The FSB conference in Cyprus – four Generals in the first row beside agents

The involvement of Russian intelligence into internal affairs of foreign states directly depends on the number of Soviet-Russian emigrants such country hosted, no matter, how long ago they arrived. Russian propaganda and support of emigrants are two criteria that put intelligence into the most favorable position. The bigger share of population «compatriots» possess in a foreign state, the more opportunities are open to the Federal Security Service. If there is the necessary inclination, there is scope for making significant impact on the political agenda of target states, recruiting new agents and corrupting governments, including some of the most popular public figures.

The Republic of Cyprus is placed high in the Russian ranking of states, where immigration is favorable, consequently intelligence activities are effective. A small Mediterranean state is the permanent place of residence to approximately 50-70 thousand Russians among slightly more than one million population. It’s jurisdiction used to be an offshore pending 2004, what attracted many Russian capital flows. Recalling amicable locals, pleasant climate and low crime rate, Cyprus is indeed a paradise.

A significant share of Russian migrants are businessmen, who remained in cordial relationships with Russian Government. One may only imagine what number among these businessmen are officers in disguise. We kindly attract your attention to the fact that Cyprus is a member of the EU, this a double benefit for the intelligence. From the other perspective, it creates options to make Cyprus withdraw from the EU, sooner or later.

States like Cyprus are convenient territories to conduct permanent operations, under the guise of prima facie peaceful conferences and fora on various subject matters, but all in the interests of Russia. A test to determine the essence of such public events is not complicated. You should firstly, look closer into the biographies of event’s organizers and secondly, read their statements between the lines. When accomplished, you will be astonished by curious data you missed all this time. October 2019 was marked with an amusing event in Limassol -International conference which was called “The role of media in countering terrorism”.

The International academy of television and radio (IATR) held the International conference, co-organized by the Federal Agency for Press and Communications of the Russian Federation together with Union of Cyprus’ journalists. The general partner of the conference on data protection was Kaspersky Lab.

The issue itself looks odd. Mass media has nothing to do with countering world terrorism. Furthermore, when an event on combating terror is set by a state, which is itself an aggressor a reasonable man will find this topic suspicious and come to a conclusion that something is hidden deeply behind public-oriented slogans.

It feels like murders and attempted murders of well-known opponents of the regime of recent years e.g. Litvinenko and Skripaly in London, Khangoshvili in Berlin, etc. do not fall under the concept of “terrorism” from the point of view of the Russian Government. They refuse to accelerate the investigations, moreover, the killer of Mr. Litvinenko — Andrey Lugovoy is an MP in Russia.

The genuine meaning of the subject matter will be discussed hereunder later, first you need to look at the organizers and participants of the conference, which, according to the announcement, brought together «well-known Russian journalists and experts, representatives of foreign electronic media, diplomatic missions and law enforcement agencies.»

In the 1990s, numerous «quasi-academies» popped out in Russia. These institutions imitate scientific and social activity. Many of them traded mainly in the sale of amusing ranks and their own «orders», performing tasks of the special services along the way. In other words, they awarded foreign politicians, military and other people in whom Russia is interested to cooperate and maintain communication. Some «academies» were specially created for reconnaissance and diplomatic purposes under the guise of public activity.

Undoubtedly, the International Academy of Television and Radio (IATR) is one of such mission oriented institutions. It was created in 2002, later registered as an international organization in 2004 with headquarters in Moscow.

The list of official IATR partners is composed of the following: Rossotrudnichestvo, Kaspersky Lab, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency, various pocket Kremlin media organizations, among them — Public Television of Russia, Ostankino, the Russian Television and Radio Network, the Union of Russian Journalists, etc. There are no foreign organizations on the list, thus they have no cooperation with the IATR.

Deriving from the data given in the list, an academy is a purely governmental entity connected with the intelligence and aimed at foreign activities, primarily in the emigrant communities and among journalists.

