SAM PATTEN AND A BLACK CAT CALLED BEGEMOT

Hybrid War Methods: Agents of Influence and Weaponizing Money

What do Satan, soccer, black cats, Russian Orthodox Patriarchs and judo wrestling have in common? Why do you need to care about the Russian literature? Indictments are only the cherry on top of this cake: layers go from the mob in Taj Mahal to weapons in Syria and into the depth of the human soul.

This article focuses on both aspects of a “psy-op:” psychological and operational and emphasizes the critical importance of creating a new way of thinking in response to the unconventional warfare. It includes:

→ The analysis of hidden messages behind the visuals of the website of Patten — Kilimnik joint business.

→ an introduction to the science of meaning-making.

→ A brief definition of a hybrid war with the focus on the mind war and psychology.

→ A case study of a hybrid war operation that includes ties between Manafort, Flynn, Cambridge Analytica, pro-Russian Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and organized crime figures, and Putin and Trump’s close associates.

INTRODUCTION

WHO IS SAM PATTEN?

On August 31, 2018, Sam Patten pleaded guilty to failing to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent for his work lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian political party. He will be working with the special counsel office. “The nature of his cooperation isn’t clear,” noted Bloomberg.

Patten worked with Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort on the Ukrainian campaign. He also worked on micro-targeting operations with Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm which combined data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication during the electoral processes.

Left: Sam Patten. Right: Manafort.
Top: Kilimnik, source: Proekt. Bottom left: Kilimnik, far left, with Manafort (center.) Source: AP. Bottom right: Kilimnik is shaking Yanukovich’s hand. Source: Proekt.

WHAT IS BEGEMOT?

Begemot is a character from an iconic Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, Master and Margarita. A joker and occasionally a giant black cat, Begemot is a part of a Satanic force that causes havoc and chaos while on a visit in Moscow in the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Purges and Stalinist terror.

The name of the company is a typical postmodernist wink at the West and so are the only three images from the website.

“RUSSIA IS A COUNTRY OF SYMBOLS”

“Russia is a country of symbols,” said Vladimir Kara-Murza, an Oxford-educated historian and one of the leaders of the Russian opposition.

The symbols give us a key to understanding how the Russian strategists operate as well as the psychological mechanisms behind these actions. This is a perfect opportunity to get an introduction to the unexplored layer of the hybrid war, and its main component — mind war.

ON SIGNIFICANCE OF NICKNAMES

Left: Patten and Kiliminik’s company Begemt Ventures International. Right: Black Cat Begemot, a character from “The Master and Margarita.”

The first image is that of a black tomcat Begemot, engraved into the Russian collective consciousness as a trickster associated with Stalin’s Great Purges and Satan. “Kot Begemot” is “extremely evil and fond of firearms… finds demonic pleasure in challenging people and setting everything on fire. He executes the most violent punishments, cuts off heads and is unbeatable with a browning in his hands. And when he gets accidentally hit by a bullet he just needs a sip of gasoline to regain his strength.”

According to Proekt, Kilimnik’s nickname at Military University of the Ministry of Defense was “Cat” or “Tomcat” (Kot.)

“Day of CHKA/NKVD/KGB/FSB.” To give a reader a taste of this character, I am quoting a paragraph from Master and Margarita that I already used in one of my first articles about the Russian hybrid attack — in April 2015. It described Begemot (a tom) jumping on a chandelier in a store and shooting into the audience. “…the skirmish was brief and the firing soon died down by itself. The point is that neither the tom, not the visitors suffered any ill effects from it. No one was killed; in fact, no one was even wounded. Everyone was safe and sound. To make entirely sure, one of the visitors sent five bullets straight at the head of the damned animal, and the tom promptly emptied a whole cartridge clip in reply. But the same thing happened — the bullets produced no effect whatsoever. The tom swayed on the chandelier in constantly diminishing arcs, for some reason blowing into the muzzle of the Browning and spitting on his paw… it was entirely clear that it was nothing but a trick and shameless faking, as was his pretense at drinking benzine.”

Trickster characters in the Soviet literature “epitomize the realm of cynical culture thus far unrecognized in Russian studies,” explains Mark Lipovetsky, a literary scholar and the author of Charms of Cynical Reason: Tricksters in Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture.

GUNS, POWER AND SHORT STATURE

The second image is that of a man in a military uniform — a focal point is on his gun — against the backdrop of Kiev’s iconic sight.

Left: A monument to the Soviet actor against the background of the city that Mikhail Bulgakov grew up on. The actor is depicted in the Soviet uniform he wore in a famous role of a military pilot in a popular film about the World War II. The focal point is the gun. Right: The same monument, front view.

