back to article Feds put $10m bounty on Putin pal accused of bankrolling US election troll farm

The Feds have put up a $10 million reward for information about foreign interference in US elections in general, and more specifically a Russian oligarch and close friend of President Vladimir Putin accused of funding an organization that meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. The bounty, offered through the US Department …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    This has been going on for a long time

    I don't work in this field but I've been watching events happening where "talking" and "discussions" in the media have promoted events that appear to have supported the Russian continuation of the Cold War ... the West declared that it was over but never noticed that Russia (icon) had moved it to media influencing. Not just against America but also playing with Europe and the UK ... they have been very successful in achieving their "fighting" and we've lost and are currently seeing the effects in our economies and political systems every day.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: This has been going on for a long time

      An interesting article on the BBC re climate change denial and where some of the foundations for it originated

      Big money influencing world events isn't new, sadly. The deniers, of course, will claim "MSM!!! LIARS!!!" naturally :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This has been going on for a long time

        Don't feed the code junkies!

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: This has been going on for a long time

        I seem to recall a BBC show where they got a bunch of "climate change deniers" and were surprised to discover that almost everybody agrees that climate change exists, but people disagree about the best way of dealing with it.

        Personally I favour building enough nuclear plants to eliminate coal & gas entirely, at which point you can use the excess power to decarbonise heating and cooking by eliminating gas at home in favour of electricity, after which you can do the same thing with transport. Everything required is available now, and we can continue one of humanities golden ages through nothing more than a moderate scale building project of a new nuclear plant laid down a year for the next few decades, and replacing existing fossil fuel burning furnaces with induction furnaces.

        The alternative is to chase technology that hasn't been developed yet and will never be deployable either in time to make a difference, or at a price we can afford, crash said golden age with absurd energy prices, and fail to meet the objectives we set for ourselves, but enrich a small minority at everybody elses expense.

        That, and mitigation measures. With the current British foreign aid budget we could afford to build a nuclear plant and then a dozen desalination plants in Africa each year and have a good go at turning the Africa into a garden via an artificial River Nile. And that'd still only spend half the existing yearly aid budget.

        1. Kabukiwookie

          Re: This has been going on for a long time

          Doesn't matter if real climate change deniers are almost non-existent. Just build up and attack your strawman to create outrage and clicks.

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: This has been going on for a long time

          "a bunch of "climate change deniers" and were surprised to discover that almost everybody agrees that climate change exists," but denied AGW.

      3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: This has been going on for a long time

        In comparison the the amount spent on the other view, the amounts here are very small.

    2. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: This has been going on for a long time

      It could be argue that the continuation of the cold war and the expansion of NATO was largely driven by some 5 American arms manufactures in order to sell more arms.

      In 2006 NATO defence ministers pledge to spends at least 2 percent of their GDP on their dense annually and where does most of that go?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This has been going on for a long time

        "where does most of that go?"

        Soldiers, support staff and their pensions.

        1. Snowy Silver badge

          Re: This has been going on for a long time

          I am not sure that is true, if it was why are there so many veteran charities?

          1. Kabukiwookie

            Re: This has been going on for a long time

            25% of us military families currently are currently food insecure.


            Article is from 2020, couldn't immediately find an article with the current number, but ut hasn't imlroved.

            Some 50% of the annual defence spendkng in the US goes directly to the MIC.

            Couldn't be bothered to look up an article. Do your own research.

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: This has been going on for a long time

          How about $22 billion. for an aircraft carrier?

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: This has been going on for a long time

        It could be and to some extent that would be true, but the same also applies to Russia so they cancel eachy other out.

        1. Kabukiwookie

          Re: This has been going on for a long time

          Russia's yearly defence budget is 69 billion USD.

          The US just sent 54 billion in 'aid' to Ukraine. Some of it in the form of pallets of money to be 'distributed' in the most corrupt european country , with asditional regular huge cash and supply injections planned.

          In the meantime stingers are popping up for sale on the web at $30k a pop.

          Tbis is a disaster waiting to unfold.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: This has been going on for a long time

      And on this side of the pond too, despite the best efforts of the government to suppress the detail...

  2. MooJohn

    "work to undermine the American political system"

    You mean memes? That's a threat to the election process?! That's "meddling" to a criminal degree? That's their dastardly master plan to overthrow the country?

    Thousands of hacks try the same thing every day. The Russians don't have any special abilities in this area.

    1. Mayday

      That’s because “memes” and similar interventions on social media were enough to influence votes, and encourage the “appropriate demographic” to turn up and vote as intended.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          And when you look at the state of education in the US, you understand that it is tailor-made to churn out people of low intellect.

          What a coincidence.

          1. Blank Reg

            The republicans don't want people to think too much, that would cause them to not vote republican


    2. trindflo Silver badge

      "$1.25 million a month"

      over a million dollar a month in strategic trolling is not some kid posting a meme. Think professional lobbyists aimed at targets who are not politicians and used to it.

