(Reuters) The Kremlin says it had zero involvement in the hacking of Democratic Party emails while U.S. officials say the hack originated in Russia. We may never know who is right, but one thing is for sure – Russia had motive, capability and form.
Seen through Kremlin eyes, Moscow would only be doing what it feels the United States has been doing to it for years anyway – interfering in a geopolitical rival's domestic politics in an attempt to destabilize and shape events.
President Vladimir Putin said in February he had seen specific intelligence suggesting Russia's foreign enemies – code for Washington – were preparing to meddle in Russian parliamentary elections later this year.
And in 2011, Putin accused the U.S. State Department and Hillary Clinton, its then head, of stirring up street protests against his rule.
"We need to head off any external attempts to interfere in the elections, in our domestic political life," Putin, who is facing re-election in 2018, told officers from Russia's FSB security service in February.
"You know that certain kinds of (political) technologies exist and have already been used in many countries."
"Clearly the Kremlin feels it should and can insert itself into domestic politics in other countries in much the same way it believes the United States and Europe insert themselves into Russian politics," Samuel Greene, the director of the Russia Institute at London's King's College, told Reuters. "In their view it is fair play. They have seen the West involving itself in politics in Ukraine and other former parts of the Soviet space and feel they should be able to pretty much do the same thing."
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