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Russia is trying to gain influence on European politics through the youth branch of the extreme right and extreme left-wing parties

(Translated from Russian by my Chrome browser)

by Bellingcat

Available evidence suggests that in order to lobby for the lifting of European sanctions against Russia, the Kremlin has chosen to youth organizations, including the youth branch of European parties. Also, work is being done with other youth organizations in order to improve the image of Russia abroad. Although it resembles the Soviet Union’s efforts to win the hearts and minds of Western youth, Russia has shown a willingness to work with organizations across the political spectrum. This includes work with both the extreme right-wing “alternative for Germany» (AfD), and from the far-left “of the World Federation of Democratic Youth”, conducting a large-scale festival that is Russia going to take this year.

Conference “Freedom of Europe”

The next day after the inauguration of Donald Trump in Germany, the conference ” Freedom of Europe “. It was attended by key European far-right politicians, claiming to be the power in their own countries, such as Geert Wilders (Netherlands), Marine Le Pen (France) and Frauke Petry (Afd, Germany). On the eve of the conference the Russian newspaper “Izvestia” has released a dedicated her article . Reporters talked to the leader of the youth wing of AfD Fronmayerom Marcus, who recently married a Russian journalist who writes for the “News” on the subject of Russia’s relations with Germany and the EU.

According to the newspaper, the main event of the conference should be to “create a” road map “Eurosceptic alliance in 2017”.

Although this conference, at first glance, has nothing to do with Russia, due Fronmayera reminiscent of the relations of this country with a variety of far-right parties, which demonstrates that Russia’s attention concentrated on the forthcoming elections in European countries.

Fronmayera ties with Russia

Last December Fronmayer held a meeting with Konstantin Petrychenko, Head of the Department of International Relations of Putin’s party “United Russia” and the leaders of the youth organization “Joint Youth Front” (OMF). During this visit, he also met with Anton Morozov, State Duma deputy and member of the Duma committee on international affairs. Xenia SHLYAMINA of OMV on his page on Facebook wrote that the meeting was devoted to “the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Germany in terms of sanctions.”

The site lists the projects carried out by OMV them, one of which is called “Russia – Europe: a new twist.” He is described as a campaign to conduct a dialogue, “Russian politicians and representatives of the youth wings of major European parties, advocating for the lifting of sanctions against Russia.”

OMV itself is described as a “social movement” that “supports the course of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Over the past year Kseniya Shlyamina and her husband Nikolai Shlyamin, are both members of the management OMV held a series of meetings with Fronmayerom. Last July, the pair took part in the conference , conducted by the youth wing of the AfD in the German town of Bingen am Rhein. SHLYAMINA writes that the conference proposed to “create a common security zone with Russia, instead of NATO, from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

She also reported that the OMV and Fronmayer “agreed to develop the project” I’m the daddy “throughout Europe.” “I’m the daddy” is described as a ” social project “, whose task is to create a special website and a network of clubs to help young fathers. “RT” reports that the Russian approach to family values became interested in including Fronmayer: “According to the German deputies eurosceptics, Russia – a sample of family policy, while in Germany in this regard,” there are excesses. ‘ ” In the article “RT” also reported on an agreement with German politicians, Eurosceptics on the transfer site “I’m the daddy” in English, to make it more accessible to Europeans.

But Russian officials are not limited to only one German AfD, the same way they interact with the “Austrian Freedom Party» (FPO). As reported, last December, the ruling party of Russia and the Austrian nationalists signed an agreement to work together in the “youth, women’s, educational, humanitarian and other social organizations” in order to “strengthen friendship and educate the young generation in the spirit of patriotism, and the joy of labor.”

Together with members of OMV Fronmayer met in December 2016 in Moscow with the head of international destinations “Young Guard of United Russia” Daria ball. “Young Guard” also plays an important role in reaching out to Russia with foreign youth movements.

