The US government announced last week that as a response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, it is designating 33 individuals and seven entities associated with Russia’s global disinformation campaign. The US says these targets “utilize organizations that purport to serve as legitimate news sites but instead spread disinformation and ultra-nationalist propaganda” for Russia. According to a US Department of State press release:
March 3, 2022 …the U.S. government is targeting those involved in Russia’s global disinformation and destabilizing influence campaign, including in Ukraine. The Department of State is designating Dmitry Peskov, the chief propagandist of the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, under E.O. 14024. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assest Control (OFAC) is designating Russian elite Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who has been previously designated under various sanctions authorities. Today, OFAC also is designating Prigozhin’s wife Polina, daughter Lyubov, and son Pavel, who play various roles in his business enterprise. In addition, OFAC is designating 26 individuals and seven entities associated with Russia’s global disinformation campaign, particularly those backed by Russian intelligence services. These targets utilize organizations that purport to serve as legitimate news sites but instead spread disinformation and ultra-nationalist propaganda for the Russian Federation. These 33 individuals and entities have been designated under various authorities, including E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, E.O. 13848, and 224(a)(l)(B) Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”).
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According to a US Treasury press release, the following entities and individuals were designated:
- Family members and businesses of Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin who was previously designated for funding the Internet Research Agency
- Russian-language media outlets Odna Rodyna, Rhythm of Eurasia, and Journal Kamerton, as well as its chief editor, over their links to the previously designated Strategic Culture Foundation
- Seven employees of the Strategic Culture Foundation
- Nine employees of the previously designated news agency InfoRos
- Four employees of the previously designated website Newsfront
- Four employees of the previously designated website Southfront
- United World International, a website linked to an organization owned by Prigozhin and its editor-in-chief, who is the daughter of the previously designated Russian academic Alexander Dugin
- Geopolitica, a website controlled by Dugin
The Treasury release notes that most of these Russian entities and individuals had already been designated in connection with disinformation efforts and for Moscow’s interference in the 2020 presidential election. As a result of the designation, all property and interests in property of these targets subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. The current US sanctions are part of a wider package of sanctions targeting Russian elites and their financial networks and assets, major Russian disinformation outlets, and Russian defense enterprises.
In April 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report reported that the US had imposed similar sanctions against 32 Russian entities and individuals.