Justice Department Charges Russian National with Interfering in 2018 Elections


Federal prosecutors are pursuing charges against a Russian woman accused of interfering in U.S. affairs with the intent of impacting the upcoming midterm election.

As Fox News reported, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the Department of Justice action in a statement released on Friday.

“Today’s charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” the statement revealed.

According to information contained in the media release, the 44-year-old suspect had served as the chief accountant for Project Lakhta.

Wray described the entity as “funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering.”

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Khusyaynova is accused of approving expenditures for the operation, which the FBI believes included “foreign influence activities directed at the United States.”

As part of his statement, Wray explained the importance of catching such allegedly bad actors early and putting an end to any such conspiracies.

“Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy,” he wrote. “Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.”

The alleged operation privately referred to the data it obtained as “information warfare against the United States,” Wray wrote.

He described some of that information as “detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers, and ‘promoting news postings on social networks.'”

The larger goal, according to Wray, was to “spread distrust towards candidates for U.S. political office and the U.S. political system in general” as well as “to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements.”

He further described the allegations surrounding this operation as part of a larger effort to destabilize America’s electoral system.

Wray concluded that this case “serves as a stark reminder to all Americans” that “foreign adversaries continue their efforts to interfere in our democracy by creating social and political division, spreading distrust in our political system, and advocating for the support or defeat of particular political candidates.”

In the face of these efforts, however, he said the FBI is committed to working alongside other law enforcement agencies to combat “unlawful influence operations.”

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NBC News cited U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger, who echoed Wray’s description of the suspect’s motives.

“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” he said.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
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Topics of Expertise
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