By Theblogmire’s resident Russia expert, Russell O’Phobe.

There is “clear evidence” that Russia interfered directly in the 2016 mayoral election in the town of Pugley, one of the candidates has said. Speaking to a gathering of local councillors, Brian Arkwright, the loser in last year’s election, told them that the election had been “compromised by Russian infiltration”.

The former town councillor’s comments came after it emerged that a number of councils may have also been the target of cyberattacks during the 2014 local elections. According to Mr Arkwright:

“There is now clear evidence of Russian direct, corrupt involvement in mayoral elections in Tiptree, Doncaster, Hartlepool, Skegness and now in Pugley. Many believe that some of the biggest decisions affecting local government are now compromised by Russian infiltration.”

Having spoken to a number of unnamed sources, anonymous officials and unidentified experts over the weekend, Mr Arkwright claims that the evidence is overwhelming:

“What I’ve seen is simply overwhelming evidence. It really is overwhelming, and I have to say I was, frankly, overwhelmed when I saw it. Unfortunately, we have been far too soft on Putin and the result is that he has taken that not only as a signal of weakness, but also as an open goal to interfere, hack and meddle in any election he chooses. Unfortunately, it’s the people of Pugley who suffer.”

Asked why Vladimir Putin would want to influence the outcome of the election of mayor in a place like Pugley, Arkwright responded by citing a number of unnamed sources, anonymous officials and unidentified experts who showed him overwhelming evidence:

“It’s all part of a nefarious master plan to meddle and control every town and city in the whole world – something which Putin apparently dreamt up while still a mid-ranking KGB operative in Dresden,” he said. “According to my sources, who must remain unnamed, anonymous and unidentified for security reasons, he can probably now remotely reach into the mind of any electorate anywhere in the world to sway a vote to his advantage. And that’s exactly what he did in Pugley.”

That still leaves the question as to why Putin preferred the victorious candidate, Nobby Cathcart, a local businessman, rather than Brian Arkwright. According to Mr Arkwright it’s because he stood up to Putin whilst a member of Pugley Local Council. Mr Cathcart, on the other hand, apparently once visited St. Petersburg with his wife for a weekend, and it is thought that the FSB may have Kompromat on him.

For his part, Mr Cathcart has dismissed suggestions that he is Pugley’s Siberian Candidate, or that he had received any help in winning by Putin:

“Look. My wife loves ballet and so I took her to St. Petersburg to see the Mariinsky Ballet, for pity’s sake. Brian is just a sore loser, not to mention being bonkers. One sandwich short of a picnic as we say up here. One of the main reasons he lost the mayoral election was because he wanted to go to war with Russia. And the people of Pugley said no. Everything he says is just fake news.”

But according to Arkwright, Cathcart’s denial is itself overwhelming evidence of Kremlin involvement:

“A couple of nights in St. Petersburg to watch ballet?” he says incredulously. “It’s an admission of guilt. I’ll bet he even spoke to Russians whilst he was there. What more evidence do you need that Cathcart is a puppet of the Kremlin and a traitor? The people of Pugley really do deserve better.”

When we approached the unnamed sources, anonymous officials and unidentified experts, they confirmed that the evidence of involvement is indeed overwhelming, and that they are now planning to impeach Mr Cathcart on the basis that he can apparently find Crimea on a map.

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