Home / Be The Change / Media Ignores US Rigging of Russia’s Elections As CIA Struggles to Prove Russian Hacking

Media Ignores US Rigging of Russia’s Elections As CIA Struggles to Prove Russian Hacking

Mainstream, corporate media and the U.S. political establishment has once again proved the depth of their hypocrisy in thus far unsubstantiated claims Russia directly interfered with the presidential election — because the United States has done so, itself, with multiple countries.

Including Russia.

Twenty years ago, TIME Magazine exclusively reported on the feats of American political consultants who’d managed — much to the joy of the United States government — to ensure Boris Yeltsin won re-election to the Russian presidency.

20 years ago, TIME praised America’s propaganda campaign to elect Yeltsin. Today, they have appeared to change their tone.



Titled Rescuing Boris, TIME’s article bore a subtitle eerily similar to accusations flooding headlines two decades later — for altogether different but parallel reasons — “THE SECRET STORY OF HOW FOUR U.S. ADVISERS USED POLLS, FOCUS GROUPS, NEGATIVE ADS AND ALL THE OTHER TECHNIQUES OF AMERICAN CAMPAIGNING TO HELP BORIS YELTSIN WIN.”

While the U.S. decries “fake news” and dismisses the successes of alternative media’s reporting on corruption in the Democrat Party by collectively deeming it “Russian propaganda,” it would seem the entire country has forgotten American exploits in Russia in 1996.

In fact, these American advisors literally meddled in the Russian election that year — and as TIME, itself, points out, changed the course of the country’s politics forever.

“The outcome was by no means inevitable,” TIME’s Michael Kramer penned on July 15, 1996. “Last winter Yeltsin’s approval ratings were in the single digits. There are many reasons for his change in fortune, but a crucial one has remained a secret. For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin’s campaign. Here is the inside story of how these advisers helped Yeltsin achieve the victory that will keep reform in Russia alive.”

Because of increasing authoritarianism and corrupt economic policies, the Russian populace had grown weary of Yeltsin and looked to vote in a more traditional communist leader. But the U.S. sought to maintain the course of reform in Russia, because, as Kramer noted in TIME, Yeltsin “is arguably the best hope Russia has for moving toward pluralism and an open economy.”

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Thus, Felix Braynin, a close friend to one of Yeltsin’s aides, helped hatch a plan to sway the election in the president’s favor — one that involved specialized polling, negative ad campaigns, propaganda, and other tools typical of an American election.

But the plan had to remain covert — for obvious reasons.

“Secrecy was paramount,” Braynin told TIME, saying he had been told to “find some Americans” to put the plan into action. “Everyone realized that if the Communists knew about this before the election, they would attack Yeltsin as an American tool. We badly needed the team, but having them was a big risk.”

The TIME article continues:

“To ‘find some Americans,’ Braynin worked through Fred Lowell, a San Francisco lawyer with close ties to California’s Republican Party. On Feb. 14, Lowell called Joe Shumate, a G.O.P. expert in political data analysis who had served as deputy chief of staff to California Governor Pete Wilson. Since Wilson’s drive for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination had ended almost before it began, Lowell thought Shumate and George Gorton, Wilson’s longtime top strategist, might be available to help Yeltsin. They were — and they immediately enlisted Richard Dresner, a New York-based consultant who had worked with them on many of Wilson’s campaigns.”

Dresner, it’s imperative and timely to note, had strong ties to the Clintons — a detail of critical import given the Democrats current hysteria over alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election. TIME reported:

“Dresner had another connection that would prove useful later on. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, he had joined with Dick Morris to help Bill Clinton get elected Governor of Arkansas. As Clinton’s current political guru, Morris became the middleman on those few occasions when the Americans sought the Administration’s help in Yeltsin’s re-election drive. So while Clinton was uninvolved with Yeltsin’s recruitment of the American advisers, the Administration knew of their existence — and although Dresner denies dealing with Morris, three other sources have told Time that on at least two occasions the team’s contacts with Morris were ‘helpful.’”

It would be difficult to find a more appalling example of ‘it’s only wrong when it doesn’t benefit us’ hypocrisy.

