Dutch media is reporting that a Russian in contact with organizations affiliated with Russian President Putin tried to donate over 250,000 Euros to Splinter, a newly-founded political party in the Netherlands that describes itself as “green, progressive, liberal, and social democratic.” According to a de Volkskrant article:
May 13, 2021 Before the elections, a Russian tried to finance the political party Splinter with a donation of 250,000 euros. This seems to be the first time a Russian influence campaign has been exposed. Dutch intelligence services have long warned against undermining by the Kremlin. The Russian who knocked on the door of Splinter, a party of ex-Party for the Animals [original: Partij voor de Dieren] MP Femke Merel van Kooten-Arissen, is called Vadim Belikov. Research by current affairs program EenVandaag shows that he is in contact with organizations affiliated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, Belikov founded a foundation together with a member of the Nachtwolven, an ultra-nationalist motorcycle gang that stands up for Putin at home and abroad. It is not clear what the motives were for Belikov. The Russian said he was concerned about women’s rights to a representative of Splinter. The party did not accept the money and reported the incident to the Security Service of the House of Representatives (BVA). It failed to call in the intelligence service. [Translated with Google Translate with minor edits]
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The article notes that the Dutch internal intelligence agency AIVD claimed in its annual report that it approached several Dutch political parties about Russian infiltration attempts but did not state which parties were involved.
Recent Global Influence Operations Report coverage of influence operations involving Western politicians has included:
- In May, we reported that a Turkish-American influence group and an NJ mayor’s office organized a Ramadan iftar attended by a US Congressman.
- In April, we reported that several German conservative lawmakers were involved in an Azerbaijani influence operation attempting to buy the country a better image in Germany.
- In April, we published a GIOR investigation uncovering how Russia uses former Western politicians and diplomats to further its disinformation efforts.
- In April, we reported that a Danish MP participated in a virtual conference hosted by a European Hamas support group.
- In December, we reported that a Czech MEP acted as an agent of Chinese influence in the European Parliament.
Western political parties and politicians run the risk of advancing the interests of various influence actors seeking to obscure their involvement, use politicians as surrogate messengers, or gain legitimacy and credibility through joint appearances.