A GIOR investigation demonstrates that United World International, a website sanctioned by the US Treasury as a Russian-backed influence actor, appears to be controlled by a pro-Russian Turkish political party. According to the US Department of the Treasury release:
March 3, 2022: In 2020, media influence organization Project Lakhta, owned by Prigozhin, developed a new website, United World International (UWI). Since at least 2014, Project Lakhta has used among other things, fictitious online personas that posed as U.S. persons to interfere in U.S. elections, as the IRA did during the 2016 U.S. election. In 2022, UWI suggested that Ukraine would “perish” if it is admitted to NATO. UWI’s chief editor, Darya Aleksandrovna Dugina (Dugina), sought contributors to write articles on UWI. Dugina’s father, Alexander Dugin (Dugin), was first designated in 2015 pursuant to E.O. 13660 for being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.
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Yevgeny Prigozhin was identified in GIOR reporting as a Russian oligarch previously designated for funding the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.
In response to the sanctions, the United World International (UWI) statement says that UWI is “part of” the Görev Foundation. The Görev Foundation’s Chairman is Erkan Önsel, a Central Executive Board member of the Patriotic Party (Turkish: Vatan Partisi). The Patriotic Party describes itself as a nationalist, populist, and socialist Turkish political party whose goals include Turkey leaving NATO. The party also advocates a “Eurasianist” ideology, also associated with Alexander Dugin, said to be a significant influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turkish Eurasianism would involve severing relations with the EU and United States and strengthening ties with Russia and China. The party is led by Doğu Perinçek, who has said he is friends with Dugin. Turkish state media have reported that Perinçek had very close links to high-level officials in the former Soviet Union, and media have said he has gained significant influence over Turkish foreign policy since he aligned with Turkish President Erdoğan in 2014. The Patriotic Party has further ties to the Görev Foundation, including:
- Perinçek spoke at the foundation’s most recent General Assembly meeting.
- Perinçek’s wife, Şule Perinçek, is the head of the foundation’s project to found a university and on the party’s Central Executive Board.
- The foundation is the sole owner of Görev Holding, a company whose president is a deputy chairman of the party.
Also, some of UWI’s experts have also had leading positions in the Patriotic Party.
UWI’s homepage contains several articles echoing Russian talking points on Ukraine, such as claiming the war is based on Russian security interests and defeating Ukrainian “Nazis.”
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