Justice Department Charges Russian Agent with Conducting Foreign Influence Operations

Matt Gluck
Friday, July 29, 2022, 3:46 PM

The Department of Justice charged a Russian-backed individual who allegedly directed an organized influence campaign through coordinated activities with U.S. political groups.

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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.

Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.

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