June 2019 in Cyprus was marked with an exhibition «Sacred objects of Chersonesos» held in a cathedral in Limassol. People had a fortuitous opportunity to get satisfaction at seeing Christian relics detected during excavations in the Crimean National Preserve of «Tauric Chersonesos».
According to organizers of the exhibition, the event was conducted with the blessing of the Metropolitan of Simferopol and Crimea, LAZARUS. Moreover, media reported the gathering to have been of a great interest both to Cypriots and Russians.
Prima facie, this display of relics is just a modest cultural event in a usual museum style, although arguable from the point of law. In conformity with international law, the Crimean National Preserve of «Tauric Chersonesos», enlisted by the UNESCO in the World Heritage List and located in the Crimea (temporarily occupied by Russia), still on the legal grounds belongs to Ukraine. Fair enough that UNESCO has ceased to supervise the safety of the museum since 2016, as the entity is under effective control of another state.
The exposition organized by Russia, in fact was an exhibition of «art trophies», which were illegally seized by Moscow. However, the exhibition was a display-case, meaning that only images were exhibited. These measures reduced the threat of being sued or arrested under possible legal claims on behalf of Ukraine as a sole owner of items in issue.
Here, taking into consideration above mentioned details, even objective readers start to acknowledge that showcase is not based solely on cultural or educational idea. A closer look at the organization and the organizers of this event allows us to read the fine print which consist in a long-playing political intrigue with melodies of various connotations: quasi-public organizations, Russian departments, Orthodox hierarchy, Russian intelligence as major actors of this operation.
The main organiser of the exhibition is the official representative of the Russian Noble Assembly in the Republic of Cyprus, Andrey Konstantinovich Ushakov. Let`s recapitulate some of his significant public posts: the leader of the Noble Assembly of Crimea (NAC), the director of the fund of cultural and educational programs «Culturnoe naslediye Cryma» (means, Crimean Cultural Heritage), the plant of the establishment of the Club «Club druziey Hersonesa Tavricheskogo» (means, Friends of Tauric Chersonesos).
The exhibition was organized through the joint efforts of the Foundation for the Support of Humanities and the State Museum «Tauric Chersonesos», located near Sevastopol.
We never know the value of water till the well is dry. Let`s deepen into history.
Immediately after termination of such international subject as the USSR, countless fake «scientific», «public» and «charity» organizations began to emerge in Russia, most of them are the KGB puppets. In case of significant results, they decided whether to award or give a higher rank to people in Russia and abroad. For this purpose they circulated invitations to ceremonial receptions, often under the auspices of Russian embassies, consulates and cultural centers.
Some time ago I counted more than fifty such «academies» only within Russia. Moreover, most of them conducted international activities.
Still waters run deep, these entities use ignorant people who buy from them amusing «public» ranks and titles of nobles, academics, professors, doctors, colonels and generals, on the other, they function as branches of special services. They hold international events at which they distribute their awards to relevant and generous people, thus preparing cadets. In most cases, they are supervised by special services. As a rule, such bodies have classified sources of financing (what makes the conclusions obvious) and very lavishly and pretentiously set goals.
The Russian Nobility Assembly (NAC), undoubtedly, belongs to the same category of governmentally supervised offices that imitate public activity. In accordance with its web-site:
This meaningless, chauvinistic and anti-democratic set of values is typical for state security, which rather fails to hide the well-established goals of the collapsed USSR and Russian intelligence.
The Russian Noble Assembly is composed of 51 regional branch in Russia and 13 branches and respectively offices abroad.
The Noble Assembly of Crimea was created as a regional branch of the RNA after the occupation of the peninsula in 2015 and was registered in early 2016. Andrei Ushakov was its leader from the very beginning, he appeared to be a man with a pretty curious biography.
Based on the data uploaded to the web-site of the NAC, Andrey Ushakov was born in Moscow and studied at the Physics Department of Moscow State University from 1989 to 1994. Since 1995, he has been managing the group of companies, namely «The Expert Information Service of the Commonwealth», which serves as the secretariat for the award «Rossijskiy Olymp».
This odd organisation organized following programs «Rossiyskiy Stroitel’nyy Olimp», «Nadezhnyye Organizatsii Stroitel’nogo Kompleksa», «Rossiyskiy Energeticheskiy Olimp», «Rossiyskiy Finansovyy Olymp.»
