By: Kyle James | 10-20-2018 | News
Photo credit: @THEAlleyeceeing | Twitter

Russian National Charged For Interfering With U.S. Political System

A report for immediate release by the Department of Justice's U.S. Attorney’s Office out of the Eastern District of Virginia says a Russian national has been arrested for her alleged role in a conspiracy with Russia to interfere with the U.S. political system. The report from the DoJ claims the woman and the conspiracy she was apart of even influenced politics as recently as the 2018 midterm election. A criminal complained was unsealed today which revealed the charges against the Russian woman. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said Friday,

<i>"The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions. This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case."</i>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Russian national charged with interfering in U.S. political system, including 2018 midterm election. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; U.S. Attorney EDVA (@EDVAnews) <a href="">October 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The criminal complaint alleges 44-year-old Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova of St. Petersburg, Russia acted as chief accountant of "Project Lakhta" which served as a Russian umbrella company funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin. The oligarch did so by using his two companies, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. There were several components to Project Lakhta which ranged from interacting with domestic audiences within the Russian Federation to targeting foreign audiences in the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Demers said Friday, "Today’s charges allege that Russian national, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy. Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">President Trump: Charged Russian national &quot;had nothing to do with my campaign&quot; <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) <a href="">October 19, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Khusyaynova was the top person in charge of finances at Project Lakhta operations and this included several foreign influencing programs targeting the United States. Documents found showed that Khusyaynova controlled detailed expenses for U.S. activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and "promoting news postings on social networks."

The secret Russian project's operating budget between January 2016 and June 2018 is said to have been over $35 million although not all of these funds are used for activities in the United States. FBI Director Wray said, "This case serves as a stark reminder to all Americans: Our foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates.

"We take all threats to our democracy very seriously, and we’re committed to working with our partners to identify and stop these unlawful influence operations. Together, we must remain diligent and determined to protect our democratic institutions and maintain trust in our electoral process." It's just a shame that the F.B.I has lost so much credibility with the American people that these words are practically meaningless.

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Khusyaynova's primary role while managing finances at Project Lakhta was "information warfare against the United States," according to U.S. officials. They also said that the activities being carried out by Project Lakhta was designed to sow distrust toward candidates for U.S. political office and the U.S. political system in general. They found no evidence that the secret Russian operation was trying to help one party over the other.

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