WASHINGTON — Russia’s government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U.S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party didn’t hold back.
“It turns out that United Russia won the elections in America,” Viktor Nazarov, the governor of Omsk, Russia, declared in a radio interview.
Long before Donald Trump was on the radar of American voters, Russia had seen opportunity in elections around the world. But 2016 presented a unique window.
Motivated by years of crippling economic sanctions and decades of post-Soviet setbacks, the Russians were keener than ever to pounce; the race for the White House, plagued by party infighting, scandal and controversy, was easy bait.