The Washington Post may have violated U.S. government sanctions when it posted an ad by Russian propagandist Alexander Malkevich online – and one man who appeared to be part of Russia's interference in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States Propaganda coup presented and spread false information to sow political chaos worldwide.
Malkevich, chairman of the Foundation for the Protection of National Values (FNVP), a Moscow-based think tank, confirmed this to BuzzFeed News. He paid for the advertisement published on January 30, an open letter to the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj, who asked him to release two Russian nationals.
"The President of the Foundation, Alexander Malkevich, demands from The Libyan Prime Minister […] releases the employees of the Maxim Shugalei and Samer Hassan Ali Seifan Foundation, who were arrested by the Libyan military in Tripoli in May 2019 Last Thursday.
The United States is currently prohibiting business transactions with Malkevich after it was sanctioned in 2018 for "attempting to influence the election" as editor of the Russian propaganda site USA Really (since then it has left the site).
Under Malkevich's leadership, the website sought to "publish content that focuses on divisive political issues but is generally inaccurate," the US Treasury Department said in a December 2018 press release. "Im In June 2018, the United States really tried to hold a political rally in the United States, although efforts were unsuccessful. "
Articles published during Malkevich's tenure reflect the same type of false, misleading and deliberately offensive content from the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin troll farm that interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. The headlines include the anti-Semitic "Star of David in the middle of a caravan with a migration background: who is behind the invasion?" And the anti-trans report "New shocking facts about the gender of Michelle Obama".
"The advertiser did not comply with our advertising standards and the ad should never have served," a Washington Post spokesman told BuzzFeed News. " We quickly removed it from our website and the advertiser is being refunded. "
The ad was published on the website's brand content platform WP BrandStudio, which offers advertisers" the award-winning Washington Post examination lens and a deep understanding of our audience to create compelling multimedia stories – from concept to concept to production ", says marketing materials
BrandStudio's customers include Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
" The Washington Post Newsroom is not involved in the creation of This content, ”says a disclaimer on the website.
Malkevich told BuzzFeed News that he hoped “to draw the international community's attention to Shugalei, a political strategist, and Seifan, an interpreter who both work, for the FNVP.
The Libyan authorities arrested the men for attempting to arrange elections to settle for citizenship, allegedly supported by the Kremlin, as a result of a conspiracy allegedly supported by the Kremlin to help meet the fleeing son of the overthrown dictator last year. The Libyan authorities said they had evidence that linked them to the infamous Kremlin troll farm.
Malkevich denied the wrongdoing and said the men did sociological research to sell them later to "business people and other needy people" from them. "
The publication of the ad made headlines in Russia Today, funded by the Russian government and the Federal News Agency, USA Really's parent company and founding member of Patriot, Media Group, founded last year October by catering oligarch Jewgeni Prigoschin accused by Robert Müller, known as "Putin's cook."
"The Washington Post will help to free the Russians from Libyan captivity," a headline reads in Nation-News.ru, another member of the Patriot Group.
None of the Russian-language websites reported that Malkevich had paid for the letter, with some websites incorrectly claiming that the post had approved Malkevich's demands In an interview last Friday with Ren TV, an independent Russian television station, Malkevich has his role i disguised the placement of the advertisement and expressed his delight that the "liberal" post "had published material" critical of the "tripolitan bandits", who "are finding it increasingly difficult to explain to the world community why they are so behavior".
Malkevich described Libya's treatment of Shugalei and Seifan as a "blatant violation of human rights" and said he had sent a copy of his letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and asked him to intervene in her case.
] It is not the first time that Shugalei has been associated with Russian meddling efforts. In April, BBC Africa identified him as a member of a group of Russians who disguised themselves as tourists and election observers ahead of the 2018 presidential election in Madagascar.
According to the BBC, Shugalei worked for Omer Beriziky out of 36 candidates vying for the president.
"[Shugalei] said he would help and provide technical support," Beriziky's campaign manager Onja Rasamimanana told BBC Africa. "It's like they decided what to do." and we just had to do it. "