President Barack Obama openly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of interfering in elections but President-elect Trump has regularly denied Russian interference. Meanwhile, the former president of Georgia and opponent of Putin, Mikheil Saakashvili, who now is in the opposition in Ukraine, discussed how Russia “hacked” elections in Georgia in 2012.
During an MSNBC interview Saakashvili outlined that he personally experienced Russian interference.
“Russia did interfere not only in Georgian elections but in Ukrainian and number of Baltic countries’ elections. They spread all kind of fake news, they intercepted our phone calls, uploaded them through the web sites just before the elections. They did all those kinds of dirty tricks”
In 2012 before the elections in Georgia, video tapes of prison abuse were published, which was believed to have had a big influence on the outcome.
“In 2012 we were informing friends in America that this was happening. Most of the time the signals we got from Washington was “you are overreacting, calm down, just go back to your democratic process.” Back then they didn’t notice the elephant in the room. For me it’s a little bit strange to observe now that it’s a big issue. Better late than never, of course!”
Saakashvili said he’s sure Putin was directing the hacking operations. “This is the guy that likes to be in control,” he said about Putin.
“I don’t really believe he could influence through hacking or anything else the outcome of the US election. However by underlining his role and showing that he was a big player, he’s certainly perceived as a big winner inside Russia and he projects that on the entire neighborhood,” he explained regarding Putin’s actions.
Saakashvili is also a good friend of President-elect Donald Trump’s and has done business with him in the past. During the interview the emphasized that Donald Trump is not the person to be manipulated by Putin.
“Putin likes to intimidate and to dominate, I don’t think Donald Trump is the right person to be intimidated and dominated; from that standpoint I think president trump is smart enough to analyze it,” concluded Saakashvili.