Seven Charged in Russia’s Influence Campaign Inside the US

( – The US Justice Department announced in a Tuesday press release that US authorities charged three Russian nationals and four American citizens in connection to a probe into a foreign influence campaign.

The release points out that a superseding indictment was filed against the suspects by a federal grand jury, which alleged these individuals were working on behalf of Russia’s Kremlin and the Russian Federal Security Service, which is known for being the intelligence agency that replaced Soviet-era KGB. The main goal of these individuals was to allegedly influence United States politics over the next few years.

This indictment adds to a case that the Justice Department has been pursuing against a Russian citizen named Aleksandr Viktorovich. He’s the president and founder of a Moscow-based organization named Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, which supports Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and many illiberal movements and political leaders across Europe. Viktorovich was charged in 2022 with conspiring to have American citizens act as spying on behalf of the Kremlin.

US authorities alleged he has been using this organization to conduct a foreign influence campaign, in cooperation with officers from the Federal Security Service. The superseding indictment names Yegor Sergeyevich and Aleksey Borisovich as Russian intelligence agents who were the two main officials behind this campaign.

The release points out that three Russian defendants funded, directed and recruited political organizations in the country to act as unregistered Kremlin agents and spread pro-Russian propaganda, which is an illegal act. According to Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division Matthew Olson, the Kremlin’s foreign intelligence service weaponized the US First Amendment rights to divide US citizens and interfere in the country’s presidential elections.

The four US citizens that are being indicted are individuals whom Victorovich recruited. According to the release, their names are Augustus Romain Jr., Penny Hess, Omali Yeshitela and Jesse Nevel.

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