From left to right: Daria Sharov, Alexander Varlamov, Marcus Fronmayer Nicholas Shlyamin Konstantin Petrychenko Ksenia SHLYAMINA Julius Vinogradov

In April 2016 balls and other members of the “Young Guard” arrived in Belgrade, where they visited the event which has strong ties with Russia Serbian People’s Party and the Nationalist Party ” doors ” that was supported by Russian state media. One of the accompanying Sharov wrote on this trip that Serbia discussed “youth projects”.

Russia’s influence on European youth movements

Democratic Party of Serbia has a youth wing, led by Milan Milyutin. In 2014, the “Doors” staged a demonstration, whose participants holding banners against NATO and Vladimira Putina portraits. “Young Guard” has told about it on its website, accompanied by an article Milutin statement.

Milutin has repeatedly participated in conferences held DEMYC (Democrat Youth Community of Europe, the Democratic Youth Community of Europe). Some of them also attended Darya Sharova from the “Young Guard”, including a trip to Beirut in December 2016 and a summer school in the Austrian Graz in July 2016.

In describing the mission DEMYC said to create a “permanent links between centrist and center-right parties all over the world”, but it is also linked with the political objectives of the Kremlin. In December 2014, “Young Guard of United Russia” hosted the “guest of honor” – the chairman of DEMYC Antonio De Lucia during his visit to Russia, where he met both with the leadership of both the “Young Guard” and visited the State Duma. De Lucia and Chairman of the Coordination Council of the “Young Guard”, “discussed the plans for further international cooperation … [including] the current crisis situation in Ukraine … Antonio De Lucia supported the Russian position on this issue.” It is reported that, in addition, he “offered his help to maintain a positive image of Russia in the world community.”

President DEMYC Javier Hurtado world last year was Russia’s observer at the elections and in a conversation with journalists «RT» , commended the electoral process and the situation with democracy in Russia. Peace and other members DEMYC participate in various activities along with various center-right organizations in Europe and not only, including ” Fidelitash “, youth wing of the party “Fides”, the student wing of the party “Lebanese Forces” and the British Conservative Party . Also World and de Lucia jointly participated in a meeting in the European Parliament in December 2014.

Russian officials are building a relationship with the extreme left

But along with the establishment of contacts with the European far-right and center-left youth organizations, Russian officials and build relationships with the extreme left. In February 2016 the former head of the Russian Federal Agency for Youth Affairs “Rosmolodozh” Sergey Pospelov held a meeting with the president ” of the World Federation of Democratic Youth » (World Federation of Democratic Youth, WFDY) Nicholas Papadimitriou. WFDY is considered to be the continuer of affairs which existed previously in the Soviet times, “the Communist Youth International,” associated with “Comintern” . In the middle of the XX century he led WFDY Alexander Shelepin , subsequently headed the KGB.

Since the cold war may be delayed, in 2015 “Rosmolodozh” filed an application to conduct satisfied WFDY World Festival of Youth and Students. This festival is held every four years, and for the financing of the bidding campaign fund related to the Russian government, has been awarded a grant of 10 million rubles. Russian efforts were unsuccessful, and WFDY approved the holding of the World Festival of Youth and Students in 2017 in Sochi, a city where he spent the last Winter Olympics.

The slogan of the upcoming festival is fully consistent with the communist association with the event: “For peace, solidarity and social justice, we are fighting against imperialism – respecting our past, we are building our future!” Festivals WFDY tied to the country in which these messages are welcome. Previous took place in 2013 in Ecuador, and the meeting with the leadership of Pospelov WFDY in June last year was held at the preparatory meeting of the organization in the capital, Caracas, Venezuela .

