Never was there an issue so hollow, so tedious, and at the same time so sinister as the fraudulent claims of Russian interference in US (and other) election – the US administration appears to have a strategy of boring the American public into agreeing to war on Russia if only put an end to Russiagate.
However, if the Yessers had been successful in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, Russiagate might have got into full swing then. As it is there have been claims from both sides of Kremlin involvement in the Scottish independence referendum.
Cameron appeals to Putin for help in stopping Scottish independence
The referendum was held in September 2014. On 12 January of that year, Scotland’s Herald reported a plea from Cameron to Putin – “please help me stop Salmond”.
“Itar-Tass, citing a source in the Conservative Prime Minister’s office, said Britain was “extremely interested” in referendum support from Russia, which this year holds the presidency of the influential G8 group of rich industrial nations.”
Whether or not there was any truth in the claim of a direct plea to Moscow, other world leaders certainly had no problem with sticking their oar in, notably Obama.
Indy supporters, however, seem to have rather fancied the idea of Putin campaigning in their streets:
Putin intervenes in Scottish referendum on behalf of the union
Putin responded a week later by declaring that the Scottish independence debate was a domestic matter for the United Kingdom and not one for his country.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Vladimir Putin’s position was:
‘It is not a matter for Russia, it is a domestic issue for the UK. Any people have a right to self-determination and now in Europe, the process of denuding national sovereignty in the framework of a united Europe is more accepted.’
But then he added:
‘I believe that one should not forget that being part of a single strong state has some advantages and one should not overlook this. But it’s a choice for each and every people according to their own circumstances.’
So Putin firmly on the fence, you would say. The Spectator, however, in Putin’s strange intervention over Scottish independence, despite indicating that Putin was merely answering questions put to him by Marr, claims that Putin is actively intervening for the union:
‘It is clear that Putin was trying to do two things: he was attempting to stick by accepted practice and not getting involved in the internal disputes of other countries. But, at the same time, he made it clear with his ‘single strong state’ remarks that he favoured the unionist side.’
Putin interferes in the Scottish referendum on behalf of the SNP and independence
Roll on to 2017, and in January, and the Daily Express reveals that Vladimir Putin’s spies worked in the shadows to aid the SNP’s campaign to break up the UK.
According to “security expert” Mark Galeotti, Moscow works through organisations which include anti-fracking environmental movements, nationalist and anti-federal political groups, Russian diaspora movements in the Baltics, and separatists from Spain to Scotland.
Damning proof of Moscow’s activity in support of Scottish independence included;
- The Kremlin arranged a surge in Russian naval and air force activity just in order to allow the SNP to present Britain’s military defences as weakened.
- RIA Novosti publishing that political thinker Noam Chomsky supports a Yes vote
- A pro-independence website claimed it had been “hacked” from Russia while police revealed a spike in Russian cybercrime against Scots businesses and public bodies – to what end is not clear. (The pro-independence website was Wings over Scotland, who made it very clear it was joking.)
- Crimea rejoins Russia, and a Russian diplomat declares that Scotland will be next, with Catalonia, Alaska and Venice to follow (according to the Express).
The enemy of your enemy is your friend.
In December 2017, with Russiagate in full swing, Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council suddenly comes up with research that shows that Russian cyber-activists ‘tried to discredit Scottish independence vote‘.
‘The allegations of fraud demonstrably had an impact; pro-Kremlin accounts demonstrably boosted those allegations. The anger and disappointment felt by many yes voters were entirely sincere [and] those sentiments were fanned by pro-Kremlin trolls, in a manner characteristic of Russian influence operations’
In the unlikely event that the recount was driven by Russia (rather than disappointed and suspicious Yes voters), it was working for the Yes campaign. Scotland’s The Herald went to get an opinion from the Scottish National Party, or at least SNP MP Stewart McDonald, who had his priorities worked out. Stewart McDonald is a principled opponent of Russia, in particular its actions to thwart the UK’s war on Syria.
Not even the thought of Russia helping the SNP impresses McDonald:
‘SNP MP Stewart McDonald – a regular critic of Russian propaganda – said: “We know that the government of Russia is engaged in a campaign of undermining confidence in, and the stability of, democratic institutions and instruments around the world”.’
The democratic institutions presumably include Westminster, which, presumably, the SNP are engaged in undermining confidence in, otherwise why independence? But in the face of the ‘Russia threat’, all other considerations pall into insignificance.
It’s hard not to feel relieved that Putin’s nefarious plans for Scotland failed, and we escaped a few years at least of mind-numbing conspiracy theory.
Please note: no correspondence will be entered into on the matter of Putin interfering in either the Scottish referendum or the US elections.