Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

A Former Manager At The Russian “Troll Factory” Is Now Living In The US, Report Says

Agata Burdonova somewhere near Bellevue, Washington.

I tried to duplicate the evidence in numerous reports stating that Agata Burdonova is living in Bellevue, Washington, USA, that her husband got a job at Facebook, that she had a Twitter account and a YouTube account, and so on…  and even though I was looking at “screenshots” of her accounts, I couldn’t find her.  I found her blog, however, First impressions of the USA, on LiveJournal.  LiveJournal, in case you don’t know, is a popular Russian blog site. Here is her VK page.

So I am asking for assistance from my friends, living in the State of Washington, to track her down. I want to do an interview.

Initial reports are that there is a large community of Russians that behave like hoodlums in Bellevue, and it would be simple for Agata and her husband to fade into the sea of Russian expats.  Shades of Long Island and the Russian mafia. 

Agata on her VKontakte page
Agata, again from her VK page.

If she worked against us once, she might work against us again, and this time, she’d be inside the US and some would consider her a “US entity”, at least the NSA would.  Not the FBI, however, and the distinction is notable. 

The issue has been discussed many times previously, starting in 1997 with a little exercise called Eligible Receiver.  Then there was a little project called Able Danger, which just preceded 9/11.  Let’s hope that this time we can do it right. 

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The Russian news outlet TV Rain reported that Agata Burdonova moved to the US in December.

Posted on 

Though several IRA employees have taken short trips to the US to do work for the organization, it’s not clear why Burdonova came to the US. On her first photo of Bellevue that she posted to VK, she used the hashtag, in English, #ExtendedStayAmerica. She has maintained the same LiveJournal blog since 2009, claims on VK that her occupation is a blogger, and has posted several photos of herself at home with a computer.

News of the IRA first broke in 2014, after a Russian hacker collective known as Humpty Dumpty leaked documents describing its operations and how employees adopted fake online personas to creating social media accounts with the purpose of muddying online discourse, particularly within Ukraine and Russia. Its early English-language efforts largely consisted of posting pro-Russian messages from immature and often bizarre personas with names like Gay Turtle and Ass.

By 2016, however, the IRA’s America operation had evolved into a major project, with a monthly budget of more than $1.25 million a month for operations and employees posing as dozens of political characters, often with extreme views that would regularly get cited in American media, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment.

The IRA personas pushed a variety of political views, though conservative accounts received far more engagement online.

According to the indictment, the organization dispatched employees to the US to gather information for IRA activities. Two of the accused, Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, received visas and spent three and a half weeks in June 2014 traveling around California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Texas, the indictment said.

Two other IRA employees also applied for visas to the US for a similar operation, according to the charges. One, Robert Bovda, did not end up traveling to the US. The other, who is unnamed in the indictment, spent five days in Atlanta after Thanksgiving in 2014.

A spokesperson for the special counsel’s office declined to comment on Burdonova’s presence in the United States.



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