Analysis of Russian Unethical Interference in the US 2016 Elections

2766 (6 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Table of contents

Conduct is the aspect of self-determination, a legal term that incorporates the right of the people to make decisions for themselves, both the political affiliations (at a methodical stage) and their forthcoming destiny (at a more granular stage of policy). It is evidently this more fundamental right of self-determination that Russia contravened against the people of America. Regrettably, the right of self-determination has greatly been disregarded since the global course of decolonization was finished, with a few records of debated separations However, the Russian hacking campaign is an indication that self-determination exit from the scene in global law should be regretted and, possibly, overturned. This is because there are circumstances and situations where the greatest legal sets for comprehending the case are not sovereign and interventional, but instead they are disappointingly inaccurate aspect of self-determination.

Ethical Theories Applicable to Russian’s Interference in the US 2016 Elections

One evident manner of analyzing Russian interference is to concentrate entirely on the unethical and unauthorized access to particular computer networks as well as particular email accounts of electoral candidates were hacked and leaked. Such illegal interventions could be simply qualified to elements of spying. Nonetheless, even though espionage is obviously a violation of the United States laws, it is a debatable matter though, whether it is going against the ethical standards of the people when Russia interfered in the US 2016 elections.

Human rights lawyers who determined that the right to privacy is secured by global and European human rights law have recently opposed the established perspective that spying is not a violation of the international ethical standard. For instance, Article 17 of ICCPR indicates, “no one shall be exposed to arbitrary or illegal intrusion with his privacy, family, home, or to illegal damages on his honor and status. This provision highlights the ethical standards that Russia violated through its cyber intrusion into the electoral affairs of the nation. Russian desecrated the human rights of the people who owned numerous email accounts.

There are a few challenges that relate to this kind of Russian spying as a desecration of the right to privacy is disputed. Human rights requirements were at first conceptualized as limitations against a government’s conduct about its own people. Thus, for instance, Article 17 would restrain and forbid Russian efforts to spy on its own citizens or US efforts to snoop on its citizens – as if they are indiscriminate or illegal. Therefore, internationally the Russian spying on the US 2016 election may not be ethically supported, but domestically it is a violation. As a matter of fact, that spying by the Russians was directed to the American citizens, and it is not clear whether Article 17 right to privacy was designed to shield such transnational conducts or should just be restricted within the US borders.

In addition, currently foreign spying is very much pervasive that customary global law debatably fails to outlaw it. There are two reactions to this aspect. The first aspect is that a customary global law assessment should not replace a treaty-founded assessment. Thus, whether spying is a violation of customary global law does not relate to whether spying is not ethical in terms of the treaty requirements. It is a normal discussion as far as international law is concerned – the inclination to assess all conducts under the standards of customary global law, even if a treaty protects the conduct of a country or individuals. Frequently, these demands of the customary global law are supposedly justified by assertions that customary global laws run concurrently with the ethical standards supported by the treaty. However, even if that was the scenario, the behavior of Russia invading the privacy of the citizens needs to be considered unethical based on a source of international law.

The biggest challenge with expressing that Russian spying during the 2016 election desecrated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is the aspect of the treaty’s extraterritorial extent. The ICCPR needs that each State Party to the current Covenant considers to respect and to allow all people within its boundaries to comply with its jurisdiction’s expectations and rights acknowledged in the current treaty, without differences of any type, like race, sex, religion, politics, color, perspective, national or social origin, birth, property and reputation. The real deal is in putting the case in the proper scope, “to all people within its boundaries and are obligated to respect and comply with them. This indicates that the treaty has insignificant or no extraterritorial scope. Simply put, Russia is mandated to respect and be cognizant of the right to privacy of people within its boundaries, which would exclude Democratic National Committee (DNC) representatives from staying in the United States.

The utilitarian theory applies to this case of Russian interference in the US 2016 election. Utilitarian theory was first expressed in the 1800s by Jeremy Bentham but was later improved by John Stuart Mill. Utilitarian goes beyond self-interest to be considerate fairly about the interests of all individuals influenced by an action. Utilitarian ethical theory highlights the impacts of an action on the stakeholders. The stakeholders include all the persons influenced by the result of an action. For instance, the US citizens were affected by the invasion of their privacy by Russia. Utilitarian acknowledged that sometimes there are compromises and adjustments in decision-making. The theory focuses on making decisions that exploit net advantages and reduce overall damages for all stakeholders.

