(NYTimes) For months, President Vladimir V. Putin has predictably denied accusations of Russian interference in last year’s American election, denouncing them as fake news fueled by Russophobic hysteria.
More surprising, some of Mr. Putin’s biggest foes in Russia, notably pro-Western liberals who look to the United States as an exemplar of democratic values and journalistic excellence, are now joining a chorus of protest over America’s fixation with Moscow’s meddling in its political affairs. […]
For Ivan I. Kurilla, a professor of history and an America specialist at the European University at St. Petersburg, a bastion of liberal thinking, Russia’s prominent and almost entirely negative role on America’s political stage since the November election reprises a phenomenon first seen in the late 1800s.
“Americans use Russia each time they feel their own identity in crisis,” said Mr. Kurilla, the author of a new book on the history of Russian-American relations, “Frenemies.”
Unlike China and India, which are far more distant culturally and geographically from the United States, he added, Russia is a country on to which alarm over America’s own internal problems can be easily projected.
“American liberals are so upset about Trump that they cannot believe he is a real product of American life,” Mr. Kurilla said. “They try to portray him as something created by Russia. This whole thing is about America, not Russia.” […]
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Also see the NYTimes op-ed: Odds Are, Russia Owns Trump