Putin’s Trojan Horse: Merkel’s ‘Inner Circle’ Infiltrated by the Kremlin, Warns Khodorkovsky

Written by | Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Russia has recruited allies in German chancellor Angela Merkel’s “inner circle” and in Austrian intelligence services, exiled Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky has warned. But Russian philanthropist Mikhail Khodorkovsky has also accused some politicians in many member states – including the Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – of having too close ties with the Kremlin, alleging that they are just part of a wider pro-Kremlin network in EU states. He was speaking online at a meeting on Monday (10 May) with the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference about the Kremlin’s tampering in EU affairs.
Khodorkovsky, who currently lives in London, is the founder of the Dossier Centre, an organisation that tracks the criminal activity of people associated with the Kremlin. He told MEPs that the claims in a report compiled by the Dossier Centre were based on information obtained by the Centre and it highlights the scale of Russian attempts to influence foreign powers in the West. However, some members questioned his credibility highlighting that he was the subject of an international arrest warrant. Responding to these doubts raised, Khodorkovsky said that “the information and facts in the report are correct. What the Kremlin is doing is like what it did in the Cold War era and this should raise concern.“
The Dossier Centre was set up in 2011 to uncover the criminal activities of various people associated with the Kremlin. As philanthropist and former CEO of the Russian oil company Yukos, Khodorovsky said his aim was to work for a stronger civil society in Russia. “There is clear evidence of very unfriendly behaviour by Russia, including the Russian special services being involved in the poisoning of Russian opposition leaders,” he said. “Some politicians in Europe are paid by the Kremlin. … Germany has come under a lot of attack from the Kremlin and dozens of Bundestag representatives have ties with the Kremlin. They are cronies of Mr Putin. The Kremlin probably also has a source close to Angela Merkel.”
Khodorovsky also added that “France is being used as a base for pro-Kremlin projects and to influence French public opinion. In Greece, there have been plans to launch a pro-Kremlin political party in Europe and there are 30 Greek municipalities that are pro-Kremlin.” He warned the MEPs on the Special Committee that “this is all evidence that Kremlin spin doctors want to find pro-Russia politicians in Europe in order to promote anti-EU propaganda.” The fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin also said he was, if required, able to provide proof of his claims.

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