Kaspersky Lab is a company affiliated with the Russian Federal Security Service. Kaspersky himself graduated from the KGB Academy. Not so long ago, the United States and Great Britain banned the use of its antivirus program in their government agencies for security reasons.

Rossotrudnichestvo is a branch of the Russian special services targeting on Russian emigrants. De facto, differentiation of functions between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Russian special services is mere visible.

International activities of the IATR began in 2005 with the presentation of an honorary diploma to the Mayor of Toronto. Perhaps the academy was created specifically for conferences such as this one. The first conference “Terrorism and Electronic Media” was held in 2005 in Gelendzhik (Russia). The next seven were warmly hosted by Cyprus. In 2013 — in Budva (Montenegro) In 2014 — in Baden (Austria), in 2015 — in Dagomys (Russia), in 2016 — in Belgrade (Serbia), in 2017 — in Sofia (Bulgaria). Finally, in 2018 again in Cyprus. The current conference in Limassol is already the fifteenth in a row. Apparently, Cyprus was the most convenient place for the organizers.

It is very interesting to lid off the list of speakers of the conference in Limassol. The most important group in the recent past consists of senior KGB-FSB officers whose affiliation to the reconnaissance is disguised in the program by their civil or administrative positions.

Vladimir Kozlov, the co-chair of the Conference Organizing Committee, deputy head of the Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency of the Russian Federation, delivered an opening speech to the public and commenced the conference.

Lieutenant General Vladimir Kozlov is a graduate of the Felix Dzerzhinsky Political-Military Academy and the Red Banner Order Military Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR.  He started his career in the KGB in 1978. From 1994 to 1995, Kozlov was deputy head of the Special Operations Directorate of the Federal Counterintelligence Service of Russia (FCS of the Russian Federation). In 1995, the FCS was renamed to FSB, and Mr. Kozlov changed his job and became the Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for Press. He has been sitting in his current office since 2005. It`s obvious that Kozlov has no pursue to free the media and let freedom of expression, he rather misinforms the readers.

Valentin Sobolev, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Military Insurance Company called “Linia Jizni» is  Mr. Kozlov’s colleague and colleague. Much more titled person that Kozlov himself.

Colonel General Sobolev is a graduate of the KGB High School. He has served in the state security since 1972. From 1994 he had taken the vacancy of Deputy Director of the Federal Grid Company, and since 1999 he had become the First Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation  (supervised counterintelligence activities). During 1999 to 2008 he build a respective career from the Deputy, and then Acting Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Later he became Honorary Officer of Counterintelligence.

The most well-recognized KGB-FSB officer among the participants of the conference is Nikolay Bordyuzha. He was announced as vice president of the BOOS LIGHTING GROUP (International Lighting Corporation). At the same time, nothing in the biography of Bordyuzha does indicate on a connection with the production of lighting products, which his corporation is officially leads.

Colonel General Bordyuzha graduated from the High KGB Military Counterintelligence Courses in Novosibirsk and began his service in 1976. In 1998, Bordyuzha was the director of the Federal Border Service of the Russian Federation, in 1998-1999 he was the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and at the same time the head of the Presidential Administration, replacing Valentin Yumashev. According to rumors, Bordyuzha was among the possible successors of Yeltsin .. In 1999-2003, he was the Russian ambassador to Denmark. From 2003 to 2016 — General Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military organization of the CIS countries.

The same group of people with vested interests includes Alexander Mikhailov, a member of the Council on Foreign Defense Policy of Russia.

Colonel Alexander Mikhailov has served in state security agencies since 1973. Since 1982, he has served in the Alpha special forces group of the KGB of the USSR. He fought in Afghanistan, in the first and second Chechen wars. In 2002, he led the group that stormed the theater on Dubrovka, captured by Chechen terrorists. He left service as the head of the department of operation “A” (stands for “Alpha”) of the Special Service Center of the FSB of Russia. However, the website of the organization «Officers of Russia», where Mikhailov is the head of the Central Executive Committee indicates that Mikhailov is the lieutenant general of the police.

