Just days after the first round of French Presidential election, the leading mainstream media in the U.S and the U.K published stories concerning the alleged Russian interference in the election.
Washington Post published an article citing a report from a security group that cyberattacks “on the campaign offices of the front-runner in France’s presidential race carried digital “fingerprints” similar to the suspected Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and others in the 2016 U.S. election.”
The article builds on the already long list of (still unconfirmed) allegations that Russia is trying to influence Western elections “in favor of candidates with policies potentially more friendly to the Kremlin”.
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, two candidates who qualified for the second round of the French Presidential election due to be held on May 7, are in many ways, a perfect example of the conflicting ideas regarding immigration, European Union, national sovereignty, foreign policy, currency, as well as security and law enforcement.
Macron and Le Pen have radically different approaches on the key issues of French and European politics. Le Pen, who positioned herself as an anti-establishment, sovereignist, anti-globalist in favor of leaving the Eurozone, has publicly stated her support for Russia, while she also denounced French foreign policy in the Middle East.
Her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, advocates diametrically opposite views. He’s repeatedly supported the European Union and France’s commitment to NATO.
The accusations that Russia seeks to influence elections across Europe, are anything but new. Le Pen was previously put under scrutiny after she received a loan from a Kremlin-linked bank. Naturally, it was enough for the media and the political establishment to accuse Russia of trying to influence European politics by providing support for anti-EU and Euro-skeptic parties.
Less than two weeks before the run-off between Macron and Le Pen, the mainstream media are once again, working hard to link Russia with the alleged cyberattacks on one of the candidates.
The Politico, article, for example, builds upon the unverified and problematic U.S. intelligence reports regarding the Russian interference in U.S. election, representing them as facts.
Since the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Moscow waged an influence campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. elections, experts have asked: Will it do the same in the French and German elections? Both votes will have an enormous impact on the future of Europe and the liberal order, and much is weighing on whether these democracies are adequately shielded from outside manipulation.
From there, the article goes on to explain how Russia hacked the French election, without any genuine effort to provide concrete proof for the allegations, or even an attempt to present the issue in an objective manner.
Today, Moscow is dusting off the KGB’s favored subversive toolbox — dubbed “active measures” — but with a technological upgrade for the internet era. The U.S. election showed cyberattacks have become the new weapon of choice in political influencing.
Less than two weeks before the deciding vote in France, it appears that Russian hacking will once again play an important role in the outcome of the election.