      Or were you just trolling?

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: "$1.25 million a month"

        No, it is one kid managing to get paid $$$$ for posting one meme a month

    3. cosmodrome

      You obviously underestimate the power of memes. Who ever was able to establish the "the Russians made America vote Trump" narrative -without ever presenting the slightest bit of evidence- definitely is a master of manipulation. I still can't believe people are falling for this sort of obvious nonsense. OTOH it would be fairly easy to manipulate anyone this gullible into voting pretty much anyone but it's not that a multi billion dollar industry including parties, lobbies, TV-networks, PACs and whatnot aren't trying to do exactly that all the time. Of course the balance of this chaotic system immediately flips over as soon as the actual supervillain gets involved...

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        In the 1950's Russia was busy promoting its "left-wing" advocates in all Western countries, including spying that was frequently uncovered - because it was very suspicious to see left-wingers promoting left-wing ideas.. After 30 years of these efforts failing all the time Russia decided to stop the political influencing because it was clearly failing, so their efforts were changed to attack the Western cultures by promoting "right-wingers" - it's worked because the western governments still see Russia as communistic and don't believe that left-wingers would ever promote their "right-wing 'enemies'" - we haven't noticed that the right-wing views are pushing our economies off the cliff.

        Sure, Conservative and Republican attitudes back in the 60's and earlier were "right-wing" but they were busy supporting their inhabitants of each country, not just the politicians - they were generally just good people describing their views back then. Russian political financing under the table has changed that.

        1. Danny 2

          @Version 1.0

          "Conservative and Republican attitudes back in the 60's and earlier were "right-wing" but they were busy supporting their inhabitants of each country, not just the politicians - they were generally just good people"

          Mmm. '60s? The invasion of Vietnam. The carpet bombing of Cambodia. The genocide in Indonesia. Death squads in Central America. Assassinations in South America. Coups left, right and centre against leftists, rightists and centrists. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent victims.

          Mandela arrested. Lumumba burnt. Countless US citizens murdered in the US by the US state.

          Generally good people? Since you obviously don't read any history then please read The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick Or, there is an excellent TV series based on it. There is also an excellent 2012 documentary film about the genocide in Indonesia called The Act of Killing, which interviews mass murderers who all believe they were "generally just good people".

          No, I'm not a commie.

          1. Tom 38

            Re: @Version 1.0

            Pol Pot killed 1.7 million people. We can't even deal with that! You know, we think if somebody kills someone, that's murder, you go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that's what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look through a small window at you forever.

            And over that, we can't deal with it, you know? Someone's killed 100,000 people. We're almost going, "Well done! You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can't even get down the gym! Your diary must look odd: “Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death – lunch- death, death, death -afternoon tea - death, death, death - quick shower…"

            So I suppose we're glad that Pol Pot's under house arrest… you know, 1.7 million people. At least he - we know where he is - under house arrest! Just don't go in that fucking house, you know?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does he have to be warm, or is cold an option?

    asking for a friend.

    1. trindflo Silver badge

      Re: Transporting

      Is warm even possible?

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Transporting

      Unfortunately, current banking sanctions on Russia make it impossible to pay the bounty to anyone in that country.

      I wonder if anyone thought this through...?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Transporting

        LOL, you just pay them with cryptocurrency, it's easy.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Transporting

        Governments make the sanctions rules in the first place. They can change them as they see fit. There are already exception for food, water, pharmaceuticals etc.

  4. Mayday

    So Donald was right?

    The election was rigged?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: So Donald was right?

      The election was rigged?

      Yes and no, 2016 was skewed(waters were muddied) to the point where Trump got elected. Although, he never beat that dead horse, he only beats dead horses when they impede him or so it seems.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: So Donald was right?

        So the wall-to-wall pro-Clinton MSM coverage wasn't also "skewed"?

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: So Donald was right?

          No more than usual. And it certainly wasn't "pro-Clinton", otherwise she'd have a way better reputation than she does.

          It was certainly "anti-Trump", but Trump himself went to a deal of trouble to make sure of that. The sheer novelty of this approach took most of his opponents by surprise, and enabled him to swing the election. In this he was certainly supported by the Russians, and I'm quite sure they made a difference, but how much is unquantifiable.

        2. Blank Reg

          Re: So Donald was right?

          Well you'd have to be an idiot, or pandering to idiots to be pro trump

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: So Donald was right?

            And it would appear you have attracted at least two of them

            So have my upvote.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The great orange stooge

    Donny still believes the Russian spin.

    He’s still up to his hilt in it. Or is it the other way around?

  6. ITS Retired

    How about some Truth in Advertising laws for our own political ads? The spin, out right lies, libel, anything but the facts and truth in our political campaign ads is a scandal in itself. No wonder we only get to choose between evil and almost as evil for our candidates in the general elections, even when much better candidates are running in the primaries.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It's been said by better people than me (Robin Williams, for example), but political candidates should never be able to talk on screen without a visible list of their most important campaign contributors.