In fact, these American advisors — although watched closely by the Russian intelligence community — carried out their clandestine mission to ensure Yeltsin’s re-election without much discretion.

“The Americans carried multiple-entry visas identifying them as working for the ‘Administration of the President of the Russian Federation,’ a bit of obviousness that constantly threatened to undermine all the supposed secrecy surrounding their real work,” Kramer wrote.

Shumate, Braynin, Dresner, and the others understood the breadth of manipulation necessary to sway Russian voters who were dead set against another term under Yeltsin — just before the team got to work, just 6 percent of Russians saw the president in a favorable light, and even fewer trusted his competency as a leader.

“Stalin had higher positives and lower negatives than Yeltsin,” Dresner told TIME. “We actually tested the two in polls and focus groups. More than 60% of the electorate believed Yeltsin was corrupt; more than 65% believed he had wrecked the economy. We were in a deep, deep hole.”

Ultimately, the team of secretive American political insiders waged a successful information and propaganda war on the otherwise oblivious Russian population, whom they convinced Yeltsin wasn’t so bad, after all.

“We were brought in to help win,” Gorton told TIME, “and that’s what we did. The Russians are prideful and say that people like us won’t be necessary in the future because they’ve learned what to do. You hear that everywhere after the hired guns have done their work — and it may be true. All I know is that for every guy who thinks he can go it alone, there will always be another guy who knows he can’t.”

Make no mistake about it — without U.S. interference and meddling, Yeltsin would not have been victorious in Russia’s 1996 election.

Whether or not Russia interfered in the U.S. election twenty years later — about which no unassailable evidence has yet been presented — shouldn’t really be a matter of consternation for the same political establishment so unconcerned with election ‘rigging’ when the manipulation works in its favor.

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  • Normajean

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave…when first we practise to DECEIVE” is so appropriate! The incompetent candidate, the wrecked economy, the involvement of the Clintons, and the supercilious, mocking, self-righteous attitude of “power brokers” who piss into the wind and are surprised to be caught up in the foul breeze that follows!

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  • Real Truth stings

    are you seriously running interference for trump and his russian allies here on freethought? are you kidding me? you are toast. I used to think I could trust this site to tell me what was going with the police when the MSM wouldn’t. Now I know that you are just fake news like most everything else. put America first.

    • Netizen_James

      Don’t put ‘America first’. Put the TRUTH first. Even if that Truth paints America in an unfavorable light. Hiding corruption just allows it to fester. We need to EXPOSE Trump’s perfidy, along with any and every other corrupt government official from Pence’s anti-human-rights agenda to DeVos’ desire to eliminate public education and make literacy an exclusive opportunity for the ‘nobility’ again, to the cleansing light of public scrutiny. And yes, TFTP has really lost its focus. It was formerly a reliable source of reports regarding police malfeasance. And as far as that goes, it still is. But the apparent penchant of opposition to ALL authority, in ALL cases, and in ALL circumstances is a bit much. This ‘Anarcho/Libertarian’ trend on TFTP’s part is disturbing to me, because there are ZERO examples, in any place, at any time, of a healthy and prosperous society organized on libertarian grounds. ZERO. They decry ‘collectivism’ as the worst possible evil – yet collectivism is just another word for CIVILIZATION. If our primitive ancestors hadn’t figure out that their very survival depends on cohesive tribal cooperation, we wouldn’t be here. Yes, there are always issues, in any community, between the good of the community and the rights of the individual. This is what ‘politics’ is for. But not to abandon and decry the very CONCEPT of ‘community’ by pretending that civilization is necessarily tyrannical.

    • Andrew D. M. Parke

      Hypocrisy is hypocrisy and must always be called out and shamed.

    • foxyknoxythewhore

      American officials Nuland & Pyatt were recorded discussing how they would “midwife” the Ukraine government transition in 2014.

      They identified their choice of PM and he indeed became PM as events transpired. They used the phrase “we are in play” showing that it wasn’t just a chat over what they think might happen, they were discussing their plan of what would happen.

      They funded the main two TV stations providing Maidan coverage, trained a load of journalists and social media activists, and in the later presidential election provided monitors, vote counting support, and ecit polling support.

