Russian oligarch and mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin taunted the U.S. on Monday about his country’s past, current, and future interference in American elections, likening himself to a surgeon set to remove the country’s “kidneys and liver.”
Prigozhin was a key figure in Russia’s 2016 election interference efforts: During Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the DOJ laid out a series of accusations about the role Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency played that year.
Known as “Putin’s Chef” in part for a role he once had catering for the Russian president, Prigozhin has moved beyond internet trolling and hacking in recent years. He’s become known in part for his private military company Wagner Group, which has supplied troops to fight in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He’s cultivated a Bond villain aesthetic, with videos of Prigozhin recently appearing in Russian prison camps, where he urged convicts to earn their freedom by fighting with Wagner.
Prigozhin issued the statement about election interference — confirming and promising more election interference — in response to a press inquiry from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty which the oligarch’s press service made public.
“I will reply to you very delicately and with finesse, and I ask for forgiveness, that I will allow a certain double-meaning,” Prigozhin said in the statement. “Gentlemen, we interfered, are interfering, and will interfere.”
The remarks come one day before the midterm elections. RFE/RL’s inquiry referenced a recent Bloomberg News article which reported that Prigozhin’s Internet Research Agency was using political cartoons to target Democrats in tight races across the country.
Prigozhin went on to say that Russia would interfere “carefully, precisely, surgically and in our way, as we know how to do it.”
“During our precise operations we will remove simultaneously both kidneys and the liver,” he added.
In a follow-up to the statement, Prigozhin’s press service advised readers to watch a Russian film called “The Sixteenth,” a lowbrow comedy about a motley group of hackers who team up to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election.