By Peter Santo

March 9, 2022

-The Washington Times


A federal court in New York unsealed a complaint Tuesday charging a dual citizen with acting illegally as an agent of the Russian government in the U.S.

According to court documents, Elena Branson worked on behalf of Moscow to advance Russian interests in the United States. This included incorporating an organization in New York City called the Russian Center New York (RCNY).

In 2019, Ms. Branson coordinated a campaign through RCNY to prevent Hawaiian officials from changing the name of Fort Elizabeth. a former Russian fort on the island of Kauai. It is the last remaining fort in Hawaii and is significant to the Russian government.

Russian officials had renewed interest in the fort after Hawaiian officials began installing signs highlighting the islands’ historical contributions. The Russian government hoped to turn the fort into a tourist destination.

Ms. Branson organized a trip to Moscow for Hawaiian officials to meet with high-ranking Russian government personnel, according to court documents.

She left the U.S. for Russia in 2020 and remains at large.