      Now imagine Putin had done all of this in the US. There would be far more outrage than what we see now. But try suggesting they meddled in Ukraine and you are labelled a “putinbot”.

  • Yes, Russia got their man and yes, they used the tools at their disposal (propaganda, hacking, slandering of opponents) just as we did in the Russian election 20 years ago.

    I guess what goes around truly does come around.


  • George Reichel

    A foreign government does exert inappropriate influence over our policies and elections.That government is not Russia.

    • Andrew D. M. Parke

      I understand you. I agree.

  • Netizen_James

    If you wanted to talk about underhanded US intervention in ‘regime change’ in other countries, why didn’t you talk about the efforts of the lying Dulles brothers with respect to the coups they engineered in Iran and Guatemala in the 50s? The Dulles brothers lied and claimed that Mossadegh and Arbenz were commies, so that the notoriously paranoid Eisenhower would approve these crazy schemes. Or is that too ‘politically incorrect’? Is someone afraid of offending the BP, or Chiquita, the corporate beneficiaries of these illegal actions known by the CIA as PBSUCCESS and PBFORTUNE respectively?

  • Eric Bolt

    Trust Mr. Clapper, he will be proven correct, he is not playing you Joe Citizen as others are that relate to this topic of Selection vs. Election – ! If he say’s they did not then this correct-! but who if not the Ruskies who is-? This is very important to know & understand -!

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    • foxyknoxythewhore

      The fact that the group of people producing our information is referred to as “the Intelligence Community” means it is intelligent and communal, while the fact that people within that community refused to go along with its claims or allow them to become a so-called national intelligence estimate means that there are traitors right in the heart of our holy warriors’ sanctuary.

      If you doubt that the CIA is always, always right you need only focus your attention on the fact that there are Republicans questioning these claims, including Republicans who are terrible people, on top of which Donald Trump is a racist, sexist pig.

      Good people are loyal Democrats, and when the Democrats did the thing that we now know was revealed by Putin in order to make Trump president (namely cheating its politically and morally superior candidate out of its nomination) that was done as a generous sacrifice for us and our children.

      Claims made without public evidence have never turned out to be false or exaggerated in the slightest in the past, certainly not in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, Nicaragua, or any other part of the earth.

  • Widg3ts

    What a joke. Polling, focus groups, and advice can help you win an election–but they are not interfering.

    This is by far the most hypocritical article i’ve ever seen. And all this talk about “unsubstantiated claims” is a joke.

    For years Russia has whined and whined out “interfering in the affairs of others”, about “sovereignty”, and about “international agreements and law”–are ou serious? You have the rve to spout this garbage while Russia just changed borders by force for the first time since hitler and stalin, while Russia just tossed way a nuclear agreement with the US and an agreement that Russia would guarantee the sovereignty of Ukraine in exchange for giving up it’s nuclear weapons (which enabled the invasion of ukraine in the first place), and while russia assists Assad in bombing it’s own people?

    You guys constantly go on about NATO but here’s the truth: we don’t engineer coups or anything of that sort in europe because we don’t need to. We don’t need to seek NATO enlargement either. Because if you wan’t to be a country like russia–a kin to a afghanistan with missiles, and isolate yourself while ensuring you have 0 friends, just behave the way Russia does. Invade and interfere with your neighbors, coerce them at every point, and stick your finger in the eyes of everyone who can potentialpy help you…then watch everyone run away from you.

    The idiocy of Russia’s current policy is explicit. An entire generation of Ukrainians, Europeans, and Americans and Syrians have just been educated that not only is russia not trustworthy, but it is extreme, cowardly, ruthless, without principle, and hypocritical. Russia spent years saying one thing and doing the exact opposite, and is repeating Stalin and Hitler’s history.

    And the lowest point? Russia used to talk about the “tragic great patriotic war”– and then it turns round and does the same thing hitler did to the USSR (signing an agreement to cooperate with it and then invading it) while doing the ame thing stalin did to the baltics simultaneously (invad8ng to protect ethnic and russian speaking people).

