The return of Russia: how the Russian theme was a key in US elections

On Sunday, the candidates for the post of President of the United States Donald trump from the Republican party and Hillary Clinton from the Democratic exchanged sharp statements against Russia. The candidate of the Democrats said that the computers of the National Committee of the Democratic party (DNC) hacked by Russian special services, has transferred Reuters. “We know that the Russian intelligence services have hacked the DNC, and we know that they arranged the leak of a large number of letters, and we know that Donald trump has shown a very disturbing willingness to support Putin” — gave the Agency the words Clinton said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.

Donald trump, in turn, announced the intention, if elected President, to consider recognition of Crimea as part of Russia and stressed that it is necessary to consider the opinion of Crimeans themselves. “I will consider this question. But you know, the people of Crimea, as far as I know, would prefer to be with Russia, but not where he was before. And you should also take into account,” said trump, responding to a question about whether he recognized the accession of Crimea to Russia legitimate. He declared it in interview to TV channel ABC News.

Russia is in the foreground

The Russian theme had sounded in the pre-election rhetoric, Clinton and trump, however, first it is a key element of the election campaign, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on foreign and defense policy Fyodor Lukyanov. “The fact that now the country was in the center of attention is unprecedented: such attention Moscow during the campaign had not received since the cold war, even military conflict with Georgia in 2008 did not cause such a reaction” — draws attention the expert.

Even before becoming the official Republican nominee, trump expressed confidence that “getting along” with Putin. “Such people need to get along. Obama no one gets along. We have a range of enemies.” In an interview with CNN, trump said that Putin would have respected him: “He [Putin] will respect me. I can assure you.” Supported trump and the Russian military operation in Syria.

In July, the Republican declared his willingness in the future to consider the question of the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions and the recognition of the Crimea as the territory of Russia: “We will consider. Yes, we will consider”. In an interview with ABC News, trump also said that to improve relations with Russia “would be great”, as it would allow to get rid of ISIS.

Hillary Clinton, in turn, during the election debate has compared the Russian President with a “bully who can take as much as you can, until you agree” (quoted by “RIA Novosti”). The US and its allies, says Clinton, should be together, “not to allow Putin took a more aggressive stance in Europe and the middle East.”

Usually, foreign policy is not a theme of the campaign, the Director of the Foundation for the study of the United States. Franklin Roosevelt MSU Yuri Rogalev. “Foreign policy has come to the fore now partly due to the fact that the Democrats have tried to put attention on unproven for the intervention of Russia, apparently, they don’t have any better excuses to divert attention from the content of the letters,” suggests Rogulev.

Both experts agree that striking statements of trump, contrary to the current line of the American administration, adding to his points among voters. However, pay attention to Rogulev, it is unlikely foreign policy, even as bright the question of how relations with Russia will remain the main theme of the campaign — most likely, the candidates will switch to internal issues.

“We see that Russian card is in the corner of the Desk, all of the Washington politicians during the electoral campaign,” — said last week, the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the accusations by the staff of Clinton. “I have no relationship with Putin,” said trump in an interview with ABC.

The Hand Of Moscow?

Correspondence DNC was hacked in April, as it became known in June. Then specializing in cyber security company Crowdstirke to which the DNC was after the hacker attacks, said that the hacking has two hacker groups — Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, which, according to Crowdstrike involved in economic espionage in favour of Moscow and closely associated with the Russian special services. The conclusions were drawn from the tactics of hackers and malicious code used by hackers. These groups, as noted by Crowdstrike were involved in attacks on the U.S. state Department, the White house and the Pentagon.

23 Jul DNC correspondence was published on the WikiLeaks website. The leak has affected more than 19 thousand emails and more than 8 thousand documents from the official correspondence of the key functionaries of the DNC (Finance Director Jordan Kaplan, Director of communications, Luis Miranda and others) in the period from January 2015 to may 2016.

Campaign Manager Clinton, Robby Mook, said that the experts with whom he consulted, believe that the attack and leakage were Russian hackers.

Did not rule out the involvement of Russia and President Barack Obama, the same party with Clinton. “Everything is possible”, — he commented the statement of the election headquarters of Hillary Clinton that the leaks of documents of the democratic party USA was organized with the participation of Russia to assist Trump. According to Obama, the USA knows that “Russia is hacking our systems, not only government, but private”.

In Moscow the accusations categorically deny. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov last week said that Russia has never interfered and does not interfere in the electoral processes of other countries. The President’s representative stressed that Moscow is “carefully” avoid actions and words that could be interpreted as “direct or indirect interference in the elections.

According to Alex Grigsby, the expert of the American Council on Foreign Relations, to accurately determine the intentions of the one who invaded the digital space from abroad, it is always difficult, if not impossible. How to act USA, depends on which data will be obtained and how politicians would prefer to respond to them. After an attack by hackers from North Korea on a server that was posted a film about Kim Chen Yne, Washington responded with sanctions, he recalls. In the case of China in September 2015 was made hard statement. If it is proven the involvement of the Russian state to breaking, Obama may just send a signal to the Kremlin that there will be consequences. But if you decide that goal was interference in the election process, the possible response may be sanctions, response operation, the temporary suspension of diplomatic cooperation, which in turn, may negatively affect cooperation on Syria and harm the already difficult relations, suggests Grigsby.