In the aftermath of Trump’s shocking victory, Russian diplomats are finally admitting the role they played in his campaign. While both Trump and Putin are still officially denying the contacts between them, several Moscow diplomats, apparently eager to claim credit for their successful interference in the American election, have broken their silence. Yesterday a Russian politico confessed that his government was behind the WikiLeaks hacks targeting Clinton and the DNC and today Russia’s deputy foreign minister confirmed extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and the ruling clique in Moscow.
In an interview with the state-run Interfax news agency, Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov said that “there were contacts” with the Trump campaign. “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Rybakov said. “Those people have always been in the limelight in the United States and have occupied high-ranking positions. I cannot say that all of them but quite a few have been staying in touch with Russian representatives.”
Ryabkov’s statements confirm straight from the horse’s mouth that Trump’s campaign has been working in league with a hostile foreign government. As his statement suggests, Trump’s “entourage” has been filled with men with close ties to Russia, from Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager who served the brutal pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev, to Carter Page, the foreign policy advisor and major Gazprom investor who negotiated with the Kremlin a plan to end American sanctions. And Trump himself, who has absolutely gushed praise for the repressive Russian dictatorship and who has tight financial ties to the Russian oligarchs, is no less implicated in this unprecedented foreign interference in an American election.
Given the blind chauvinism of the Trump campaign and his supposed love of ‘freedom,’ it is a tremendous irony that he has so thoroughly kowtowed to a ruthless dictator and a prime geopolitical enemy. This treachery would seem to be disqualifying to Trump’s highly nationalistic fan base, but, alas, we are living in a post-truth era in which his supporters can conjure up an imagined anti-Russia war started by Hillary Clinton to justify Trump’s subservience to a dictator.
It is now glaringly apparent to all those willing to look that not only did Russia substantially undermine our democracy by meddling in our election but that our president-elect is, in the words of former CIA chief Michael V. Hayden, “Russia’s useful fool.” And as our government embraces Putin, we abandon the the Syrian rebels suffering under near-genocidal Russian and Assadi bombardment, the democratic Ukrainian government fighting off a Russian invasion that Trump denies even exists, and the thousands of political dissidents languishing in Russia’s prisons. It is strange that the neo-fascists who most ardently believe America to be a beacon of freedom are the quickest to abandon our commitment to liberty to appease a despot.
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James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.