I’m shocked to find that the leader of the totally organic anal uprising in Russia has links to Western intelligence.
Who would have thought it?
Next thing you’re going to tell me is that the Tooth Fairy is Mossad.
Surveillance footage, recorded in the early 2010s, appears to show a close associate of Alexey Navalny seeking cash and intelligence from an alleged British spy and suggesting his anti-corruption work may benefit firms in London.
The tape, which was first reported by RT television on Monday, is said to have been filmed by the Federal Security Service (FSB) sometime in 2012 and allegedly shows a meeting between Vladimir Ashurkov and an employee of the British Embassy in Moscow. Ashurkov is the executive director of the FBK, Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption organization.
The person he met at a Moscow cafe was identified as James William Thomas Ford, then Second Secretary for political affairs of the UK embassy in Russia. The FSB suspected he was an MI6 agent working under diplomatic cover. The discussion presents problematic optics for Navalny and the FBK team, and appears to support the Russian government’s claim that they deserve to be considered foreign agents.
Part of Ashurkov’s pitch, recorded secretly by the security service, was dedicated to fundraising.
“If we had more money, we would expand our team, of course,” he said, adding that his goal of obtaining “a little money” like “10, 20 million dollars a year” would make a huge difference. “And this is not a big amount of money for people who have billions at stake. And that’s the message I am trying to project in my fundraising efforts and talking to people in the business community,” he said.
The FBK’s stated goal is to expose alleged cases of corruption in Russia. While it is essentially a type of journalistic organisation, its work is ultimately tied to Navalny’s aims gaining political power. Ashurkov outlined the organization’s activities as “mass protests, civil initiatives, propaganda, establishing contacts with the elite and explain to them that we are reasonable people and we are not going to demolish everything and take away their assets.”
At the time of the meeting, Vladimir Putin had just returned to the Kremlin, and was taking a tougher line on foreign meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs. His predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, had been more liberal and Western-leaning and Putin’s comeback was greeted negatively in the US and Britain.
In addition to explaining the FBK’s financial needs, Ashurkov said it could use information provided by the British government, particularly the Serious Fraud Office, for its exposés. The agency “has access to a lot of information that would not be available to us, from British sources” on certain Russian people. He named businessmen Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, who both have assets in United Kingdom, as examples.
Other UK government agencies could have helped as well, the activist suggested, while London, in general, was “already taking a tougher stance towards Russia.”
It’s funny that they were out there begging for money like this, and then their offer to Navalny was “would you be up for poisoning yourself?”
He doesn’t seem to be getting any more respect in the intelligence community than he gets in general.
This guy is the Rodney Dangerfield of the spy game.
The FBK’s activities would have benefited British business too, the activist said. “We will release a report on VTB bank [a major financial institution in Russia] in association with Henry Jackson society [a neo-conservative lobby group with an avowed anti-Russian agenda] in London,” he said. Allegations of corruption involving one of the largest Russian banks would “make the case that it represents a threat to European financial markets and their integrity because it is a significant player in Europe.”
“And they make it more difficult for British firms like Lloyds or RBS or other big banks like Barclays to compete.”
The British diplomat did not commit to helping FBK during the conversation, citing the Russian legislation on foreign agents that was primed to come into force in November 2012. But he suggested turning to Transparency International for grants. Ashurkov said he doubted working with Transparency “would be effective.”
Ashurkov is currently residing in the UK, having left Russia in 2014. In his home country, he is wanted on allegations of committing fraud to finance Navalny’s 2013 campaign for the office of the mayor of Moscow.
So this is all just totally standard.
It is as clumsy as it is diabolical. These people are not very smart, they just have total power.
Russia’s services themselves are not especially smart, being put on the backfoot with massive protests which they’ve responded to with mass arrests. The Joe Biden Jews are going to use the mass arrests as an excuse for more sanctions, and that will then lead to bigger protests and then… bigger mass arrests?
What it looks like is that the current government of Russia is on a path towards a spiral into illegitimacy.
But who knows – maybe they’ve got a plan. One thing I do know: mass arrests are not a long term solution to anything, and are typically not a good short term solution to anything.
Typically, mass arrests are the result of failed planning. Maybe there is some serious Art of War strategy here I’m missing, and I certainly hope so. But I think letting Navalny back in the country to become a martyr might go down as the worst decision of the Putin era.
This was never really primarily about spy games. Russia has let this entire vagino-anal “stuffed hole alliance” get out of hand in their country. Allowing the West to totally undermine the culture was much more than a single mistake, but a remarkably poorly considered total pattern of behavior by the Russian government.
They’re now talking about shutting down Western social media, probably only really five years too late.
The Kremlin is legally and technically ready to separate the country from the global internet. At the legislative level, a decision has already been made. It was speeded up by recent social protests and Alexei Navalny’s movie about Putin’s palace.
The readiness to disrupt the network was announced in the Russian media on Monday, February 1, by Dmitry Medvedev, the former president and current deputy head of the Russian Security Council. Although, according to Medvedev, the separation will be “not easy” and “really, I will not love it”, Technologically, everything is ready to be turned off. And “at the legislative level, all decisions have been taken.”
Ten years ago would have been the smart time to do it, but five years ago would have made a big difference.
The aggressive political censorship designed to manipulate Russian internal politics is more than enough of an excuse to do it now, if that’s what they were looking for.
Doing it now, it means very little.
The faucet wasn’t shut off and now you have stuffed society with a culture of rebellion that goes deeper than any one anus.
The only obvious way to counter a revolution that has already started is with a counter-revolution.
But who knows. Maybe the FSB are the geniuses that CNN claims they are and they’ve got it all under control.