If there is a European election, and the anti-establishment parties score a stunning victory (as just happened in Italy, and a few months prior, in Austria), who're you gonna blame? Vladimir Putin (of course)!
That's what Samantha Power, one of the top diplomats in the Obama administration, did when she shared an article by Spain's El Pais newspaper about how Russia predetermined the outcome of Sunday's election by spinning an immigration discourse in Italy: "Italy’s joins long list of elections influenced by Russia. Sputnik will do what Sputnik does. The question is: what are our democracies going to do about it? Will voters repudiate candidates who seek to benefit from Russian interference?"
Italy’s joins long list of elections influenced by Russia. Sputnik will do what Sputnik does. The question is: what are our democracies going to do about it? Will voters repudiate candidates who seek to benefit from Russian interference? https://t.co/JbFe35Sw5n— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 5, 2018
You see, it had nothing to do with the 38% youth unemployment, the stagnant economy, the record debt load, the record number of young people living with their parents, the meager opportunities for career advancement and the sense that everything is rigged. It was... Russia!
In fact, it is safe to assume that without Russia, and its subversive trolls, operatives - and of course RT and Sputnik - western democracies would all be one endless utopia, with no economic, social or political disagreements, and without such central-bank created artifacts as record wealth and income divisions resulting in unprecedented ideological and political polarization.
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The Spanish article promoted by Power was a hit piece based on social media analysis done by a private firm, claiming the Russian news outlet Sputnik and the almighty Russian bots made the discourse in Italy radicalized on the issue of immigrants. Because Italians, obviously, cannot be genuinely unhappy to be living in a country that also happens to be a primary destination for refugees departing across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya and have no right to feel betrayed by Brussels’ immigration policies, which last summer threatened Italy with the "Nuclear Option", equating it with a B-status European nation.
But wait, the irony is just starting: recall that Samantha Power has been a fervent supporter of US “humanitarian interventions” by the military since Yugoslavia and onwards. During her tenure as member of the National Security Council and later ambassador to the UN in the Obama administration, this pretext of sovereign intervention was used to destroy Libya, which had served as a buffer for irregular immigration to Europe under Muammar Gaddafi, and which has now turned into a hotbed for people smugglers. It was also used to justify the arming of militants in Syria, perpetrating the war that displaced millions of people and sent several millions Syrians fleeing to Europe. Power advocated a direct military intervention, Iraq-style.
Power's post has gained plenty of angry responses, with people eager to remind Power of numerous interventions Washington had its fingerprints on, calling her position ‘ludicrous’. Although you can just ignore them: surely they are all surely just Russian bots doing the Kremlin’s bidding.
How long after the #ItalianElection2018 until someone claims the Russians did it?— Jonathon Davies (@JonD99) March 4, 2018
In the past 2 years, Putin has won elections in the United States, Austria, Czechia & now Italy. He's also delivered Brexit & performed well in France & Germany. It's because there are no problems in the west & a large amount of people only vote to make Russia happy. pic.twitter.com/4XATeOSTEO— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) March 5, 2018
Meanwhile, Sunday’s election - just like the recent elections in Germany and Austria - has shaken the political scene in Italy, seeing voters ditch the ruling center-left parties and switch to anti-establishment forces. The Euroskeptic Five-Star Movement came out as the top individual party, winning over 32% of the vote, while anti-immigrant Lega Nord party outperformed expectations, garnering over 17%. The center-left bloc led by ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi from Italy's Democratic Party, gained some 23 percent, admitting “a very clear defeat” in the election.
Political analyst Daniele De Bernardin believes that people voted for change on Sunday, not for a particular party.
“In the last five years we had a lot of party switching in the country. Five Star Movement is a movement that puts together very different people with different views,” he said, adding that the party can be viewed as a “post-ideological movement.” What’s putting people together is in fact “a sentiment of changing the country,” he concluded.
A few hours after his humiliating defeat, Matteo Renzi resigned. That, of course, was Russia's fault too.