Agents of influence


On 6 September, the United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper delivered his address at the Royal United Services Institute in London. He made a statement that Western states should make greater efforts to resist attempts of Russia and China to disrupt the international order. New acting Pentagon chief declared that Moscow and Beijing aspire to undermine the international order by gaining a veto over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.

Today we face a clear and tangible threat – will and ability to wage «hybrid warfare» and exert pressure on the sovereign territory of some adversary. Confrontation is ongoing in the branches, where Russia is deemed to be recognized specialist in implementation and strengthening of its influence abroad, information warfare, cyberattacks.

We kindly ask you to view in detail the first point of this list, specifically, implementation and strengthening of Russian influence abroad in connection with Cyprus-Russia relations.

Dmitry Khmelnitsky, a former soviet and currently German historian, architect and writer generalised and systemised the structure how mechanism of influencing operates with its headquarters in Moscow.

«The number of pro-Russian agents of influence abroad is vast and influencers are differentiated. Their task enforcement is hidden behind thousands of Kremlin-funded NGOs simulating active social, cultural and scientific activities. These artificial entities are targeted, firstly, on local communities with a sole aim to find new allies in Western states and, secondly, on immigrants from the USSR and Russia, however often these two goals are combined.

 All structures established to spread influence, on purpose, major and cooperate with absolutely diverse political, ethnic, social, cultural and professional societies. Their classification possess a separate interest, Russian intelligence function on its basis all around the world. Central association of immigrant organisations with their headquarters in Moscow is only the tip of the visible iceberg that has much more systems of manipulation underwater, far from a bystander.

Large-scale centralised organizations include: public authorities responsible for Russian diaspora relations — International Council of Russian Compatriots (ICRC), World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots; funding organization – Russkiy Mir Foundation; Rossotrudnichestvo —  (Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation) successor of the Soviet body for cultural relations with foreign countries — structural body of the executive power in Russia, that manage state property abroad, enforcing state`s policy under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.»

International Council of Russian Compatriots (ICRC)

«ICRC is a worldwide association of organisations of Russian Compatriots. ICRC was founded in 2002 after the First World Council of Russian Compatriots had taken place 2001. President Putin addressed Russian Compatriots at the congress, urging for «consolidation of the Russian diaspora». De jure, ICRC encompass 146 public organizations composed of Soviet and Russian immigrants from 53 world states.

Count Peter Sheremetev is the Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the ICRC who resides in Paris. Prince Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky is a Deputy Chairman and lives in England. Both had close ties with the USSR. Pending 2010 when resigned resignation, the former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, chaired the ICRC.

What body manages the ICRC? The management is conducted by Secretariat composed mostly of Russians with distinctive education as for intelligence officers gained at the following institutions e.g. Institute of Oriental Languages, Moscow State University, Faculty of History of Moscow State University, Moscow State Institute for International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yuri Pyanykh, president of the Association of Russian Businessman Operating in Cyprus, is also the representative of Cyprus in the ICRC as a member of the World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots living abroad.

In 2015 the ICRC succeeded in establishment of another organisation with a common effort with Guild of Russian Lawyers — the legal association «International Association of Russian-Speaking Lawyers» (IARL). IARL consist of approximately 200 members representing more than 60 states. De-facto, IARL as well as ICRS is a method of Russian intelligence to stay tuned and render orders. Creation of new NGOs replacing old ones is a common method of Russian surveillance abroad.»

Surprisingly, the artificial organisations have their own brand GONGO, this stands for a government-organized non-governmental organization. Abbreviation GONGO means non-governmental organization that was set up or sponsored by a government with a goal to secure government`s interests.

In 2014 the «Successful Business», Cyprus-Russian Business Magazine (integral of the «Vestnik Kipra» group of companies) organised in Cyprus an international conference called «BEST LEGAL». The conference is held annually and gathers attorneys from dozens of states. In 2016,  the President of the International Association of Russian-speaking Lawyers, Hasan Mirzoyev attended the conference, coming from Moscow specifically for this event. This year, the regular conference is to commence on 26 September.

World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots

«World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots (WCCRC) living abroad was launched in 2007. This organisation is an executive body of the International Council of Russian Compatriots, obliged to provide «interaction of compatriots with Russian authorities and bodies of all subjects of the Federation». The Chairman of the World Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots is Mikhail Drozdov, who at the same tome holds a post of the Russian club in Shanghai.»

