“The West has been trying to disrupt the election for a year”

The West has been trying to disrupt the election for

Updated 20.51 | Published 20.36



Russian Ambassador Maria Zakharova says the West tried to disrupt their election for over a year.

Not true, says Russia expert Malcolm Dixelius.

– But she is right in a way, he says.

The Russian election is in full swing, with Putin the expected winner. However, the election has not gone completely undisturbed – in the past few days, several people have been arrested when they tried destroy ballot boxes. Now Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tells Russian state media that the West tried to disrupt the Russian election for a whole year – on the Internet.

– From spreading content to blocking Russian organizations’ apps on social media, she says.

– All methods have been used. But nothing helps them.

Russia expert Malcolm Dixelius refutes her plot. He says there is no reason for the West to carry out such a campaign.

– Everyone in the West knows that the election is rigged right from the start. After all, this is the most criticized election in modern Russian history. So what is the point of putting resources into a campaign?


full screen Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accuses the West of trying to disrupt the elections in Russia. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

“Normal media coverage”

At the same time, the large amount of criticism makes her right, he says.

– Of course, for example, the media has an influence, but it is not that the leaders of the West sat down and concocted a campaign, but it is normal media coverage.

He emphasizes that, after all, it is the apps that choose which users they want to remove, not the leaders of the West. However, Maria Zakharova’s statement is unique in one way.

– It is not an unusual statement in itself. But it is unique that social media is taken up, says Malcolm Dixelius.


full screen The Russian election takes place over three days. Photo: AP

“Creates a wild rage”

Taking up social media can have a special function. It is mainly the younger generation of Russians who support the opposition, and many of them use social media – despite extensive censorship.

– It is clear that there is a concern that the next generation does not share Putin’s worldview. They are afraid that they will absorb information from the West, says Malcolm Dixelius.

In the statement, Maria Zakharova also says that the Russian election, and that Russia is “united”, arouses anger in the West.

– It creates a wild anger. They are already fraying, a little green is coming out everywhere. Let them choke on it, the spokeswoman told Russian state-owned TASS.

The statement is also intended to strengthen the “myth” that exists about Putin, says Malcolm Dixenius.

– They want to spread the image that it is Putin who is under attack and defending Russia.

But if there was now a disinformation campaign against Russia – who could be behind it?

– The only ones who have any reason to sabotage the election are Ukraine. So if it were cyber attacks, then it could be that they have a hand in the game, but it doesn’t have to be like that at all, says Malcolm Dixenius

– But in that case, the West would not have been involved here either.