The programs selected to cooperate with this Service were enterprises and companies that occupy leading positions in various sectors of the economy. In a solemn atmosphere, winners were awarded public awards attesting their high professional competence.»
In 2005, Ushakov hosted an international forum in Cyprus with the weird title «Investment Attractiveness of Russian Regions». «Russian Olympus» was also distributed during the ceremony. The same year «the Ukrainian National Olympus», «Ukrainian Financial Olympus», and «Ukrainian Construction Olympus programs» were set off.
In 2009, the program «Russian Olympus» in the financial sector received a new name the «Golden Phoenix». In 2011, this group of companies organized a conference in Geneva with rather exotic title «Experience and History of Self-Regulation in Western Europe». At the same time, the 15th anniversary of the Russian Olympus Prize was organized there and its winners were awarded.
According to Andrei Ushakov, he used to work and live both in Cyprus and Switzerland. In 2014, after the annexation of the Crimea he returned to the peninsula, we quote, «in connection with the reunification of new regions with Russia, specifically the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.» Since the occupation of Crimea by Russia, Ushakov has been serving in the Crimea, where he created another organization with the odd title «The Single Expert Information Center of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol».
In 2015, when the Crimean branch of the Russian Noble Assembly was officially registered, Ushakov was elected the leader of the Crimean nobility.
He triggered the establishment of a fund for cultural and educational programs «Cultural Heritage of the Crimea». It was actually created, its purpose is restoration of cultural heritage of the Crimean peninsula, the development of culture and art.
The last phrase reveals the real purpose of the fund’s operation, the KGB propaganda. Mr. Ushakov’s biography has nothing to do with his current professional affiliation, and, at first glance, is completely absurd. BUT, it stresses the long-term activity of an undercover security officer focused on foreign countries. And in this sense it is common.
Another organizer of the exhibition is the Foundation for the Support of the Humanities «Moya istoriya». Coincidentally it was registered in Moscow in May 2014, two months after the occupation of the Crimea, and most likely in connection with it. In general it is non-profit body created «to implement programs to support projects in the cultural and educational fields.» The main object of the fund’s care is Tauric Chersonesos.
The following are partners of the fund: the Presidential Grants Fund, Gazprom, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Russian Federation, and the municipalities of various Russian cities. Consequently, the fund is governmentally ruled.
The main goal of the exhibition in Cyprus was clearly stated in the letter done by Acting Director of the Tauric Chersonesos Museum-Reserve Mrs. Morozova to the official representative of the Russian Noble Assembly in Cyprus Andrei Ushakov dated 1 February 2019,
CRIMEA HOUSE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND FELLOWS` CLUB
According to the event alerts on the NAC website, the exhibition in Cyprus had been deemed to operate in January 2019. To be more precise, the House of Crimea in the European Union was expected to open its doors, firstly as an exhibition that provides «credible» facts that the Crimea is Russia or not.
The reasons for the creation of the «Crimea House in the European Union» are described in detail in a letter from the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea G.L. Muradov to Mr. Ushakov.
This letter, in fact, outlines the purpose of the entire operation. It was necessary to start influencing officials in the European Union. Forcing at least one of its members, if not directly, then by common effort to recognize that annexation of the Crimea by Russia is legal was crucial and still is on agenda.
The cultural, historical and religious aura around the activities of the leader of the Crimean Nobility in Cyprus was just a disguise. It had nothing in common with Christian shrines here.
The web-site of the Crimea House in the European Union stroke with news, «The Crimea House in the European Union» will open by January 2019 in a form of an exhibition titled «Sacred objects of Chersonesos», created by our long-standing partners the National Preserve of Tauric Chersonesos.
The authors and organizers of the exhibition expressed their hope that it would be «a good Christmas present for residents and visitors of Cyprus, arouse interest in the unique archaeological heritage of Chersonesos and arouse a desire to visit the cultural and religious centre in person».
In addition, the explanatory note to the draft indicates that the «Crimea House in the EU» is being created on the basis of the official representation of the Russian Noble Assembly in Cyprus,
«The Crimea House in the European Union» will undoubtedly become a meeting place for aliens with the culture of the peoples of the Crimea, a place for exploring the main spiritual, historical and tourist sites of the peninsula. For these purposes, it is planned to constantly conduct exhibitions, concerts, creative meetings, master classes and meetings with artists of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the newly created representative office. We have already entered into cooperation with a number of Russian and international organizations regarding the creation of the «House of Crimea in the European Union» and everywhere we have received an affirmative response to our invitation,» stipulates the description on the web-site.
