The Russia Connection
Justice Department Charges Russian Agent with Conducting Foreign Influence Operations
On July 29, the District Court for the Middle District of Florida unsealed an indictment against a Russian national, Aleksandr Ionov, who allegedly worked for the Russian government to “orchestrat[e] a years-long foreign malign influence campaign that used various U.S. political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States.”
The department alleges that from at least December 2014 until March 2022, Ionov, the president of the Russian-funded Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, worked under the supervision of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to recruit and direct political entities in the U.S.—including one group that protested platform restrictions on content supporting Russian operations in Ukraine and another that pushed for California’s secession from the U.S. In addition to supporting these groups financially, Ionov led them to circulate pro-Russian propaganda, helped to facilitate other actions within the U.S. that advanced Russian interests, and promoted coverage of these actions in the Russian media. Ionov also provided detailed information regarding these pro-Russian measures to three FSB officials.
According to the indictment, Ionov has been charged with “conspiring to have U.S. citizens act as illegal agents of the Russian government,” and could face up to five years in prison. You can read the indictment here and below.