U.S. charges Russian woman with using ‘troll farm’ to meddle in upcoming elections

World Today

U.S. officials say that Russian nationalists are trying to disrupt the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections. This is significant because it marks the first time U.S. authorities have accused an outside entity with meddling in the elections, now less than a month away.

CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.

The U.S. Justice Department announced it has charged a 44-year-old Russian woman with conspiracy, for her role in allegedly trying “to sow discord” in the United States election system.

Prosecutors allege Elena Khusyaynova was part of a Russian clandestine operation that flooded the internet with hot button issues in the United States, such as gun control, the Confederate flag, and immigration.

In the process she pushed misinformation in an effort to divide U.S. voters.

Court documents say Khusyaynova’s operation was funded by Russian Oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

The operation allegedly used some $35-million dollars to create a media troll farm, and as part of “Project Lakhta,” flooded social media with fake postings to anger, and fuel division in the United States.

Khusyaynova is apparently based in St. Petersburg, and is not in custody.

The indictment comes at a time with the head of US National Intelligence voiced concern about the alleged on-going efforts by Russia, China, and Iran to disrupt the upcoming mid-term elections. While Khusyaynova allegedly works at a Russian firm that was indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2016, – this charge has nothing to do with Mueller’s investigation. Mueller is focused on allegations that Russians set out to cause mayhem during the last general election in the United States.

Prosecutors allege Russia ran an on-line operation that tried to discredit the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and steer votes to Donald Trump.Mueller is apparently trying to determine if he can connect Trump, or his campaign to the rogue efforts.