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A collection of Instagram posts removed from the site because they were suspected Russian disinformation. A collection of Instagram posts, which Facebook, its owner, removed from the site in October 2019 after concluding that they originated from Russia and had links to the Internet Research Agency, (AP photo by Jon Elswick).

Yevgeny Prigozhin, ‘Putin’s Chef,’ Continues to Sow Political Discord in the U.S.

Friday, March 20, 2020

One of the enduring mysteries in the U.S. federal court case against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch charged for his alleged involvement in the Kremlin-orchestrated campaign to interfere in America’s 2016 presidential elections, is Prigozhin’s decision to respond to the charges at all. Since Russian law prohibits the extradition of its citizens when they are accused of crimes committed abroad, Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg restaurateur close to President Vladimir Putin, had little reason to fear the long arm of U.S. law.

Indeed, given his Kremlin ties, Prigozhin would have been well within his rights to believe that his friends in high places would insulate him, his company, Concord Management and Consulting, and its subsidiary, the notorious Internet Research Agency, from having to endure a lengthy and expensive criminal trial in the United States. After prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion this week to dismiss charges against Concord and the Internet Research Agency, however, it seems like Prigozhin was at least half right, but for all the wrong reasons. In dropping the prosecution, the Justice Department cited, among other reasons, an unspecified “change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination” as well as “the risk of exposure of law enforcement’s tools and techniques.” ...

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