Russia is preparing for legislative elections for its State Duma that will be held this September, and Moscow is warning against foreign interference. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday said the West would “regret” any attempts to meddle in the upcoming election.
Lavrov said it is possible that Russia “will see new attempts to shake, destabilize the situation, to provoke protests, preferably violent protests, as the West is in the habit of doing.”
“A campaign for the non-recognition of our elections will probably follow,” he said. “Such plans do exist and we know about them.”
It’s not clear if there are real Western plans to interfere in the State Duma elections, but Lavrov’s fears are not unfounded. For all the accusations against Russia for interfering in US elections, the US is the biggest election meddler of them all.
In recent years, the US has rallied its allies to reject election results and put support behind opposition figures in countries that are typically allies of Russia. In Belarus, for example, the US and the EU have imposed sanctions over the August 2020 presidential elections, encouraged the main opposition leader, and voiced support for demonstrators who marched against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
After Russia’s State Duma election in 2011, US officials questioned the legitimacy of the results. Then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the election was neither “neither free nor fair.” Clinton based her claims on a report from an election monitor, known as Golos, that received funding at the time from the US government through US Agency for International Development.
Lavrov also blasted Western countries for recent sanctions and the presence of NATO warships in the Black Sea. The US is currently leading massive 32-nation naval exercises in the Black Sea despite heightened tensions in the region since a British warship sailed 12 miles off the coast of Crimea.