Time cover Yeltsin
© Time Magazine
US enabled Yeltsin's reelection.
Early 1996 Boris Yeltsin's approval rate was in the single digits. He had carried out a presidential putsch, started a shambolic war in Chechnya and had helped oligarchs pillage the nation and brought the economy to its knees. July 1996 he was elected president for the second time. How did this happen?

Oh well, it just took one of the most unfair, costliest and most fraudulent election battles in the history of democracy. -- All with the complicity of the United States which backed the Russian alcoholic in chief every step of the way (as it had during the '93 coup).

First Yeltsin completely monopolized the state and oligarch-run media which ran scare stories on his opponent Communist Zyuganov day and night. Next as Zyuganov spent some three million on the campaign, as was the lawful limit, Yeltsin poured hundreds of millions of from the oligarchs' coffers.

Perhaps most importantly on the eve of the election Yeltsin got a massive $10 billion cash injection from the IMF courtesy of American influence. Suddenly Yeltsin was paying out wages and pensions the government had in some cases owed for years. Leaving nothing to chance come election day Yeltsin still stuffed the ballot boxes stealing millions of votes.

Needless to say the US did not protest that Yeltsin was breaking the campaign funding law and had not given equal time to Zyuganov in the state media. The US (along with EU and OSCE) did however pressure international monitors to keep quiet about the obvious election fraud,

Russian democracy was definitely "hijacked" in 1996 and pro-western oligarchs and the US itself were definitely complicit.

Did Russia hijack American democracy in 2016 as establishment papers are shrieking? I think the accusation is laughable, but if it did, it would only be payback for 1996.

PS.: Americans didn't even hide the fact they had won Yeltsin a second term. But in their telling of the story it was not the billions of dollars they had sent which secured Yeltsin's win but instead three American consultants which taught the Russians how to run a campaign American-style. They even made a Jeff Goldblum movie about it:

spinning boris