Vladimir Putin has long denied meddling in Western elections, including U.S. allegations that one of his allies backed a “troll factory” targeting the presidential vote in 2016. But this week, the Russian leader seemed to drop a hint the picture might not be so black and white.
In an interview with Austria’s ORF television released Monday, he drew a parallel to financier George Soros, who’s long been accused in the former Communist world of subverting governments at Washington’s behest.
“He intervenes in things all over the world,” Putin said, adding that Soros has lately been accused of trying to break up the euro zone. “But the State Department will tell you that it has nothing to do with that, that this is the personal business of Mr. Soros.”
“Well for us, this is the personal business of Mr. Prigozhin,” Putin said, referring to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman who’s been accused by the U.S. of funding Internet trolling and other election interference.