The operational agenda announced in the media for the Centre is fabulous and comprehensive. It hosts the exhibition «Sacred objects of Khersones» in January, in February-April it has a new multimedia exhibition called «Crimea in the fate of Russia» with a daily show in Russian, Greek and English. Weekly multimedia exhibitions about prominent people related to the Crimean peninsula is a cornerstone of this propaganda style Centre.
It was announced that the «Crimea House in the EU» will be visited by the famous traveller and priest Fedor Konyukhov and concert programs «Crimea in the musical art of Russia» with Crimean musicians, dancers, opera and ballet artists.
Throughout 2019, it was planned to hold negotiations and conferences on various relevant topics. It was also stated that as a result of the activities of the «Crimea House in the EU» in Cyprus, the «Club of Crimea Fellows» will be created.
CLUB OF CRIMEA FELLOWS
Within the framework of an ambitious idea regarding the creation of the «Crimea House in the EU», the international project «Club of Crimea Fellows» in Cyprus was to expected to encompass all compatriots living abroad, Russian and foreign citizens who share interest in the Crimean peninsula. It was also planned to turn to response measures on the Crimean peninsula with the participation of members of the «Club of Friends of Crimea» which would help to subsidize joint events, states the website of the Noble Assembly.
However, at some point, the prospective «Club of Crimea Fellows» was prudently renamed, as follows, «Club of Fellows of Auric Chersonesos.»
The organizers invited international and Russian companies, charitable foundations and private individuals to participate in the club.
In an interview with the Cypriot Russian-language portal, Ushakov gave a detailed analysis based on the reasons to register the «Club of Fellows» specifically in Cyprus:
In the same interview, Andrei Ushakov said that, «A draft memorandum of the members of the Board has been prepared», this instrument is aimed at optimizing the financial strategy of the museum, attracting investments and ensuring their effective use.
Going deeper into details, it was assumed that international companies, charitable foundations and private individuals, using Cyprus as a jurisdiction for investment intermediaries, would attract investments and optimize the financial strategy of the Ukrainian museum, which, after the annexation of Crimea and the transfer to Russian property, received state Russian funding.
The planned composition of the Board of Trustees of the Club of Fellows of Crimea in Cyprus turned out to be very curious enough.
Firstly, Georgy Muradov, the Ambassador of Russia to Cyprus from 1996 to 1999 and graduate of the Moscow State University of International Relations in times of the USSR. He headed the Department of International Relations of the Government of Moscow. From 2010 to 2014 he worked as Deputy Head of already known «Rossotrudnichestvo».
The Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) is a federal executive body responsible for rendering state services and managing statee property to support and develop international relations.
Rossotrudnichestvo was created in 2008, it is the successor to the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS), which existed until 1958, and then changed its name several more times. In the USSR, relations with foreign countries traditionally fell under the competence of state security, starting with the Foreign Department of the OGPU of the twenties. In the post-Soviet era, this situation has not changed, so Rossotrudnichestvo can be safely considered a departmental body of the Federal Security Service in Russia.
Muradov is a member of the Presidium of the Government Commission of the Russian Federation for the Affairs of Compatriots Abroad and the International Council of Russian Compatriots. Since 2014, it has been under EU sanctions for actions aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Muradov is an active managing director of the «Filia» Association, and also hosts ideological events at the Cyprus Embassy in Moscow.
The list of prospective Managers of the Club of Fellows also included
- Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy
- Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Cyprus Georgios Prodromou
- Orthodox businessman Vyacheslav Zarenkov
- founder of the Russian party Ego O Politis in Cyprus Alexey Voloboev and other famous people.
Due to the publicly available data, Alexey Voluble supported the project on the spot and was engaged in the recruitment of nationals of Cyprus.
The party with the sonorous name «Ego of Politis» (I am a citizen) was created in the fall of 2017. Its official goal is more than slurred: «the unification of Cypriot citizens with modern views into a single political party.»
In reality, the party consists only of a group of managers, operating the tool from Moscow. No ordinary members. The Board includes Russian-speaking citizens from the countries of the former USSR living in Cyprus and Greek Cypriots with Russian ties or education. The current president of the party, who is merely holding the title, but no obligations, is Yorgos Kunturis, Greek Cypriot, conductor, who used to study in Russia.
