These measures are the first to be taken under a decree of September 2018 providing for sanctions for attempts to interfere in the electoral process.
The United States on Monday [September 30th] sanctioned several Russian entities and nationals, including Yevgeny Prighozin, a businessman close to the Kremlin, for attempting to influence the 2018 legislative and local elections in the United States, without proof that they have succeeded.
"The actions taken today increase the pressure on an already sanctioned person, Evgueni Prighozine, by targeting his physical assets, including three planes and a yacht, as well as employees of the Internet Research Agency, which Evgueni Prighozine is funding", writes the US agency responsible for enforcing sanctions, OFAC.
"We have been clear: we will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections"said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a separate statement, promising that the United States was ready to "Impose a heavier cost on Russia for its destabilizing and unacceptable activities". These sanctions are the first to be taken in the context of a decree issued in September 2018 by the American president, providing for sanctions in the specific case of an attempt to interfere in the electoral process.
Manipulation of social networks
Prighozine has already been indicted as part of prosecutor Robert Mueller's extensive investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump win the White House. The Internet Research Agency – also targeted Monday as well as six of its members – has been recognized as one of the main pharmacies that helped manipulate social networks in the United States.
Three weeks before the mid-term elections of 2018, the United States had announced the indictment of Elena Alekseevna Khoussianova, a Russian suspected of having organized the financing of a propaganda campaign on social networks intended in particular to weigh on this ballot. She was accused of having been the financial director of an operation from St. Petersburg, dubbed "Lakhta Project" and financed by the oligarch Evgueni Prighozine.