Let`s recapitulate people liable for coordination of activities of organizations of Russian compatriots in Cyprus:

  • Yuri Pyanykh, Member of the World Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots Living Abroad, Chairman of the Association of Russian Businessmen in Cyprus, Yuri Pyanykh;
  • Igor Nasonov, Chairman of the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots (CСRC) in Cyprus;
  • Natalia Kardash, Director General of the «Cyprus Mail» group of companies;
  • Anastasios Kuzalis, Member of the CСRC of Cyprus, Chairman of Cyprus associationof graduates of the soviet universities;
  • Harris Trassu, Chairman of the CyprusRussia friendship association;
  • Elpida Charalambous, Member of the Presidium of the Cyprus-Russia Friendship and Cultural Relations Association, Member of the Presidium of the Cyprus associationof graduates of the soviet universities;
  • D GeorgiosProdromou, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Cyprus (Lmassol and Paphos).
  • Yiorgos Kountouris, theArtistic Director of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra and President of the Russian party ΕΟΠ/Εγώ ο Πολίτης.

A few above-mentioned individuals are members of the representative office of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Nicosia.

«The Coordinating Councils of Russian Compatriots (CCRC), that are parties in it, were registered in 97 world states. Moreover, each council in its respective state may coordinate operation of numerous separate institutions, such as different Russian centres and cultural societies. Every European state country have its own state-registered CCRC, which may include few or dozens of organizations steered by former citizens of Russia and the USSR.»

Cyprus is not an exception, is has «Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in the Republic of Cyprus», chaired by Igor Nasonov.

«Being the Head of the Association of Russian-speaking residents of Cyprus «Horyzont»and the Head of «Vestnik Kipra», I. A. Nasonov, crucially contributed to supporting Russian compatriots in Cyprus. Due to his personal support many cultural events and forums were held, historical and informational publications for compatriots were issued», appreciated the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Nicosia the new chairman of the CCRC in Cyprus Mr. Nasonov.

«There is no doubt that the activities of all congresses of compatriots are planned and funded from Moscow. The scope of their operation and intensity are striking, in the last few years the volume of pro-Russian operation even increased, precisely, after the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the annexation of Crimea and the imposition of international sanctions against Russia. Hence, Russian powers fire on all cylinders to break even after their disastrous foreign policy mistakes and failures.»

In 2002 together with International Council of Russian Compatriots another organization was established in Moscow. It major not in settling issues of all immigrants, but only one defined group under the title the World Congress of Russian-Speaking Jewry (WCRSJ).

Alexander Boroda, who at that time was Executive Vice President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR), took an active part in setting up this structure. Alexander Boroda is known for his cordial ties with Russian political top management. According to the available data, Alexander Beard came to Cyprus several times.

«Since 2007, Boris Shpigel, a member of the Committee of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation representing the Penza Region has been President of the FJCR. In 2009, the Congress of Russian agents of influence held in Berlin assembled around 400 people, including friendly politicians from different countries.

The conference, officially known as the Lessons of World War II and the Holocaust, yet its main goal was to reach a voting quorum in order to adopt of 5 resolutions supporting policy led by Putin.

Notwithstanding mentioned gatherings in 2010, FJCR suddenly disappeared, or rather, transformed into absolutely different organization called  «World without Nazism», registered in 2011 in Strasbourg. It was launched in Kyiv in 2010 by the same person — Boris Shpigel. Alexander Boroda was a key player and plant who shaped quasi-subsidiary of the Security Service of Russia. Now the main task of this office is pro-Russian propaganda in Eastern Europe, the CIS countries and the Baltic states. This implies, firstly, propaganda of rewritten history with appreciation of Stalinism, Soviet Union perspective on the history of the Second World War under the guise of the fight against Nazism. A quasi-religious organization become a quasi-human rights` organization. Probably the turn was taken to impose new concepts, redistribution of resources and increased propaganda pressure on the former Soviet republics — primarily Ukraine and the Baltic states.»

Russkiy Mir Foundation  (Literally, «Russian World Foundation»)

«The most powerful and influential state`s pocket public organisation, majoring on immigrants, is «Russkiy Mir Foundation». The fund was created in 2007 by the decree of Putin.