It is a monument that commemorates both a Soviet actor Leonid Bykov, depicted in the Soviet uniform decorated with the USSR medals he wore in a famous role of a military pilot in a hit film about the World War II and all Soviet pilots. The actor had a childhood dream to become a pilot but did not qualify due to his short stature.

In 2014, there was a heated debate about removing this monument in the process of “decommunization” of Ukraine. Such attempts were negatively reflected in the Russian state press.

Behind the actor, in a nostalgic mist, is Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, where Mikhail Bulgakov, a great Russian writer and the author of Master and Margarita, grew up before the Bolshevik Revolution.

In the photo from the website, the armed Soviet-uniform clad soldier dominates the landscape.

The reference is to the greatness of the USSR and Russia, its military power and to Ukraine as a part of the Russian Empire/USSR vs. the independent country.

Kilimnik worked for the pro-Russian Party of the Regions, sponsored by the pro-Russian oligarchs connected to the Kremlin and Putin, who considered the collapse of the USSR the greatest tragedy of the century.

According to Proekt, Kilimnik, like Bykov, used to be mocked for his short stature. Both Kilimnik and Putin were nicknamed “midgets,” a term extremely offensive in a male chauvinist culture where physical size and force are the predominant values and define a person. Growing up as a short man in the USSR was a traumatic experience.

Showing a gun is an old trick — during the “wild nineties” I have seen many a mobster in Moscow and St.Petersburg arriving at an extortion meeting with a gun sticking out from under tracksuits and purple blazers. It is a threat.

The caption in Latin is an attempt on sophistication, flexing the intellectual muscle.

I am not going to go into obvious and cliche Freudian connotations; they are quite clear and don’t add to this analysis.

OPTICAL ILLUSION

A mirror image refers to the art of optical illusion and can be read as the ability of “political technologists” to recreate reality. From Begemot website.

The mirror image of the mountains reflected in the lake refers to the art of optical illusion and can be read as the ability of “political technologists” to recreate reality. The “influencers without borders” are the masters of deception.

Political technologists work with narratives and symbols and exploit human psychology. Myths transform consciousness, wrote Joseph Campbell.

Begemot’s boss, Woland — aka Satan — the central character of Master and Margarita, introduces himself as a “foreign consultant” and later throws a show of black magic in a theater where he hypnotizes the audience and, with Begemot’s assistance, tricks people into all sort of mass psychosis. The famous epigraph to the novel is a quote from Goethe’s Dr. Faustus, “I am the part of the force that always wants Evil but brings Good.” The diabolical dimension is to add a certain dignity to the otherwise unglamorous job of deceiving people.

READING SIGNS: SEMIOTICS

It is not a stretch to find the hidden meanings on the website advertising services of a Russian-trained linguist. Kilimnik had to study semiotics. After all, I am also a linguist and literary scholar and we received a similar education — but we use our knowledge differently.

Semiotics — the study of symbols, signs and meaning-making — and psychology play a critical role in uncovering the strategies of the covert undermining operation that struck the liberal democracies as early as in 2014 and is still not acknowledged properly.

For literary inclined: Left: “Mythologies” by Roland Barthes, along with his other works, is a good start to understanding how semiology works in the realm of politics. I have written about it and find the subject fascinating. Right: Other people wrote about it, too. Laurent Binet’s recent novel “The Seventh Function of Language” while not to my literary taste shows the importance of semiology in society.

One does not need to study linguistics to decipher the Begemot Ventures website: these hints are not subtle. But in order to understand better what has been happening in the US and the West in 2016–2017 one needs an introduction to this symbolic thinking and engineering of the minds.

Here is a seminar on how political technologists use symbols and narratives for influencing public opinion — the services offered by Begemot Ventures.

WHAT THE HELL LITERATURE HAS TO DO WITH THE WAR?

Russian cultural tradition is literature-centric. The collective mentality is informed by the work of fiction and poetry as much as by the historic reality.

All main strategists of Putin’s Russia not only studied literature but started their careers as literary authors or aspiring artists. Alexander Dugin’s lectures and work were steeped in literary work and he was described as “nothing but a story-teller.” Vladislav Surkov studied theater and has written many a novella. The minister of Economic Development Ulukaev wrote poetry — even as he was being arrested. Putin himself likes to use literary references and wrote the following Omar Khayyam rubaiyat into his notebook:

“Do not cry over the losses of lore, oh mortal;

And do not measure the business of today

With the standard of tomorrow;

Do not trust a moment,

Neither past, nor future,

Trust this moment

And be happy in it.”

