Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, Russia has sought to influence the outcome of about 30 elections in about 20 countries, with the aim of continuing to weaken the growing and western world.
Misinformation campaigns, hacking, occult funding; Since 2015, the Russians have been targeting key Western democracies, especially at breakneck speed.
With what we know today about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Adam Casey, a graduate researcher at the University of Michigan, believes that “such interference is a very serious sign of the deterioration of relations between the West and Russia,” which summed up all the cases. A study first published in 2018.
The breakdown is said to have occurred when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 after Ukraine’s Euromidan revolution. These pro-European demonstrations overthrew pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Dr. Casey’s study with Lugan Way, a professor at the University of Toronto, shows that Russia is now interfering in many Western elections, while only in the former countries of the Soviet Socialist Union. Republics (USSR) before 2015. They surveyed the event from 1991 to 2018.
President Putin’s intervention is manifested in different ways, but above all aims to promote dissenting voices in target countries with similar goals to those of the Russians.
“These parties [politiques] They want to leave NATO or weaken it, reduce their relations with the United States, oppose the EU or want to leave it altogether, ”Dr. Casey explained in an interview.
However, researchers believe that the results of these efforts are mixed and that it is sometimes difficult to prove (See examples below)
And in Canada
Even though Canada is not on the list of Logan Way and Adam Casey is no exception. Ahmed al-Ravi, another Simon Fraser University researcher, points out that Russians and Iranians sought to influence the 2015 federal election.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. There are still some reports of attempts by Russian trolls and robots to sow discord on social networks during this period.
Strategies used by the Russians
- Misinformation campaigns on social networks to polarize the population
- Organization of demonstrations against refugees
- Distribution of fake emails and documents on WikiLeaks
- Cyber attacks on voter registration systems
- Phishing campaign targeting political parties
- Funding of far-right political parties
- Election count hacking
Although the federal government believes cyberbullying is minimal in the election that Justin won
Trudeau, a researcher who researched 12 million tweets and found that Russian trolls support Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and Iranian trolls support Liberals.
However, it was impossible to quantify the results, but their intentions were to sow discord in Canadian society.
In the Brexit referendum, the major British political parties were in favor of keeping the United Kingdom in the EU, and against all odds the smaller pro-Lew organizations won their race.
They were backed by a huge false propaganda on social media by Russian bots and trolls and the RT and Sputnik channels.
A Russian bank lent millions of euros to the Marine Le Pen National Front in 2014 (now the National Rally). Liaison between FN and Russian government officials dates back to 2011.
During the 2017 presidential election, Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party was hacked and WikiLeaks published emails. Russian trolls and bots have launched a massive false campaign online, prompting Facebook to intervene by deleting fake accounts.
Le Pen lost the second round of the presidential election, but never received so much support.
The 2016 presidential election “marks the most successful move by the Russians,” say researchers.
Russian trolls and bots have reached out to at least 126 million people on Facebook to further polarize American society, seeking to divide the vote between progressives and Democrats, who have sought to reduce African Americans from voting, and have hacked Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails. And attacked local election systems.
The constitutional referendum led to the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The Eurozeptic right and far right parties to the proposed reform were already popular, such as Movimento 5 Stelle and Lega Nord. They maintain ties with Russia, including Movimento 5 Stelle, who met with pro-Putin United Russia party officials. For its part, Lega Nord has received funding from Russia.
Misinformation campaigns have also been launched by the Russians.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The far-right Eurosceptic Party AfD entered the German parliament, weakening the coalition led by Angela Merkel. In addition to launching a false information campaign on social networks, the Russians have been accused of cyber-attacks by Germany and spying on the Internet. A German parliamentarian even called the AfD an “extension of Putin’s arm in the German parliament.”
Russian spies, along with other conspirators, have been convicted of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic on election day to bring a pro-Russian, anti-NATO leader to power. Western spies informed Montenegrin police and rescued Dukanovic.
The Russians have launched a series of cyber-attacks against Ukraine, including altering the total vote count, attacking the servers of the Ukrainian Electoral Commission and falsely declaring the victory of the far-right candidate.
Sources: Lucan Way & Adam Casey, Russian Foreign Election Interventions from 1991, 2018, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo. Logan Way & Adam Casey, Russian Electoral Interventions, 1991-2018 Codebook, University of Toronto. Al-Ravi, a. How did the misinformation of Russian and Iranian trolls about Canadian issues differ and coincide ?, The Digital War.