Montenegro Coup Suspect Linked to Russian-backed “Ultranationalist” Organisation

Montenegro coup suspect linked to Russian-backed “ultranationalist” organisation: Russian influence in the Balkans is exerted through media, demonstrations and Biker groups.

According to the Telegraph’s investigation into the attempted Montenegro coup, published February 18th, Predrag Bogicevic, Nemanja Ristic, Vladimir Popov and Eduard Shirokov were implicated in the attempt. A February 19 article published by the Telegraph also carried the photograph of the suspects and the four were said to have been “allegedly tasked with carrying out the attack”. (Source)

Summary bulletpoints:

Section 1 – Coup suspect had contact with propaganda news outlet with Ukraine separatist ties that focuses on Serbia and Montenegro’s Russia links.

  • The Telegraph investigation named Montenegro four coup plotters, these included Predrag Bogicevic and Nemanja Ristic.
  • Ristic has met with journalists from News-Front in the same month as the coup at Belgrade Airport.
  • News-Front has planned to work on “unofficial contacts between citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Russia for joint work in the sphere of public diplomacy” – according to a grant proposal lodged with the Russian State in spring 2016.
  • The head of News-Front, Konstantin Krynik, is part of the far-right political party Rodina in Crimea, and by his own admission played a role in organising the pro-Russian separatist movement in 2014.
  • A number of grants have been applied for from Russian State funds to pay for News-Front projects, many of which were applied for through an organisation called “Our Great Victory Project”, which has been supported by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Committee of the State Duma on CIS affairs and the Russian State Council on Defence and Security.
  • The “Our Great Victory Project” was in itself a scheme that was presented as a WW2 victory celebration, but involved a motor-procession through contentious territories including Donetsk, Lugansk, Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
  • It also involved the promotion of “Antimaidan”, and was organised with the help of one of the founders of Antimaidan, the Russian politician and member of Defence and Security Council Dmitriy Sablin. Sablin founded Antimaidan together with other figures, including the head of the Night Wolves biker organisation.
  • Sazonova and Belous, News-Front journalists who met with Ristic in Belgrade airport were themselves arrested and expelled by Kosovo authorities together with a member of the Serbian Radical Party. The three were in Kosovo to film a clip about ethnic tension and alleged anti-Orthodox violence. They were trying to promote these ideas as part of a wider campaign in the Russian media to sow unrest and de-legitimise Kosovo as a State – news of their arrest and expulsion was exploited in the Russian State media.

Section 2 – Montenegro Organisation of Russian Speakers is taken over by Russian State-backed leadership – is linked to Night Wolves who organise motorcycle “pilgrimages” to promote ideas of shared ethnicity and religion.

  • The Balkan Federation of Russian Speaking Organisations (BaFRO) has been set up in Montenegro after its predecessor organisation was allegedly split between people who agreed and disagreed over Russian State policy. BaFRO now operates as a pro-Kremlin organisation and is partnered with bodies including Rossotrudnitchestvo, RISI and Russkiy Mir.
  • According to one report, Aleksey Galitskiy and Veniamin Striga who head BaFRO are representatives of deputy chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Zheleznyak.
  • Another partner organisation of BaFRO is the Federation of Motortourism of Russia, which is also owned by BaFRO head Galitskiy, and he and his fellow “shareholders” of the organisation are members of the Night Wolves biker organisation.
  • The Motortourism federation won two grants from the Russian State, worth 16 million rubles together.
  • The first Grant was for motorcycle processions aimed at outcomes such as building “a single historical space” for Russia and “focusing on international relations in the sphere of Youth”.
  • The second of these was for organising a “series of motorcycle and automobile pilgrimages” in a project called “Russian Road”.
  • In 2015, this grant resulted in a procession by the Night Wolves which started in Montenegro and then headed to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The “pilgrimage” included a trip to the Russian Embassy in Montenegro and a meeting with ambassador Sergey Gritsai. Their discussion is said to have included ideas on cooperation including the creation of a “pilgrimage centre” in Podgorica, Montenegro.
  • The use of Motorcyle processions and the involvement of groups like the Night Wolves is of serious concern, given both the radical views of such organisations and their much reported involvement in the war in Ukraine. Rather than simply being commemorations or benign events processions like the “Social Patriotic Project: Our Great Victory” are partly about spreading ideas of a Russian historical claim to territories based on religion and ethnicity – what is exemplified by the phrase “a single historical space” used in a grant application.
  • Soon after the attempted coup, Veniamin Striga wrote an article for Novaya Gazeta which claimed news of a coup were false. But months before this he gave an interview where he claimed that even through BaFRO did not want to “obstruct” the Montenegro government, they were against NATO and the EU and that his organisation had approval from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Section 3: Coup Suspect Ristic is a leader of organisation dubbed as “ultranationalist” by Russian State media – yet Deputy Chairman of State Duma and Edinaya Rossiya cooperate with it