With admirable consistency, Goethe is on Putin’s top list as well. I will not indulge in the possibilities of this Faustian motive for the sake of brevity.

The most remarkable poetic attempts on the subject of mortality, love, Faustian moment and organized crime, is engraved with orthographic mistakes on the tombstone of Putin’s first and main martial arts coach and an organized crime boss from Leningrad Leonid Usvyatsov: “A grave. On the grave, an epitaph: I’m dead but immortal is mafia.”

Putin does not mention his coach’s last name in his memoirs because Usvyatsov was known as a “criminal authority” and a gang member in St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time.) The full text: “Hooray! I am finally dead!/ All my life I busted my balls working for broads like a slave/Now I will not spend a dime on that minced meat./I had my last two f*cks/And they took me away on the hearse./Let’s drink to us all, to our health,/Because the curtain will fall soon.”

In 1992, Usvyatsov organized athletes in a militarized security squad, the backbone of Tambov gang. In 1994, he was shot. According to the court materials of 2015 Litvinenko trial in London, in late 1990s Putin supported Tambov OCG. Litvinenko investigated the ties between Tambov OCG and St. Petersburg city administration and their involvement with Columbian cocaine trafficking and money laundering and was poisoned on the direct orders of Putin.

Thus, meanings behind the visuals of Begemot Ventures are clear to literate Russian-born individuals. Master and Margarita is the most read novel in the former USSR.

PSYCHOLOGY MECHANISM BEHIND THE JOKE

Why would serious political professionals mock their potential clients and bring sarcasm into important political endeavors at the risk of being exposed?

Formative early life experiences explain the nature of such careless behavior.

Sarcasm aimed at the audience with the purpose to belittle it is a defense mechanism and a demonstration of aggression caused by severe insecurity. Infantile “catch me if you can” attitude is attention-seeking behavior.

Similar mechanisms could be traced in the whole course of Russian foreign policy driven by the expansionist ideas: a covert annexation of Crimea, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Putin’s ardent critic, on his birthday, the choice of traceable radioactive material as poison for Litvienko, etc. Putin often answers with a joke when confronted with serious questions.

An assumption that the Westerns will not get the hint is obnoxious but typical of the recently cultivated myth of the Russian cultural superiority that compensates for this inferiority complex.

“Americans will always treat us like monkeys,” Kilimnik is reported to say to a colleague. “Nobody listened to us; listen to us now,” said Putin in his annual address in 2018 while unveiling several new prototypes in Russia’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

Frustration and suppressed anger are expressed by showing guns and nuclear missiles. The purple blazers and Adidas might have been traded in for fine Italian suits but the threats are the same because the trauma behind this behavior stayed untreated. Money and guns are just the tools to enhance the power and compensate for the experienced humiliation. Overinflated national pride is a flip-side of the deep-seated shame.

The universal fear of death is an ultimate drive behind the power addiction. Losing the power is an equivalent of losing life.

As a follow-up reading, I recommend the research “A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler: His Life and Legend,” produced in 1943 by a psychologist W. C. Langer with the help of Professor H. A. Murray (Harvard Psychological Clinic), Dr. E. Kris (New School for Social Research), and Dr. B. D. Lewin, (NY Psychoanalytic Institute) on request of the Office of Strategic Services (currently, CIA.)

BLOODLESS WAR

In the same school where I studied semiotics, in order to graduate with a degree in literature, I was forced to take a course in military brainwashing.

In 2015, I recognized the war strategies I had learned and wrote an article warning about the attack on the West: “It is a war. A war in which no blood is shed but the minds are corrupted slowly and, overall, inconspicuously. The Cold War is the Bronze Age…compared to the Mind Wars of today.”

A few esteemed experts warned about the war at the time but their voices were not heard, either. “It’s not a shooting war, but it is a war of geopolitics and trying to undermine our systems,” said Dr. Galeotti, the senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, in an interview in 2016.

WHY WAR?

Putin and his mafia state wage a hybrid war against the West in order to stay in power and protect the funds they siphon to the West via offshore companies. They need this money to keep the power. We have briefly looked into the deeper roots of the power lust.

In the course of the hybrid war, the Kremlin weaponizes all aspects of life.

The Patten — Kilimnik case you are about to dive in is about weaponizing the money and cultivating the agents of influence. It is only one operation in a complex military campaign. It employs many but not all several strategies.

Other strategies are listed here:

The best philosophical discussion on the subject I’ve read happened between Einstein and Freud.