Such a concentration of FSB generals per square meter at untrustworthy conference with an absurd name provokes further interest in other participants, primarily foreigners.

The most eye-catching figure among foreigner is George Frangos, the official co-organizer of the conference and the head of the Cyprus Union of Journalists. A year earlier, in November 2018, Frangos signed in Moscow an agreement on cooperation between the Cyprus Union of Journalists and the Russian Union of Journalists. The same agreements were concluded by the heads of the unions of journalists from Poland, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Abkhazia and Mongolia. Under the current circumstances, such agreements clearly indicate a successful recruitment done by the Russian Government.

At the opening of the conference, Mr. Frangos rebroadcasted the greeting of the President of Cyprus, and at the final meeting he recalled the commitment of the President to host the next conference in 2020 also in Cyprus. Apparently, for the FSB, Frangos has particular value as a direct contact with the President of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiadis. The journalist ensures President`s benevolent attitude towards more than dubious Moscow organizations operating on the island.

In addition, a couple of weeks before the conference, Frangos deliberated in Cyprus with a representative of the Sevastopol branch of the Union of Journalists of Russia – Mr. Gorbachev (also not a journalist, but a military). For Moscow, such contacts are precious, these are breaching the international isolation of the Crimea occupied by Russia.

The list of foreign participants includes has Israelis — Vladimir Bader and Raya Koval. Both are Soviet emigrants to Israel.

Vladimir Bader who emigrated in 1995,  has been the head of the political campaign under the motto Israel our home since 2014. Raya Koval emigrant in 2006, since then she has been organizing conferences and international projects at the Jerusalem Press Club.

The national of Spain, José Luis Barceló is the Director of the newspaper El Mundo Financiero. Four years ago he participated in a video conference back in 2015 between the editorial office of the Parliamentary Newspaper in Moscow and the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Madrid. The topic covered the EU sanctions policy in connection with the occupation of Crimea. Indeed, the talks tries to justify this chain of events. Mr. Barceló complained that the sanctions were a mistake for the EU and expressed support for the Russian side.

The national of Italiy, Tiberio Graziani is an ally of Moscow, meaning the «old-known agent of influence.» He is represented in the conference`s agenda as “Chairman of the International Institute of Global Analytics” (Italy)”. Loud names of entities like this one with a steering idea to «globalism» are characterized by fake, quasi-scientific entities with a Russian-KGB context. Graziani in 2004 founded the Italian magazine «Eurasia”. The very first issue of this magazine had the honor to publish an introductory article by Alexander Dugin. Other authors of the magazine were Vladimir Yakunin and Alexander Prokhanov. In 2011, Graziani began publishing the journal “Geopolitics”, it had a scientific council which had more than interesting individual as a member — Natalya Narochnitskaya.

In 2013, Graziani, as president of the Institute for Higher Studies of Geopolitics and Related Sciences (ISAG), and  Mrs. Narochnitskaya, then the president of the Paris Institute for Democracy and Cooperation (also a notorious organization with KGB roots), organized a conference in Rome called “European cooperation: current situation and prospects”.

Abovementioned foreigners are only those, who were expressly stated in the conference`s agenda. In addition, other representatives of Belgium, Belarus, Greece, Israel, Spain, Italy, Cyprus … took part in it.

The third group of conference participants may be encompassed by the title MEDIA of the government of the Russian Federation (OTR, RT, Russia 1) and leading pro-Kremlin journalists. The most important figure among all is Leonid Mlechin, an international journalist since the times of the Soviet Union. This status automatically indicates a cordial relationship with state security.

The most essential on this conference was its purpose. Why did you need to bring together counterintelligence generals, foreign agents of influence and Kremlin media officials? The official issue of the conference is “The role of media in countering terrorism,” as already noted, it does not clarify anything and sounds too odd. However, at least something can be caught from the final document of the conference.

