On Eve Of Voting, 'Putin's Chef' Prigozhin Admits To U.S. Election Interference
By RFE/RL November 07, 2022
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- both of whom have been sanctioned by Washington and European countries -- has admitted Moscow interferes with U.S. elections and vowed to continue to do so.
In a post on his Telegram social media channel on November 7, Prigozhin, widely known as "Putin's Chef" for his company's catering contracts with the Kremlin, responded bluntly to a question from a follower asking about Russian efforts to influence elections in the United States by saying, "We interfered, we interfere and we will interfere."
The follower's question was posed after RFE/RL cited a Bloomberg article highlighting new attempts by Russia to interfere with U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections on November 8.
Prigozhin's statement is the first such admission from a figure who has been formally implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics. The Kremlin has vehemently denied accusations that it has tried to influence any U.S. elections.
"Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how. During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once," Prigozhin added.
Prigozhin is a tycoon whose vast wealth comes from Kremlin catering contracts and whose notoriety comes from ownership of Russia's most-famous private mercenary company, Vagner -- also known as Wagner -- as well as its best-known "troll factory."
He is also one of the most strident critics of Russian commanders' approach to the invasion of Ukraine, which by many accounts is faltering eight months in.
Prigozhin gained notoriety in the United States over the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a company he funded though its origins are shrouded in mystery.
Dubbed the "Russian troll factory," the company specialized in creating fake online accounts for Facebook and other social media and spreading disinformation and propaganda. It later was implicated in a conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Two years later, a U.S. grand jury indicted Prigozhin, 12 other Russians, and the Internet Research Agency. The FBI put him on its most-wanted list last year.
Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-elections- prigozhin-admits-interference/32119241.html
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|