CASE STUDY: PATTEN — KILIMNIK. WEAPONIZING MONEY AND THE AGENTS OF INFLUENCE

Below is a long thread of ties between the Russian government, oligarchs and American agents of influence that can be found in the public domain through studying open sources.

It is only a tip of the iceberg that gives you a glimpse of what Robert Mueller’s team works on. Details are important but more critical is an understanding of the whole picture. This is the subversion in action, the mix of “the active measures” and “soft power” that is a hybrid war. I also recommend watching the recent documentary Active Measures, reading Craig Unger’s House of Trump, House of Putin and Luke Harding’s Collusion for accurate and clear accounts of the overall picture.

ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

The reaction of first readers on Twitter.
  1. WHO IS KONSTANTIN KILMNIK?

Konstantin Kilimnik, is a military trained linguist which means he also learned semiotics and spetz propaganda.

Kilimnik, a known Russian intelligence operative, worked as Manafort’s translator and an operative central to collecting fees owed to Manafort’s company by the pro-Russian political party Opposition Bloc in Ukraine and in Kyrgyzstan.

How did he get this job?

1.1. HOW THEY MET: KILIMNIK — AKHMETOV — MANAFORT

Kilimnik was contacted by Rinat Akhmetov, a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch with a request to hire an American political consultant for a pro-Putin politician.

Kilimnik knew Paul Manafort from his work at International Republic Institute. He introduced Manafort to Victor Yanukovich, who eventually became a President of Ukraine, carried out Putin’s policies and then was toppled and escaped to Russia.

From 2006–07 to 2012, Manafort worked as a political consultant to Yanukovich.

In 2014, after Euromaidan and Yanukovich’s failure, Akhmetov, the biggest donor to the Yanukovich’s campaign, asked Manafort to help resurrect the Party of Regions (renamed to the Opposition Bloc.)

2. WHO IS RINAT AKHMETOV?

Left: Yanukovich and Putin. Center: Yanukovich and Akhmetov. Right: Akhmetov and Manafort.

Rinat Akhmetov is a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch and politician.

It is important to remember this detail — pro-Russian — as many oligarchs and politicians claim with indignation that they are “not Russian but Ukrainian” in order to muddy the waters and complicate the already busy picture.

It is also critical to understand that ethnicity, nationality and religious affiliation concepts in the USSR differed from the Western understanding. Without going into the details, I offer to refer to these individuals as ex-Soviet.

For instance, ethnically, Rinat Akhmetov is neither Russian nor Ukrainian but it does not matter for the purposes of the following analysis.

What matters is as follows:

  • Akhmetov was a financier and unofficial leader of a pro-Russian and pro-Putin Party of Regions, later renamed to Opposition Bloc.
  • He allegedly financed the Russian separatists in South-Eastern Ukraine.
  • An official Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs report “Overview of the Most Dangerous Organized Crime Structures in Ukraine” identified Akhmetov as a leader of an organized crime syndicate.

To sum it up, Akhmetov is known for his connections to the organized crime and the Kremlin (and these two groups are fused.) Below is an incomplete list of such connections, plus the many ways in which Donald Trump is tied into this circle.

2.1. AKHMETOV’S FRIENDS: IGOR KRUTOY

Left: Akhmetov and Krutoy donating toys to an orphanage run by a wife of the ex-president of Ukraine, Putin’s puppet, Kuchma. Right: Krutoy and Akhmetov.

Akhmetov is a close childhood friend and a trusted person of a Russian composer Igor Krutoy, a close ally of Putin who also attempted to run a Trump business in Riga, Latvia.

Akhmetov’s Crimean seaport is registered under the names of people close to Krutoy.

Orgchart showing Krutoy’s ties to Akhmetov.

2.1.1. KRUTOY’S FRIEND, PUTIN

Krutoy is a strong supporter of Putin and spoke for him during the last election. He is also known to receive grants connected with the state-run companies and the Ministry of Defense.

Left: Putin awarding Krutoy. Right: Krutoy with Trump at Miss Universe in Moscow.

2.1.2. KRUTOY’S FRIENDS: THE AGALAROVS

Krutoy is a “close friend” of Emin and Aras Agalarovs, a father and son who Trump’s Miss Universe in Moscow in 2013.

Left: Emin Agalarov, Igor Krutoy, Aras Agalarov. Right: Emin Agalarov, Trump, Aras Agalarov.

2.1.3. KRUTOY’S BUSINESS PARTNER: DONALD TRUMP

Krutoy also attempted to run Trump luxury complex in Riga, Latvia.

