On February 16, 2018, Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller along with 12 other Russian individuals and three Russian entities.
Bystrov was allegedly the general director of the Internet Research Agency, its highest ranking position. According to Russian media reports, prior to leading “troll farms,” Bystrov served as the chief of the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, a federal law enforcement body that encompasses Russian police organs.
The indictments accused the defendants of embarking on an “information warfare” scheme through which they attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to assist in electing Donald Trump as president. The counts include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictments charge that the Internet Research Agency LLC “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes.” Defendants Bystrov, Burchik, Krylova, Bogacheva, Polozov, Bovda, Bovda, Aslanov, Podkopaev, Vasilchenko, Kaverzina, and Venkov “worked in various capacities to carry out [Internet Research Agency LLC’s] interference operations targeting the United States. The Internet Research Agency LLC allegedly received funding from defendant Prigozhin and his companies, including defendant entities Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering. No pleas have been reported for these defendants.