations Third Committee adopted the resolution: “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea".
Among the co-sponsors of the Resolution were United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, etc.
Disassociating themselves from the resolution, which they denounced as invalid, were China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and three other countries opposed to the biased character and double standards that typify “country-specific” resolutions. The so-sponsors of this resolution are themselves guilty of criminal human rights violations.
The very ...
Bismarck, the United States and the Pomeranian Grenadier
The 2001 War on Afghanistan is a Profit Driven “Resource War”
The Obama Legacy: Genocide, Destruction, Chaos, Color Revolutions and Subservience to World Zionism
Empire’s Aggression on Syria
Syrian Strikes are ‘Legal’ – But Only According to the ‘Law of the Jungle’
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
Draft Constitution of the Syrian Republic
Caught in a Lie, US & Allies Bomb Syria the Night Before International Inspectors Arrive
Russian Geopolitics from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin
The Russian War Crimes in Syria in 2016-2018: Exclusive Photo Evidence from the Cabinet of Boris Johnson & Theresa May
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy: Stephen Lendman
The Macedonian Name Deal Threatens to Erase European Identity
Allies Raped Hundreds of Thousands of German Women after WW2
How America Spreads Global Chaos
Europe Between Kosovization and Jihadization
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science goes West
Human Rights Violations: North Korea vs the U.S.