A former manager at the Internet Research Agency, the Russian propaganda firm accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. president election, has been living in the United States for the past two months, according to BuzzFeed News.
Agata Burdonova, 31, was an English-language specialist who worked as a manager at the IRA, according to TV Rain, an independent Russian news agency that has broken a number of stories about the IRA. She moved to Bellevue, Washington, on Dec. 7, and has thoroughly documented her move on her social media accounts. She has posted pictures of her boarding pass and Russian passport, a selfie with her husband at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and photos of Seattle’s Space Needle, a suburban American neighborhood, and several Washington parks.
Burdonova denied to TV Rain that she worked for the IRA and did not comment on her move to the U.S. But evidence points to the contrary:
Her former coworkers told TV Rain that Burdonova worked under Katarina Aistova, who was interviewed by the New York Times about the IRA in 2015 before she became the head of its media department. Burdonova posted a picture of herself with Aistova on Facebook and on VK and said she’d had a farewell party as she prepared to fly to the other side of the world.
Internal IRA documents obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller indicate that part of its mission was to conduct “information warfare against the United States of America," and several employees are known to have traveled to the U.S. to do work for the organization.
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.