In a written submission to WebRoots Democracy, the Russian Embassy have denied accusations of trying to meddle with the UK’s referendum on EU membership, describing the claims as ‘outright insulting’.
The statement was submitted for WebRoots Democracy’s event entitled ‘Did Russia hack the referendum?’ taking place in London on January 22nd. The Embassy further state that Brexit is ‘not of great importance for Russia’ and that the country is being made a ‘scapegoat’ to question the legitimacy of the vote.
The event will be examining the accusations of online interference with elections and referenda by foreign entities.
The submission can be read in full below:
“There are persistent attempts in some quarters to impose on the British public opinion the notion of Russia standing behind the outcome of the EU membership referendum. These accusations are outright insulting, not only for Russia, but, we suppose, for the British political leadership as well as for the British people. The idea to launch the referendum was the result of years of domestic discussion in the UK and featured in the election pledges by the party that won the popular vote in 2015. By the same token, at the referendum, it was the British voters who used their legal right to decide the future of their country.
As we see that Brexit talks turn into the main foreign policy challenge for London, the temptation is obviously there to find a scapegoat, a third party responsible for all, in this case Russia, and impose a fake news agenda. For others, blaming Russia for Brexit is a handy tool to question the legitimacy of the vote, as well as that of the current British government. Their logic doesn’t hold water, if only because it is the same government managing Brexit which has declared Russia as the number one threat for Britain.
Ultimately, it is not of great importance for Russia if the UK is part of the EU or not. Russia is prepared to develop relations with Britain on the basis of mutual advantage and respect, whatever position it holds internationally. Saying that Russia is interested in Brexit is meaningless not least because we would need to build new trade relations with the UK from new foundations, and business will need to adapt to the new conditions.”
‘Did Russia hack the referendum?’ takes place on Monday 22nd of January at Newspeak House, London. Details and tickets available here.