The final conference`s act states:

“… conference participants draw the attention of all journalists to the following issues:

  1. How can a professional journalism maintain audience`s confidence in the era of fake news?
  2. How to mobilize the resources of bloggers and YouTube to fight terrorism and hatred?
  3. Are there new ways of cooperation between the media, diplomats and security agencies of different countries in the fight against terrorism? ”

The funniest question is the first, especially when you consider that it comes precisely from those who generate fakes, from representatives of the official Russian press with a long and hopelessly ruined reputation. On the other hand, these people are really interested in making fakes look believable. It must be assumed that the development of methods for achieving the likelihood of fakes could be discussed at the conference.

The second question, at first glance, is completely non-sense. It is completely blurred what is meant in this case by “terrorism and hatred”. Clarity can be made by the speeches of the conference participants. Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Mr. Osadchy in his opening remarks said that in the modern world, «social networks are everywhere used as a trigger for all color revolutions and riots

Colonel Alexander Mikhailov at the previous conference in 2018, addressed the public even with lees efforts to hide his true nature: “Much attention was paid to social networks and working with them. I agree that we do not know how to resist social networks. Now they are a battlefield, and we are not even present at it. And prohibitive measures without actions in the social networks are useless … It is crucial to fight not with technology, but to develop ideological political and moral filters.

Consequently, the main enemy of the participants are social networks, on which they cannot yet have a serious impact. Mr. Osadchiy mentioned the “color revolutions and riots” initiated by the social networks as a parallel with the 2013 Ukrainian revolution and generally the anti-Putin movement.

Mikhailov, however, calls for confronting social networks by introducing “ideological, political and moral filters” into them. Too much is currently known about the political views and moral attitudes of the Russian special services and Putin’s professional propagandists. Undoubtedly, we are talking about strengthening fake propaganda and the activities aimed at jeopardizing the world social networks. It can be assumed that this was one of the most important topics actually discussed by the conference participants. Plainly, everything is done under the guise of peaceful and scientific necessities. 

Question number 3 concerned “the cooperation of the media, diplomats and security agencies of different countries in the fight against terrorism”. The topic is no less bizarre than the rest. More precisely, the answer to it has long been known. Though the stress here is put not on the «different countries.»

There were no other diplomats and intelligence besides Russian at the conference. The cooperation of Russian diplomats and special services with the press is possible only in the form of recruitment of editors and journalists. One of the main tasks of agents of influence is the recruitment of new agents, that gather at such conferences. Undoubtedly, this problem was also actively discussed in close groups of top management.

In this context, the phrase “the fight against terrorism” becomes quite clear. We are talking about the fight against any anti-Putin protests and for the strengthening of fake Russian propaganda.

The accusation to be terrorists of all opponents of the Putin regime is one of the most used fakes by the current Russian government. In Russia, this practice has already acquired the character of widespread repression. Look into courts` registers, people are sentenced with long-term imprisonment for peaceful political protests. To advance this thesis into the world press, efforts are needed to massively recruit foreign journalists and generally anyone who seems useful to special services. That’s why such conferences are going on and flourishing.

We want to highlight another aspect of the topic. Meetings of Moscow curators with their foreign agents in the guise of quasi-scientific conferences have been organized for a long time, in large numbers and around the world.

We already wrote about the annual conferences that the generals and colonels of the Federal Agency for Government Communications (a unit of the Russian special services in electronic intelligence and hacking) have been gathering in the Bayern resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen since 2006. Naturally, the official subject matter of these conferences is “the fight for cybersecurity”, something directly opposite to what their organizers are actually doing.

At the end of November, something similar will take place in Prague called “Media Forum 2019: Freedom of Journalism in the Context of Human Rights, New Technologies, and International Information Security”. This is one more platform for spreading of Kremlin ideology by Moscow curators from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with friendly foreign journalists.

The list of organizers and partners of the forum include the same Tiberio Graziani`s “International Institute of Global Analyses”.