01:53 GMT25 January 2021
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    Russian national Yelena Khusyaynova says she is “proud” that a “simple Russian accountant” can decide who becomes a US president.

    Khusyaynova has commented on US Department of Justice allegations about her involvement in the 2016 US presidential election.

    "My name is Yelena Khusyaynova, I am an accountant of Russian new website ‘Federalnoye Agentstvo Novostey' [Federal News Agency, FAN]," she says in Russian in the video, initially published on the FAN website.*

    "US officials claim it was me who elected [US President] Donald Trump for the Americans. They also say I will elect American lawmakers in November 2018," she added.

    According to Khusyaynova's statement, she is a "simple Russian woman" who has worked her entire life.

    "I know accounting. I know how to manage a fishing kolkhoz [collective farm], how to grow and bring up children, but sadly, I don't know English," Khusyaynova said.

    She added that she was shocked that a simple accountant could determine the outcomes of elections for US presidents and lawmakers.

    "But then, my heart filled with pride: turns out, a simple Russian accountant can choose US presidents, should she only wish so," she said.

    Commenting on the allegations, Khusyaynova called on the citizens "of the entire world" to together "help American people to elect politicians that will act on this Earth humanely, that will lead our planet to peace and kindness."

    "Let us together wish for America to become once more a great and peaceful country," she concluded.

    According to US DOJ allegations, Khusyaynova is the chief accountant for an internet influence operation codenamed "Project Lakhta," which the department described as "a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering."

    The department claims "Project Lakhta" involved the creation of thousands of email and social media accounts in order to wage "information warfare against the United States," and that Khusyaynova was in charge of the operation's budget of more than $35 million.

    The operation "continues to this day," the DOJ claims.

    The department announced last Friday that it had charged Khusyaynova with conspiring to interfere in the upcoming US midterm elections in November. That same day, a joint statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the DOJ, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned that Russia, Iran, China and other foreign actors were conduction "ongoing campaigns" designed to "undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies," and might be used to meddle with the midterms and even the 2020 presidential election.

    Russia has repeatedly denied any allegations of involvement in the 2016 election, during which Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton suffered a crushing defeat. Her loss is attributed by some, at least in part, to the scandal of her mishandling of classified information via a private email server while secretary of state and the subsequent FBI investigation into the matter, which dogged Clinton for much of the campaign season.

    *Correction: The previous version of this article mentioned Russian news website the Daily Storm as the original source of the video's publication.


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