State Department offers $10M reward for information on how Russian internet trolls interfere in US elections

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The Condition Department beneath the Biden administration declared a $10 million reward for details on international interference in U.S. elections, exclusively action by a Russian troll manufacturing unit. 

In a assertion introduced on Thursday, the U.S. Office of State renewed phone calls for information and facts on the St. Petersburg-based mostly World wide web Analysis Company LLC (IRA), Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, and “connected Russian entities and associates for their engagement in U.S. election interference.” 

Viktorovich Prigozhin, an notorious Russian oligarch often referred to as Russian President Vladmir Putin’s “chef,” has been qualified by equally the United States and the European Union with sanctions because at the very least March in response to the war in Ukraine. Nevertheless, he experienced currently been on the FBI’s Most Wanted Record since at least February 2018 when a federal arrest warrant was issued in the U.S. District Courtroom for the District of Columbia following he was billed with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. 

The new reward of up to $10 million, offered as a result of the Condition Department’s Benefits for Justice (RFJ) program, administered by the Diplomatic Stability Service, seeks information and facts main to the “identification or area of any foreign man or woman, which include a overseas entity, who knowingly engaged or is partaking in interference in U.S. elections, as properly as data major to the avoidance, aggravation, or favorable resolution of an act of foreign election interference,” the statement introduced on Thursday claimed. 


In accordance to the Point out Section, IRA is a Russian entity engaged in political and electoral interference functions. Beginning as early as 2014, IRA began operations to interfere with the U.S. political system, such as the 2016 U.S. presidential election, “with a strategic target to sow discord.”

A number of shots produced by the FBI clearly show Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, who resources the St. Petersburg-dependent troll manufacturing facility Online Research Company LLC. 

IRA operated as a result of numerous Russian entities, including Online Investigate LLC, MediaSintez LLC, GlavSet LLC, MixInfo LLC, Azimut LLC, and NovInfo LLC. 

Viktorovich Prigozhin is a Russian national who furnished funding to IRA as a result of the companies he controlled — Harmony Administration and Consulting LLC and Harmony Catering, all collectively referred to as “Concord.” Harmony despatched cash, recommended staff, and oversaw IRA’s activities as a result of reporting and interaction with IRA’s management.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a news conference on July 29, 2022, in Washington, DC. after a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding the Biden administration's proposal for the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittany Griner, who are both held in Russian custody. 

U.S. Secretary of Point out Antony Blinken attends a news conference on July 29, 2022, in Washington, DC. immediately after a mobile phone get in touch with with Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov with regards to the Biden administration’s proposal for the release of Us citizens Paul Whelan and Brittany Griner, who are the two held in Russian custody. 
(Drew Angerer/Getty Pictures)

His associates, accused of doing work in various capacities to carry out IRA’s interference operations focusing on the United States, are mentioned as: Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna Bovda, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina and Vladimir Venkov. 

“They knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government by way of fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral procedures, which include the presidential election of 2016,” the Condition Department mentioned. The reward announcement is aspect of the U.S. government’s “broader attempts to make certain the stability and integrity of our elections and safeguard in opposition to international interference in our elections.” 

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On Friday, the U.S. Section of Treasury upgraded the sanction designation versus Viktorovich Prigozhin, pointing to his funding of Venture Lakhta, a disinformation campaign and scheme that’s expensed tens of tens of millions of bucks on “troll farms” and other mechanisms concentrating on audiences in the United States, Europe, Ukraine, and even Russia. Given that at the very least 2014, Undertaking Lakhta has utilized, among the other issues, fictitious on-line personas that posed as U.S. persons to interfere in U.S. elections, the Treasury Section reported. 


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