Krutoy has a life-long friendship with the Russian diva, Alla Pugachova, who in turn, is connected to such figures as the former mayor of Moscow Luzhkov and the organized crime boss Ivankov, both connected with Trump and his property. Pugachova performed at Taj Mahal with Trump in the audience and received personal gifts from him. Below is a detailed article with these and more connections between the Russian organized crime and Trump.

2.1.4. THE AGALAROVS AND MICHAEL COHEN

In 2013, Cohen, Trump and the father and son Agalarovs had a meeting in Las Vegas, planning Miss Universe in Moscow and Trump Towers in Russia, among other projects.

2.2. AKHMETOV: MORE FRIENDS. MEET VADIM NOVINSKY

Left: Novinsky and Akhmetov. Right: Novinsky and Yanukovich, Putin’s puppet in Ukraine. Source.

Akhmetov is a close business partner of Vadim Novinsky. Akhmetov owns the controlling stake in Metinivest, the largest steel company in Ukraine, in which Novinsky owns a minority stake.

3. WHO IS VADIM NOVINSKY?

Novinsky is a Russian-Ukrainian oligarch with close ties to Putin, connections to Trump’s personal lawyer’s business partner and a business partner of Semion Mogilevich, the most influential organized crime boss. He is a MP for pro-Russian Opposition Bloc, formerly the Party of Regions.

3.1.1. NOVINSKY — RUSSIAN PATRIARCH KIRILL — KGB

Novinsky is known as the main sponsor of the Russian Orthodox Church and a person close to Patriarch Kirill, who is a known former KGB officer and a close ally of Putin.

Left: Novinsky and the priests. Right: Novinsky (left) and Yanukovich (center) praying next to Putin.

According to the Odessa Network report, Novinsky has ties to Russian intelligence.

3.1.2. NOVINSKY AND THE ORGANIZED CRIME

Novinsky is a business partner of Dmytro Firtash and Victor Yanukovich, who in turn are closely tied to organized crime and the Kremlin.

Novinsky is known to belong to Piterskye (“of St. Petersburg group,”) a criminal/oligarch/political structure that came to power with Putin. Novinsky is an alleged member of Tambov OPG.

3.1. NOVINSKY’S MAIN BUSINESS PARTNER: ANDREI KLYAMKO

Novinsky’s main business partner is St. Petersburg businessman Andrei Klyamko, worth $1,9 billion.

Klyamko owns a share in Novinsky’s Smart Holding and used to own 50% in UGOK in Ukraine.

3.2. KLYAMKO IS CONNECTED TO PUTIN

Klyamko is the president of the Sambo Federation of St. Petersburg, first VP of the International Amateur Sambo Federation (FIAS), and a member of the board of trustees of the All-Russian Sambo Federation. Klyamko sponsors former Putin’s wrestling school.

Left: Klyamko. Right: Putin wrestling.

Putin is the Honorary President of FIAS, a “Master of Sports” and a champion of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in sambo.

Many organized crime gang members, oligarchs and Russian politicians have a wrestling background, particularly in sambo and judo. As mentioned, Putin got a start in life from an organized crime boss and martial arts coach.

Novinsky is also a “Master of Sports” in freestyle wrestling and was a member of the Russian National team.

3.2.1. KLYAMKO’S PARTNER, ROMAN ABRAMOVICH, AND HIS TIES WITH TRUMP

Klyamko’s partners in UGOK are Evraz’s Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, both Putin’s allies.

Putin and Abramovich.

Evraz manufactured some of the pipeline for the Keystone XL project. Trump’s second executive order was to allow the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Abramovich’s ex-wife Dasha Zhukova is a close friend of Ivanka Trump.

Top Left: Ivanka Trump and Dasha Zhukova. Top Right: Zhukova and Roman Abramovich.

3.2.2. KLYAMKO IS A BUSINESS PARTNER OF ALFA GROUP

Klyamko owns Regal Petroleum together with Mikhail Fridman and other shareholders of Alfa Group. Alfa Bank is a part of Alfa Group, financial and industrial consortium created and owned by the Russian oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven.

Left: Peter Aven of Alfa Group and Putin. Center: Fridman and Putin. Right: Putin and Aven, from the Russian Government Ar.

From 2002 to 2007, Burt was an Executive Chairman of Diligence LLC, a Washington-based, private global intelligence firm, in which Nathaniel Rothschild, Deripaska’s business partner, owns a stake. In 2007, Diligence LLC was charged over allegations of corporate espionage in a case that involved Alfa Group Consortium.

Peter Aven of Alfa-Bank is a sponsor of the New Economic School that paid for Carter Page’s visit to Moscow in July 2016.

