Thursday, August 23, 2018

Kremlin ‘sleeper agents’ in Poland and Ukraine: report


Pro-Russian sentiments play a key role in today's reality, Ukraine’s Antikor anticorruption portal has said in its report into the Ukrainian head of a Polish NGO who was recently expelled from the Schengen Area.
Antikor said that the Kremlin manifested its own fears and recruited spies by financing shows such as Sleepers, a "scandalous" Russian television series by director Yuri Bykov about spies from the West inside the Russian Federation’s government organisations.

The plot of Sleepers follows foreign spies who were deployed but remain dormant while they wait to be assigned to a mission, Antikor reported.

The portal reported that a clear example of Russia’s recruitment of its own sleeper agents is Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukrainian national who until recently was the president of the Open Dialogue Foundation, which aims to protect “human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet area”.

The Open Dialogue Foundation was founded in 2009 and focused its attention to the largest countries in the region, namely Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine with offices in Warsaw, Kiyv and Brussels.

Who is Kozlovska?

Lyudmyla Kozlovska is from Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula that was annexed by Russia in 2014, Antikor reported. It was after that event that she became a Russian citizen. A social activist, in 2004 she took part in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine which followed presidential elections that were allegedly marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. In the following years she stood at the head of a campaign which aimed to withdraw Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol.

Antikor reported that she is married to Bartosz Kramek, a Polish national, a political and social activist and chairman of the council of Kozkovska’s foundation, who last year published 16 suggestions for fighting the Polish government, which included not paying taxes.

Antikor claimed that Kozlovska was sucked into the Russian Security Service’s recruitment machine as a result of blackmail, humiliation and pressure which was put on people close to her, particularly her brother, Peter Kozlovsky.

The portal reported that Kozlovsky became involved in business in Crimea at the cusp of the 1990s and 2000s, expanding constantly, and “mafiaesquely” took over Mayak, a manufacturer of lighting for Russia’s navy. 

FSB pressure on Kozlovsky lead to his sister’s recruitment, which is backed up by the fact that Mayak was removed from a blacklist that was drawn up after Russian separatist soldiers arrived in Crimea, Antikor added.

The portal claimed that Moscow has always considered Crimea as a site for military operations, which means it needed well-trained personnel to infiltrate the pro-Ukrainian community.

Kozlovska had been prepared to fill that role, having claimed credit for a number of pro-Ukrainian achievements, Antikor reported.For instance, she claimed to have opened Ukraine’s first library in Sevastopol at the age of 13, Antikor said, adding that the library had in fact been set up 1998 but Ukrainian diaspora, and there is in fact no evidence of Kozlovska’s connection to the library.

Antikor reported that Kozlovska claimed to have been part of a radical opposition organization during the Orange Revolution, but the organisation’s activists denied the claim.

After the annexation of Crimea, the dismantling of the Ukrainian state on the peninsula required operatives to work on the Ukrainian mainland, which Kozlovska did, according to Antikor, under the Open Dialogue Foundation, which focused on “trendy” issues such as patriotism and the defence of human rights.

Antikor reported that the foundation had three factions: Open Europe Group, which supports Ukrainians with visa applications and residence permits; Silk Road Bureau, a business consultancy; and the foundation itself with its main aims.

Kozlovska’s brother, who is tied up with Russia’s armament industry through companies such as Mayak, but who also made money from the sale of real estate, which resulted in residents being evicted, is a major sponsor of the foundation, Antikor reported.

Kozlovska’s brother donated PLN 1.6 million (EUR 370,000; USD 430,000) in the period from 2012-2015, which accounts for 70 percent of the foundation’s income, Antikor added.

Antikor reported that Kozlovsky’s business activities in Crimea and Russia stood in direct opposition to the values of the foundation, which was also the case regarding Kazakh politician Mukhtar Ablyazov and Russian business man Nail Malyutin , but that Open Dialogue had worked to block their extradition to Russia.

The portal also alleged that before the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Kozlovsky was a sponsor of a number of Ukrainian political parties, but that his associates threw their support behind the Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice party, which in 2017 said it would back Vladimir Putin in presidential elections in Russia in 2018.

Antikor claimed that it has seen a document from the Ukrainian General Prosecutor which says an investigation has been launched into Kozlovska on suspicions of treason, cooperating with terrorist organisations and financing terrorism.
The portal added that the Open Dialogue Foundation might become the subject of an inquiry in Poland.

A number of Polish members of parliament alerted authorities to improprieties at the foundation, after alleged links between Open Dialogue and the Russian Security Service were revealed and after the organisation was in 2014 issued a licence for non-lethal weapons trade with Russia, Antikor reported.

The portal added that Kozlovska did not renounce her Russian citizenship and remained a Russian passport holder.

The portal poses a number of questions, such as: How much do the authorities know about Russian sleeper agents in Ukraine and what will be done about them? What are the aims of the Open Dialogue Foundation and is it a recipient of funding from pro-Putin organisations? Since when does the Russsian armaments sector back human rights and liberties? Could the Open Dialogue Foundation be lying about its aims?

Antikor concludes that it is “clear” that Kozlovska is a Russian agent of the Security Service, trained at destabilising and increasing tensions in Ukrainian and Eastern European politics.

No comments:

Post a Comment