World

Russian Official: Kremlin 'Helped A Bit' With WikiLeaks

| by Lauren Briggs

The U.S. government has accused the Russian government numerous times of influencing the 2016 presidential election. Now, a pro-Putin political analyst closely connected to the Russian government said the Kremlin may have "helped a bit" with the WikiLeaks releases of emails from the Democratic Party leadership.

Sergey Markov, a so-called "informal adviser" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, called President-elect Donald Trump's win "a great day for American democracy" but also said the state officially had no involvement in the election's outcome before making one concession, notes the International Business Times.

"Maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks," Markov added of the troves of Democratic officials' emails that the anti-secrecy group released, which U.S. intelligence authorities have said were orchestrated cyberattacks coordinated by Russian officials in an attempt to elect Trump.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed the U.S. government's allegations that he was in contact with Russia to influence the election a blog post on Nov. 8.

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"The Clinton campaign ... pointed to unnamed sources or to speculative and vague statements from the intelligence community to suggest a nefarious allegiance with Russia," Assange wrote. "The campaign was unable to invoke evidence about our publications -- because none exists."

He went on to say that his organization only released information relevant to Clinton, and not to Trump or any other candidates, not "due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election" but because that was the only information he had been receiving.

"The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks -- an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself," he added. "Our organization defends the public's right to be informed."

Meanwhile, Putin, who had been in contact with the teams of both Trump and Clinton leading up to the election, congratulated Trump on his win and expressed interest in improving the relationship between the two countries.

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"And as I have repeatedly said, it's not our fault that Russian-American relations are in such a poor state," Putin said from the Kremlin, according to The Guardian. "But Russia wants and is ready to restore fully fledged relations with the United States."

The Russian leader was one of the first in the world to congratulate Trump on his upcoming presidency.

Sources: International Business Times, The Guardian, WikiLeaks / Photo credit: Maria Joner/Wikimedia Commons

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