Libya: Arrest of Russians in Libya raises questions over Kremlin election meddling | Jonathan Brown/The National
Authorities in the Libyan capital Tripoli say that two Russians arrested in May were involved in attempts to influence public opinion and swing possible future elections. The Foundation for National Values Protection, a Russian NGO, said on Friday that two of its staff were arrested while carrying out opinion polls. But according to Tripoli authorities, laptops and memory sticks discovered in their possession identified the men as working for Russia’s troll farm that “specialises in influencing elections that are to be held in several African states”. A letter stamped by the attorney general’s office and obtained by Bloomberg named the troll farm as Fabrika Trollei, Russian for “troll factory”, a collection of media sites and political organisations connected to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked Russian tycoon. Mr Prigozhin was placed on the US sanctions list last year for orchestrating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The United Nations and western countries have been trying for several years to hold elections in Libya as a way of bringing about an end to the impasse between the internationally recognised government in Tripoli and rival officials in Benghazi.