Time magazine cover with heavy white haired man holding American flag and words Yanks to the rescue

Why would Russia meddle in a U.S. presidential election? They were just returning the favor.

This Time magazine cover from July 15, 1996 documents it all. The United States bragged about helping rig the Russian presidential election that year, helping drunken authoritarian Boris Yeltsin remain in power.

How and why could this happen? A good place to start is the book Rewriting Russian History: Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Election?

Yes he did. And the U.S. directly meddled in the election.

Yeltsin was much beloved by U.S. neo-cons because he allowed the massive expansion of NATO into the former Soviet bloc and U.S. and western corporations to control many Russian natural resources.

Going into his 1996 re-election campaign, Yeltsin’s poll numbers were worse than Trump’s and opinion said he was unelectable.

U.S. political operatives came to the rescue, many tied to former California governor Pete Wilson, becoming Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon,” according to Eleanor Randolph of the LA Times.

Yeltsin’s opponent heeded Russian law and spent less than $3 million on his campaign. By contrast, Yeltsin spent between $700 million to $2.5 billion on his campaign, according to David Kotz, author of Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin. In February 1996 at the United States’ insistence, the International Monetary Fund gave Yeltsin’s Russian a $10.2 billion emergency loan. Most of this money was not accounted for and was used to spruce up Yeltsin’s reputation and buy influence with politicians and votes throughout Russia.

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