Useful Idiots: Kremlin's scheme to legalise the occupation of Ukraine in Europe is failing

To date, Russia's occupation administrations in the Donbas have made no less than six attempts to create the illusion of international cooperation in the territory of the European Union.

At the beginning of May, the Kremlin technologists and propagandists increased their activities aimed at the international, de facto hybrid legalisation of the occupied territories of Ukraine. Resort to using old, Soviet rhetoric which remains an effective means of influencing the zombie population of vatnyks. One should expect a large-scale coverage, in the Russian and separatists’ propaganda media, of the celebrations on the occasion of May 9, of some "DPR" day, with accompanying "anti-fascist" gatherings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.

An indispensable part of these activities is the participation of the invited honorary guests from Europe. They will be transported illegally from Moscow and Rostov to the occupied Ukrainian territory. The Russian propaganda machine will call these persons "politicians", "political scientists" and even "honorary consuls"

Their main task will be to paint a picture of the re-establishment of international ties of the Ukrainian occupied territories, which are controlled by Russia, and the successful promotion and support in Europe and the world of political, economic and even cultural ambitions of the Russian occupation administrations in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Gerard-Hubert Fayyar, "the official representative of the DPR" in the French Marseille is planning yet another trip to illegally occupied Crimea and Donetsk. He will perceive this as a great honour for him, to talk about the high purpose of his illegal trip to the occupied territories of Ukraine, and this former provincial municipal advisor will do his job. He might even start some kind of organisation professing friendship with Crimea, which the French Foreign Ministry will once again declare has nothing to do with the official position of Paris.

By the way, concerning the situation of the so-called "representative centre of the DPR" in Marseille, a lawsuit by the French prosecutor's office to close this fake, hybrid institution is currently under way. The next meeting is scheduled for June. There is a hope that French justice will prevail, and put an end to this disgrace, which only compromises the reputation of the traditional Franco-Ukrainian friendship.

To date, there were at least six attempts by the agents of the Kremlin to realise the scenario of the so-called "honorary consulates" or "representative centres". This provides a public appearance of international activity of the Russian administrations on the occupied Ukrainian territories.

The scheme to devise so-called "honorary consulates" was activated by the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) in 2016. In addition to Marseille, there are "honorary consulates" of the so-called "DPR" in Finland (Helsinki), Italy (Turin), Greece (Athens), and the Czech Republic (Ostrava). 

The occupied Luhansk has also been speaking out about its European ambitions. In the case of the latter, Austria was chosen as the object of manipulation. A citizen of Austria, Alfred Almeder, who brought humanitarian aid to Luhansk region, accidentally learned that he was chosen to carry out a high mission of "honorary consul of LPR". He refused to take part in this scam.

At present, this scheme has compromised and exhausted itself. After reaching a certain public resonance in the initial days, a maximum of a month after the opening, the fake overseas "representations" of the Russian occupation administration in the Donbas almost disappeared from public view and entered the conservation regime.

However, they can still be activated by directions and financial injections from Moscow as part of a wider advocacy campaign on the information fields of the hybrid war in Europe as required.

Overall the scheme works in the following way: it requires the involvement, within the European Union, of the local pro-Russian, marginals which  represent either extreme left, communist, or ultra right-wing, nationalist movements. Representatives of Russian intelligence services traditionally "graze" around such characters, using them to realise the entire spectrum of aggressive Moscow policies against the West, and Ukraine in particular.

At the first stage, through controlled local figures or "useful idiots", as Lenin called them, a public organisation is registered in the EU, the name and statute of which are not formally unlawful and do not pose a threat to the national security of the country. The EU's desire to establish cultural, economic, and humanitarian ties is being actively exploited.

Then an important step is to hold a loud presentation with wide publicity. 

The inauguration should take place against the background of separatist symbols, colorado ribbons with the participation of local pro-Russian marginals, representatives of the Russian community. Particularly desirable guests are members of EU and member state's national parliament (communists or nationalists), other colorful personalities, for example, Russian cultural figures, representatives of the Russian clergy. Of course, special attention is paid to mass media, in particular to Russian TV channels and the Kremlin news agencies.

On television, millions of zombie Russians must see how the "young republics" are gaining international recognition, and are even opening diplomatic missions abroad and generally having broad support in Europe. At the same time, all of this deception is widely shared through social networks by an army of bots.

The next day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country, where some phoney entity was opened on behalf of ORDLO, reacting to the notes of Ukrainian diplomats, officially declares that the activities of the "honorary consulate" or "representative centre" are illegal, and the territorial integrity of Ukraine is absolute and indisputable.

This has already happened in the Czech Republic, where the Russian lobby is particularly active. Just last week, the illegal "representation of the DNR" led by the self-proclaimed "honorary consul" Mrs. Nelya Leskova was finally canceled by a court decision. In addition to the "diplomatic" work, Leskova is known in the Czech Republic as a leader of the extremist association "National Self-Defence", associated with the Russian right-wing radicals, she actively opposes NATO, and has repeatedly illegally visited the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia.

The fake "consulate of the DPR" has been operating illegally in the city of Ostrava (Donetsk’s sister city) since September 2016. 

Formally, the organisation was registered in the Commercial Register, where the indicated type of activity was cooperation with Donetsk region. At that time, the Czech authorities did not see any conflict with the law. However, a few days after the registration, the new structure changed the statute and announced the introduction of the position of a "honorary consul" of the so-called "DNR".

The Czech Foreign Ministry reacted promptly and banned the activities of the hybrid "diplomat". The high standards of the Vienna Convention were respected by Prague. 

PERSONALITIES OF THE HYBRID WAR: MOTIVES AND DANGERS:

In general, these friends of the Russian occupation troops are known not only to Ukrainian special services. They have also been the subject of studies of experts and journalists who are interested in how some representatives of the civilised Europe can sink so low as to serve the Putin regime. 

Of course, money and other forms of material encouragement and support motivate these personalities to destroy their reputation, dignity and common sense in order to propagate the ideas of a regime that is now the main threat to civilized democratic societies.

However, such Kremlin agents in Europe are not just some nasty "honorary consuls / idiots". They are complicit in the Russian hybrid war against Ukraine, and indeed the West and its values, to undermine the unity and values of democratic societies from the inside.

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Andrii Lavreniuk

Andrii Lavreniuk

Andrii Lavreniuk is the Brussels correspondent for Ukrinform.

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