We’d do better putting our energy toward peaceful purposes. But now we’re hacking into American computers and mucking around with their elections. We’re mixing up their voter lists, corrupting data, jacking up numbers to inconceivable amounts, and, in the culminating moment of the vote tally, we’ll put the local election board official’s ding dong or “Obama’s a shmuck” up over the whole website, or leak something else embarrassing. We deny all of it, of course, but somehow always with a wicked smile. And our people say, “Yeah we got those yanks good!”* But on the whole, this is nothing new. It’s always been more enjoyable and easy for us to write a four-letter-word on a on a crooked fence than fix it up and paint it.
So, I’m completely ready to believe Russian hackers are actually capable of getting into American computers and messing around with something there on account of the elections. I don’t, incidentally, really understand what they’d mess with and what for. It’s a piece of cake changing a number to make it scandalous, like a 146 percent voter turnout.** And here my faith in the hackers is even stronger, because Russia has accumulated a grandiose amount of experience with writing in false numbers and percentages, no matter how complicated. Here we don’t even need hackers; we have tons of official citizens who are already paid to write in false numbers, who don’t do anything else and couldn’t if they wanted to. But out there in the States – what do we need to fabricate there? What candidates can we consider great friends of Russia?
To interfere on Hillary’s behalf would be strange. She’ll win easily enough without our hackers. Helping Trump would be silly. If we think that our planet has become boring and that we need the pestilence of Donald to spread to the White House, then wouldn’t it just be easier to fabricate something for Zhirinovsky, who would be even more fun than Trump once he got into the Kremlin?*** I don’t see how interfering with the American elections has any practical use for us. The only explanation that remains is that we’re being perfect hooligans. We’re showing America that we can fight a “hybrid war” wherever we want. We don’t just have “little green men” from commissary, but little virtual men from the hard disc. We’re not only in the Donbass; we’re in Illinois as well. We can bring our own children up, give them a talking to – and we can also raise Arizona.****
Now we could make a semi-sincere plea for personal privacy. But practically all of us here already believe that Apple built the iPhone for the sole purpose of invading the private lives of Russians and spying on them. So let them spy on us some more, and we’ll spy on them and steal their passports, residence permits, and Social Security numbers. Moreover, this story is a fantastic pretext for telling our electorate that we don’t need any automatic methods for counting votes, we don’t need any “optical scan voting systems,” security cameras, or any other fancy gadgets. If we can easily hack into Illinois and Arizona, then they can hack us from Arizona. So it’s better to go back to the old method: ballots in boxes. As for what will be taken from that box and how it will be counted – well, that’s not our problem.
*Translator’s note: Here I’ve used the Britishism “yank” for the recent Russian word “pindos,” a derogatory term for Americans that seems to originate from the Kosovo War.
**Translator’s note: After the 2011 parliamentary elections in Russia, some state television stations reported a 146 percent voter turnout, which implied gross election fraud and quickly became an international scandal. Election Committee officials accused foreign nations, including the U.S., of hacking into their computers and planting the figure, which now is a symbol in Russian political circles for election fraud itself (on the left) and foreign attempts to discredit Russia with fabricated accusations of election rigging (among conservative nationalists).
***Translator’s note: Vladimir Zhirinovsky is a politician in Russian parliament known for outlandish conservative ideas.
**** Translator’s note: The Russian word for “raise, bring up children” is “vospityvat,” which can also mean, “to show someone the right way to behave.” The play on the American film “Raising Arizona” comes more comfortably in Russian than in English.