  • Coup suspect Nemanja Ristic is one of the leaders of an organisation called Zavetnici, which was set up to campaign for a “change of government [and] looking towards Russia and against EU membership”. Zavetnici organised a large number of demonstrations to this end, protesting with the likes of Dveri and the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).
  • After news of the coup and the warrant for Ristic came out, Russian State media outlet Vesti referred to Zavetnici as an “ultrapatriotic organisation and mentioned that Ristic previously served a prison sentence for murder.
  • Yet previously, Zavetnici welcomed Lavrov on a trips to Belgrade in 2014, and another trip in in 2016. Leading figures from Zavetnici including Ristic posed for a photo with Lavrov.
  • Duma Deputy chairman Zheleznyak and his assistant Viktor Kolbanovskiy (whose Facebook friends include coup suspects Namanja Ristic and Predrag Bogicevic) met with Zavetnici leadership at an event hosted by Zavetnici and appeared to have a panel discussion with the Zavetnici flag behind them.
  • Zheleznyak also established finks with Serbian fringe parties – signing a joint declaration on behalf of United Russia with Dvery and the Democratic Party of Serbia in June 2016. In the same month he signed an agreement with the party of a further Balkan State – Bulgaria’s ABV, which supports Russia’s policy, especially on joint energy projects.
  • In turn, Zavetnici leadership including Stefan Stamekovsky and Milica Djurdjevic went to Moscow in November 2016 and met with Zheleznyak and Konstantin Petrichenko of United Russia. (Petrichenko also met the leader of AfD’s youth-wing Frohnmaier the month after that).
  • In November 2015 Zavetnici organized a demonstration in support of Russia’s veto of Kosovo’s UNESCO membership. The event was covered by Sazonova of News-front, whose article was then re-published by the Gorchakov Fund, a public diplomacy organisation founded by order of Dmitry Medvedev.
  • The UNESCO action, which included coverage in Russian State media is an example of coordinated work between pro-Russian media and organisations that seek to undermine Kosovo as a nation state and its affiliation with Western organisations such as the EU.

Section 1 – Coup suspect had contact with propaganda news outlet with Ukraine separatist ties that focuses on Serbia and Montenegro’s Russia links.

Coup suspect link to pro-Russian journalists engaged in propaganda

Coup suspect Nemanja Ristic met with Journalists from Newsfront in September 2016. News-front is an organisation with ties to Russian separatists in east Ukraine. These journalists were also detained by authorities in Kosovo in the same month as the Montenegro coup attempt. They were detained together with a Serbian politician from a Russia-backed party. The three appear to have been working on a video news report which would be exploited by Russian propaganda to incite religious and ethnic tension in Kosovo and Metokhia. The connection between Ristic and the Newsfront journalists is important, because it means at least one Montenegro coup suspect is linked to journalists engaged in a Russian propaganda effort in the Balkans. This effort is aimed at creating tension between communities, NATO and UN presence and promoting pro-Russian ideas.

News-Front in Serbia and Montenegro

The following is research into News-Front’s Balkan interests.

In spring 2016, the Crimean regional public organisation “Social-Patriotic Project “Our Great Victory” applied for a Grant from the State organisation the Russian Youth Alliance. (Source) Their grant application was for a project titled “News Front Serbia”.

The head of News-front is Konstantin Knyrik. The head of the Crimean Social Patriotic project “Our Great Victory” is Oleg Slyusarenko (Source).

