Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday filed his first criminal charges against Russian nationals and businesses in his investigation of Russian government influence in the 2016 election and collusion with the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump.
The defendants are accused of working in conjunction with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which is also under indictment for allegedly conducting information operations to influence the 2016 election in the United States.
The Internet Research Agency operated what's become known as "troll farm" in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown that employed hundreds of English speakers to pose as Americans and gin up controversy and discord on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites during the months leading up to the election.
The company, referred to as the "ORGANIZATION" in the indictment, "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including... supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton," according to the indictment.
Thirteen Russian nationals were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants were also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Five defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft. Here's a rundown:
Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin
Prigozhin, 56, is a businessman from St. Petersburg who’s been called “Putin’s chef” by Russian media because his restaurants and catering businesses have hosted dinners between Putin and foreign dignitaries.
Prigozhin is on the list of those sanctioned by the U.S., according to the Associated Press.
Prigozhin is accused of funding the Internet Research Agency, through companies he controlled —Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering — and using them to launch operations against America. He paid the "ORGANIZATION," all the rest of the defendants and other unnamed employees, the indictment said.
Prigozhin's co-defendants arranged through social media for a U.S. person to stand in front of the White House on May 29, 2016, three days before Prigozhin's birthday, with a sign saying "Happy 55th Birthday Dear Boss."
“The Americans are very impressionable people, they see what they want to see,” Prigozhin reportedly told the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti on Friday. “I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”
Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov
Bystrov allegedly was named the general director of the Internet Research Agency, and served as the head of various other entities it used to mask its activities, including Glavset LLC, where he was also listed as general director.
He is accused of holding regular meetings with Prigozhin around 2015 and 2016. Bystrov is a retired police colonel, according to Voice of America.
Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik
According to the indictment, Burchik was named executive director of the "ORGANIZATION" as of March 2014, holding the second-highest ranking position. During operations to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election, Burchik was a manager involved in operational planning, infrastructure and personnel.
Burchik is described in a 2015 New York Times report as a young tech entrepreneur connected to the “Masss Post” tool used to create bulk social media postings.
Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova
Krylova worked for the IRA from around 2013 to at least November 2014, according to the indictment, and was its third-highest ranking employee. She allegedly entered the U.S. on false pretenses in June 2014 and traveled through Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas and New York to “gather intelligence.”
Sergey Pavlovich Polozov
Polozov “served as the manager of the IT department and oversaw the procurement of US. servers and other computer infrastructure that masked the Russian location when conducting operations within the United States,” according to the indictment.
An unnamed co-conspirator who worked for the company traveled to Atlanta in November 2016, and shared information gathered with Polozov, according to the indictment.
He traveled to the U.S. to create virtual private networks to hide his organization's ties to Russia, while communicating with U.S. citizens, the indictment said.
Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva
According to the indictment, Bogacheva oversaw the IRA’s data analysis group, and allegedly traveled through the U.S. in 2014 to gather intelligence along with Krylova.
Together with Krylova, Bogacheva planned travel itineraries, purchased equipment such as cameras, SIM cards and disposable phones and discussed security measures, including “evacuation scenarios” for defendants who traveled to the U.S., the indictment said.
Maria Anatolyevna Bovda
Bovda worked at the company from November 2013 to October 2014 as head of the translator project.
The project “focused on the U.S. population and conducted operations on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” according to the indictment.
Robert Sergeyevich Bovda
Robert Bovda served as deputy head of the translator project and tried to travel to the U.S. under false pretenses to collect intelligence but could not obtain a visa, according to the indictment.
Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina
The defendant is accused of admitting her involvement in the operation and a subsequent coverup in an email to a relative in September last year, after Mueller’s probe had started.
“We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity,” Kaverzina allegedly wrote, “so I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.”
She also wrote: "I created all these pictures and posts and the Americans believed that it was written by their people."
Dzheykhun "Jay" Aslanov
Aslanov was described by a manager at the ORGANIZATION's "troll farm" in St. Petersburg," according to an October interview on Moscow's Dozhd TV with former employee Alan Baskayev. Baskayev was the third former troll to identify Aslanov as a supervisor at the facility, according to the Moscow Times, which described the interview.
"Jay was a really bad manager: not the most competent in this field, well, frankly speaking, generally incompetent, but he had assistants,” Baskayev told Dozhd TV.
Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev
Podkopaev allegedly was responsible for conducting U.S.-focused research and drafting social media content for the IRA, according to the indictment.
Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko
Vasilchenko was allegedly “responsible for posting, monitoring, and updating the social media content” for many IRA-controlled accounts “while posing as U.S. persons or U.S. grassroots organizations.”
Venkov allegedly “operated multiple U.S. personas, which he used to post, monitor, and update social media content,” the indictment stated.