The unsealing of the indictment of Alexandr Viktorovich Ionov (aka Alexander Ionov aka Sasha) a Russian citizen and founder-president of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia by a grand jury in the Middle District of Florida laid bare for the U.S. public the Russian intelligence playbook on active measures and election influence. There is nothing new within the indictment with respect to the modus operandi of the Russian FSB (Ministry of State Security). The Department of Justice, presentation of the indictment is exceptionally clear, and this will assist many in wrapping their head around how the Russian intelligence apparatus works, funds, and fuels actions in various countries to achieve their singular goal: To create turmoil in the United States and subversion of global democracy.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said, “As court documents show, Ionov allegedly orchestrated a brazen influence campaign, turning U.S. political groups and U.S. citizens into instruments of the Russian government. The Department of Justice will not allow Russia to unlawfully sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.”

What we learn from the technical coverage of the Russian, Ionov’s, engagement with the three organizations detailed in the indictment is that the Russian was providing a finished copy for publication of graphs designed to foment unrest. Indeed, on March 23, 2022 UIC-5, believed to be identifiable with Gazi Kadzo aka Commander Gazi of the Black Hammer (possibly US Political Group 2) whose protest at Meta headquarters in California was paid for by the Russian FSB, and the poster verbiage provided to Gazi by Ionov. Subsequent to the protest, Gazi forwarded the YouTube video he had made of the event evidence of carrying out the Ionov’s tasking. Which precisely matches the section of the indictment titled “Social Media Company Protest”.

Similarly, the indictment speaks to the “pro-Russian” talking points to be used in a series of video events by U.S. Political Group 1, believed to be The African People’s Socialist Party aka Uhuru Movement, which align with the series of videos presented by the group and the individual believed to UIC-1, believed to be identifiable with Omali Yeshitela, the founder of the group. Especially troubling, yet not surprising was the characterization of the relationship between the FSB and a candidate for local office in St. Petersburg, FL. The indictment notes that in September 2019 UIC-4, believed to be Eritha “Akile’ Cainion as the “candidate ‘whom we supervise.” Implying that Cainion is under the operational control of the Russian FSB via Ionov, and who is alleged to have received campaign funds from Ionov. On the afternoon of July 29, Cainion, held a press conference in which she railed about the U.S. and again voiced support of Russia.

Additionally, Ionov’s support of U.S. Political Group 3, believed to be Yes California, an organization fomenting succession from the United States, is consistent with the goals of the FSB, fomenting discord within the U.S. Indeed, UIC-6 is believed to be Louis Marinelli, the founder of Yes California. In 2018, Ionov complained Marinelli’s rally and demonstration in Sacramento wasn’t as large or impressive as he had hoped. He was quickly dissuaded and shared news coverage of the event with the FSB, which he characterized as, you asked for “turmoil” and “there you go.” Thus evidencing to the FSB that their operational goal had been achieved.

Isolated Russian Influence or a Broader Effort?

Is Ionov the only individual engaged in such activities in the United States? Probably not. He is, however, the one whose network of contacts which he had cultivated to do Russia’s bidding have been identified. Noted Russia analyst and researcher, Olga Lautman commented, “This is how you stop Russia. Expose all their intelligence operations and arrest all the agents on U.S. soil.”

The likelihood of Ionov ever seeing the inside of a U.S. courtroom is slim to none. The likelihood of the unindicted co-conspirators, many who had their homes, vehicles and electronics searched on July 29, remains to be seen. The takeaway is: Russia is very good at this misinformation, disinformation and placement of agitation propaganda. They have been doing it a long time, successfully all over the world. They dedicate personnel, funds and resources to keep fomenting unrest in the West. There is little likelihood they will slow down any time soon.


Related News

Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of