Yakunin Outfit Hides Involvement of Larry Jacobs and Don Feder in Conference Committee

At Mother Jones, Hannah Levintova has an interesting detail about what happened when she asked the World Congress of Families about its involvement with a “Large Families: The Future of Humanity” conference currently taking place in Moscow:

 WCF managing director Larry Jacobs and WCF communications director Don Feder were listed on the forum’s seven-member organizing committee.

As of last Friday, when Mother Jones asked WCF for comment, Jacob and Feder were still on the list of organizers. By Sunday, the committee list had disappeared from both the English and Russian versions of the website of the Istoki Fund, an endowment run by Vladimir Yakunin, a close adviser to President Vladimir Putin who codirects several of the conference’s sponsoring organizations. The original page, including the committee list, is archived here. A copy of the original press release on the site of another Yakunin-affiliated conference sponsor has also vanished. (Here’s the Russian original.)

Levintova previously noted the members of the committee here; they include the billionaire businessman Konstantin Malofeev (blogged here) and Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, who heads the Moscow Patriarch’s commission on the family.

The conference had originally been scheduled as a WCF event, although the WCF formally withdrew due to the “geopolitical situation”. Jacobs issued a statement a few days ago:

The Russian Organizing Committee determined they wanted to go ahead a conference anyway. We understand, as they do, that the conference that convenes this week in Moscow is not a part of the World Congress of Families.

A few World Congress of Families personnel plan on attending the conference as individuals and supporting our Russian civil society friends who are working to protect the unborn child and the natural family. Though we will be present, as was agreed by the International Planning Committee many months ago, the WCF is not financially supporting the conference in Moscow this week and we have not lent our name to what should be a very interesting conference.

So why the need to scrub the details from the Istoki Fund? Levintova notes a problem with Yakunin and with one of the other organisers, Elena Mizulina:

Yakunin and Mizulina are currently on [Office of Foreign Assets and Control]‘s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list. Once someone is on the list, American citizens and businesses “are generally prohibited from dealing with them,” according to OFAC, which administers economic and trade sanctions.

The Human Rights Campaign (the USA’s “largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization”) has called on the US Treasury to investigate.

Mizulina previously featured on this blog last year, after she became the inspiration for a sexually explicit painting by Konstantin Altunin. The AP describes her as “Vladimir Putin’s new morality crusader, spearheading efforts to curb gay rights, punish online cursing and impose a tax on divorce.” Yakunin, meanwhile, has appeared on numerous occasions; alongside his links to US religious conservatives through the WCF, his World Public Forum initiative has built links with international academics, religious figures, and some other more eccentric characters.

The Moscow Times has some details of the conference itself; there are few surprises:

In choosing conservative values, Russia represents “the final hope” for the modern world, which has been corrupted by the Western debauchery of individualism, consumerism and globalization, participants of a Moscow forum agreed Wednesday.

…Participants lashed out against abortion, same-sex marriage and gay pride parades as threats to Russia’s traditional spiritual core.

President Vladimir Putin sent a greeting to participants via an official from his administration. In his message, Putin spoke about the “large-scale demographic crisis” that civilization faces and “the erosion of moral values” around the world.

UPDATE: Right Wing Watch has some further details, including a link to the schedule. RWW notes in particular the presence of Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, and the far-right French politician Aymeric Chauprade.

The line-up also includes other Americans, such as Austin Ruse (who has his own links with Yakunin and Malofeev) and Evelyn Beahr of Movieguide (Ted Baehr’s daughter), and participants from western Europe, Africa, China, and Iran. There are also two speakers from Ukraine: Sergey Belyakov of the Parents’ Committee of Ukraine, will speak on “Family Policy in Ukraine: Conclusions and Warnings for Russia”, while Bishop Panteleimon Povoroznyuk will discuss “Family Crisis in the Modern Ukraine”.

Keeping the British end up are Ben Harris-Quinney of the Bow Group, and Thomas Ward of the National Association of Catholic Families and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

2 Responses

  1. The provisional schedule of the event also listed “Teodor Bayer” of “Movieguide”. Baehr is (among other notables) a current co-chair of the Coalition on Revival.

  2. Also listed was “Theodore Baer (USA), founder and publisher, Movieguide”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *