Throughout most of the Trump Administration, there has been controversy over whether Russian interference in the presidential election gave our current president his victory over Hillary Clinton. Did the Russian government attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election? Almost certainly, given the evidence. Did this attempt at influencing the election have a significant impact? That’s more debatable.
I would argue that Clinton’s loss had less to do with astroturfed Twitter-bots posting pictures of cartoon frogs and more to do with the fact that she refused to routinely campaign in the Midwest.
There is an interesting parallel to be drawn here, however, with past events. In 1996, the U.S. actively interfered in the Russian presidential election, working in conjunction with Russian oligarchs, to keep the extremely unpopular incumbent President Boris Yeltsin in power and prevent the election of Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
The end of the Soviet socialism in Russia brought about an incredibly sharp drop in the standard of living, which resulted in a strong push to restore the economic stability and equality of the Soviet Union.
The U.S. never even tried to hide its involvement; after the election, Time magazine proudly proclaimed on its cover that the U.S. government had actively worked to get Yeltsin reelected.