In the Federation Council an enlarged meeting of the working group of the temporary commission on defending state sovereignty and preventing interference in the internal affairs of Russia took place. The reason for it was the Moscow City Duma election, or rather – unauthorised actions in support of unregistered candidates and the participation of the West in them.
Outside intervention was foreseen in May of this year
Opening the meeting, the chairman of the commission Andrey Klimov reminded that on May 30th of this year the question of the possible interference of the US and its partners in the Russian political system in the run-up to the uniform voting day in Russia on September 8th 2019 was raised in the Federation Council.
“Back then we drew the conclusion that the US and its supporters, with the actual complicity of those who are considered abroad to be stooges for the destabilisation of the Russian political system, will try to take advantage of the next election in our country. At the same time, i.e. two months ago, we named the Moscow City Duma election process as being subject to possible interference. Unfortunately, our conclusions about the expected provocations that will take place with external support were confirmed. I say ‘unfortunately’ because there was the hope that foreign partners will start to observe, at last, the fundamental principles of the UN, including the principle of non-interference in the affairs of the sovereign states. There was also the hope that certain representatives of the so-called ‘non-systemic opposition’ will refrain from doubtful cooperation with those who officially in their documents, including in the US federal law, proclaim Russia as the enemy and call to ‘contain Russia at any cost’ – it is a quote,” said senator Klimov, opening the meeting.
He reminded that at the end of May the commission headed by him started monitoring regional elections for the purpose of identifying signs of possible interference in the Russian electoral process from the outside.
“Last week we officially stated that in the events connected with the registration of candidates for the Moscow City Duma there are signs of external interference in the sovereign affairs of Russia. In particular, there was talk about the unfair covering of events in Moscow by the state propaganda bodies of a number of foreign states, about the unacceptable actions of some representatives of diplomatic corps in Moscow, about the participation of foreign persons who had the corresponding training abroad and receive money from there, and also about the involvement of Russian citizens and foreign structures specialising in lobbying, political consulting, legal advice, PR – and GR technologies.
Today we are considering signs of this sort, and our purpose is, on the basis of the materials considered by the commission, to develop specific proposals regarding the suppression of any attempts to intervene in the sovereign affairs of the Russian Federation,” explained Andrey Klimov.
“The entire information war arsenal is being used”
The member of the Central Election Commission Anton Lopatin noted that in Russia “those who want to discredit the entire electoral process in our country traditionally become more active on a uniform voting day”, and it is shown, in particular, in the everyday computer attacks on the website of the CEC and the website of state services via which the Mobile Voter mechanism allowing to vote at elections from one’s fingertips is implemented.
Senator Klimov emphasized that more than a half of the DDOS attacks against the Russian authorities is conducted from the territory of the US.
The head of department of information problems of the Russian Foreign Ministry Ilya Timokhov in turn noted that the US and their allies periodically violate the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, widely applying double standards and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries for the purpose of preserving the unilateral world order established by them.
“Interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation don’t have a coincidental character. It is systematic work, and has been carried out for a long time. In the information sphere the West launched a real global anti-Russian campaign in order to demonise and discredit the Russian Federation, undermining its internal political stability.
Disinformation is used very widely. It has saturated all the key topics of the international agenda, from Ukraine to Syria. At the same time there is the production of fake information, as well as the fabrication of news. It is put on a conveyor belt. Offensive information activities in cyberspace have been launched. The supply of materials about Russia is practically always one-sided and prejudiced. Also, concepts are universally substituted when under the pretext of countering Russian propaganda the western information space is being cleansed, generally of sources holding an alternative point of view,” said Timokhov.
Further, the representative of the MFA gave examples of the oppression of Russian media in Europe and the US.
“As for the work of Euroatlanticists in the Russian information space, the most striking example is the frankly provocative comments made by Foreign Ministries and diplomatic missions concerning unauthorised rallies in Moscow with their tendentious, legally unfounded criticism of the actions of the law enforcement bodies of Russia. Among the author countries there is the same US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, and other partners of the US.
We are in favour of giving assessments — this can and should be done, but we do not notice a similar intensity of emotions when Western capitals cover the internal political events of their neighbours. And when affairs concern Russia, the entire information war arsenal – from fakes to outright propaganda – is used. Relaying appeals and, in fact, the propaganda of the West inciting to participate in unauthorised rallies became an example. On August 2nd a map showing the time and route of a rally was posted on the official Twitter account of the leadership on consular questions of the US State Department. It would seem that this information has a pro-active character and is intended for the safety of US citizens staying in Russia. However, it is in practice clear that it is nothing other than the propaganda material of the organisers of rallies, because in the pictures there is Russian text with an appeal to ‘gather’.
And an even more defiant example is the Deutsche Welle publication, financed from the state budget of Germany. On July 27th of this year it posted on its Twitter account an appeal to participate in the unauthorised rally ‘Moscow, come outside!’. Moreover, it is difficult to doubt that the publication is addressed to Russians since it is in Russian,” said the diplomat.
Ilya Timokhov also drew attention to the behaviour of foreign journalists who were seen implementing outright provocative actions for the purpose of creating information buzz.
“The high coordination of such actions of correspondents who were almost at the same time distributing information about the detention of their colleagues and disinformation about the violent actions of law enforcement bodies is evident. Most likely, all of this could not be considered as a coordinated attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia if we saw our western partners have at least remotely similar approaches towards covering each other’s events,” added the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Moscow City Duma election as an excuse for, and not a cause of, unrest
The member of the Civic Chamber of Russia Mikhail Anichkin noted that now representatives of the western media and other organisations were concerned about the fate of parents who came to an unsanctioned rally with their baby.
“Responsibility for people who come to mass actions of such a nature with children is not up to the end stated in the law, potentially subjecting them to a deadly threat,” complained Anichkin. “The Prokazovs manipulated their child, and now for them and for unregistered candidates like Egor Zhuk pressure is being put on reference persons, and even academics who speak abroad are threatened with a ban on their speeches if they do not stand up for the participants of the rallies. There is progressive work to which it is necessary to respond. And if earlier behind this work there were diplomats and politicians, then now there are humanitarian organisations that are connected, among other things, to the work of our academics abroad”.
Another representative of Civic chamber Vasily Grigoriev is sure that the Moscow City Duma election was intentionally used for the organisation of mass riots and so that foreign media could discredit Russia. At the same time, he emphasised that everything happened using the technologies used during Maidan.
“It is obvious that the Moscow City Duma election became an excuse for, but not the cause of, the mass riots taking place in Moscow. It is natural that election commissions could not but refuse these nominees in question. All of you know about 300 dead souls, i.e., the signatures of dead people that were collected and transferred to the Moscow Election Committee by a group of these 12 people. You know also about the thousands of signatures of people whose passport data does not match their names.
The fact that they could not be registered it is obvious. This was known also by the unregistered nominees themselves. Therefore the decisions of Moscow Election Committee were only an excuse for the disorder that they were supposed to organise. And, as you know, getting permission for a rally is not so difficult. There is such a practice. On July 20th at Sakharov Square the same people held an authorised meeting. But, most likely, this was not enough for them, and they preferred to organise disorder,” said the member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.
Grigoriev was at these rallies in Moscow and shared his impressions of what was seen with his own eyes.
“I personally saw these people who coordinated actions, I saw people who feigned injuries inflicted by the police, I saw a woman who gave an interview to foreign media, smear blood on her face and saying that three police officers beat her and that she barely escaped from them. Then we found a video of how she tried to pass through a passage in the center of Moscow blocked by police officers, using foul language, tearing badges from police officers and trying to hit them several times. And here is exactly the same woman, having broken through this passage, giving an interview to the BBC and to other media.
I saw similar cases on Trubnaya Street. And it was clear that western journalists knew exactly who to go to. There is such a feeling that there was already an arrangement. There was serious coordination. I personally saw those who attacked police officers, who covered themselves with children – it is not only the Prokazovs. Not to mention what kind of parents they are if they go to a rally with children, knowing that anything can happen. There were also non-residents – among detainees in certain cases they were more than a half. They were aggressive, but they have no relation to the Moscow City Duma election. And nominees came with bodyguards. They knew what would happen,” said Vasily Grigoriev.
The member of the Civic Chamber also noted that visitors who were seen at rallies in Moscow had previously participated in the rallies of the regional headquarters of the blogger Aleksey Navalny. At the same time, Grigoriev emphasised that the police acted very correctly towards these illegal actions, and this is the height of democracy compared to how unrest in France or the same US is suppressed. But the western media, of course, does not speak about it.
“Taking the golden calf by the udder”
The member of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Mikhaylov hoped that law enforcement bodies will manage to prove who sponsors the activity of so-called Russian non-systemic oppositionists. He also explained why after the rallies in Moscow the American ambassador John Huntsman resigned.
“We have observed for decades the processes connected to turbulence among persons who don’t share the position of the country’s political leadership. They are all the same, they say the same things, they periodically throw around various theories, but all of this fits into the principles of a revolutionary fight that can be formulated in several theses: aims and objectives, forms and methods, forces and means. All of us perfectly understand it. And the most important thing is that we understand that all of this is assessed by an efficiency indicator.
The assessment of the efficiency indicator was shown by the resignation of the American ambassador. Because, firstly, a criminal case against the so-called ‘Anti-Corruption Foundation’ was initiated. We took a golden calf, as Ostap Bender said, by the udder, to see ‘where the money comes from’. And we perfectly understand where this money came from and how it was legalised on accounts. The prosecutor’s office and Investigative Committee have carte blanche — it is possible to extract such sensations from this case! Also the failure of the rally itself is obvious. The PR was enormous, but one and a half cripples came. Visitors come because they can’t do such things back home,” considers Aleksandr Mikhaylov.
He reminded that after the terrorist attack on September 11th the Americans said that they will fight terrorism, but in fact “the West began to use terrorism in order to put pressure on other countries”. However, now, according to Mikhaylov, the US had a puncture because the protest moods in Russia are deflating.
“Therefore it is clear that there is simply nothing for the ambassador to do here. We are dealing just with laundering. Do you remember, 4.9 billion was brought to Ukraine from the US for the orange revolution? They laundered it. And I think it is the same story here. Therefore I very much hope for an investigation into the activity of the Anti-Corruption Foundation.
I had a hope that we will open this hornet’s nest and, through financial accounts and real documents connected to the activity of these ‘oppositionists’, we will dot the i’s because we already frightened a lot and had court trials, but the remaining bacillus revives,” said the expert of the Commission of the Federation Council on Defending State Sovereignty.
Participants of disorder received 48 million rubles a month before holding rallies
The head of the legal department of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Artur Zavalunov said at the meeting that the supervisory authorities will immediately stop the activity of the organisers and participants of illegal and uncoordinated public actions.
The Vice-President of the Senatorial Commission Lyudmila Bokova spoke about the development of grey schemes of foreign financing for organisations working to destabilise the situation in Russia, created to circumvent the law on foreign agents.
“The financial statement on grant support from the European Commission published on June 27th of this year is curious. It is open source, it is possible to look at and analyse it. A grantee is a Russian organisation that has the same address as an NGO that was earlier recognised as a foreign agent. The grant sum — €645,000 or 48 million rubles. We observed NGO representatives in the most active phase of the disorder in Moscow,” said senator Bokova.
She supported the idea of extending the mechanism of parliamentary investigation to cases where foreign states are interfering in Russian politics. Lyudmila Bokova also expressed the need to include a definition of venues for political actions and meetings in the current legislation.
“The commission will prepare additional legislative proposals on the precise stipulation in law of places where it is possible to hold such events of a political character and where under no circumstances can they be held. To exclude subjectivity, everyone knew that in our village a rally can be held here, and here, here and here — under no circumstances, no excuses,” promised Andrey Klimov.
Ambassadors will be invited to explain the interference of their countries in the affairs of the Russian Federation
The chairman of the Commission on Defending the State Sovereignty of the Russian Federation reported that he, along with colleagues, recorded attempts by US lobbyist structures to influence the elective process in the Russian Federation.
“After we introduced legislative measures that recognise a number of organisations as undesirable, what started to happen? These organisations started to use ‘layering’: or to use branches of foreign organisations working on the territory of the Russian Federation concerning absolutely other official matters or to use our non-governmental organisations receiving the corresponding grants for absolutely other official purposes. Today we have facts that official commercial lobbyist structures, including the US, are being involved, we know their specific attempts to influence some members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, people working in universities,” reported Klimov.
His assistant suggested to hold a commission meeting with the participation of countries that are suspected of interfering in the internal affairs of Russia.
“It would be quite reasonable, within the framework of the commission’s work, I think, even in September, to hold a meeting with the participation of the ambassadors of those countries from whose territory we actively see various actions that we regard to be clear and obvious interference,” noted Lyudmila Bokova.
Andrey Klimov, in turn, promised that, after the meeting, a specific list of mechanisms will be developed to curb the activities of West-sponsored disorder in Russia.