The US Justice Department said on Friday that it has charged Russian citizen Aleksandr Ionov with conspiracy, stating that he was a Kremlin-connected operator who promoted pro-Russian propaganda in America for at least seven years. According to the Independent, Aleksandr Ionov collaborated with a number of political personalities from Florida, Georgia, and California. He is suspected of meddling in the elections of 2014 and 2022.
Aleksandr Ionov allegedly worked as a liaison for the FSB, building contacts with fringe, separatist political parties. According to Reuters, most of the misinformation was focused on undercutting pro-Ukraine sentiment among Americans.
“(Aleksandr Ionov aimed to stir unrest, promote pro-Russian propaganda, and influence in US elections.””
— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) July 29, 2022
According to CNN, the US Treasury Department also unveiled penalties on Ionov.
Aleksandr Ionov works for the Kremlin
According to Law and Crime, Ionov is a Moscow-based Kremlin operator who is leading Russia’s Anti-Globalisation Movement. According to reports, the movement is a sociopolitical organization aimed to weaken huge corporate institutions such as multinational companies. The US Department of Justice, on the other hand, maintains that the movement was committed to political intrigues and agitation under Ionov. Prosecutors, on the other hand, say that they conspired to sow political strife in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Spain. Prosecutors alleged Ionov and his agents enlisted the help of local politicians to propagate lies.
According to prosecutors:
“According to prosecution papers, Ionov reportedly conducted a blatant influence effort, converting US political parties and persons into Russian government instruments.””
His alleged endeavors spanned from internet misinformation to large-scale political rallies. He has been accused of starting a Change.org petition in which the United States is accused of genocide against Africans. It has been suspected that Ionov may have also funded the Uhuru movement, which aims to promote civil rights and development on the African continent. According to NBC, the FBI searched the movement’s headquarters after Ionov’s indictment.
Aside from claims of slandering the American government, Ionov was also charged with meddling with municipal elections in St. Petersburg, Florida, with prosecutors alleging that he acted as the Kremlin’s liaison in supporting certain political campaigns. The papers did not name the US lawmakers who were participating in the scheme. According to authorities, Ionov and the FSB oversaw certain candidates and helped organize their campaigns for a 2019 Florida election. Ionov, on the other hand, has denied the claims. Aleksandr issued an official statement after the announcement of the indictment.
“We got distressing news today regarding my placement on the sanctions list and the opening of criminal prosecution against me. I analyzed the materials and spoke with attorneys in the United States.”
“The idea that I reportedly work for the special services hit me really hard. At the same time, no names or officials are mentioned. These charges are damaging to me.”
The identities of the Americans accused of being participating in the plot have yet to be released by the Department of Justice.