German media is reporting that an appellate court has ruled in favor of a Green Party leader who has maintained that a controversial organization known as Ehe-Familie-Leben (Marriage-Family-Life) maintained contact with Russia until 2015. According to the Tagesspiegel report, Ehe-Familie-Leben, in turn, is close to the far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) politician Beatrix von Storch who, together with her family, maintained contacts with Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev:
December 3, 2022 The deputy leader of the Green Party parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, Andreas Audretsch, may continue to disseminate that an association closely linked to Berlin AfD politician Beatrix von Storch until 2015 maintained contacts with Russia. That is according to a ruling by the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court, which is based in Hamburg. The decision is available to the Tagesspiegel. The court thus confirms a decision of the Hamburg Regional Court in favor of Audretsch from October 4. Against this decision, in turn, the association “Ehe-Familie-Leben” had filed an appeal. The association belongs to von Storchs network. The association was represented by a lawyer who in the past also worked for Andreas Kalbitz, a right-wing activist who was expelled from the AfD. “Ehe-Familie-Leben e.V.” is the supporting association of the “Demo für Alle” action alliance. Specifically, the dispute is about the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev. He describes himself as an “Orthodox monarchist.” He sees Russia as the “legal successor to the Russian empire,” which only President Vladimir Putin can help to “rebirth.” Audretsch had explained in an interview with the news portal “ntv” that von Storch maintained “with her whole family in the background, through family ties and aristocratic connections” contacts to Russia and there, among others, to Malofeyev, “who organized and financed protests like the so-called ‘Demo for All’.” The association wanted to achieve that Audretsch must take back this statement and may not spread further. A corresponding motion has now failed in the last instance. In its reasoning, the Higher Regional Court explains that the connection of the “Demo for All” to Malofeyev, as alleged by Audretsch, is given by his role as financier of the platform “CitizenGo”. Accordingly, there was reasonable suspicion that the oligarch had supported the platform, founded in 2013, with a donation of 75,000 euros so that its founder could “set it up and publicize it for the organization of demonstrations.” [Translated from German with DeepL]
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Last month, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on Malofeyev and his role in sponsoring new Russian anti-gay legislation, enhancing a 2013 law that bans exposing minors to “gay propaganda.” GIOR also reported the same week that Malofeyev had reportedly chosen one of two MEPs from Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party to participate in a secret project called “AltIntern,” intended to promote values such as “Christendom as the foundation of life” and marriage as “the union of a man and a woman.“In March 2022, we reported on leaked emails and documents showing how a Russian influence group known as Tsargrad cooperated with senior far-right politicians in Italy, France, Germany, and Austria. Tsargrad is funded by Malofeyev, known by US intelligence as the Russian President’s “right arm for operations of political interference in Europe,” and designated by the US in 2014 over his interference in Ukraine. Malofeyev is also known for funding European anti-abortion, anti-LGBTIQ initiatives. According to a recent profile:
Malofeyev gained his wealth in telecommunications during the late 2000s. He has used his power to wage an information war on Europe, allegedly providing loans to far-right parties and funding anti-abortion, anti-LGBTIQ initiatives in the region. His influence empire includes the Katehon think-tank which regularly platforms far-right authors and is “considered one of the instruments for Russian interference in the West”. The US State Department describes Katehon as “a proliferator of virulent anti-Western disinformation and propaganda”. Tsargrad TV is the public entertainment face of Katehon. Dubbed by the Financial Times as “God’s TV, Russian style”, the channel was deliberately designed to mimic Fox News and judge political candidates’ views on issues such as religion, abortion, LGBTIQ rights and Putin.
GIOR also reported in September that a US Capitol insurrectionist had sought funding from Malofeyev.