In “Rosmolodozhi” I expect that this year 30 thousand people will take part in the festival. “Revolutionary Communist Youth League,” one of the Russian organizations intending to participate in it, quite clearly characterizes it to the far left position and align its conduct with the centenary of the October Revolution : “In October this year, the eve of the century, the Great October Revolution in Russia’s Sochi will be held XIX World festival of youth and students, which the revolutionary young Communist League will take an active part, along with foreign comrades. ”

Revolutionary painting festival, it seems, are interested and Russian radical politicians. In February 2016, representatives of the WFDY visited Russia. Pospelov and Papadimitriou met with the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennadiem Zyuganovym .

In the foreground, the Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and WFDY President Nicolas Papadimitriou

Pospelov and Papadimitriou during this trip also took pictures with the Russian far-right politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky . Another Russian official, met with representatives of WFDY during their visit to Russia became Olga Evko previously worked in “Rosmolodozhi”, and now, the Russian analogue of the USAID “Rossotrudnichestvo”.

Activities Evko in recent years demonstrates the scope of work of Russian youth organizations across Europe. In August 2014, she participated in the event of the movement “ROME. Russian-Italian youth. Russian in Rome. ” In April 2014 it was listed as one of the organizers of the Youth Forum “Seliger”, and in August 2016 at the All-Russian Youth Educational Forum “Iturup” sat next to Hurtado Miroy from DEMYC.

Evko pictures from various events also point to Russia’s desire to gain influence in the Netherlands. In September 2016 she was captured in the photograph , which is lined with Zurab Agirbov working in the “Rossotrudnichestvo” representation in the Netherlands.

“Rossotrudnichestvo” and Dutch youth

One of the most notable events in which Agirbov participated, took place in July 2014, when he organized the visit of the delegation of young Dutch in Moscow. The Conference was entitled ” New Generation ” and included presentations from the “Young Guard” and “Rosmolodozhi” and “Rossotrudnichestvo”.

Among other things discussed “Media support of political events, the impact of media on public opinion, especially on young people” and “what mechanisms you can use, that manipulations were fewer and objective information more.” One of the main topics was the war in Ukraine, was also invited to “a few project ideas for the development of further communication and interaction between Russian and Dutch youth”, discussed the decision by the “official press” “deception” of the problem and how to “eliminate the lack of information and cooperation” .

After this trip, the group «Generation Next» Facebook in a discussion on the issues of cooperation, during which they discussed the creation of a site and carrying out joint projects, such as the online debate. In March 2015 on the issue of obtaining external financing Zurab Agirbov said: “I spoke to our central office with this idea and I am sure they will find a way to support the project,” – from which we can conclude that “Rosmolodozh” glad to pay for further work .

Young people participating in a trip to Russia in the framework of the “New Generation”, in October 2014 were also invited to a meeting in the Russian embassy in The Hague. The event was organized by Eric Mike Havenaar, head of the ” Russian Center of expertise “.

The building of the Russian Embassy in The Hague, in which the “new generation” through Facebook to organize meetings

The “Expert Center” has its own group in Facebook, is mainly used for the dissemination of pro-Kremlin propaganda . Its mission is “to contribute to a better understanding of Russia’s activities in the Netherlands and Belgium.” “Expertise Center” “on many projects interacts with” Rossotrudnichestvo “and the Embassy of Russia” and “is the youth organization of the Embassy of Russia and the representation of” Rossotrudnichestvo “in the Netherlands for people who want to do business with Russia ,” as well as organize “special programs for Dutch colleges and universities to work with Russian universities. ”

The ultimate goal of Russia

In the article «Stratfor» , published in 2011 and dedicated to the Russian youth organization, describes how Russia is beginning to spread its influence abroad. It is noted that “the Kremlin can use Russian youth organizations in their interaction with other countries and will already have a presence in these countries, if Moscow considers aggression preferable to cooperation.”

In 2017, the question of coverage of youth Russian branches of foreign political parties is no longer trivial, given the controversy surrounding its intervention in US elections. It expressed serious concern about the support of the Kremlin ” extremist pro-Moscow candidate .” Russian attention to youth organizations is amplified in this crucial election year in Europe, and the number of Russian interference in evidence European and American politics continues to grow.



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