American justice puts an end to the seduction operation. A Russian politician, Alexander Babakov, already targeted in the past by international sanctions, and two of his collaborators were indicted Thursday in the United States for illegal operations of influence and propaganda hostile to Ukraine, announced the prosecutors in New York.
Alexander Babakov, deputy to the Duma, and his two accomplices are suspected of having acted under cover of an NGO, the “Institute for Studies for International Integration”, to carry out their operations since 2012, before the war in Ukraine.
Propaganda in Congress
Concretely, they are for example accused, in March 2017, of having tried to contact “at least one member of the American Congress” to offer him a free trip to Yalta, a part of Crimea controlled by Russia, for a conference. organized by pro-Russian leader Sergei Axionov, who was under US sanctions.
They are also suspected of having contacted “members of Congress between 2012 and 2017 to request meetings and offer trips to at least one member of Congress on behalf of Babakov as well as other foreign officials aligned with his positions”, Manhattan federal court prosecutors wrote in a statement.
According to American justice, they would have tried to recruit at least one American citizen to help them and “sought to co-opt American and European politicians” for their operations of influence and propaganda. “The indictment demonstrates that Russia’s illegitimate actions against Ukraine go beyond the battlefield,” said prosecutor Damian Williams.
Former leader of the Rodina party, now affiliated with the Just Russia party, Alexander Babakov was appointed by Vladimir Putin in 2012 to head the administration of Russians living abroad. MP and his two aides, Alexander Vorobev and Mikhail Plisyuk, are charged with conspiracy to cause a US citizen to act as an unregistered Russian agent in the US, conspiracy to circumvent US sanctions and conspiracy to commit fraud to visas.