Another model that puts the case of Russia invasion of the US 2016 elections into perspective is the rights-based ethical theory. Thomas Hobbes together with John Locke can trace the evolution of this theory back to the seventeenth century. According to Ohlin, the right theory makes a presumption that people have specific rights that should be honored and valued. These include the freedom of speech, the right of privacy as well as due process. Another way that rights-based ethical theory can be examined in the comprehensiveness of people’s moral action. That is, people should only act in a manner in which they would be pleased if everyone else in that same circumstance would act the same way. Considering the case in discussion, Russia violated the rights of privacy of the American people, infringed the rights to sovereignty and many other things. As far as the rights-based ethical theory is concerned, Russia may not be pleased if the US acted in a similar manner when they were tentatively doing their elections. Assumedly, the Russians may interpret this as an invasion of their security and even initiate a war against the US.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Analysis of Why Russian’s Interference is not Ethical

Questions about the 2016 US elections being legitimate have continued to resound and intensify opinionated mistrusts in the nation. There are many doubts that have sprung up by the interference of the Russians, which makes the electioneering process unethical. The intelligence reports indicated that the Russians utilized numerous kinds of methods such as fake news, accessing the email accounts of people, using social media platforms to have propaganda campaigns as well as efforts to interfere with the state election accounts. In fact, these circumstances make the Russian’s influence unethical as it regards to the election process.

As indicated in this accusation, Russian hackers breached the official voter registration pools of many of America’s states such as Illinois. Directly, they interfered with the sovereignty of the people such that the people’s choice became externally influenced, in a negative way. This brings the moral question, whether Trump, America’s current president is suited for that office. The hackers penetrated inside the voting framework for many weeks before the 2016 presidential election occurred. Most definitely, they were at a greater chance of altering voter registration data and compromising the tallies even if it had been proved that they did not do that. Russian interference has aggravated a toxic debate that has increased concern regarding the elections in 2016. The introduction of fake news and great voter fraud that was suspected because of Russian’s interference is what qualifies the election process to be very unethical. In fact, if it were possible it could be better if it had been redone to clear off the claim of voter suppression and gerrymandering.

The victory of President Trump that was stated was because of a close outcome. The questions that have been raised on electoral integrity in the 2016 US election are a true picture of unethical behavior. Such a behavior cannot be believed to have been spearheaded by people that should be respected for leading the nation justly and fairly. Unethical conduct or actions do not warrant respect or loyalty from the people. As much as people are obligated to respect and support the policies of the government, they understand that the elected leaders are not their choice. The leaders are often forced on them through voter interference. Ziegler explained that doubts have been raised not just on the electoral weaknesses but also the processes and the outcome of the election. The person that is declared the winner also may not ethically be the legitimacy itself, which compromises democracy.

It is not surprising that weaknesses in the election process have been seen over the past decade as far as America’s voting process is concerned. This has called for the question of trust in the integrity of such elections. The Gallup World Poll indicated that the election that was interfered by the Russian officials has not been accepted by a bigger percentage of the Americans. In fact, only 30 percent of the Americans were confident that the 2016 elections were honest. Compared to the elections that happened 10 years earlier, the percentage decreased by 22 percent. Such unethical steps are critical because of the negative light that America is giving to the whole world that has always regarding it highly. Even in the past decade, the trust of America’s election process has been consistently lower than several similar democracies like the UK, Australia, as well as Canada.

As far as the right-based ethical and utilitarian theories are concerned, the influence of Russia on the 2016 US elections compromises the view that people may have on electoral integrity, as well as their rights. The right-based ethical theory provides a framework of fundamental rights that should be supported, which explains why there is no much satisfaction on the democracy of both the US and nations like Russia. Perceptions that America’s elections were not free and fair strongly correlate with democratic fulfillment than several other indicators. The only aspect that is strongly connected with democratic fulfillment among the American people was whether they had voted for Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump. Therefore, the fulfillment with the results of the 2016 election speaks to the confidence that the people have regarding the ethical standards promoted. The insistence of these several grievous flaws merged with partisan attacks of elections with parties like Russia and absence of effective reforms is seriously threatening and compromising the ethical standards in steering democracy in America.

The Ethical/ Moral Response From the US Government via Cyberspace

President Trump has from time to time defended the government’s moral position on the allegations that Russia was involved in the past presidential election. He has constantly refuted that his campaign did not liaise with Russian agents in any form. Whereas the US intelligence agents are the ones who brought out these allegations and issued a report on the same, the president’s position, which denotes the US government’s view, is that the election was free and fair.

The CIA, FBI, as well as the National Security Agency cooperatively indicated with a high level of certainty that the Russian government performed a complicated campaign to sway the last US election. Therefore, this displays the position of a certain representation of America that they should not address the US democratic process that has been undermined by Russia’s president interference. Putin and the Russian government had quickly commended the election of President Trump even before his inauguration. The Americans had to treat this with a lot of suspicion, questioning the morality of this electioneering process. The president of America confirmed that Russia hacked their system but dismissed their interference with US elections claiming that hacking happens in many other nations and to other people.

