DISINFO: Russia has enough proof about US interference in the parliamentary elections
Russian authorities have enough proof that US high tech companies have been interfering in State Duma elections.
This case is part of a developing disinformation narrative promoted by pro-Kremlin media outlets in response to the 2021 Russian legislative (Duma) elections which took place on 17th-19th September 2021.
No evidence is provided to support the claims. In the lead up to the elections, Russian authorities have been trying to restrict the so-called smart voting, an electoral method initiated by poisoned and jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to which opposition-leaning Russian voters could support local candidates. The method was initiated due to the disintegrated nature of the Russian opposition.
On 5 September, a Russian court in Moscow ordered US tech giant Google to stop displaying the term smart voting in its search results, widely seen as an attempt to reduce chances of the opposition as the Duma elections approached. The same demand was put on Apple for their app store. Both Google and Apple removed the apps / links to the "smart voting" platform.
In contrast to the claim put forward by pro-Kremlin media outlets, the United States, as a government of a foreign country, has not intervened in the Russian political process in the way described above. The US-based search engine Google is a privately owned company, operating its business completely independent from the US government.
Navalny and his opposition movement are a frequent target of pro-Kremlin media. Explore cases of disinformation related to the jailed opposition leader here.
The Russian elections are not considered free and honest. A lot of opposition candidates have been barred from participating. The European Union expressed its concern about the situation in Russia ahead of the elections.
There are also legitimate concerns about their freedom. For example, for the first time since 1993 the OSCE will not send election observers to Russia, as the Russian authorities had put last-minute limits on the number of observers so low that it would not allow the OSCE to work in an effective and thorough manner (down from OSCE-planned 500 to Russia-allowed 60).
See here the EU declaration following the Duma elections.
Read more disinformation narratives alleging that the West is interfering in Russian elections.