News Front head Knyrik wrote articles about his role in pro-Russian activities in Ukraine in 2014. He mentioned working alongside Slyusarenko. (Source) Knyrik wrote “Slyusarenko took it upon himself to organise street demonstrations [in 2014]… me and Yury Aleksandrovich Pershikov took on Information work”.

This connection makes it clear that the Grant for “News Front Serbia” was therefore made by Slyusarenko’s organisation for Knyrik’s News Front. Moreover a search on the Russian State grants website also shows that the Social Patriotic Project Our Great Victory has made other applications of funding for News Front projects, including News Front in Germany. (Source)

According to the Russian State grant website, the aims of the project were spelled out as follows: “the forming of a positive image of the Russian Federation in Balkan nations (Serbia and Montenegro). A break in the information blockade. The support of unofficial contacts between citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Russia for joint work in the sphere of public diplomacy. The advancement of Russian interests abroad”. (Source).

While it has not been possible to find confirmation that the project won funding from the Russian State online, the project description is important because it spells out the political pro-Russian work that News Front sees as its task in the Serbia and Montenegro. The work described by News Front proposed project breaches the work of a “news organisation” – particularly with the claim of “unofficial contacts between citizens of Serbia, Montenegro and Russia for joint work in the sphere of public diplomacy”. (Source).

On top of this, it has been possible to find that News Front head Knyrik member of the board of Rodina party in Crimea (Source). Rodina is the party that organised a gathering of Nationalists from Europe and beyond in spring 2015. (Source) This is another useful example of News-front being more than a mere propaganda outlet – its head is involved with a far-right Russian political party in Crimea.

Links between the “Our Great Victory project”, the Russian State and Antimaidan

According to the website, EurasianSpace – “Our Great Victory” had a project between March and July 2015 that was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (Source).

Further information about this project could be found on the website of an organisation called “Combat Brotherhood” which suggests there were some sinister motives behind the project. It is mentioned that the project was an auto-procession across various territories including “the Russian Federation, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Novorossiya (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics), Trasnistria and South Ossetia”. While it the project was overtly dedicated to the “70th Anniversary of the Great Victory” and involved the use of a large Victory banner, a large flag of the pro-Russian separatist organisation “Antimaidan” was also involved.

Similarly, according to the “Combat Brotherhood”, which is said to have organised and conducted the “Our Great Victory” project, the start of the demonstration was timed with the 1st Anniversary of the Crimean referendum. It is also mentioned that the project “Our Great Victory” enjoys support of the Committee of the State Duma on CIS affairs and links with compatriots and the Committee of the Federation Council on Defence and Security.

The “Combat Brotherhood” site also mentions that the head of the project is the first deputy of the chairman of the All-Russian public organisation of Veterans “Combat Brotherhood” and members of the Committee of the Federation Council on Defence and Security, Dmitriy Vadimovich Sablin. (Source).

On top of his other responsibilities, Sablin was reportedly one of the founders of the influential Russian-separatist movement Antimaidan, together with the head of the Night Wolves, Alexander Zaldostanov and others. (Source).

This project is useful to consider, particularly in the context of its ties to News-Front, as it enjoys support from the Russian government and has carried out a provocative and politically charged action across CIS states. Overtly the action was a WW2 Commemoration, but the specifics of the project involved glorifying the Crimean referendum and legitimising contentious territories such as Transistria, South Ossetia and Occupied Ukraine as being “linked” to Russia.

The movement was also explicit in its support for pro-Russian separatism in Ukraine and was even organised by a Russian politician who co-founded the Antimaidan organisation. It is useful to consider the methodology of Motorcycle and automobile processions, and groups such as Night Wolves (whose head co-founded Antimaidan with Our Great Victory organiser Sablin). This methodology has been repeated in the Balkan states and a further section addresses some of this in detail.

The links between the suspect and the journalists

Ristic appears have some links with pro-Russian journalists operating in Montenegro; Oksana Sazonova and Sergey Belous. Sazonova interviewed Ristic in July 2016 at a pro-Trump rally. (Source) Sergey Belous is connected to Ristic – he (and Sazonova) met Ristic in Belgrade airport in September 2016. (Source).

