Evgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked oligarch known as “Vladimir Putin’s Chef,” appeared to admit in a Telegram post on Monday that Russia interfered in the US elections.
Responding to journalists’ questions about possible Russian interference in Tuesday’s U.S. congressional elections, Prigozhin said Russia has, continues to, and will continue to interfere in the U.S. democratic process. said it would.
“I will answer you very subtly and delicately. rice field.
“Carefully, precisely, surgically, and the way we know it. Our pinpoint surgery removes both the kidney and the liver at once,” he added.
Prigogine has no post in the Russian government, but his statement appeared to be the first endorsement of a high-level Russian campaign to interfere in US elections from someone close to the Kremlin.
Prigozhin was reportedly one of Putin’s trusted confidantes, so close that the Russian press dubbed him the Russian president’s “chef” after he started catering for Kremlin events. Prigozhin then won catering contracts with schools and the Russian army, and by 2010 was an insider in the Kremlin, a growing commercial empire.
It wasn’t immediately clear how seriously Prigozhin was taking his comments. However, the United States has imposed sanctions on Prigogine for funding the Internet Research Agency, a notorious Russian troll farm accused of interfering in several recent US elections. Prigogine was also indicted in 2018 on conspiracy to defraud the United States by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with alleged election interference.
The Kremlin has accused Russian-linked hackers of interfering in US elections since at least 2016 when they successfully hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. has been condemned. These documents were released during the campaign homestretch to embarrass the Democratic nominee.
US officials and prosecutors have warned of similar hacking attempts and disinformation campaigns by Russia ahead of the 2020 presidential election and Tuesday’s election. Russian agents are suspected of using far-right media platforms to smear Democratic candidates in Georgia, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, private researchers said Thursday.
Russian officials, including Putin, have consistently denied US interference in politics.
For many years Prigogine operated mainly in the shadows and behind the scenes. In recent months, however, he has developed a more public figure. This is probably because the balance of power within Russia has shifted as the losses in Ukraine have piled up.
In September, Prigogine authorized the creation of the Wagner Group, a private mercenary group accused of war crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.
More recently, American and European officials have claimed that Prigogine is trying to use the stalled war effort to increase its influence in the Kremlin. He directly confronted Putin about his belief that he was being controlled.
The Kremlin denies that officials have criticized its management of the war.