November 30, 2022

Prigozhin, a Putin confidant, claims to be influencing US elections

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s paramilitary group Wagner Group, says it meddled in the US election. The US has accused the Russian businessman of meddling for years, but until now he has always denied it.

“We intervened, we intervene now and we will continue to intervene. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way,” Prigozhin wrote on Facebook on the Russian version of VKontakte. “During our precision surgery, we remove both the kidney and the liver at the same time.” He didn’t explain what that meant.

The news comes ahead of the ‘mid-term elections’ when Americans elect a new House of Representatives and are allowed to vote for some seats in the Senate.

The White House called Prigozhin’s confession “not surprising.” “It is well known that organizations associated with Yevgeny Prigogine have attempted to influence elections around the world, including in the United States,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

In the summer, the US State Department offered a $10 million reward for information on Prigozhin for involvement in US election meddling. He is on the sanctions list of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

 

Wagner group

 

More recently, Prigozhin became the boss of the embattled Wagner Group, also in Ukraine. In a striking confession, Prigogine sued journalists who accused him of links to the paramilitary organization as he denied for years that he was the leader of the Wagner group. The paramilitary organization benefits from anonymity because of gross human rights abuses.

Prigozhin is an ally of President Putin. For a long time he served food elsewhere in the Kremlin. Because of that role, he is also known as ‘Putin’s Chef’.

AFP

The headquarters of the Wagner Group opened in St. Petersburg last week

Russian experts close to the Kremlin tell Reuters news agency not to expect the midterms to turn in Russia’s favor. While some Republicans oppose continued military aid to Ukraine, Moscow expects aid packages to continue for some time.

“The old Congress is in effect until January and a pretty serious package (of military aid to Ukraine) will be approved before it expires,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the Russia magazine on global affairs.

“Then there will be difficult and long negotiations on aid. Maybe the aid will be less. But in essence, the aim is to weaken Russia as much as possible by supporting Ukraine,” Lukyanov continued.

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Goblin Factory

 

Prigozhin uses his assets in the interests of Russia and Putin. Among other things, he has funded the Internet Research Institute (IRA) from St. Petersburg, known as Goblin Factory. The organization has been polluting the internet with propaganda, fake news and misinformation since 2013.

Lately, Putin’s ‘chef’ has become more public. He openly criticized the Russian military leadership for the poor results in Ukraine.

After the Ukrainian army’s successful counteroffensive in the Kharkov region a month ago, the businessman called on Russian commanders to take their medals. And, as for Prigozhin, they had to be sent to the front barefoot with guns.