Working with a target audience who had fled from the Soviet Union or Russia has always been easier task than recruitment of «indigenous» foreigners. Firstly, these have no Soviet experience and consequently are not haunted by the ghost of special services, the KGB, threat of use of force and blackmailing.
The period between 1920 and 1930 is considered to be «a golden age» for the Soviet intelligence functioning abroad. Two million emigrants from the dissolved Russian Empire have spread across Europe and the USA, creating favorable conditions for surveillance. That flows of migration were laced with hundreds of the Joint State Political Directorate members, who recruited new agents, operated under the disguise of quasi-social organizations established abroad at the request of Intelligence. It goes without saying that these organizations were often linked to abduction, murders and espionage.
During 1940s-1950s infiltration of the Soviet agents across the border to the West became more complex. The second and the third generation of migrants assimilated and adopted to local cultures as if they are at home. This is one reason why emigrants reluctantly agreed to cooperate with People`s Commissariat in Internal Affairs. Moreover, it became more complicated for the NKVD to blackmail them or buy their voices.
With the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the goals and methods the special services did not actually change. Vice versa, new opportunities were opened up due to the fact that many millions of former Soviet citizens became emigrants. The migration pattern of 1991, also known as the fourth wave, unlike the previous waves of emigration did not have an explicit anti-Soviet nature, common for three previous waves — of the 20s, post-war and 60-80s.
After the Iron Curtain had collapsed, the special services discovered new ways to operate by creating abroad a chains of artificial organizations as a disguise. Indeed, dozens of scientific, cultural, political, sports and human rights organizations are not really executing their statutes and use rather inhuman methods to achieve aims of their Headquarters. These organizations consolidate emigrants and facilitate the process of their recruitment by special services. When the mutual understanding in respect of «Russian values» is reached – migrants are used for propaganda and scouting. As a matter of fact, the majority of these quasi-academic NGOs are registered in the EU jurisdiction to be closer to their auditoria.
Among them there are small-scale, almost ineffective, and by contrast huge, influential agencies with permanent staff. Big research centers are hiding neither their goals, methods, nor Moscow roots.
On October 18, 2017, the Russian Embassy in Berlin solemnly celebrated the 10th anniversary of one of the largest pro-Kremlin NGOs in Germany, the All-German Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots, the German branch of the World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad. This organization is the executive body of the World Congress of Russian Compatriots (WCRC), which was set up in 2007 in Moscow for the ideological consolidation of the Russian emigrants.
According to its website, the WCRC should ensure «the interaction of compatriots with public authorities of the Russian Federation and public authorities of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation.»
In other words, the World Congress of Russian Compatriots is a complex organization created immediately after Putin entered his office. Its long-lasting aim is political recruitment of Russian emigrants around the world and their subordination to Moscow.
The first World Congress of Compatriots was held in 2001 in the Column Hall of the House of Unions and has been held regularly since then.
The current composition of the Council includes 19 international members. The chairman of the All-Russian Communist Party is Mikhail Drozdov, chairman of the Russian Club in Shanghai, deriving from the facts in his biography he`s an intelligence officer majoring in China. The structure of the Council of the WCRC is Vera Tatarnikova, Deputy Chairman of the All-German Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots.
The 28th meeting of the WCRC was held in May 2017. The text of the WCRC`s orders will dispel any doubts regarding its common welfare aims. WCRC is a Kremlin controlled organization that has propaganda-recruiting nature. This meeting of WCRC has reached an agreement on the following subject-matters:
«To recommend members of the coordination councils to launch preparatory activities for the election of the President of the Russian Federation in 2018.
- Emphasize the importance of organizing commemorative actions in the countries close to Russia and distant from its borders, including the Immortal Regiment and the St. George Ribbon.
- To consider whether its appropriate to organize master classes by the Institute of Russian Abroad for WCRC members and RCC chairmen on the basics of technical and data assignments on the Internet.
- To recommend the chairmen of country and regional coordination councils to open pages about their subsidiaries on social networks: Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook and others …
- Based on the importance to maintain same level of cooperation and in order to further intensify the activities of compatriots’ youth associations, expand the range of forms and methods of working with young people from foreign countries.
- Develop a reward system for the most active organizations and their members.»
This is an obvious step-by-step to strengthen pro-Putin propaganda through agents of influence in Germany.
In Germany, the WCRC is represented merely in all 16 federal states. All-German Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots and the Union of Russian-Speaking Organizations of Germany (OKS) is a driving force of Russian propaganda in Germany. OKS is a council of organizations. This means that all the members of the federal council of the OKS are the leaders of public Russian-German organizations.
