Russian Charged with Election Meddling

A Russian citizen has been officially charged on meddling with the American election process on Friday, October 19. Elena Alekseeva Khusyaynova faces an unsealed criminal complaint that says she was conspiring to interfere in the election process, beginning in 2014 and all the way through the upcoming midterms on November 6.

As per the charges against her, Khusyaynova was allegedly involved in a major plan to influence the outcomes of American elections. She served as the chief accountant for “Project Lakhta,” with responsibilities including the management foreign influence policies through economic assistance. These operations were directly targeted against the United States.

In a report by BBC, the criminal complaint which has been recently unsealed claims that the purpose of Project Lakhta is creating an environment of distrust against American political candidates and against the entire system. She began her work in 2014, which means the operation took place during the 2016 Presidential elections.

The official complaint calls Project Lakhta a “conspiracy” that “continues to this day.” It goes on by saying the purpose was to “sow division and discord” in American politics through “polarization” about social and political issues, and by “undermining faith in democratic institutions.”

The project fulfilled its mission under the guise of being American political activists. This included creating thousands of accounts on social media that were supposedly run by American individuals, as well as email campaigns of a political swing. Their social media accounts were followed by thousands of people and revolved around politically divisive topics, including gun control, immigration, LGBT concerns, racial issues, the Confederate flag, the situation regarding the kneeling during the national anthem during sporting events, the Women’s March, and more. Some of their most persuasive posts were about the church shooting in 2015 in Charleston, the shooting at the Las Vegas concern, and various political rallies.

John Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said, “Americans disagree in good faith” on all types of issues. He promised to “protect their right to do so.” He warned that illegal foreign interference destroys the integrity of the democratic system and that America will “make every effort to disrupt it and hole those involved accountable.”

It should be noted that the complaint absolved Khusyaynova of any significant sway in any of their intended goals. It says that neither her nor Project Lakhta had any impact on the overall election results.

Read the full article here: https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/10/russian-national-charged-with-meddling-in-us-elections/

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