Statements by “Putin’s cook” exposed Russian attempts to disrupt US elections

Statements by “Putin’s cook” exposed Russian attempts to disrupt US elections
Statements by “Putin’s cook” exposed Russian attempts to disrupt US elections

Statements by “Putin’s cook” exposed Russian attempts to disrupt US elections

A confession by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin, that he “interfered, has interfered and would interfere in the future” in the American elections sheds new light on the issue a day before the Midterm elections that will decide the fate and strength of the Republican and Democratic parties in Congress.

US officials said the comments did not bring anything new the US government did not know about the role of Russia and its attempts to interfere in the US election, while analysts said “these comments should not be taken seriously.” .

Prigozhin’s spokesman wrote according to the broadcaster FoxNews “We have intervened, we have intervened, and we will continue to intervene in the US election “carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way.”

Prigozhin is among the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 10 Most Wanted Persons for multiple counts, including election interference, and is on the US sanctions list.

Prigozhin, dozens of other Russian citizens and three Russian companies are accused of conducting a secret social media campaign aimed at sowing discord and dividing American public opinion ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is behind the logo of his notorious Wagner company

They were charged in 2018 as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Distortion of the credibility of the elections

The writer, Peter Beaumont, says in an article published in the newspaper The guard A large part of Russia’s tactic is to sow distrust in the effectiveness of democratic institutions.

He adds that Prigozhin is trying to form the idea that the election results cannot be trusted.

Similar doubts sparked major tensions in the United States after former US President Donald Trump lost the election, and tensions escalated to the point that a group of protesters stormed the Capitol.

This has led to a crackdown on Prigozhin’s internet activities in Africa by social media companies, including Meta and Twitter, where Facebook has removed fake accounts linked to him that have promoted Russian policies against the Central African Republic and, to a lesser extent, Madagascar and Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and South Africa.

White House Press Secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre said Monday that Prigozhin’s comments “don’t tell us anything new or surprising.”

“It is well known and publicly well documented that organizations associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin attempted to influence elections around the world, including the United States,” she added.

“The United States has been working to uncover and counter Russia’s malicious influences,” Pierre said, noting that Yevgeny had been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

And she continued: “Part of Russia’s effort involves promoting narratives aimed at undermining democracy and sowing division and discord, and it is not surprising that Russia is highlighting these efforts and attempts and telling a story about theirs.” related successes on the eve of the elections.”

The Justice Department moved in 2020 to drop charges against two of the indicted firms, Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, saying they have concluded that a trial against a corporate defendant who does not have a presence in the United States be likely to reveal sensitive law enforcement tools and techniques.

And in July, the State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on Russian interference in US elections, including in Prigozhin and the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based group that has accused its companies of funding.

Russia’s internal disputes

This is Prigozhin’s second such endorsement, after admitting in September he founded and funded the notorious Wagner militia in 2014 and began speaking out about its involvement in the war in Ukraine.

One possibility, Beaumont’s article suggests, is that Prigozhin’s comments should be seen as part of his efforts to position himself in a more formal role in Putin’s aggressive war against Ukraine, in alliance with a faction of hardliners who accuse Russian generals of obstructing the war process to have .

“We should not take Prigozhin’s admission of interference in the US elections at face value,” says Beaumont.

Washington Institute analyst Anna Petrovichskaya says Prigozhin’s latest announcement points to “problems within the Russian leadership.”

She added to Al-Hurra that “Prigozhin is one of the most extremist currents within the Russian leadership and his statement shows his desire to embarrass the traditional leaders” by making his current appear capable of moving into the US – to meddle in elections.

But Petrovichskaya says it’s too early to know why he was making such statements at this point

According to analyst Petrovichskaya, Prigozhin has “nothing to lose” after his ties to Wagner and his attempt to rig the elections were exposed.

It also says that “the United States may not show any reaction because it has repeatedly confirmed that Prigozhin tried to interfere in the US elections and basically fined him after that allegation,” noting that his Confession “reveals nothing that is not known at all.”

And US intelligence agencies have issued multiple assessments that Russia has deployed influencing operations targeting multiple US elections, most recently in 2020.

Yevgeny Prigozhin on an FBI poster that reads “Wanted”

“The traditional way of working in Russia isn’t as much about supporting a particular party or candidate as it is about wanting to undermine American voters’ confidence in the electoral process and cause trouble,” writer Rebecca Kofler told Fox News .

Prigozhin’s statements come a day before the midterm elections that will determine the majority for leadership of Congress, an election that is very sensitive on the American scene.

But analyst Petrovichskaya told Al-Hurra that “the United States has become more cautious and strict about securing the elections, so Prigozhin’s comments are unlikely to pose a threat to the credibility of the elections.”

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