Ristic’s connection to Belous and Sazonova is important because (i) both the journalists are linked to News-front (Source), a news organisation with strong links to pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine. (ii) Sazonova and Belous were themselves arrested and expelled by authorities in Kosovo in September 2016 (Source) (same month as the attempted Montenegro coup) and they were with a politician from the Serbian Radical Party Zvonko Mihajlovic at the time (Source 1)(Source 2). The Serbian Radical Party reportedly enjoys support from Russian State media, according to RFERL. (iii) While Russian media including the state-run RIA claimed Sazonova and Belous were “held during filming a news report on Orthodox churches, and also the relationship between Albanians and Serbs living in the region”. (Source).

This project may have been part of a propaganda campaign to promote the idea of anti-Orthodox violence and ethnic tension in the region. In November 2015, Sputnik published an article with statements from Dragana Trifkovich, who was photographed together with Sazonova in August 2016. Trifkovich claimed “since the UN and NATO took control of Kosovo and Metohija, Albanian terrorists destroyed over 150 Serbian churches and monasteries, many of which are from the medieval period, 12th —15th century. Besides the monasteries, Serbian cemeteries were destroyed and desecrated in almost the entire territory of the province,” (Source).

Section 2 – Montenegro Organisation of Russian Speakers is taken over by Russian State-backed leadership – is linked to Night Wolves who organise motorcycle “pilgrimages” to promote ideas of shared ethnicity and religion.

While not directly linked to the coup participants, two Russian individuals active in Russian diaspora organisations in Montenegro are interesting examples of Russian State influence in the region. Just as an example, Galitskiy and Striga were at a talk given by Milorad Dodik in Moscow in March of this year, and both posed for a photo with the Republika Srpska President (Source).

The first of the two, Aleksey Galitskiy, is reportedly the seniormost member of the Russian motorcycle organisation, (implicated in war in Ukraine) “Night Wolves” in Montenegro. (Source) Galitskiy is also the Montenegro coordinator of the Balkan Federation of Russian Speaking Organisations (BaFRO). (Source). BaFRO’s partner organisations include the Russian-language Portal Worldwide Russia and the Russkiy Mir Fund (Source). Other partner organisations Rossotrudnitchestvo, RISI (Galitsky’s associate Veniamin Striga met its former head Leonid Reshetnikov of in February 2016 (Source)). And lastly, the Federation of Motortourism of Russia (which is actually owned by Galitskiy himself (Source) – along with two other Night Wolves members).

Galitskiy’s fellow shareholders of the Motortourism Federation are Aleksandr Lounkin – also of “Motoclub NV” [which stands for Night Wolves] (Source), and German Kozhin also, listed on company documents for NOOOB Night Wolves (Source).

The Motortourism Federation received grants from the Russian State, in 2014 it won 9 million rubles from the National Charitable Fund. The Grant was for a project called “Road of Friendship” – the scope of which focused on motorcycle processions with the aim of (i) creating a “single historical space” for Russia, (ii) spreading Russian patriotism, (iii) spreading stability within Russia, (iv) focusing on international relations in the sphere of Youth and (v) promoting healthy lifestyles. (Source).

The Federation of Motortourism received a further 7 million ruble grant in 2015 from the Union of Russian Pensioners to conduct “a series of motorcycle and automobile pilgrimages” under a project titled “Russian Road”. (Source)

This project appears linked to subsequent activity in Montenegro: between the 1st and the 12th of September 2015, the Night Wolves – under the organisation of the Motortourism federation held a procession starting in Montenegro and heading to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. (Source) According to a Russian language Montenegro news site that covered the event, the bike “pilgrimage” was aimed at “studying the historical legacy of the Russian empire and orthodoxy”.

According to the Night Wolves website, the Russian Road project participants went to the Russian Embassy in Montenegro, where they were met by ambassador Sergey Gritsai. According to the Night Wolves post – they discussed cooperation. Elsewhere in the post it is mentioned that the Biker were considering creating a pilgrimage centre alongside the Moscow cultural-information centre in Podgorica, Montenegro. (Source).

