No evidence has ever been found which could demonstrate any Russian involvement or attempted involvement in foreign elections, not in the US, not in France, not in Brexit, not anywhere. Russia has likewise repeated constantly that they have no desire to do such things. But do you wish that you had?
Russia is a country which knows full well the dangers of Salafist terrorism. Throughout the 1990s, western powers funded Salafist insurgents and terrorists in and around the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan. Russia fought and won this war through a combination of tough military action, real policing and an information war that targeted criminal elements but never confused the religion of Islam with the international forces of Salafist violence.
The modern realities of Chechnya and Dagestan are now that of two largely peaceful places where moderate Islam is allowed to flourish and where loyalty to the Russian government exists in tandem with local traditions.
In Syria, Russia is a member of the anti-terrorist coalition led by the secular Syrian government whose soldiers among other things, protect Christians and Muslims alike from jihadists. Russia is not interested in dictating Syria’s internal politics though if it wanted to it could. Russia is simply in Syria to help fight terrorism and when Russian troops leave Syria, they intend to leave a Syria in peace.
By contrast, American and Britain who illegally invaded Iraq which was a secular and strong bulwark against al-Qaeda style Salafism, left the once wealthy country in pieces. It became the breeding ground for ISIS and ISIS still rules a considerable amount of Iraqi territory.
Imagine if a western politician came about and said,
“The time has come to reverse our path on the road to ruin. The time has come to realise that Russia and Iran are two powers who are fighting the terrorism that is an enemy of the entire world. Russia is a moderate conservative Christian nation that harbours no ill will towards the west. Iran is an Islamic Republic which fights along side secular Syria against a common enemy. We can fight along side them too without worrying about Iran becoming a secular European style state, nor countries in Europe becoming a Shi’a theocratic republic.
Throughout human history, alliances have been made for reasons of both fraternal relations as well as necessary common goals. Now is the time to put aside the mistakes of the past, the avarice born of fear and the distrust based on untruths. It is time to unite as a common enemy, under a single God and a single will to protect human life from the forces of savagery”.
One doesn’t need to imagine all that much. With the exception of Iran, Donald Trump said similar things and was immediately excoriated as a Russian puppet. If such a leader who could fully implement the ideas stated in the aforementioned hypothetical statement, could only come to power through Russian ‘hacking’ would you support it?
This is of course merely an intellectual exercise. Like the Russian government itself, I do not support nor encourage the perversion of any sovereign legal process. But wouldn’t it be nice if through intellectual exploration, one could reach the conclusion whereby people could vote for such a leader without the notion that ordinary people need to rely on external powers to make the decision on their behalf?
Trump did after all win a fair election on some of these policies. If only he had a free hand in attempting to make them happen.