On December 29, the United States retaliated against Russia in response to evidence that allegedly proves Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. The Kremlin has been accused of hacking the election; an accusation it has denied outright. The Obama administration has ordered sanctions such as the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, as well as the shutdown of two Russian intelligence gathering centres. It has also published declassified information regarding “malicious cyber activity” by Russia.
17 US intelligence agencies have confirmed Russia’s involvement. Donald Trump denied these claims, calling them “ridiculous” and asking Americans to get on with their lives.
This evidence has come to light a month before he assumes office. Interestingly, this is also the man who has this to say about computers and security:
“I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it so nobody knows exactly what’s going on…We have speed. We have a lot of other things. But I’m not sure you have the kind of security that you need.”
This is the first time that reports of foreign interference in an American Election have emerged. It is also the first time when a President-elect has publicly denied the findings of more than one intelligence agency.
What Are the Consequences?
News website Independent has called this development the worst fall in US-Russian relations. A Kremlin spokesperson has said that the Russian reaction to this move is likely to cause “significant discomfort’ to the US.
However, political scientists say that the after-effects will not be felt for very long, because Trump will soon be in office. Additionally, the Russian Embassy tweeted this:
President Obama expels 35 🇷🇺 diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl 🇺🇸 people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) December 29, 2016
But Why Is the Kremlin Interested in Trump?
Trump’s businesses outside of Russia have been linked to Russian financiers inside Putin’s circles. For his business ventures, Trump was denied money by banks and it is alleged that he was given money by Russian investors. Trump’s advisors have also been linked to Russian politicians. The President-elect has promised a more positive stance towards Moscow than the Obama administration practised.