RussiaNovember 8 2022, 11:06 am

US Capitol Insurrectionist Promotes Far Right Propaganda From Russia, Charles Bausman Likely Funded by Russian Oligarch

In Sep­tem­ber, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter pub­lished a pro­file of Charles Baus­man, a US Capi­tol insur­rec­tion­ist known for pro­duc­ing Rus­sia Insid­er, a pub­li­ca­tion described as “infused with overt­ly fas­cist and anti­se­mit­ic con­tent.” Accord­ing to the SPLC Hate­watch report:

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2022 Rus­sia Insid­er founder Charles Baus­man trav­eled from his home in Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, to Wash­ing­ton, D. C., on Jan. 6, and video appears to show him among the insur­rec­tion­ists that breached the build­ing’s walls. Soon after, he left the coun­try for Moscow. Baus­man, 57, is an Amer­i­can man known for pro­duc­ing the pro-Krem­lin web­site Rus­sia Insid­er, which he has in recent years infused with overt­ly fas­cist and anti­se­mit­ic con­tent. He mys­ti­fies not only researchers of the far right, who strug­gle to under­stand his objec­tives or his fund­ing, but also his own fam­i­ly. Bausman’s old­er sis­ter, Mary Watkins, who says she loves her broth­er but oppos­es his fas­cist pol­i­tics, told Hate­watch she watched online as his wife, Kristi­na Baus­man, orig­i­nal­ly from the rur­al com­mu­ni­ty of Medno­gorsk, Rus­sia, post­ed a video to Face­book of what looked to her like a live scene from the Trump ral­ly that descend­ed into vio­lence. Charles Baus­man of Rus­sia Insid­er appears at a 2015 RT con­fer­ence in Moscow. “I mes­saged her as every­thing was hap­pen­ing and said, ‘You’re not there, are you?’ She said, ‘No, no, we’re here in Lan­cast­er,’” Watkins recalled of Jan. 6. Hate­watch launched this inves­ti­ga­tion in Jan­u­ary after an anony­mous tip­ster alleged to us that Baus­man “fled the coun­try” after trav­el­ing to Wash­ing­ton, D. C., for the fate­ful Trump event. Hate­watch then vis­it­ed Bausman’s home in Lan­cast­er twice in March and inter­viewed more than a dozen of his neigh­bors but found no trace of him. Neigh­bors told Hate­watch that Baus­man moved into their com­mu­ni­ty in 2018, short­ly after relo­cat­ing from Rus­sia. He pro­mot­ed hard-right caus­es, includ­ing the anti-lock­down protests dur­ing the first year of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. He involved him­self in #StoptheSteal activism per­pet­u­at­ing the lie of a stolen elec­tion along­side oth­ers in the far right, such as mem­bers of the gun-wor­ship­ping Uni­fi­ca­tion Church cult. He hyped the Jan. 6 event on social media. Then he seemed to dis­ap­pear from Lan­cast­er, leav­ing his 2020 Christ­mas lights and a Bet­sy Ross-style Amer­i­can flag dan­gling from his porch.

The SPLC report goes on to con­firm that Baus­man left the US for Rus­sia fol­low­ing the Capi­tol insur­rec­tion and after trans­lat­ing three Russ­ian tele­vi­sion appear­ances he made. The report cites his appeal to Trump sup­port­ers to become part of the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance:

 “Amer­i­ca is awake now,” Baus­man said in Russ­ian on one pro­gram that aired in the imme­di­ate after­math of the insur­rec­tion, refer­ring to the will­ing­ness of Trump sup­port­ers to embrace Rus­sia as an ally in a shared strug­gle. Rus­sia “now has the chance to build big bridges with half of the Unit­ed States,” Baus­man also boast­ed. He described the U.S. as being irrev­o­ca­bly divid­ed fol­low­ing Biden’s election.

The SPLC report also takes up the issue of Baus­man­’s finances, at one point amount­ing to over $700,000 in a sav­ings account, and points to a com­pa­ny in Cyprus, a coun­try known in the past as a source for Russ­ian funds. The SPLC also details how Baus­man in 2015 sought fund­ing from Russ­ian oli­garch Kon­stan­tin Mal­ofeev (aka Kon­stan­tin Malofeyev):

The Inter­preter, an online jour­nal that pro­duces trans­la­tions and analy­sis relat­ed to Rus­sia, pub­lished emails in 2015 show­ing Baus­man ask­ing for mon­ey through an asso­ciate of pro-Krem­lin Russ­ian oli­garch Kon­stan­tin Mal­ofeev. Like Baus­man, Mal­ofeev views him­self as a pro­mot­er of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox faith, and he is known for his far-right polit­i­cal views and ties to anti-LGBTQ hate.

Although his sis­ter says Baus­man pri­vate­ly denied Russ­ian fund­ing, no oth­er plau­si­ble source of funds that large was iden­ti­fied. The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed last week 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. As that post detailed 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 his role in 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.

The SPLC report cites com­ments by a US aca­d­e­m­ic explain­ing how the Baus­man case illus­trates what she calls Rus­si­a’s “ide­o­log­i­cal entrepreneurship:”

Polit­i­cal sci­en­tist Mar­lene Laru­elle of George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, an expert on Rus­sia and its influ­ence on far-right nation­al­ist move­ments world­wide, pre­vi­ous­ly told Hate­watch in the con­text of under­stand­ing Bausman’s motives that Russia’s influ­ence on for­eign extrem­ists some­times man­i­fests in a decen­tral­ized way, which she described as “ide­o­log­i­cal entre­pre­neur­ship.” She con­tin­ued: Each ide­o­log­i­cal entre­pre­neur has his own port­fo­lio and is put in com­pe­ti­tion with oth­ers; noth­ing is secured or guar­an­teed. They cre­ate new net­works and plat­forms that may be lat­er approved or dis­ap­proved by the Krem­lin. This is a large­ly decen­tral­ized process: The cen­tral­iza­tion only comes lat­er, post-fac­tum – if successful.

Read the full SPLC report here.

Rus­sia Insid­er here (WARNING: extrem­ist content)


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