Indeed, it was established to be true that the Russian hackers gained access to the electoral system. As far as some Americans responded that they did not interfere with anything, some strongly believe that they had the chance to infiltrate election-based computer systems in several states. The US authorities have explained the event and said that Russian hackers could not tamper with the vote count. They insisted that they were probably examining the election-based systems for any weaknesses but had no intent to interfere with them in a negative way. Therefore, the US representatives on the side of president Trump are commending Putin’s effort of extending help to their country.

The US authorities indicate that Russian agents intruded into computer systems linked with the main US political parties. They are thought to have taken thousands of e-mails from primary Democratic Party figures at the beginning of 2016 and revealed them to the public domain. The US intelligence agencies defended that the Russian military intelligence utilized WikiLeaks to reveal US victim information extracted from cyberspace publicly. The US intelligence agencies have determined that actions by the Russian agents could only have affected election outcomes to a smaller degree.

Concurrently, the US Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees have responded to the alleged interference of the Russian agents with the 2016 US elections by making inquiries. The US Senate Judiciary subcommittee backed up the intelligence committees on crime and terrorism to respond to the allegations on Russia’s intrusion in the electioneering process. The outcomes of these investigations may evidently lead to criminal prosecutions unless someone fails to fulfill the demands of the court or lies under oath. The intention of such intelligence committees is to enhance the country’s legislation and execute any congressional action such as impeachment when grievous unethical behaviors have been demonstrated.


A central ethical question that is derived from the Russian invasion on the electioneering process is what qualifies an action to be unethical. As determined in this paper, the US constitution has been breached if at all the Russian interference of the 2016 US election can be confirmed to be true. Their interference with the election process directly challenges the sovereignty of the people. Their rights to the decision were also compromised as the US constitutions give the people the mandate to elect their leaders, not hackers. The right-based ethical theories, as well as the utilitarian theory, are significant in providing a framework for understanding the repercussions of Russia interfering with the 2016 US election. The theories demonstrate the rights of the people that were infringed by foreign indulgence into the election affairs. Many US agencies and committees have been constituted to investigate the authenticity of this intrusion of the Russian agents and produce a conclusive report. President Trump has qualified the hacking of the US electoral-based computer systems as a normal trend that other nations have also experienced. He denies that there is no way they could have liaised with Russia’s president to compromise the values and ethics that America strongly holds.

Work Cited

  • Badawy, A., Ferrara, E., & Lerman, K. (2018). Analyzing the Digital Traces of Political Manipulation: The 2016 Russian Interference Twitter Campaign. arXiv preprint arXiv:1802.04291.
  • Banks, W. (2016). State Responsibility and Attribution of Cyber Intrusions After Tallinn 2.0. Tex. L. Rev., 95, 1487.
  • Berghel, H. (2017). Oh, What a Tangled Web: Russian Hacking, Fake News, and the 2016 US Presidential Election. computer, 50(9), 87-91.
  • Boyd, R. L., Spangher, A., Fourney, A., Nushi, B., Ranade, G., Pennebaker, J., & Horvitz, E. (2018). Characterizing the Internet Research Agency’s Social Media Operations During the 2016 US Presidential Election using Linguistic Analyses. PsyArXiv. October, 1.
  • Burrett, T. (2018). Russian State Television Coverage of the 2016 US Presidential Election. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 26(3), 287-319.
  • Inkster, N. (2016). Information warfare and the US presidential election. Survival, 58(5), 23-32.
  • Kellner, D. (2017). American Horror Show: Election 2016 and the Ascent of Donald J. Trump. Springer.
  • Lieberman, R. C., Mettler, S., Pepinsky, T. B., Roberts, K. M., & Valelly, R. (2017). Trumpism and American democracy: history, comparison, and the predicament of liberal democracy in the United States.
  • Ohlin, J. D. (2016). Did Russian cyber interference in the 2016 election violate international law. Tex. L. Rev., 95, 1579.
  • Piotrowski, M. A. (2017). Intelligence Reports on Russian Interference in the US Presidential Election.
  • Woolley, S. C. (2016). Automating power: Social bot interference in global politics. First Monday, 21(4).
  • Ziegler, C. E. (2018). International dimensions of electoral processes: Russia, the USA, and the 2016 elections. International Politics, 55(5), 557-574.      
You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Analysis of Russian Unethical Interference in the US 2016 Elections. (2023, May 18). WritingBros. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Analysis of Russian Unethical Interference in the US 2016 Elections.” WritingBros, 18 May 2023,
Analysis of Russian Unethical Interference in the US 2016 Elections. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Analysis of Russian Unethical Interference in the US 2016 Elections [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 May 18 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges