Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
As is known, despite the public promise not to engage in political activity after his release from prison, former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been actively involved in the financing of various media and political projects. The structures of Khodorkovsky actively communicated with the international fraudster William Browder and helped to lobby for the adoption of anti-Russian sanctions in the US Congress. However, the projects of Khodorkovsky, as it turned out, have more high patrons and sponsorship streams than only the means of the former oligarch.
In accordance with public reporting for 2016, a grant for the amount of £344,732 – the equivalent of approximately 31.3 million rubles – were transferred to the Fund Future of Russia Foundation of the “Institute of Modern Russia”, which was established and is formally headed by the son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pavel. This data is contained in the activity report on the Fund Future of Russia Foundation for 2016, which was published on 23rd August, 2017, on the site of the house organisations in the UK (Companies House).
It should be noted that the Fund is the legal successor of the Foundation “Open Russia”, which, in turn, was created by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, banker Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, and former US Ambassador to the USSR Arthur Hartman in 2002.
It is noteworthy that currently the Fund is run by the Baroness Helena Ann Kennedy, Kate Sophia Mallinson, and the company S.J.P. Trust Corporation Limited. And it is precisely the latter trust corporation that is owned by Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, who actually manages the underlying Fund of the Rothschilds in the UK.
As for Jacob Rothschild, according to the British press, he had a business interest in the assets of Yukos, which was already documented in 2003. In addition, he is connected by long-standing business interests with the aforementioned Henry Kissinger, and also has substantial investments in the oil and gas sector. At the same time, the structure of the Rothschilds was not earlier seen in the direct funding of the political projects of Khodorkovsky, which is the organization “Institute of Modern Russia”, formally written down in the name of Pavel, the son of Khodorkovsky-senior.
It is necessary to also point out that before May 9th, 2016, the board in general consisted of Lord Rothschild and Tim Osborne (head of the Group Menatep Limited, representing the interests of the former shareholders of Yukos in the international courts) in a personal capacity, as can be seen by opening the fourth page of the report of the Fund for the year 2016.
In 2016 the grant of the Institute of Modern Russia organization of Pavel Khodorkovsky – forbidden in the Russian Federation – of £344,732 (about 31.3 million rubles) was allocated for the first time.
The “Institute of Modern Russia”, along with “Open Russia” was recognized by the State Office of the Public Prosecutor as an undesirable organization. The structure is closely associated with a number of American NGOs specializing in conducting propaganda activities against Russia, and is affiliated with organizations such as, for example, the “Free Russia Foundation”. The NGO was founded in the US in early 2015 to “promote democracy in Russia”. By the way, if to look at the personnel of the administrative board of the NGO – Ponomareva, Milova, Aleksashenko – it immediately becomes clear what kind of democracy they are trying to promote in our country from overseas.
And the fact of cooperation between ISR and the US government agency BBG, the specialties of which include anti-Russian propaganda, speaks for itself.
At the same time the structure of Khodorkovsky, even at the time of his imprisonment, continue their active anti-Russian political activities by pouring money on lobbying firms in Washington. From 2008 to 2015, the former shareholders of Yukos, as was stated in the official statements of the US Congress, spent $996,000 on informing politicians of the Congress and the US State Department about the situation with the criminal case of Yukos. The lobbying firm Prime Policy Group and its Director Lisa Colangelo were made direct representative of the interests of the company. A lobbying subject from 2008 to 2015 became the regular updating of information about the current trial of Yukos and the provision of information to such US authorities as the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Security Council, and the State Department.
The greatest escalation of the situation with the publicising of the court case of Yukos for American officials happened in 2014: Matt Salmon on August 1st, 2014, sharply criticized President Putin during a speech in Congress related to the topic of Yukos. In particular, the Congressman said in 2014 that Russia has trampled on international law, having violated the Energy Charter, and probably plans to evade the implementation of the claim the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.
It should be noted that despite the fact that the organization “Institute of Modern Russia” positions itself as a research centre and a progressive “think-tank”, developing an academic understanding of the political situation in Russia, the content of the ISR website leaves no doubt that the structure is just another guise of political activity of Mikhail Khodorkovsky: the site promptly posts all of his interviews, and “analysis” is mainly represented by the articles about the stagnation and degradation of the Russian economy, “tyrannical” Putin, and repression of the “free thinking” intelligentsia in the case of Director Kirill Serebrennikov.
Recall that the Ministry of Justice of Russia recognized the created by Mikhail Khodorkovsky “Open Russia” and the “Institute of Modern Russia” as undesirable organizations and included them on the appropriate list. The DOJ noted in particular that “in the list of foreign and international non-governmental organizations whose activities are deemed undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation includes “Open Russia”, “Institute of Modern Russia”, and the social network movement “Open Russia”.
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