Some European leaders are worried that Russia will try to influence their elections this year. The concerns come as possible Russian interference in the United States presidential election last year continues to be debated. There will be national elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands in 2017. Experts say Russia is already trying to help some candidates win. Russia denies that it is doing so. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term in office this year. She has led efforts in Europe to punish Russia for taking actions that democratic nations oppose. Experts say she is the European leader that Russia would most like to see voted out of office. In December, Merkel said Germany must be ready to stop attempts by other countries to interfere with its elections. “We have to inform people and express our political convictions clearly. We also should not allow ourselves to be irritated. We just have to know that there’s such a thing and learn to live with it.”
Almost one million migrants entered Germany in 2015. Some Germans do not support such a large number. Experts say Russia will try to use anti-immigrant activists to help oust Merkel. And they say Russia will likely increase what are being called disinformation activities in the months and weeks before the election.
Ian Bond is an analyst at the Center for European Reform. “They (Russia) can target it both in France and in Germany. But because Angela Merkel herself has been so closely identified with the policy of admitting refugees and asylum-seekers to Germany, it is, I think, an area of vulnerability for her.”
Full Article: Europe Worries About Russian Cyber Attacks During 2017 Elections.