3.2.4. ALFA GROUP HAS A CONNECTION TO CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

Robert Mercer’s funds bought US-listed shares of 2 Russian telecommunications firms with significant operations in Russia and Ukraine, including VimpelCom (VIP), an affiliate of Alfa Bank, founded by Fridman and Aven.

Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies LLC, invested about $5 million in Cambridge Analytica and owns 90% of Cambridge Analytica.

3.3. NOVINSKY’S PARTNERS SCHNAIDER AND SHIFRIN ARE BUSINESS PARTNERS OF TRUMP

Novinsky is a business partner of Alex Schnaider and Eduard Shifrin (an ex-Soviet who received his Russian citizenship by a personal decree from Putin), Trump’s partners in Trump Toronto Tower.

In the 90s, Novinsky delivered coal to Schnaider’s and Shifrin’s Zaporozhstal.

In 2009, Novinsky bought 70% shares in Schnaider’s and Shifrin’s Amstor. Schnaider held on 15% shares.

3.3.1. SCHNAIDER IS A BUSINESS PARTNER AND RELATIVE OF BIRSHTEIN, A CLOSE AND LONG-TERM ALLY OF MOGILEVICH, ASSOCIATE OF DERIPASKA AND A KNOWN KGB OPERATIVE

Schnaider’s father-in-law and business partner Boris Birshtein is a founder of Seabeco Group, a company known for theft and money laundering in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine, its close connections with organized crime, assassinations, and political manipulations and an individual accused of fraud and money-laundering in Russia, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland, linked to organized crime by FBI and allegedly a (double) agent of the KGB and Mossad.

Birshtein has long-term connections to Sergey Mikhailov (Solntsevo OC group), Mogilevich, Oleg Deripaska and, in 1980–90s, KGB.

He was also closely connected to the former president of Ukraine and Putin’s puppet Kuchma.

Birshtein’s company Seabeco (Siabeco), allegedly founded with the assistance of the KGB to smuggle out the gold of the Communist party, had partnered with Chodiev and Mashkevich, two USSR-born oligarchs involved with Trump’s Bayrock venture.

Birshtein, like Kilimnik, also worked in Kyrgyzstan, helping the pro-Russian corrupt president.

3.3.2. BIRSHTEIN AND HIS CONNECTION TO DERIPASKA

In 2008, Boris Birshtein collaborated with the FBI and negotiated the conditions of Oleg Deripaska’s entry into the US despite the organized crime status.

3.3.2. SCHNAIDER IS CONNECTED WITH THE ICELANDIC BANKS WITH PUTIN’S CONNECTIONS

In 2008, Schnaider received €45.8 million for a yacht from Iceland’s FL Group.

FL Group was an Icelandic bank with the Kremlin connections.

In 2007, the Bayrock Group (namely, Terik Arif and Felix Sater) received $50 million investment from FL Group for four projects, including Trump SoHo. The investment was later renamed to a loan.

3.3. NOVINSKY — ABRAMOVICH — EVRAZ

Novinsky is a business partner of Roman Abramovich/Evraz, with whom he co-own UGOK. See above for Abramovich — Putin — Trump connections.

3.4. NOVINSKY IS A BUSINESS ASSOCIATE OF ALISHER USMANOV, AN INVESTOR IN FACEBOOK AND TWITTER, AN ORGANIZED CRIME BOSS AND A CLOSE ALLY OF PUTIN

Novinsky co-owned Moldovan Metallurgic Complex with Alisher Usmanov.

Usmanov has close ties to Sergey Mikhailov, the boss of Solntsevo OCG and a personal friend of Putin.

Usmanov is also known to invest funds, allegedly associated with the state-owned Gazprom, in Facebook, Twitter, and other Silicon Valley giants.

3.4.1. USMANOV HAS CONNECTIONS TO YURI LUZHKOV WHO NEGOTIATED WITH TRUMP IN MID-1990S

Usmanov also had close connections with Yury Luzhkov, the ex-Mayor of Moscow office.

Luzhkov is known for his corruption. His administration engaged in negotiating multiple joint-projects with Trump in 1996–2010.

In 2004, Trump’s lawyer and associate Rudy Giuliani visited Moscow and Magnitogorsk to meet Luzhkov, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other politicians and businessmen.

3.5. NOVINSKY — ALKEPEROV — LUKOIL — TRUMP — CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

Novinsky has close connections with Vagit Alkeperov of LukOil. In the 1990s, together they have run a network of gas stations in St. Petersburg.

Inga Bogutska, who was Trump’s executive assistant in 1996–2001, works for New York office of Lukoil since 2010.

Cambridge Analytica presented materials to the energy company LukOil.