    • chris

      gee, you just described the u.s. to a T . lol

    • Andrew D. M. Parke

      A foreign country helping is a foreign country interfering. There is no meaningful distinction.

    • foxyknoxythewhore

      Typical buthurt lying yanky cnt, cant accept the crimes of your country ever, just bitch about others

      one cannot understand US-Russian relations today without acknowledging America’s role in the internal affairs of its defeated cold war foe. As Stephen Cohen puts it, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the approach of US advisers “was nothing less than missionary – a virtual crusade to transform post-communist Russia into some facsimile of the American democratic and capitalist system”.

      As soon as Bill Clinton assumed the White House in 1993, his experts discussed “formulating a policy of American tutelage”, including unabashed partisan support for President Boris Yeltsin. “Political missionaries and evangelists, usually called ‘advisers’, spread across Russia in the early and mid-1990s,” notes Cohen: many were funded by the US government. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, talked of Russia “increasingly passing into de facto western receivership”.

      The results were, to put it mildly, disastrous. Between 1990 and 1994, life expectancy for Russian men and women fell from 64 and 74 years respectively to 58 and 71 years. The surge in mortality was “beyond the peacetime experience of industrialised countries”. While it was boom time for the new oligarchs, poverty and unemployment surged; prices were hiked dramatically; communities were devastated by deindustrialisation; and social protections were stripped away

      To the horror of the west, Yeltsin’s popularity nosedived to the point where a communist triumph in the 1996 presidential elections could not be ruled out. Yeltsin turned to the oligarchs, using their vast resources to run an unscrupulous campaign. As Leonid Bershidsky puts it, it was “a momentous event that undermined a fragile democracy and led to the emergence of Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime”. It is even alleged that, in 2011, Putin’s key ally – then-president Dmitry Medvedev – privately suggested the election was rigged. In the run-up to the election, Russia was granted a huge US-backed IMF loan that – as the New York Times noted at the time – was “expected to be helpful to President Boris N Yeltsin in the presidential election”.

      Yeltsin relied on US political strategists – including a former aide to Bill Clinton – who had a direct line back to the White House. When Yeltsin eventually won, the cover of Time magazine was “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.

      Without the chaos and deprivations of the US-backed Yeltsin era, Putinism would surely not have established itself. But it’s not just Russia by any means, for the record of US intervention in the internal affairs of foreign democracies is extensive.

      You have only yourselves to blame, it was more than a focus group so go read a history book before you spout horsesht – you have fked with a lot of countries and as the usa is flushed down the u bend of history, there will be many there to take a sht on you as you vanish, prk

      Now enjoy your new president…. PUTIN!

  • chris

    how long are they going to push their fake claims, especially with no one believing it?

  • foxyknoxythewhore

    Take the CIA’s self-professed involvement in the military coup that overthrew democratically elected secular Iranian president Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953: it was “carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government”, as the agency later confessed. The nature of the 1979 Iranian revolution cannot be understood without it. Or what of CIA backing for Augusto Pinochet’s murderous overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973?

    There are more recent examples too. Take the military overthrow of Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya in 2009. The then secretary of state – a certain Hillary Clinton – refused to describe the toppling of Zelaya as a “military coup”, which would have required the suspension of US aid, including to the armed forces. Rather than call for Zelaya’s reinstatement, Clinton called for new elections. US assistance – including military aid – continued as dissidents were treated brutally; as death squads re-emerged; as violence against LGBT people surged; and as widely boycotted unfair elections took place.

    Allegations of Russian interference in the US elections are undoubtedly alarming, but there’s a double standard at play. Meddling in foreign democracies only becomes a problem when the US is on the receiving end. The US has interfered with impunity in the internal affairs of so many other countries. The day that all such interference is seen for what it is – a democratic outrage, unworthy of any great nation – will be a great day indeed.

  • imbroglio

    Government’s Own Data Shows US Interfered In 81 Foreign Elections —- http://www.mintpressnews.com/governments-own-data-shows-us-interfered-in-81-foreign-elections/226143/

  • imbroglio

    TREY GOWDY SLAMS JAMES COMEY |HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE HEARING — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8l4RKixhrE