Veniamin Striga, is a BaFRO coordinator in Montenegro alongside Galitskiy. He and Galitskiy are co-founders of the Organisation “Moi Dom Montenegro”, which appears to be part of the Russian compatriot organisation BaFRO. (Source)

Striga addressed the Montenegro coup when he wrote an article for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, published on November 20th 2016 that claimed there was no takeover attempt Montenegro. Striga alleged that the coup attempt was preceded by secret meetings between Montenegro head of State Djukanovic and ex Serbian police chief Branisalv Dikic. Striga also claimed that the “coup suspects” gave false confessions in custody in exchange for money and that there was no credible evidence to suggest a coup was attempted. He also suggested the news of an attempted coup helped the government fabricate votes. (Source)

This article was likely damage control to try and paint news of an attempted coup as anti-Russian propaganda, and to turn the story on its head by pointing the finger at Montenegro and Western powers.

Striga had previously given a revealing interview in April 2016, where he addressed the idea of a split between Russian-speaking diaspora organisations in Montenegro. The main points made by Striga in this interview were that Montenegro is aligning itself with NATO and the EU, and Russia and Striga are against this. He made the claim that his organisation does not obstruct the Montenegro authorities in their pro-Western alignment, but claimed that there are no alternative compatriot organisations, because his own organisation has approval from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Source)

The Russian language news site Meduza also produced an article on the Montenegro coup. (Source) The Meduza article also addressed the split in BaFRO. This is the split mentioned in the interview Striga above – it is also implicit on the official BaFRO website, where the site banner states that BaFRO is a restructured KSORS – the pre-split Russian language Coordination organisation.

In this article, Galitskiy and Striga were named by Russian art collector and gallerist Marat Gelman, who is based in Montenegro. According to Meduza, members of BaFRO suggested joint-projects with Marat Gelman became the source of tension amongst the compatriot organisation. Marat Gelman is quoted saying: “For them I am the main enemy, and the odds became high when I appeared here [in Montenegro]. ..[in Autumn 2015]” more or less decent people remained, while the main Montenegran “Night Wolf” Aleksey Galitskiy and ex head of the KSORS Compatriot organisation Veniamin Striga first disappeared, and then returned as representatives of Zheleznyak and Rossotrudnitchestvo…Striga appeared on NTV, said that we are planning a conspiracy against Putin here”.

The point about Striga and Galitskiy going away and coming back as proxies of Zhelezyak is interesting and is relevant to the next section.

Section 3: Coup Suspect Ristic is a leader of organisation dubbed as “ultranationalist” by Russian State media – yet Deputy Chairman of State Duma and United Russia cooperate with it

It has been possible to link coup-suspect Nemanja Ristic to a number of demonstrations organised by the Zavetnici movement. These include an event in February (Source), March (Source), and April 2016 (Source).

Zavetnici, or the ‘Testifiers’ movement was set up in Serbia in 2012. According to one of its leader, Milica Djurdjevic, the organisation was set up to promote a change “in the way the state us run – a change of government, looking towards Russia and against EU membership”. (Source).

The Zavetnici organisation has been organising demonstrations for a number of years. In May 2013 it protested alongside the Serbian Radical Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), the Dveri movement and the banned extreme nationalists Obraz, against an agreement between the EU and Kosovo. (Source)

According to the Russian State media outlet Vesti, coup suspect Ristic is one of the leaders of Zavetnici, which it has called a “ultranationalist organisation”. On top of this it mentioned that Ristic has previosly served a prison sentence for murder. (Source).

It is odd that Zavetnici had been referred to as “ultranationalist” by Vesti, considering that it had numerous contacts with Russian officials.

It has been possible to identify a number of individuals who appeared in the photographs together with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Belgrade 2016. These included the aforementioned founder of Zavetnici Milica Djurdjevic, Jelena Ibis Nedelkovich and Katerina Komazets.(Source) (Source 2).

All are linked to the Sabor Zavetnici. All three are also pictured together frequently (Source). Jelena and Katerina attended an anti-NATO demonstration in March 2015. (Source). (Source 2). The latter also appeared at a Zavetnici event in March 2014 (Source).

The Zavetnici had previously welcomed Lavrov on another trip to Serbia, back in 2014. (Source).

The Zavetnici also met with other Russian officials.In December 2016, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma Sergey Zheleznyak and his assistant Viktor Kolbanovskiy met with Zavetnici president Stefan Stamenkovski as well as Milica Djurdjevic, at an event hosted by Zavetnici themselves. (Source)

As mentioned in the previous section, Sergey Zheleznyak has been also reported as a man in charge of Galitskiy and Striga’s activities.

But this was not the extent of the ties between Zheleznyak and Zavetnici. In turn, representatives of the Zavetnici; Stamenovskiy and Milica Djurdjovic visited Moscow in November 2016 and met with Zheleznyak and Konstantin Petrichenko of United Russia. (Source). It is important to note that Petrichenko also met with AfD’s youth-wing leader Frohnmaier, alongside the United Youth Front in December of last year. (Source)

In a similar vein, Zavetnici members including Milica Djurdjevich and Jelena Nedelkovich welcomed French far-righters on their visit to Serbia, including Pierre Gentillet, youth leader of France’s Popular Right organisation (Source).

Zavetnici campaign on KOSOVO Unesco membership

In November 2015, the subject of the first section, Oksana Sazonova wrote an article for News-Front covering a Zavetnici demonstration. This action was in support of the Russian veto of Kosovo membership of UNESCO. (Source). In the article, Zavetnici president Stamenkovskiy was quoted saying: “twice during the past 6 months Russia has defended the sovereignty of Serbia: first it stopped the passing of the “shameful” UN resolution on Srebrenica, and now by not allowing Kosovo participation in UNESCO, as an independent state entity”.

This article was then republished (Source) by the Gorchakov fund, a public diplomacy fund which was set up by order of Dmitry Medvedev. (Source)

This could be an example between coordination of Zavetnici and a Kremlin campaign, with the end goal of de-legitimising Kosovo as an independent state. The work of the Zavetnici, alongside Sazonova and News-Front and the Gorchakov fund also highlights the existence of a network of pro-Russian activists and journalists in the Balkans, who echo Russian foreign policy and whose actions are then picked up by Russian media or other state organisations.

Further Zheleznyak influence in the Balkans

Zheleznyak and Kolbanovsky had previously visited Montenegro and took part in a roundtable titled “Montenegro: perspectives on the stabilisation of the crisis. Political dialogue” hosted by the Russian Parliamentary Newspaper back in November 2015. (Source).

Significantly, In June 2016, the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation posted that United Russia (through Zheleznyak) signed joint declarations together with two more Serbian political parties. (Source). These were The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and Dveri.

Also in June 2016, Zheleznyak made another agreement between United Russia and a further Balkan state – Bulgaria. The agreement was made with the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) (Source). It has been reported that the ABV has been supporting of Russian policies, particularly in the energy sector. (Source).

Zheleznyak’s assistant, Viktor Kolbanovskiy is the director of the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation. (Source) Kolbanovskiy’s Facebook friends include coup suspects Predrag Bogicevic and Nemanja Ristic (Source).

The Facebook page for the Balkan Centre for International Cooperation has numerous posts of statements by Zheleznyak on the Balkans. The only page “liked” by the Centre is the Gorchakov Fund. (Source)

On its Facebook page, The Balkan Centre for International Cooperation also posted a news story based on a statement by Dragana Trifkovich in July 2016 (Source). A few days prior to this, Zheleznyak and Kolbanovskiy met with Dragana Trifkovich at a United Russia Event. (Source).

Trifkovic is the “Director General” at the “Centre for Geostrategic Studies” according to her Facebook. (Source).According to her Serbian Wikipedia entry, she is both a journalist and a politician – she is a longtime member of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), of which she was elected as chairperson in September 2015. (Source). She has made numerous appearances on Russia State television. (Source).

Trifkovich appeared at a Gorchakov Fund event in June 2014 (Source). In November 2015 Dragana Trifkovich was interviewed by Sputnik about “why Kosovo cannot become a member of the UN cultural agency (UNESCO), the interview was taken during her trip to Crimea. (Source).

This is another example of the networking between the pro-Russian activists in the Balkans, Russian state organisations such as the Gorchakov fund, and Russian politicians like Zheleznyak. Trifkovich being interviewed by Sputnik about Russia’s UNESCO veto of Kosovo is a useful example of a political contact of United Russia, and the Gorchakov Fund, being used for pro-Russian propaganda in what appears to be a coordinated effort.