3.6. NOVINSKY — YOUSSEF — FIRTASH — DERIPASKA

Novinsky also has a close relationship with Hares Youssef, a Syrian-born and Russian-educated adviser to the ex-president of Ukraine Yuschenko (2005–2010) on Foreign Investment Issues, and close ally of Victor Yanukovich.

In February 2017, Youssef was arrested in Austria. Spanish authorities alleged that Youssef and his close friend, Dmytro Firtash, were linked to an organized crime network involved in money laundering.

Until his arrest, Youssef lived in Vienna in an apartment owned, according to the Austrian property registry, by Siegfried Wolf, the Austrian CEO of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s car company. His neighbors were Firthash and Deripaska’s holding company, Basic Element. [The article with this information has been erased from here: Page not found | KyivPosthttps://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/firtashs-syrian-friend-links-oligarch-organized-crime-group.htm]

3.7. NOVINSKY — VICTOR TOPOLOV — MICHAEL COHEN

Novinsky is also a business partner of Victor Topolov, Ukrainian oligarch and politician and a business partner of now deceased Alex Oronov, a business partner and relative of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Novinsky and Topolov had a joint business since at least 2005.

4. TOPOLOV — COHEN

Alex Oronov (aka Alexey Oronov and Alex Ornov), a father-in-law of Bryan Cohen, the brother of Michael Cohen, now a deceased resident of Trump Hollywood, Florida, co-owned the joint-venture, a bioethanol plant, with Topolov.

In 2006–2010, Cohen and his brother Bryan Cohen tried to raise money for a Ukrainian-based joint-venture owned by Oronov. In 2008, Oronov sold part of his business to Topolov and Novinsky (at the time, Russian citizen).

4.1. TOPOLOV — SEMION MOGILEVICH — FSB

Topolov co-managed a conglomerate Kyiv-Donbas (currently KDD Group) founded by Semion Moglievich and another organized crime boss, Oleg Asmakov who was connected to the high-rank officers in Russian FSB.

4.2. TOPOLOV — ANDRII ARTEMENKO — MICHAEL COHEN — FELIX SATER — MICHAEL FLYNN

Topolov was connected to Andrii Artemenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, a former member of a far-right Radical Party, who has arranged a meeting with Michael Cohen in Jan 2017.

In 1999, Artemenko replaced Topolov as the president of Kiev’s football team, CSKA-Kiev. In 2002, Artemenko was sued for $4 million theft. He laundered the money of CSKA-Kiev players through the off-shore Denvell Trading LLC. Topolov allegedly stole CSKA-Kiev money before Artemenko but avoided prosecution due to his political connections. Artemenko spent more than two years in jail and was released on bail. In 2007, the case was dismissed.

On January 29, 2017, Felix Sater of Bayrock organized a meeting between Artemenko and Cohen to discuss Artemenko’s proposal for solving the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

According to Artemenko’s interview, he had known Cohen and Sater for a long time. He “got acquainted with Sater through mutual friends. He knew Cohen because “he founded a family “business on ethanol” in Ukraine.” When asked why he was chosen as the person to tell about this initiative in Washington, Artemenko answered: “Because I have long known these people with close ties to Trump.”

The plan involved lifting sanctions on Russia and allowing Moscow to lease Crimea for either 50 or 100 years, and Russia withdrawing its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Cohen then allegedly “hand-delivered” the plan in a sealed envelope to Michael Flynn’s office.

4.2.1. MICHAEL FLYNN — CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA — MERCERS — ALFA BANK

Flynn has reported his paid advisory position at Cambridge Analytica.

Robert Mercer’s daughter, who works for the Mercer Family Foundation and was on Trump’s transition team, picked Michael Flynn for the national-security adviser position.

Mercer’s funds bought U.S.-listed shares of two Russian telecommunications firms with significant operations in Russia and Ukraine, including VimpelCom (VIP), an affiliate of Alfa Bank, founded by Russian oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Peter Aven.

Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies LLC, invested about $5 million in Cambridge Analytica and owns 90% of Cambridge Analytica.

Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, hired Cambridge Analytica for data-analysis services during the presidential campaign, “in deference to the Mercers.”

5. CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA — SCL — FIRTASH

Cambridge Analytica is a subsidiary of SCL Group (Strategic Communications Laboratory).

SCL’s largest shareholder from 2005 to 2015, Vincent Tchenguiz, invested in Firtash owned U.K. business.

