Emails Reveal Link Between World Congress of Families’ Russian Representative and Russian Nationalists

From J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage at Buzzfeed:

Russian nationalists and social conservatives appear to be working together to use links with “pro-family” organizations in the U.S. and around the world to promote Russia’s geopolitical agenda, according to emails sent between right-wing activists.

…The emails include frequent correspondence between senior Russian figures, such as [Alexander] Dugin, the financier Konstantin Malofeev — who has close ties to Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine and is a patron of causes dear to the Orthodox Church — and Alexey Komov, an official with the Orthodox patriarchy and the “Russian representative” of the World Congress of Families, a social conservative network based in Rockford, Illinois.

The emails were apparently leaked by Shaltay-Boltay (“Humpty Dumpty”) from the account of a certain Georgy Gavrish, “a former official with the Russian Embassy to Greece” who is part of Dugin’s Eurasianist movement (more on Dugin here). Gavrish is described by Buzzfeed as a “gatekeeper” for Malofeev’s European contacts, and the article says that there are hints that he “is involved in handling Dugin’s relationships with separatists in Ukraine and building links with far-right politicians throughout Europe.”

Komov also sent Gavrish a spreadsheet of foreign participants who were “confirmed” as planning to attend September’s  “Large Families: The Future of Humanity” conference in Moscow – members of the World Congress of Families participated, but Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine meant that the WCF decided it would be prudent for the event not to be an official WCF activity. Komov (who also runs a Russian franchise of Ted Baehr‘s Movieguide) told Gavrish he was sending the names “just in case”.

Details of the conference participants were not a secret, although it’s interesting to have a full list, along with their topics, who recommended them, and details of who apparently paid for their travel (although Komov cautioned Buzzfeed that the spreadsheet may not be completely accurate). From the UK, Benjamin Harris-Quinney  of the Bow Group was described as being “keen to speak on the UK Same Sex Marriage Bill and the LGBT lobby”, while the theme of Thomas Ward of the National Association of Catholic Families and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children was “family protection”. Both are listed as having received travel expenses from Vladimir Yakunin’s Foundation of St Andrew the First-Born; Yakunin, a key member of Putin’s inner circle, is currently under sanctions.

And from the USA: Theodore Baehr* and his daughter Evelyn* (Movieguide); Brian Brown (National Organization for Marriage); Josh Craddock (Personhood USA); John DeFrain* (Professor of Family and Community Development); Michael P. Donnelly (Home School Legal Defense Association); Alejandra Fabris (Citizen Go); Donald Feder (WCF – more on him here); Miriam Grossman* (author of Unprotected and You’re Teaching My Child What?); Father Marcel Guarnizo* (Educational Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe); Lawrence D. Jacobs* (WCF); Keith Mason (Personhood USA), Shelly Locke (Power of Mothers); Terrence McKeegan (Holy See Mission to the UN), Miguel Moreno (Leadership Institute); William J. Murray (Religious Freedom Coalition – more on him here); Austin Ruse (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute – Ruse made links with Malofeev in 2013, as I noted here); Daniel P. Schmidt (Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation); Sharon Slater (Family Watch International); and Steven Weber (Christian Broadcasting Network).

Names marked with an asterisk denote those also listed as having received expenses from the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Born; the others paid their own way.

Meanwhile, an earlier article from Softpedia notes how the emails reveal a wider strategy of promoting Russia in Europe:

The endeavor to attract pro-Russian individuals in Europe is financed by Konstantin Malofeev, according to Shaltay Boltay (Google Translate)…

The individuals are occupying important positions in their countries, which allows them certain degree of influence, and have either met Dugin himself or his representatives…

Among the names listed there are Ion Iliescu (former president of Romania), Suleyman Demirel (former president of Turkey), Roman Giertych (former minister of education in Poland [blogged here – RB]), Viktor Orbán (prime minister of Hungary), Robert Fico (prime minister of Slovakia), Vojislav Kostunica (former president of Serbia), Massimo Fini (Italian journalist), Tiberio Gratsiani (president of the Institute of Geopolitics and Applied Sciences in Italy), Jurgen Elsasser (German journalist and political activist), and Felix Allemand (German anti-globalization blogger).

In June, Swiss media broke the story of a secret meeting between Malofeev, Dugin, and some right-wing political figures in Vienna; and just recently, it was reported that France’s Front National had borrowed a large sum from a Cyprus-based company called Veronisa Holdings, which happens to be owned by a KGB agent turned-banker named Yuri Kudimov.

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