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RussiaAugust 2 2022, 15:44 pm

US Charges Russian with Orchestrating Election Interference Campaign; Designates Four Entities

UK media is report­ing that the US has charged a Russ­ian man with orches­trat­ing a mul­ti-year effort to use polit­i­cal groups to sow dis­cord, spread Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da or inter­fere in Amer­i­can elec­tions. Accord­ing to a Reuters report:

July 29, 2022  The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment said on Fri­day it has charged a Russ­ian man with orches­trat­ing a mul­ti-year effort to use polit­i­cal groups in Flori­da, Geor­gia and Cal­i­for­nia to sow dis­cord, spread Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da or inter­fere in Amer­i­can elec­tions.  Alek­san­dr Vik­torovich Ionov, a Moscow res­i­dent, was accused of con­spir­ing to have U.S. cit­i­zens act as ille­gal agents of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to a depart­ment state­ment. If con­vict­ed, he faces up to five years in prison.  Act­ing on behalf of the FSB Russ­ian intel­li­gence agency, the depart­ment said Ionov finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed the groups, ordered them to pub­lish pro-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da and coor­di­nat­ed actions by them intend­ed to fur­ther Russ­ian inter­ests.  The depart­ment also said Ionov used his con­trol over a U.S. polit­i­cal group in Flori­da to inter­fere in local elec­tions, sup­port­ing the St. Peters­burg, Flori­da polit­i­cal cam­paigns of two peo­ple in 2017 and 2019. It list­ed the group and indi­vid­u­als as “unin­dict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors” but did not name them.

Read the rest here.

The report also says the US Trea­sury has des­ig­nat­ed four enti­ties that “sup­port the Kremlin’s glob­al malign influ­ence oper­a­tions and elec­tion inter­fer­ence activ­i­ties.” A US Trea­sury press release iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing entities:

  • STOP-Impe­ri­al­ism, an Eng­lish and Russ­ian-lan­guage web­site used by Ionov “as a means of fur­ther dis­sem­i­nat­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion in ful­fill­ment of the Kremlin’s over­all malign influ­ence campaign.”

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered US sanc­tions of Rus­sia-linked dis­in­for­ma­tion enti­ties, includ­ing the sanc­tion­ing of 32 Russ­ian enti­ties and indi­vid­u­als for dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts in April 2021 and the sanc­tion­ing of anoth­er 33 indi­vid­u­als and sev­en enti­ties asso­ci­at­ed with Russia’s glob­al dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign in March 2022.

Rus­sia is a pro­lif­ic actor in the influ­ence oper­a­tions space. It is well known for its attempts to inter­fere in the elec­tions of demo­c­ra­t­ic coun­tries, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the Unit­ed States. Most of its influ­ence oper­a­tions appear to be con­duct­ed via cyber activities.

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