5.1. SCL — ALFA BANK/GROUP — LETTER ONE — FRIDMAN — AVEN — PUTIN

SCL’s major shareholder, Tchenguiz, and his brother got 40% of Icelandic Bank Kaupthing capital in loans in 2008, before Kaupthing had collapsed. Kaupthing was partially owned by Meidur that, in turn, had two owners. One of these owners, Shapburg Limited, owned stakes in a subsidiary of Alfa Bank.

Tchenguiz Trust owns Consensus Business Group which is located at the same address as Fridman’s LetterOne Treasury in London.

Aven and Fridman of Alfa Group and Letter One are close and long-term allies of Putin. The 2007 report of Stratfor which has a reputation of being a “shadow CIA” and is trusted by many national governments, connects Fridman and Aven to Solntsevo mafia.

Klyamko, Putin’s sambo colleague and Novinsky’s business partner, owns Regal Petroleum together with Fridman and other shareholders of Alfa Group.

6. KILIMNIK — MANAFORT — DERIPASKA — PRIKHODKO

On August 2, 2016, Manaforthad dinner with Kilimnik at 666 Fifth Avenue, owned by Jared Kushner, as one of three private jets owned by Deripaska was en route to New Jersey from Moscow. It landed hours after the dinner concluded and took off back to Moscow the next evening.

On August 5, 2016, Deripaska’s plane carried “one of the most influential Russian political leaders — Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko” — to Deripaska’s private yacht in Norway, according to Scott Stedman, an independent researcher. During this meeting, the escort service worker recorded conversations regarding the US presidential elections.

A pictogram by Scott Stedman.

6.1. WHO IS PRIKHODKO?

Sergey Prikhodko is the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, the Head of the Executive Office of the Government. He is very close to Putin.

Prikhodko and Putin. In the late 90s, he worked as a Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration; the first Deputy Head at the time was Putin. He was an advisor to Yeltsin, Putin and Medvedev. Prikhodko is considered an expert on international relations.

DERIPASKA — MANAFORT

Manafort and Deripaska started an investment fund in the Cayman Islands in 2007. The deal failed and Deripaska who committed to invest $100 million filed a legal action in 2014.

In 2016, Manafort has allegedly offered Deripaska private briefings about the progress of Trump’s campaign.

DERIPASKA AND THE NIXON CENTER

In 2005, Deripaska and the Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky met Russian-born and raised Dimitri Simes, the president of The Center for the National Interest (formerly, The Nixon Center) and publisher of the foreign policy journal The National Interest, to discuss forming a Russian-funded think tank.

In 2016, The Center for the National Interest was a hosting institution for Trump’s first foreign policy speech.

DERIPASKA AND DILIGENCE LLC

Deripaska’s business partner, Nathaniel Rothschild, owns a stake in Diligence LLC, a Washington-based, private global intelligence firm.

Richard Burt, an Executive Chairman of Diligence LLC from 2002 to 2007 and a member of Advisory Board, helped to draft Trump’s first policy speech at The National Interest in April 2016, as mentioned.

In 2007, Diligence LLC was charged over allegations of corporate espionage in a case that involved Alfa Group Consortium.

Diligence was reported to offer Deripaska corporate intelligence gathering, the US visa lobbying through considerable GOP connections and, crucially, help in obtaining a $150 million World Bank/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan.

Left: Putin and Oleg Deripaska. Right: Deripaska and Petr Aven of Alfa Bank (see below.)

DERIPASKA AND ROSNEFT PRIVATIZATION CONNECTION

Deripaska is a personal friend of Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg.

Deripaska is the chief executive of Rusal, the biggest aluminum company in Russia. Glasenberg, a nominal control shareholder, sits on the Rusal board. Glencore owns 8.75% stake in Rusal.

Glencore participated in Rosneft privatization in December 2016.

Rosneft privatization. Chart by Wendy Siegleman, 2017.

EPILOGUE

There is no black magic behind the absurd reality that struck us. All these machinations lead to one entity: the Russian government, a conglomerate of oligarchs, organized crime and secret police.

We can choose to close our eyes to it and hide the head in the sand but it will not go away. The Kremlin will use every attempt to marginalize the West through weakening its political institutions, economy and corrupt the values of the liberal democracies because it is vital to its survival.

The first step is to acknowledge this ongoing campaign; the next step is to educate ourselves on the motives, goals and methods of the aggressor. Only by recognizing the differences and by shedding light on the covert operations we will be able to defend our world. If we do not make this mental effort, the “Post-Western world” will cross over to our reality — from the realm of fiction.

This is Chapter of CLUSTERCLICK, a photo novella documentary by Zarina Zabrisky.

*All facts and photos are in public domain and available through Google. Links to the original sources are included.

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