International dimensions of electoral processes: Russia, the USA, and the 2016 elections

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Abstract

Russia’s government has adopted an information-based strategy to promote discord and call into question the legitimacy of democratic institutions in the USA and Western Europe. Measures adopted include providing financial support to extremist groups, conducting cyberattacks, hacking information on political parties and government agencies, and promoting a socially conservative ideology critiquing Western liberal values. This strategy resembles Soviet-era disinformation campaigns, though social media and the Internet have magnified the impact of contemporary information warfare. The article examines specific measures Russia has implemented to put liberal democracy on the defensive, and assesses how these actions impact domestic political processes in the USA, by using a conceptual framework of democratic erosion and democratic breakdown. The article evaluates motivations behind Russian interference in America’s 2016 elections, and the extent to which these efforts weaken liberal democracy and advance Russian national interests.

Keywords

Russia Elections USA Democratic erosion Cyber Information 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks go to Vidya Nadkarni and Tony Spanakos for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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