Power 100: Russians

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
Yevgeny Prigozhin, Owner, Concord Management & Consulting
Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Associate, Internet Research Agency

Among Trump’s divagations and tergiversations the most puzzling has been his reluctance to challenge Project Laktha, Russia’s proven interference in the 2016 election. Yet Russia looms larger in Washington than at any time since the Cold War, and sometimes it seems as though Vladimir Putin has taken up residence in Chevy Chase. The Mueller investigation has shown that virtually every key member of the Trump campaign had been approached by the Russians at one time or another; Trump’s own intelligence services say the U.S. can expect more of the same intrusions in the 2018 midterms. Yet tougher sanctions enacted by Congress languish in the Oval Office awaiting the presidential green light to be put into effect. And while Washington dithers, Putin is busy in Syria, Ukraine and Crimea, and meddling in U.S. and European elections. The Putin factor may well be waiting for Mueller to detonate it into a full crisis. In February, a Federal grand jury indicted 13 Russians in connection with the Mueller investigation. They included the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s Cook” because he is said to be Putin’s unofficial fixer on such projects as financing the troll factory – the Internet Research Agency – that spearheaded Project Laktha. Also on the list is Aleksandra Yuryevna, an alleged leading member of the troll factory. But in the meantime it remains an ominous subtext to developments in Washington – a reminder of the Edwardian satirist Edward Lear’s poem. “As I was going up the stair,/ I met a man who wasn’t there./ He wasn’t there again today,/Oh how I wish he’d go away.”

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