One of the key players in this interference was Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who, while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, oversaw a policy of engagement with Moscow on behalf of the Obama administration and, when that policy failed, facilitated U.S. interference in the 2012 Russian Presidential election in an effort to keep Vladimir Putin out of office.
McFaul’s “reset” policy was intended to reassert American influence into the Russian body politic in a post-Putin Russia. As such, when Putin announced in 2011 that he would again run for president, McFaul’s “reset” policy collapsed. Under the “reset,” the Obama administration, at McFaul’s urging, provided funding through the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the NED, NDI, and other non-governmental organizations to Russian civil groups that had coalesced into a political opposition to Putin’s 2012 presidential ambition. McFaul also encouraged Secretary of State Clinton to speak out in support of the Russian opposition.