Putin: Maybe Election Hackers Were Just Freelance Russians Pissed Off at America

Putin. Photo: Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin, speaking to reporters at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, proved that liberals on Twitter aren’t the only ones who can cook up wild theories about the Kremlin’s alleged role in hacking last year’s presidential election.

Asked about worries that Russia will attempt to meddle in upcoming German elections, Putin said that Russia has never used hacking at the “state level.” He did not dismiss the possibility that individual Russians have taken it upon themselves to do a little freelance hacking to defend the honor of their country.

“Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting,” he said. “The hackers are the same, they would wake up, read about something going on in interstate relations and if they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia.”

He added that he doesn’t even think hackers could influence an election if they wanted to. “I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign. No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia, or America.”

Putin: Maybe Election Hackers Were Pissed-Off Freelancers