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17 Dec, 2020 12:45

Putin says Kremlin knows foreign countries will interfere in Russia’s 2021 election, insists Moscow will be ready to resist

Putin says Kremlin knows foreign countries will interfere in Russia’s 2021 election, insists Moscow will be ready to resist

Moscow stands ready to thwart what President Vladimir Putin sees as an inevitable attempt by foreign nations, presumably Western, to interfere in Russia’s vital parliamentary election, scheduled to be held in the autumn of 2021.

“Of course, they will try to interfere, they do this all the time, and not only in our elections – practically all over the world,” Putin said, almost certainly referring to the US and its allies. “We know this and are preparing for it.”

According to the president, who was speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference, foreign attempts to meddle in Russian elections will only matter if “the overwhelming majority of our citizens” fail to understand that they are obliged to resist the interference.

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“We must determine our own fate. This is extremely important for the internal state of our society,” he said.

Putin also said Russia has unprecedented openness when it comes to election observers, and he encouraged further transparency to maintain the public's trust in the election process.

“We are, of course, open to cooperation with our partners, open to international observers. It is probable that nowhere in the world is as open as we are,” he said, noting that many states in the US ban foreign observers from monitoring their elections.

Russia's parliamentary vote-casting is due to take place in September next year, with all 450 MPs up for re-election. At least 16 parties are expected to participate. Polls show that the ruling United Russia is poised to win a majority once again.

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