      Just so people can see why they're saying what they say.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      It's always struck me as odd that political parties in many countries, but particularly the USA, seem to be exempt from advertising law when advertising their candidates, policies, whatever and seem to be able, quite literally, to lie as much as they like and get away with it, even down to the level of personal accusations, often founded only on rumour, against their opponents. All sides are equally guilty of this.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        The operating word is "laws".

        Who write it? the special interest groups.

        Who vote it? the politicians they bought.

        1. veti Silver badge

          It's worse than that...

          Who informs the public and influences opinions about potential reforms to the law? The media, of course.

          Now, who benefits from candidates spending fortunes on ads?

  7. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    "The IRA is a Russian troll super-farm charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election and thought to have helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. "

    Eh, the thing that helped defeat Hillary Clinton for President was 8 years of Bill Clinton as President. Trump was an unknown and unpleasant candidate, but we knew exactly what we'd get if the Clintons moved back into the White House. Plus he was quite the rabble-rouser, which got even more of the disaffected into the polls to pull the lever for him. Lesser of two evils, possibly, and we didn't realize it was a Pandora's box of the scale it turned out to be.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Hillary was an awful candidate, but I don't think you can claim you weren't warned what Trump would be like.

      And, quick reminder - *more* Americans voted for him the second time around. What was their excuse?

      1. Snowy Silver badge

        Plus Thump used Social Media very well and that got him quite a lot of votes.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        I would hazard to guess that after 4 years of the Trump Administration, even more people (hopefully living) showed up to vote for (and against) Trump.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      The only people who didn't who Trump was were those who had never paid attention to anything in their life.

      It was a nightmare to find out just how many people that was. And it turns out, a very deadly one.

  8. Danny 2

    Dob me in, but cut me in

    I was a peace protester when local cops were offering peace protesters vast sums of cash to grass each other up. Like £10k, but that was vast for us. Everyone was getting more paranoid than usual, especially the already paranoid dope smokers.

    My salve was to offer anyone who grassed me up forgiveness, as long as they gave me a fair share of the filth's filthy lucre, I did get grassed up, didn't get my share - like a snitch is going to play fair.

    I find it discouraging that the US is offering to swap a weapons dealer "Lord of War" for a basketball player. What was she doing playing in a mafia state?

    1. Stork

      Re: Dob me in, but cut me in

      Earning more off-season than at her regular WNBA gig. And I think she went there before 24 Feb, when Russia was officially just another country with a dodgy justice system.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Dob me in, but cut me in

      O think the Russians are just playing with us over the basketball player. While I'll admit that the Russians are miking this rather a lot you have to ask yourself what would happen if she'd been stopped at any other airport. Narita (Tokyo), say, or maybe Singapore? There are lots of signs (not to mention common sense) warning people not to travel with drugs. Now I happen to live in California, one of the more enlightened states where all this "Just Say No" nonsense over weed has gone away. We can get the stuff from our local store. But that doesn't mean it would be a smart idea to travel with it.

      The correct penalty for Griner would have been to confiscate the material, fine her and cancel her visa. That's what happens most of the time. But even in countries like the years, I believe is what you can earn from it.

  9. martinusher Silver badge

    Beating the drum...

    The US directly and indirectly finances numerous NGOs that spread the word about democracy and freedom, they're all over the world. Some are open, some are more indirect. Its what countries do and we do far more of it than most. But then there's this attempt to try to pretend that similar actions are undermining our state, for example:-

    Then there's the 'double down' race to the bottom for the UK's Prime Minister's job -- apparently China's "Confucius Institutes" are a danger to freedom an democracy (we've already gone after them in the US).

    Seriously, who do we think we're kidding? All this sort of BS does is promote cynicism among the populace. (Which I suppose can then be explained away as successful influence operations by a foreign power.) Personally, if I wanted to point a finger for 2016 I'd go just about anywhere except Russia -- Facebook, for a start, and its willingness to sell influence to the highest bidder. (If I were a concerned government I'd be looking at this really closely....)

  10. Big_Boomer


    Whichever side of the debate you are on I suggest that you take a good hard look at where you get your info from as the media are pulling your strings like there is no tomorrow and they have been for years. Yes, I am as vulnerable to it as anyone which is why I read a variety of different sources for my news, not just the one(s) that agree with my personal biases, and double/triple check the stuff that matters most to me.

    What I find most despicable in the world today is the unfettered greed shown by almost all politicians and their owners, coupled with their utter disdain for the people that they are supposed to represent. Whether your politician is red, blue, yellow, green, pink, etc. they all represent whoever pays them the most and that is most definitely not you or me. If you want to know what a politician stands for you only have to FOLLOW THE MONEY.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    It's a start

    See title.

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