Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has continuously stated that his country has neversome individual “patriotic” hackers could have participated in their own rogue attacks, which may have been rigged in such a way that Russia would get blamed.
“I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack,” Putin said in a news conference. “Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily.”
Ever since Donald Trump upended Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russia of hacking into Democratic Party emails, claiming that they were “coerced” into helping Trump win. Current Congressional and FBI investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia have since put a damper on diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Reporters asked Putin if Russian hackers could try to affect the outcome of German parliamentary elections later this year, and he replied as he did to similar questions regarding the U.S., saying, “We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so.”
He added that despite some differences, he has had a fine relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and will work constructively with any German leader.
During the French presidential election, President Emmanuel Macron’s aides claimed in February that Russian groups were interfering with his campaign. When a document leak affected Macron’s campaign in the final hours before the vote, guess who was blamed? But Russian leaders denied all allegations of election meddling.
According to Putin, hackers simply don’t have the power to change election outcomes, because people just aren’t that gullible.
“I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign,” he said. “No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.”
Putin noted that tensions between Russia and the West could have inspired some individuals to act. “If they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia,” he said, adding, “Theoretically, it’s possible.”
Putin noted that the current atmosphere of mistrust and blame has become “counterproductive and harmful” to diplomacy between Russia and the West.
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