Yuriy Syrotyuk

26 April 2024


Bribery and lies are a long-standing traditional tool of Russian imperialism for the promotion of influence. From the time of the secession of this ulus of the Golden Horde to the present day, “sable and fur” and an endless stream of lies have been the points of entry and influence of Muscovy on its neighbours. Disorienting the mass consciousness and buying agents in Europe or elsewhere is always the first step before physical aggression. At least the adoption of a separate European Parliament resolution on the eve of the June elections on countering Russia’s attempts to interfere in European democratic processes testifies to the scale of the threat of Russia’s corruption and informational aggression against the West.

The European Parliament called on the Council of the EU to include media resources and people responsible for propaganda and disinformation campaigns in the future EU package of sanctions against Russia. By the way, among the disinformation network creators is the odious Putin agent Viktor Medvedchuk, who was building a similar network in Ukraine on the eve of Russia’s large-scale aggression.

A joint investigation by Czech and Belgian intelligence agencies uncovered a hostile intelligence network that used European lawmakers to spread Russian propaganda through a Prague-based news site with the pretentious name “Voice of Europe.” 16 MEPs who spoke in “Voice of Europe”, representing Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland, are suspected of having received funds for promoting Russian narratives.

According to the results of a journalistic investigation by the Czech newspaper “denik N” and the German magazine “Der Spiegel”, leading German politicians from the “Alternative for Germany” party Petr Bryston and Maximilian Krach are suspected of having received funds, and the special services have the relevant audio recordings, in particular, conversations between Peter Bryston and the producer ” Voice of Europe” by Artyom Marchevsky. Bryston, who spread pro-Russian narratives and systematically tried to disrupt aid to Ukraine, complains in a recorded conversation that he cannot use part of the currency he received in Germany. The 200 euro notes received are not accepted either at gas stations or in stores.  By the way, Petr Bryston, who is accused of receiving about 20,000 euros for his services, is running for the European Parliament at number two on the list of the “Alternatives for Germany” party.  However, €20,000 is a pittance compared to the millions, if not billions, that Russia pours into its global network of corruption spreading its influence and narratives in Europe and the United States.

Cohorts of leading politicians, retired and active, lobbyists, journalists, cultural and sports figures, cultural foundations, and an army of Russian artists touring the leading art venues or having contracts with the most famous institutions. This network includes thousands of bot armies in key social networks and even “foreign” supposedly oppositional Russian mass media that have moved to Europe, but continue to diligently and via intricate networks spread Russian narratives.

Even before the war, Putin carefully built a global corrupt network of influence. On the surface of this network are the prime ministers of leading European countries, such as the retired Prime Minister of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, who immediately after resigning from his position received a seat on the Board of Directors of Rosneft, and later as the chairman of the shareholder committee of the Nord Stream AG campaign “, created for the exploitation of the Nord Stream.

Dozens of European high-ranking officials received seats on the supervisory boards of Russian state monopolies with multimillion-dollar fees. For example, before the Russian-Ukrainian war, about 30% of the Board of Directors of Russian campaigns were occupied by foreign top managers. Among the most famous, in particular, is the former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria Karin Kneisl, who danced at her own wedding with Putin, and now has moved and lives in Russia. Former high-ranking foreign intelligence official of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR (“Stasi”) Matthias Warnig, managing director of Nord Stream, member of the supervisory board of VTB and the board of directors of Transneft and Rosneft. Former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, member of the supervisory boards of MTS and Lukoil. The retired former prime minister of Finland, Esko Aho, was on the supervisory board of Sberbank, and the former prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzo, was on the board of directors of Delimobile. Another former Chancellor of Austria, Christian Kern, was on the Board of Directors of Russian Railways. Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon was a member of Zarubezhneft’s Board of Directors. The well-known French politician and diplomat De Silgi Yves Thibault is on the Board of Directors of VTB. Among the top propagandists is ex-intelligence officer Alain Juillet.

“Shrodirization” of Europe, as the inclusion of high-ranking officials in the global network of corruption, has gained dangerous momentum. Huge fees for serving on supervisory boards are not only official fees for the services of burned agents. This is also an opportunity to use their social capital, connections with current politicians, reputation, and influence on the public.

Russia actively uses its agents of influence primarily in the information sphere, forming the necessary narratives. Most of those who are included in this global network, in one voice declare the need to normalize relations with Russia, the ineffectiveness of sanctions, corruption and rights violations in Ukraine, and the need for Ukraine to capitulate.

After the beginning of Russia’s large-scale aggression in Ukraine and the discovery of brazen attempts to interfere in the European and American elections, part of the enlightened Russian agency fell to the bottom, and some of the top officials left the supervisory boards of Russian campaigns. Therefore, Russia is looking for new methods and agents of influence.

Moreover, the slow reaction of the USA and Europe to sanction loopholes, late decisions, or sabotage of the adopted ones shows that the global corruption network is producing its results. In Europe, Putin is trying to break the bank during the elections to the European Parliament, working on all fronts, both with representatives of the extreme right and left forces and with respectable centrists. In the United States, Russia is trying to play on internal political contradictions. The recent visit of famous journalist Tucker Carlson to the Kremlin and exclusive access to Putin is very reminiscent of the infamous visit to the USSR by Walter Duranty, who

received the most prestigious Pulitzer Prize for a series of essays on the outstanding achievements of the Soviet empire, brazenly denying the fact of the Holodomor in the columns of leading newspapers. Having given Putin unfettered access to deliver propaganda nonsense to his audience of millions, Carlson continued, for example, to whitewash the Russian social network Telegram (presumably controlled by the Russian authorities) by interviewing its nominal owner, Durov.

Realizing that in the conditions of mediocracy, media power and the power of media authorities (bloggers, journalists, athletes) are no less influential than traditional branches, Russia is actively recruiting an army of talking heads. It includes Hollywood stars such as Steven Seagal and the famous French actor Gerard Depardieu.  Cultural aggression plays a huge role. There is no single cultural institution to which Russia does not send tourers, exhibitions, and so on.

Everything needs billions of shadow funds. But Russia under sanctions has no problems with this either. Russian oil brand “Sokol” continues to bring in excess profits. The money is withdrawn through the Middle Eastern countries, and then the cash spreads through diplomatic channels like a cancer in world capitals.  There is also a large black market for weapons in Africa, the possibility of transfers through the crypt, and a sea of lobbyist agents who continue to work with impunity.

The Russian network of global corruption and disinformation is currently one of the main challenges facing the Western world, because if through its axis of evil Russia destroys the world order from the outside, then through global corruption and informational aggression it undermines the Western world from the inside.


Yuriy Syrotyuk “Mamai”, director of the non-governmental analytical center “Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Research”, junior sergeant of the 5th separate Kyiv Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine