One of the most active ideologists of the “Russian world” is Konstantin Zatulin, a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and a member of the ruling party United Russia. His main responsibility is the management of the non-profit Institute of CIS Countries. Since 1996, this institute has been promoting Russia’s interests abroad, representing a typical example of Russia’s “soft power” under the guise of a non-governmental organization. InformNapalm opens a series of publications on the activities of this institute and its leader, the mechanisms of its funding by Gazprom, its interests and its subversive activities in Ukraine.
Ukrainian cyberalliance (UkrainianCyberAlliance, UCA and “CyberHunta”) provided a dump of files and documents of the Institute of CIS Countries to the international intelligence community InformNapalm for further analysis. The hack of the mailboxes of the institute staff follows the story of the hacked correspondence of Alexander Usovsky (part 1 , part 2 ), who organized pro-Russian actions and anti-Ukrainian provocations in the Eastern Europe, in particular in Poland. These materials expose internal mechanisms of Russian subversive activities and propaganda in the EU.
Institute of CIS Countries and Gazprom
First, we decided to look into the funding of the Institute of CIS Countries. It turns out that the non-governmental organization operates at the expense of the Russian state-owned company Gazprom.
We managed to find the acceptance certificate of service agreement No. ГПЭ-10 / 12-2015 of December 10, 2015 between OOO Gazprom Export (general director E.V. Burmistrova) and the autonomous non-profit organization Institute of CIS Countries.
According to this agreement, Zatulin’s organization provided “information and analytic services”. The range of their “services” covered all events organized by the Institute and writing of “analytic notes” on the topics seemingly totally unrelated to gas industry. Here we preserve the style as in the source:
- Implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
- Ukraine’s relations with its neighbors.
- The national question in Ukraine: the activation of national minorities.
- Economic relations between Ukraine and Crimea.
- DPR and LPR, development perspectives.
Gazprom funds covered Zatulin’s employee’s investigations of the following questions:
- The federalization of Ukraine: problems and perspectives.
- The Humanitarian Policy in Ukraine: Problems and perspectives.
- Interregional cooperation between Russia and Ukraine.
- Religious situation in Ukraine.
- Linguistic situation in Ukraine.
- Russian-American relations in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.
- Federalization in Ukraine is inevitable.
- Can Poroshenko change the constitution of Ukraine?
- The Ukrainian authorities trampled the Constitution.
- Poroshenko can outsmart himself.
- OSCE police mission: another lie of Poroshenko.
- Ukrainian refugees in Germany and Poland.
Some of the funds were spent on the maintenance of the Institute’s website, materik.ru, where the analytic materials were published. Employees of the Institute participated and organized various conferences on the issues of Ukraine and the countries of The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation In addition, Gazprom financed a branch of the Institute of CIS Countries in Kiev, whose existence is really surprising.
A year of existence of this anti-Ukrainian analytical center costs Gazprom 126 million rubles. This is almost 2 million dollars a year.
Perhaps this is only an initiative of OOO Gazprom Export, and the parent company is not aware of it? However, Zatulin sent an official form with the request for approval of the 2017 budget to Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexey Miller, who noted: “To Burmistrova. Approved.”
By the way, the annual budget has grown to 134 million rubles. Probably Zatulin decided to take into account the official 6.42% inflation.
Editor’s Note: The original contract was signed in October 2015 and was renewed every year. Renewal documents were apparently prepared in September. Indeed, in September 2016 the annual inflation was estimated at the level of 6.42% https://www.statbureau.org/ru/russia/inflation/2016
One might think that Zatulin spends all these millions on organizing multiple conferences and projects, but the discovered reports paint a very different picture.
On the implementation of the project “The Newest People’s History of the Crimea” Zatulin asks the head of the Presidential public project administration P.S. Zenkovich to solve problems with the grantor, the society “Knowledge”. Apparently, Zatulin’s Institute did not deliver the project on time and therefore has to return the remaining 600 thousand rubles, although the main part of the project has already consumed 4.4 million rubles:
It turns out that in total the amount of the grant for 2016 from the society “Knowledge” is 5 million rubles. We found the notification of grant award in July 2015:
And it seems that these two NGOs actively cooperate. For example, society “Knowledge” paid another 4 million rubles for the organization of the international conference “On the second track. The role of civil society and public diplomacy in the further development and expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization“.
It would be interesting to know, who stands behind the foundation “Knowledge” that gives millions to Zatulin.
The Russian Question
Besides the analytical center, Zatulin also has its own program “Russian Question” on the TVC channel. This is a low-quality replica of Kiselyov’s and Solovyov’s shows, which still helps consume a lot of Gazprom’s funds.
The production of the program has been sponsored by Gazprom for many years now. The estimated cost paid by Gazprom for 20 episodes per year is a tidy 5 million rubles:
The same employees of Zatulin’s Institute are involved in the creation of the program, but here they pretend to be journalists. Here is the head of the press center of the Institute of the CIS Countries Ivan Skorikov as a journalist of the program “Russian Question”:
However officially this organization is called OOO “Russian Question” which signed a contract with the TVC channel for production of each episode for 700 thousand rubles (previously 800 thousand rubles).
Which is quite strange, because at the same time TVC sells the rights to broadcast this program to regional channels for pennies. For example, Sevastopol TV company “NTS” bought this program for just 5,000 rubles per episode:
Quite an unusual commercial picture. Gazprom gives millions of rubles for the propaganda program and the commercial TVC channel adds almost a million rubles for each episode in order to finally give the rights to broadcast for pennies? Or does Gazprom really needs to broadcast programs like “The Russian Question” at any cost? One might wonder, how much does Dmitry Kiselyov get from the Russian budget?
However, the crisis reached here as well. Since the beginning of 2017, TVC stopped producing this program. But the persevering Zatulin wrote a letter of complaint on TVC personally to Putin. If the director of TVC is replaced in the near future, it will not be surprising.
Keeping in mind such investments in Zatulin and its structures, we expected to see also fabulous fees of the staff of the Institute of the CIS Countries. We were wrong. The salaries are about 40-65 thousand rubles per month.
However, sometimes employees of the Institute try living large. We found a contract for the purchase of an apartment in the United Arab Emirates under the name of Alexandra Dokuchaeva (the head of the Department of Diaspora and Migration of the Institute of CIS Countries). The contract for the purchase of an apartment in 87.9 sq.m. in the city of Ajman (project Ajman Pearl – building B5, apartment 08) was signed in 2013. The transaction should have amounted to $142,370.
In addition, we found documents for the purchase of another apartment in the same complex (Ajman Pearl project – building B5, apartment 07A) – 34 square meters for $79,329:
But in 2016 the contracts were terminated:
These transactions in hundreds of thousands of dollars are quite strange for an ordinary employee of Zatulin’s NGO. Perhaps, as a State Duma deputy, he simply did not want to show his overseas real estate? The idea is interesting but we leave this for Russian anti-corruption investigations. Especially since bloggers have already written about the declared apartment of Zatulin and his wife in Spain.
In the second part of the analysis you will find out what the employees of the Institute of CIS Countries do and what issues the office of the State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin is responsible for.
Evidence was provided to InformNapalm on an exclusive basis by the hacktivists of the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance for analysis and processing. InformNapalm Community bears no responsibility for the sources and origin of the data.
This publication was prepared by Cyril Mefodiev, translated by Volodymyr Bogdanov, edited by Max Alginin
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