New Cold War

 01 Nov 2017 - 12:38

The Peninsula

As more skeletons roll out in the case involving alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 US Presidential election, Moscow seems to have come out swinging against slurs dragging it into the controversy that has already consumed reams of newsprint and millions of eyeballs even at the beginning of a vaunted probe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov yesterday denied that Russia had anything to do with the scandal citing charges slapped by the Muller probe against three campaign aides of US President Donald Trump. He stressed on the absence of allegations against Russia in the indictment against the two officials, affirming that Moscow had always said it never interfered in the US election.

Russia does not feature in the charges that were levelled in any way. Other countries and other people feature (in the charges), Peskov told reporters.

“Moscow never felt itself guilty so it doesn’t feel exonerated now,” he said. However, US intelligence agencies are quite convinced that Moscow interfered in the landmark election that brought one of the most high-profile tycoons to power.
US investigators are studying millions of social media accounts that are said to have originated in Russia and were purportedly meant to turn voter sentiment against Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who lost the elections in a dramatic and unexpected way.

Facebook says some 126 million US users, that amounts to 40 percent of American voters, may have seen stories, posts or other content from Russian sources. This may point to a planned attack on the American electoral process.

Twitter has found that nearly 37,000 automated “bot” accounts with Russian links generated 1.4 million tweets that were seen by a potential 288 million people in the three months before the election.

The US intelligence community and a majority of Democrat lawmakers including Hillary Clinton believe that there was a massive bid to influence the mind of voters. The Russian establishment that felt marginalized because of moves by the West to undermine its strengths seems to have hit the US where it hurts most. Though the probe is in its early stages and it is hard to definitely conclude that there was Russian collusion, signals emanating from the goings on in Washington suggest that there may have been elements in Moscow who might have tried to influence the process.

The eastward expansion of Nato and the resulting undermining of Russia that had been a strong power in the region and across the globe led to resentment in Moscow over the years.

The allegations of Russian collusion in the allegations have come to a point that US-Russian relations may be deeply affected. Only time will tell how the probe turns.