Now the party is avoiding all allusions with its Russian roots, imitating a normal Cypriot party. Its main task is relying on Russian emigrants with Cypriot citizenship and Greek Pontians who once emigrated from the USSR to support their candidates in the local parliament, begin to influence the politics of Cyprus, the presidential elections and, ideally, lead Cyprus out of the European Union.
After the «failure» of the operation at the elections, the Mr. Voloboev, who runned the party, tried in whatever it takes to distance himself from the list of directors and from the project in general. He declared that, he had nothing to do with this issue, that he did not know how he got into Directors, that this was some kind of provocation, and that he was not familiar with Andrei Ushakov. However, media editors have collected evidence proving connection of these people.
Thus, we can conclude that the Board of Directors of the «Club of Fellows of Crimea» in Cyprus was supposed to be composed of Russian officials, Cypriots-friends of Russia who imitate independent political activities while agents of the Russian intelligence fulfill their functions under cover as representatives of both groups.
«TROJAN HORSE» AND SHRINES OF CHERSONESOS
Despite the fact, this «great» project was not destined to be fully implemented. At some moment, after renaming the project from the «Crimean House in the EU» to «Club of Fellows of Tauric Chersonesos», it was redesigned and greatly reduced in material means. The exhibition was postponed until June 2019. Crimean artists, films, multimedia exhibitions and deliberations never reached Cyprus.
On the eve of the exhibition «Sacred objects of Chersonesos», the Cypriot press leaked information about the project called «Crimean House in the European Union,» which was identified as the special intelligence entity under control of the Russian special services.
Borys Gumeniuk, the former Ukrainian Ambassador to Cyprus, reacted to the leak of information about the project in a message to the media «Cyprus Mail». In the article «Russian-Crimean» Trojan horse» in Cyprus, he called the efforts of Moscow persistent to prove that Crimea, one way or another, belongs to Russia.
Although it was stated in the Russian press that the Crimean exhibition aroused «great interest», in fact it was too frugal.
The leader of the Crimean Noble Assembly even had to make excuses:
In fact, interest in the «project» was artificially created by Russian bystanders and much earlier before it opened.
In the same interview, a member of the RNA Council, Mr. Ushakov also said that the Russian Noble Assembly is in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, and, in particular, with the Moscow Patriarchate. «Therefore, before hosting this exhibition, we received approval from Metropolitan Volokolamsk», said Ushakov, «as well as the blessing of Metropolitan Simferopol and Crimean Lazarus». He continued, «Metropolitan Volokolamsky separately noted that he considers it important to avoid any political context when organizing such events.»
Worth mentioning that this showcase primarily was scheduled for January 2019, later was agreed to open in March, further postponed to April, finally held in June 2019.
And here is a quote from the report of the Noble Assembly of Crimea, posted on its website,
This is an answer to the question the interest was not primarily expressed by the Cypriot museum workers, parishioners and priests. The address on the successful accomplishments given by the leader of the Noble Assembly may be not accepted as credible.
In the above-mentioned interview, Ushakov insistently convinces readers that the pro-Crimean event in Cyprus «is exclusively cultural and educational in nature», that it is not propaganda, but organized only with the aim of sharing the cultural heritage of the peninsula with the island. Because the museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and belongs to the whole world.
Also, Andrei Ushakov emphasized that there is no connection between the project and «intelligence operation or Putin», as well as the Russian authorities. Everyone who thinks differently may present his evidence…
In this sense, it is interesting to pay attention to the arrangement of dates and events preceding the project «Crimea House in the EU».
On May 8 2018, Yalta hosted the XII International Festival «The Great Russian Word». Andrei Ushakov was there and made a presentation how relevant is idea of creating the cultural centre «Crimea House in the European Union» in the city of Limassol (Republic of Cyprus) on the basis of the official representative office of the Russian Noble Assembly.
From October 31 to November 1 2018, the VI World Congress of Compatriots was held in Moscow under the slogan «Russia and Compatriots: New Challenges and New Stages». The data provided by the NAC indicated that the Republic of Crimea was represented at the congress by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Crimea under the President of the Russian Federation George Muradov, the leader of the Noble Assembly of Crimea Andrei Ushakov and the State Duma deputy Pavel Shperov. The same message had an explanation to what was happening,
The information will not inform with whom exactly from the Russian Foreign Ministry the prospects and details of the creation of the «House of Crimea in the EU» were discussed, but the discussion, apparently, was representative.
