Ex-Putin adviser: Putin ‘believed’ he elected Trump

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A former top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Putin takes credit for President Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. 

In an interview on PBS’s “Frontline,” former Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky said he wasn’t sure how much influence Putin had over the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but said he thinks Putin believes he helped elect Trump. 
“It’s really difficult to understand what was the level of Putin’s involvement or blessing in that,” Pavlovsky said of election meddling. “After November, after Trump was elected, the situation changed. Now Putin understands, or he believed at least, that he was strong. I don’t know who believed in America that Putin elected Trump, but Putin believed that. Putin believed that, and that has become a political factor.”
Pavlovsky said that while Putin thought Clinton would win the election, he aimed at bolstering her opponents regardless of the outcome, for his own political gain.  {mosads}
“He [Putin] most probably thought that Clinton would be the winning candidate, and he tried to build his propaganda accordingly. Why not help her adversaries? They will be helpful, most probably, if he gives them a helping hand,” Pavlovsky told PBS.

Pavlovsky emphasized that he can’t be sure of Putin’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 election, but added that Putin “for sure he has allowed something to be done,” pointing to Russia’s extensive propaganda effort in the United States. 

Serving in the Kremlin from 1996 to 2011, Pavlovsky advised former Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Dmitry Medvedev. He has also witnessed Putin’s rise to power, and helped develop media tactics during Putin’s first campaign in 2000. Many Russian political observers credit Pavlovsky with creating the Kremlin’s information machine. 

The well-known Russian political strategist and former Soviet dissident was dismissed from his post, however, after supporting Medvedev in the 2012 election, which Putin won.

The interview with Pavlovsky was conducted in July, but aired on PBS this week as part of its Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 series, “The Putin Files.”

His interview comes as special counsel Robert Mueller and multiple congressional committees investigate whether Trump’s campaign staff colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. 

U.S. intelligence agencies made known shortly after the 2016 election that Russian-linked groups had attempted to sway election results through disinformation campaigns on social media as well as hacking the Democratic National Committee. 

Facebook revealed this month that Russian actors potentially linked to the Kremlin spent $100,000 on political advertisements on the site during last year’s presidential campaign. The social media company has handed over information about the ads to Congress and to Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Tags Donald Trump Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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