Secret Kremlin-linked group paid European politicians to support Russia’s interests

An organization run from within Russia’s parliament interfered with European policies on Ukraine by offering cash and perks to European Union politicians to support Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Leaked emails show that a Russian parliamentary staffer, Sargis Mirzakhanian, ran the “International Agency for Current Policy” which built a network of political analysts, journalists, activists, and academics to push Kremlin’s interests abroad.

The group offered cash to politicians to propose pro-Russian motions, covered trips to Crimea for politicians and businessmen and helped bring European politicians to Russia to act as election observers.

The emails suggest that the group paid politicians thousands of euros to put forward pro-Russian resolutions in European legislatures and organized “fake” election observation missions to legitimize the annexation of Crimea.

There are some key findings from investigation, published by OCCRP at Feb 03, 2023:

  • Leaked emails show how a Duma insider built a network of analysts, journalists, and others who helped him push the Kremlin’s interests abroad.
  • His group offered cash to European politicians to propose pro-Russian motions in their local legislatures, and paid far-right activists to publish pro-Kremlin articles in European media outlets.
  • The network arranged trips to occupied Crimea for European politicians and businessmen, with travel and accommodation covered by Russian state-funded organizations and honoraria apparently offered to some individuals.
  • It also helped bring European political figures to Russia to act as election observers, with a 68,000-euro budget allocated to the project.
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