On November 24 2018, the general meeting of the NAC members was held in Crimea, at which Andrei Ushakov reported on the organization’s achievements within last 3 years. Proposals of members of the NAC on the creation of a department of culture and a department for interaction with public organizations and public authorities were considered and agreed. The proposed structure for interaction with public authorities within a public organization reminds the structure of a state department.
Two days after reporting at the NAC, the official representative of the RDK in Cyprus Andrei Ushakov was grant with a right to land on the isaland and start operating.
On November 26 2018, he had a meeting at the Russian Embassy in Cyprus with Russian Ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy. During the meeting, the parties discussed the project of creating the «Cultural Centre of the Russian Noble Assembly in the Republic of Cyprus» and the plan of joint events for 2019 in the field of culture and art, announced web-site of the NAC.
After the meeting, Andrei Ushakov, together with officials of the Russian embassy, visited the Russian cultural centre, where he had a talk with its director Alina Radchenko.
In December 2018 , as a result of a visit to the Republic of Cyprus, Ushakov agreed with the Cyprus Orthodox Church to hold exhibitions «on the holy relics of the Crimean peninsula» and to direct tourists from Cyprus to the Crimean peninsula along the pilgrim routes .
The official representation of the Russian Noble Assembly in Cyprus was also in honor of the 900th anniversary of the establishment of spiritual ties between Russia and Cyprus, a pilgrimage route «Orthodox Shrines of Cyprus. From Byzantium to the present day.»
On February 21 2019, Andrei Ushakov took part in the 1st Ushakov Forum. Indeed, named after himself. Among the co-organizers of the forum was the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society (IPPO). «The forum delegates read from the stage greetings from the honorary member of the IPPO, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, chairman of the Russian Historical Society Sergey Naryshkin and from the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate for interaction with the Armed Forces.» The forum was co-chaired by the forum’s organizing committee, IPPO chairman Sergei Stepashin, former Federal Security Service director.
Simultaneously the communication with the ROC in order to get approval for an exhibition was doing its best.
The planned exhibition in the letters was also called the «Shrine of the Crimea», it was finally renamed only closer to summer.
Thus, it can be argued that the initiative to create a permanent site «Crimea House in the EU» for holding cultural, informational and business events came from the highest official of the Russian government. The project was developed over a year, but was only partially implemented.
Cyprus was also not chosen by chance. Everything was taken into account: the benevolent attitude of the local population towards Russia, the general religion, the peculiarities of the national character of the Cypriots, the large number of Russian speakers living in Cyprus, the loyalty of local authorities to Russia, and much more. It is unlikely that one can find in Europe the best place for Russian-Crimean ideological intervention.
After the creation of the Crimean «permanent platform in the European Union», the holding of an exhibition and the first meeting of the «Club of Friends» in Cyprus, another key actor for interstate relations comes into game in order to support newly established bodies, if you haven`t guessed yet, it`s Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society (IPPO).
This entity opened its representative office in Greece in 2016, but, deriving from the BBC Russian media, in 2018 Athens «seriously suspected the body of trying to influence the internal affairs of Greece and stopped issuing visas to Russian priests.»
At the same time, Greece declared 2 Russian diplomats «persona non grata». According to Greek media, the Greek authorities considered them involved in meddling in the country’s internal affairs — namely, in an attempt to disrupt the agreement on the new title of neighbouring Macedonia. One of the exiled diplomats was Aleksey Popov, deputy head of the Greek branch of the IPPO, a native of Tashkent, Simos Panagiotidis.
IPPO is headed by ex-director of the counterintelligence service, ex-head of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, former Prime Minister of Russia Sergey Stepashin, who recently visited Cyprus and agreed with the Government of Cyprus on resumption of the pilgrimage routes Russia-Cyprus-Israel.
The show isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Despite the actual failure of the first stage of the operation, it continues. All former actors are still in place, and the introduction of such a significant individual as Stepashin most likely means preparing for the next, more successful stage.
This text is the translation of the Article done by Dmitriy Chmelnitski.
All IP rights reserved. In case of any discrepancies the following original shall prevail: Cyprus Daily News