Experts say there is a clear incentive for Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the United States of meddling in internal Russian affairs, to continue to seek to play an outsize role in U.S. elections, The Washington Post reports.
“Russia’s a huge country and Russians aren’t wrong to think that they can shake things up a little bit,” said Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center. “If you read the modestly pro-Kremlin analyst types [in Russia], this is consistent with what they’ve been saying all along – that American democracy is not immune from this sort of dirt.”
“The U.S. and Russia are engaged in tit-for-tat…..It’s only to the Americans that lines have been crossed,” he told The Washington Post:
While the Cold War is over, America’s battle of wills with Russia is not. The rivalry continues to play out in Syria, where Moscow and Washington back different factions and disagree over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s future. In Ukraine, the U.S. is sanctioning Russia over its annexation of Crimea and continued inference in the eastern regions. Tense relations complicate Moscow’s and Washington’s dealings with Iran and China. That doesn’t even count allegations that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee and other political servers to obtain sensitive material.
“Hillary was going to have to explain the allegedly naïve, unsuccessful reset. We forgot about that a long time ago,” said Stephen Sestanovich (right), a former U.S. ambassador-at-large to the former Soviet Union and Russia expert with the Council on Foreign Relations.
“All the polls show that Russia is totally unpopular to the American people…the truth is, most of the ways in which the Russia issue figures in the campaign are kind of unprecedented,” said Sestanovich, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.