The founders are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation. The chairman of the Foundation`s board is V. A. Nikonov, the grandson of Molotov and, due to some rumours, the general of the Federal Security Service. Anyway, back in 1991 Nikonov was an assistant to the chairman of the KGB of the USSR Mr. Bakatin. All members of the board are senior government officials. The purpose of the fund is to subsidise Russian pocket organizations abroad that operate in Moscow`s interests.

The Russkiy Mir establishes its own «Russian centres» all around the globe. There are more than 200 such centres now.»

We kindly attract your attention to some figures. The budget of «Russkiy Mir Foundation» in 2016 amounted to 521,813,000 rubles (7,247,400 euros), 534,088,000 rubles were actually spent (7,058,347 euros). 362,530,000 rubles (5,350,140 euros) were spent on organisation of public events only. In 2017, the budget was slightly decreased, totaly 474,199,000 rubles (6,586,100 euros) were received from the budget of the Russian Federation, 532,900,000 rubles (7,042,647 euros) of which were spent. Upon the whole events were the main item of expenditure worth 362,647,000 rubles (5,036,760 euros).

The «Russkiy Mir Foundation» often provide assets for projects organised by a large number of various organizations in Cyprus. Blatantly, the list of grant recipients is not full, referring to the fact that some organizations prefer not to show their relationship with the fund. «Russkiy Mir Foundation» is a pioneer of organised and funded pro-Moscow propaganda campaigns of all kinds around the world.

On June 21, 2018, the Foundation successfully starter the Russian Centre in Limassol in the premises of «Russian House in Cyprus». The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Executive Director of the «Russkiy Mir Foundation» — Sergey Shurygin.

Russkiy Mir is, indeed, an active organisation in Cyprus. It financially supports a large number of different organizations running their destructive work with compatriots.

Cyprus is one of the biggest targets due in respects of volume and actions carried out by all Russian-speaking organizations on the island. «There are so many socially significant events in which not only our compatriots, but also senior officials of the state participate personally including President of the Republic. Are there any states alike? Cyprus-Russian festival is a bright example of amity existing between Russia and the entire European Union. International projects were also highly appraised e.g. business fora BEST LEGAL and BEST INVEST, children’s festivals and other greatly favoured projects as «the Galaxy of Talents», sports and cultural events», affirmed Igor Nasonov.


«From other perspective, there are also governmental subsidiaries that do not pretend to be public organizations, but conduct the same functions, one of them is Rossotrudnichestvo. The full title of this government body is «The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and for International Humanitarian Cooperation».

Rossotrudnichestvo was set up in 2008, it is the successor to the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS), which operated pending 1958, and then changed its brand several more times.

During the Soviet times any relations with foreign states were traditionally supervised by the security service, one of the very first surveillance bodies were the Foreign Department of the Joint State Political Directorate in the 1920s. In the post-Soviet era, this situation has not changed, so Rossotrudnichestvo, with full confidence, can be considered a satellite of the Federal Security Service. Rossotrudnichestvo has 95 overseas offices, 72 Russian centres of science and culture function in 62 countries. Additionally to propaganda in immigrant societies, the wing beckons foreigners to study in Russia.

In conformity with the report issued by Rossotrudnichestvo in 2016, ‘the Agency pays special attention to foreigners who wish to enrol into Russian Universities. Annually, the quota for overseas nationals equals 15 thousand places‘.

Education quota has justified itself as one of the effective tools of the Russian ‘soft power‘ in this area of ​​international humanitarian cooperation. In 2016 under this program, one thousand foreign young leaders from 100 countries came to the Russian Federation. It`s clear and precise that Rossotrudnichestvo by these actions welcome new emigrants to mass recruitment. It seems that Moscow without regard to age drills new security agents and influencers for further immigration.»

According to the financial reports published the Rossotrudnichestvo website, from 2016 to 2018, Rossotrudnichestvo received from 43 517 504 900 rubles (604 409 790 euros) from the governments, 296 521 100 rubles of which (4 118 350 euros) were issued as grants, and a total of 27 423 338 540 rubles or 380 879 700 euros were spent. The annual funding of Rossotrudnichestvo by 2020 should amount to 9.5 billion rubles (about 130 million euros).

Cyprus is mentioned in the list of 62 countries where Rossotrudnichestvo perform its pro-Russian functions. The Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Nicosia is victoriously  coping with its tasks.

