Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the US of plotting to interfere in the 2024 presidential elections in Russia, saying that Washington has openly embraced the goal of destabilizing Moscow. Lavrov made the remarks at a meeting of the ruling United Russia party on Monday, warning about the threat to next year’s vote.
Lavrov said that the US is not stopping its “vicious practice of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries,” and that it has used various forms of interference, including threats, blackmail and the organization of “color revolutions.” He cited the examples of Ukraine and Belarus, where he said the US attempted to orchestrate bloody coups d’etat.
“This obviously won’t be the last step. They openly set the goal of undermining domestic political stability in our country – in the context of the 2024 presidential elections,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov’s statement comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Washington over a range of issues, including cyberattacks, human rights, sanctions and regional conflicts. The two countries have also accused each other of meddling in each other’s elections in the past.
In April 2023, the US Justice Department unveiled new charges against members of small separatist political groups accused of working with agents of the Russian government to influence a local Florida election with aspirations of extending those efforts to the 2020 presidential campaign. The indictment alleged that the Russian defendants recruited, funded and directed US political groups to act as unregistered illegal agents of the Russian government and sow discord and spread pro-Russian propaganda.
The Russian government has denied any involvement in such activities and has repeatedly called on the US to provide evidence of its allegations. In 2017, Lavrov said that there was no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. In 2019, he said that Moscow wanted to publish a cache of communications with Washington that he said cleared Russia of the allegations, but that the US had blocked their release.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the 2024 presidential election will be held “in strict accordance with the law,” and in compliance with all democratic and constitutional procedures. He is eligible to run for re-election but has not yet announced if he intends to do so.