Yesterday, September 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Russia-linked individuals for attempting to influence the U.S. electoral process. Russia uses a variety of proxies to sow discord between political parties and drive internal divisions to influence voters as part of Moscow’s broader efforts to undermine democratic countries and institutions. In the United States, Russia has used a wide range of influence methods and actors to target our electoral process, including targeting U.S. presidential candidates.
Treasury designated Andrii Derkach (Derkach) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13848 for his efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Derkach, a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services. Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. Yesterday’s designation of Derkach is focused on exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference. This action is a clear signal to Moscow and its proxies that it will not tolerate this activity. The Administration is working across the U.S. Government, and with state, local, and private sector partners, to make the 2020 election secure.
“Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system.”
Derkach’s Election Influence Efforts
From at least late 2019 through mid-2020, Derkach waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day. Derkach’s unsubstantiated narratives were pushed in Western media through coverage of press conferences and other news events, including interviews and statements.
Between May and July 2020, Derkach released edited audio tapes and other unsupported information intending to discredit U.S. officials, and he levied unsubstantiated allegations against U.S. and international political figures. Derkach targeted the U.S. voting populace, prominent U.S. persons, and members of the U.S. government, based on his reliance on U.S. platforms, English-language documents and videos, and pro-Russian lobbyists in the United States used to propagate his claims.
Treasury Continues to Hold Russian Actors Accountable
Today’s designation of Derkach is another example of the Treasury department promoting accountability for Kremlin-linked individuals seeking to undermine confidence in U.S. democratic processes. Treasury has previously designated the Russian troll factory known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), and its Russian financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Prigozhin has been designated by the United States pursuant to E.O. 13661, E.O. 13694, as amended, and most recently by E.O. 13848 for providing material support to the IRA’s influence activities against the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.
Yesterday, September 10, 2020, the U.S. Treasury also designated three IRA actors under E.O. 13694, as amended by E.O. 13757, and E.O. 13848 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRA, an entity designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, and E.O. 13848. Russian nationals Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev, and Darya Aslanova, as employees of the IRA, supported the IRA’s cryptocurrency accounts. The IRA uses cryptocurrency to fund activities in furtherance of their ongoing malign influence operations around the world.
OFAC coordinated today’s action against the IRA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the United States Secret Service.
Because of today’s designations, all property and interests in property of these targets subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. They also block any entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more designated persons.