Russia on Monday denied involvement in attempts to influence the outcome of Indonesia’s upcoming election, after incumbent President Joko Widodo accused the campaign of opposition candidate Prabowo Subianto of spreading “Russian propaganda.”
The Russian embassy in Jakarta said the accusations of Russian involvement – levelled by Jokowi during a campaign stop in Surabaya on Saturday – had “no basis in reality.”
“We would like to underline that our principled position is that we don’t interfere in the domestic affairs and electoral processes of other countries, including Indonesia as our close friend and important partner,” the embassy said via Twitter.
During the campaign stop, Jokowi claimed that “there is a campaign team that is spreading what is called Russian propaganda, which involves incessant streams of lies and slander.”
He was alluding to the controversy in the United States about the supposed Russian interference in the 2016 election using a propaganda model called “the firehose of falsehood.”
Jokowi faces former general Prabowo in the April 17 presidential election in a repeat of the vote five years ago, which the president won by a narrow margin.
The opposition says the president has a dismal economic record after nearly five years in office and that he is too cozy with China.
Jokowi has picked conservative Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate in a move seen by some as an attempt to bolster his religious credentials amid accusations that he is hostile to Muslim political aspirations.