The OKS has its own exceptionally active propaganda web-site «Russkoye pole», which is controlled by Yuri Eremenko, Director and Chief-editor. At the same time, Eremenko heads the «Ost-Magistrale» agency in Erfurt. It deals with «consultations in the field of international communications». One of the biggest agency’s achievements is the organization in 2011 in Erfurt of celebrations dedicated to Yuri Gagarin. The event was generously funded by the Russkiy Mir Foundation. What I`m hearing through the grapevine is that Eremenko is also one of the seven members of the OKS board.
In conformity with publicly available Statute of the OK», the organization «… represents the interests of Russian compatriots and Russian-speaking citizens at the federal level … maintains contact with the Government Commission on Compatriots Lving Abroad, the Department for Relations with the Compatriots Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign of the Russian Federation and other interested state political and public structures of the Russian Federation, Moscow and the regions of the Russian Federation, as well as with state institutions of the Russian Federation in Germany».
This means that the Congress of compatriots was originally conceived as structural unit of the Executive branch of the Government.
A reasonable man makes outcomes based on the deeds and non-interview thoughts of top officials. The genuine policy of the Congress of Compatriots in Germany can be understood by thorough analysis of its chairman’s address to the public. In November 2015, Larisa Yurchenko voices the following messages at the World Congress of Russian Compatriots in Moscow,
«Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, new powers of Russian compatriots have openly declared their position on the Crimean way to home and have shown solidarity with the inhabitants of Donbass … Today, it is difficult for the residents of Germany to obtain objective information. The official media is biased. But residents, feeling fakes, are trying to get information through social networks, cable TV channels, Internet television and are adjacent to rallies and processions of Russian compatriots.
Information that differs from the official version is transmitted by word of mouth. Personal contacts are becoming increasingly important … I especially want to note the civic position that the Russian Germans take. They initiated the first rallies against growing, apparently hidden, Russophobia, for the right to freedom of speech, manifestations of Nazism and extremism. Rallies in support of Russia were held in Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Bonn, Frankfurt and other cities. They collected and sent humanitarian aid to the residents of Donbass …»
«We cherish our common efforts with a credible organization, namely «the German-Russian Forum» here in Germany … We also stress that sooner or later we will organize a conference on human rights provided that German-Russian Forum supports us.»
The demonstrations of Russian Germans mentioned by Yurchenko are racist protests directed against refugees from Muslim countries. Mentioned events took place in many cities of Germany in January 2015 and gathered a total of 10,000 people.
Moscow propaganda then played a large role in stirring up Islamophobia in the Russian-emigrant milieu. The unrest began after Ivan Blagim, a correspondent of the First Channel of Moscow Television reported about some «girl Lisa», allegedly raped by Muslim migrants. Recalling what Yurchenko said, the OKS also participated in organizing the unrest in Germany in January 2015.
The crucial underestimated detail here, before you take sides, is the praise of the «Russian Germans» who «collected and sent humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of Donbass» during the Russian aggression against Ukraine. «Russian Germans» is the main target group of the OKS. This is organization officially supported Russian aggression in the Donbass (which included the illegal recruitment of volunteers for participation in hostilities). Although a lot of the glory goes to the All-German Congress of Compatriots.
It`s noteworthy that German-Russian Forum is a recognized partner by the OKS. This organization is governmental and truly influential. From the German side, it is led by Minister President of Brandenburg from 2002 to 2013 and party chairman of the SPD Matthias Platzeck, a longtime Putin`s supporter. Among the German members of the forum Russian agents of influence stand out in a crowd. The open participation of the German-Soviet Forum in the propaganda operations of the Russian special services is an extremely ominous sign.
Without any question activities of the All-German Congress of Compatriots (as well as other branches of the All-Russian Communist Party in different countries) are controlled from Kremlin and 4CI (Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence) are achieved through close cooperation with special services and recruitment of Russian emigrants.
The volume of pro-Russian events organized by special services has sharply increased in the last few years. The main prerequisite was the Russian decision to wage a war against Ukraine with occupation of the Donbass region and the Crimea. These NGOs are also created both to justify by all means introduction of international sanctions against Russia and tackle the idea of sanctions.
The general goal of Congresses of compatriots, and other related entities, is obvious. These are attempts to destabilize the internal situation in democratic states though propaganda carried out by emigrants who have become ideological opponents of Putin’s Russia.
Therefore, the Kremlin is trying by all means to compensate for its fatal foreign policy failures. Well, you will get what you deserve.