A hunter from Moscow

Dmitry Khmelnitsky

A funny political intrigue is playing out in Cyprus right now. In June 2024, elections to the European Parliament will be held. Dmitry Apraksin, a lecturer at the University of Nicosia and chairman of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in Cyprus, is running for the seat of one of the six deputies from Cyprus. In order to appreciate the absurdity of this scheme, it is worth looking into its background.

In Russia, there is a special government agency engaged in agency work and propaganda among tens of millions of Soviet and Russian emigrants. It is called «Rossotrudnichestvo» and has 85 foreign missions. In 62 countries there are 72 «Russian Centers of Science and Culture», the so-called «Russian Houses». Much of Russia’s propaganda activity abroad is centered around Russian Houses.

Rossotrudnichestvo controls a huge number of agents of Russian influence acting under the guise of independent public, cultural, scientific and political organizations. It directs them, creates new ones and finances them through special funds. These, of course, are not public organizations at all, but imitations of them, consisting of Moscow puppets and having no freedom of will and opinions of their own.

The Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots (CCRC) is the most extensive such agent network, covering practically the entire world. More precisely — all countries where there are at least small Russian emigrant communities

In Cyprus, a branch of CCRC has existed since 2008 and since 2022 it has been headed by Dmitry Apraksin, a computer programmer who has lived in Cyprus since 1994.

One of the main tasks of Russian agents is to penetrate government circles and parliaments of the European Union countries. This opens up huge opportunities for them to influence EU policy, obtain confidential information, destabilize the political situation, sabotage decisions against Russia and recruit new agents.

The problem is that a candidate for the EU parliament must be a public figure in his or her own country or represent some party with its own electorate. There are tens of thousands of Russian emigrants with Cypriot citizenship in Cyprus, but there is no party of their own. A recent attempt to create such a fake Russian party, Ego o Politis (EOP), ended in failure and the dissolution of the party in 2022.

Now these guys have taken a different path.

In 2018, a new «United Movement of Hunters of Cyprus» was registered in Cyprus, truly representing Cypriot hunters. Soon its name became double «United Movement of Hunters of Cyprus — Active Citizens», and from 2023 it began to communicate very closely with the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots. In June 2023 the chairman of the party Nicholas Prodromou had a solemn meeting with the head of the «Russian House» in Cyprus Alina Radchenko. The high parties discussed various forms of joint activities, such as participation in July 2023 in a general demonstration against the introduction of sex education in Cypriot schools.

And already in January 2024 Apraksin headed the list of candidates for the European Parliament from the «Party of Hunters — Active Citizens». One can only guess what bonuses the «Party of Hunters» received from this alliance. Bribery of any marginal parties — left, right, radical, etc. — This is a standard method of action of the Russian agency around the world.

Curiously, in the election article published on the FB page of the Cyprus CCRC, Apraksin does not even mention from which party he is nominated. Apparently, his handlers decided that this would reduce the seriousness of the event. But the article more than clearly describes the goals that Apraksin intends to achieve in the European Parliament — the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia. The Ukrainian war (the reason for the sanctions) is not mentioned at all, and the whole argumentation is more than amusing — Europe and America are in an economic crisis and therefore are trying to survive on the funds stolen from Russia (i.e. frozen due to the sanctions).

Here are some of the most evocative quotes:

«…without Russian resources, the EU economy becomes uncompetitive and gradually degenerates.»

«Sanctions have a destructive effect to a much greater extent on the West than on the East! What’s going on!? Are they there!? Is everyone stupid? Why don’t they lift the sanctions that don’t work, so that everything will be the same?»;

«…the real sector of the American economy is declining.»

«…The American economy needs money, lots of money, but there’s no way to print it anymore. The question that arises is «what to do?». The answer is as simple as anything brilliant — «take it away»;

And the conclusion, surprisingly revealing:

«…Legislation in the European Union is debated and passed by the European Parliament. Therefore, it is extremely important to have members who objectively understand the essence of the ongoing processes, who will be able to speak effectively to protect the interests of EU citizens and make the right choice regarding the «right» side of the story.»The implication is that Apraksin, standing on the right side of history, will fight on behalf of Cyprus to lift European sanctions on Russia and thereby make the European economy flourish.

The text is astonishingly naive, completely false, and incomprehensibly designed for whom. Apraksin’s chances of winning, though slim, are there. The Cypriot Hunters Party is marginal, unrepresented in Parliament, with only tens of thousands of supporters. But if the votes of Russian supporters of Putin with Cypriot citizenship living in Cyprus are added to its electorate, Moscow’s calculations could work.