Fair enough to visit the website of the Russian Cultural Centre in Nicosia once to get an impression of the active process and the large number of events arranged at the centre.

Particular attention should be paid to the composition of an expert board of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Nicosia in Cyprus. It encompass the following, the bishop of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos; Michalis Azovidis, Assistant to the President of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus; Vasos Argiridis, song writer; Anastasios Kuzalis, President of the Cyprus association of graduates of the soviet universities; Yiorgos Kountouris is the Artistic Director of the Cyprus Youth Symphony Orchestra and its Music School; Andreas Pantzis, writer and film director; Haris Trassu, president of the Cyprus-Russia Friendship and Cultural Relations Society; Andreas Charalambus, artist; Andreas Christou, former mayor of Limassol (2006-2017); Yorgos Moleskis, poet; Dr. Georgios Prodromou, Honorary Consul of Russia in Paphos and Limassol. Mostly members of the expert club gained education in the USSR and Russia.

According to documents and numerous testimonies, foreigners who studied in Soviet Union or Russian universities at any time could have become potential objects of recruitment by the Committee for State Security (KGB), Federal Security Service (FSB), Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (GRU) and Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR). Working with compatriots is a method or relying on pretty familiar agents of influence, even, from the time of the USSR and drilling new influencers.

Worth mentioning that except some propaganda missions, associations of Russian compatriots in cooperation with «Rossotrudnichestvo» and the «Russkiy Mir Foundation» seek for endowed youth from European states which may potentially become agents of influence and collaborate with Russian special services ( all mentioned is organized within the legal framework by means of negotiations, conferences, study tours to the Russian Federation and others).

Presidential Program «New Generation»(the beneficiary is Rossotrudnichestvo) was launched in Russian Federation in order to recruit intelligence agents by, «Expanding the group of active young citizens abroad who support Russian vested interests, attracting them to participate in strengthening partnerships between the Russian Federation and the states they represent».

Potentially, the government might enter into a contract of cooperation with such active citizens, which is surely legal ( but with a paid interest to a recruited youngster). Introduction to the tasks to these agents may he held by Russian intelligence officers both during study visits to Russia and during events held at Russian missions abroad.

The positive point for agents is that the tasks given by Russian may be completely legal and it is impossible to end up in prison for them. Indeed, in the EU legal framework there is no punishment for the support of «Russian world», Putin and «oppressed peoples», the organization and conduct of cultural events, exchange programs.

The VI World Congress of Russian compatriots living abroad was held in Moscow from 31 October to 1 November 2018. The compatriots from Cyprus at the Congress were represented by the already discussed: Yuri Pyanykh, Igor Nasonov, Natalya Kardash and Elpida Charalambus.

Russian philanthropist Vyacheslav Zarenkov, who funded the construction of the Russian-style Church St. Andrew and All Russian Saints in Episkopio was awarded with an honorary diploma of the Government Commission on Compatriots Abroad «For special contribution to the economic and humanitarian support of the Russian diaspora».

Obiter dictum, Rossotrudnichestvo uses public procurement to gain assets for the promotion of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and «common sense». One of the organization’s purchases was titled: «the provision of services aimed at preparation and performance of a set of events abroad in order to spread spiritual and moral values ​​based on Orthodox traditions».


The Kremlin regime is vigorously applying the potential of foreign organizations of Russian compatriots to shape advantageous public opinion about Russia in Europe.

One of the plants of the «Russkiy Mir», Mr. Bovdunov years ago bequeathed in his article titled «The struggle for civil rights», that «Russia needs systematic data networks to wage a war against the West. Existing networks may also be used. Russia should try to build its own networks on the enemy’s territory, it’s more complex task, but if happened — those would be Russian networks, controlled by Moscow from soup to nuts».

After you have analysed all these data you are on the safe side, that organizations of Russian compatriots in Europe and rest of the world is a complex association of all networks «controlled from the very beginning» by Moscow. And if someone still believes that their duties are limited to culture, then they are mistaken. Activates of these networks are supported by influx  of millions of euros per year, in turn, the declared organizations` major in culture is just a lawful justification for the bystanders living in Western states.

DISCLAIMER: The English version is a translation of the original in Russian for information purposes only. All names, titles of organisations and governmental bodies are up-to-date and correctly translated into English. In case of a discrepancy, the Russian original will prevail. Source: Cyprus Daily News