The first Russian president (after the collapse of the Soviet Union), Boris Yeltsin, won a second term in the 1996 Presidential elections (despite having a popularity rating of 8%) thanks to the extensive assistance provided by the team of media and PR executives from the US. According to the cover story in the Time magazine, these were Steven Moore, Joe Shumate, Felix Braynin, George Gorton and Richard Dresner, who worked in Russia four months and received $250 thousand each, plus payment of all costs and an unlimited budget to conduct surveys and other activities.
Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilson such as George Gorton covertly made their way to the Presidential Hotel in Moscow where, behind guards and locked doors, served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for the sake of Democracy.
Felix Braynin, a Soviet immigrant to the US who was a wealthy wealthy consultant to American businesses interests working in Russia, began assisting the Yeltsin campaign. After he asked about American advisers who could help, San Francisco lawyer Fred Lowell suggested Gorton and Joe Shumate, an expert on political polling, and Richard Dresner, a political strategist who has helped not only Wilson but President Clinton in his earlier campaigns for governor of Arkansas.
Before the election, they were told that their involvement had to be treated like as a state secret because of fears that the Communist candidate Gennady Zyu-ganov would use their presence to try to perpetuate anti-Western sentiment among Russian voters. The US political consultants worked in hiding on the 11th floor of the Kremlin’s Presidential Hotel in downtown Moscow for 6 weeks. Staying at the hotel is by invitation only.
About 2 weeks after Yeltsin won his relection campaign on June 16th 1996, the U.S. political consultants assigned to Yeltsin, briefed reporters on their role in the campaign.
Around the same time, the Clinton Administration secured a $10.2 billion dollar International Monetary Fund loan to Russia as it was drowning in the economic and social disaster in the aftermath of the breakup of the USSR. This was done in order to keep the national economy and pro-Western government afloat.
The loan funds were fraudulently misused by Yeltsin’s inner circle, and the IMF knowingly turned a blind eye to this. Although the aggressive pro-Yeltsin campaign boosted his approval rating from an initial 6% to 35% in the polls during the first round of elections, and later made him win the second round against the communist candidate Gennady Zyugan-ov with 54% of the vote to 40%. There were widespread speculations about the rigged nature of the official results, but Yeltsin was re-elected.
On 9 August 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, and later on that day was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin. Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency. A few days later, Putin was officially appointed by the DUMA as Prime Minister (The 5th Prime Minister in an 18 month timespan).
On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued.
In a sense, the US is responsible for the rise of Vladimir Putin in Russia, by tipping the scales in favor of their preferred Candidate in 1996 (Yeltsin), who in turn appointed Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister in 1999, and then quickly resigned.
In more recent years, since the 2016 US Presidential elections, many corporate media outlets in the US have accused Russia of either hacking our election, meddling in our elections, or collusion in a conspiracy to elect Donald Trump. The Russian Government and Vladimir Putin deny any election interference.