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Usovsky Case: The Man Who Wanted More

Usovsky Case: The Man Who Wanted More

Alexander Usovsky was active in the Visegrad region, set up foundations, looked for EU grants, finally received money from Russia in cash, without leaving any paper trail. That’s how he started to organize a network of dutiful and useful people. And indeed, everything went just the way his sponsor wanted. The case of Alexander Usovsky, a Belarusian-born activist, is the first so thoroughly documented example of Moscow’s foreign policy. VSquare.org analyzed his activities, contacts and leaked data to see what he was doing in V4 for Russian money. Our report shows sources of his financing and explains who is answering...

Usovsky case: A Pocket Revolution Bought with Russian Money

Usovsky case: A Pocket Revolution Bought with Russian Money

Perhaps he was a fool, a liar and a fraud, the Baron von Munchausen of Russian influence in Europe. But the case of Alexander Usovsky – even though it may seem like a farce – is actually very serious. It’s the first so thoroughly documented example of Moscow’s foreign policy. It shows sources of its financing and explains who is answering to Kremlin’s propaganda puppet masters. And how it makes use of radical nationalists. The Usovsky scandal erupts in March 2017. Ukrainian hackers release proof that Russia has been financing anti-Ukrainian groups in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Activists from...

The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Pedro Agramunt Resigns

The Azerbaijani Laundromat: Pedro Agramunt Resigns

Pedro Agramunt Resigns as President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Days before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was to debate a motion for his dismissal, the body’s president, Pedro Agramunt resigned, tweeting “personal reasons” as the motive. The motion was filed June 30 with 158 signatories and described a lack of confidence in Agramunt as PACE president, “on the grounds that his behaviour seriously harms the reputation of the Parliamentary Assembly and tarnishes its image.” Friday’s resignation followed an eventful year for the assembly. In June, the Council of Europe launched an internal corruption probe after allegations of “caviar...

Russian Influence in Visegrad countries

Russian Influence in Visegrad countries

For several months, a group of investigative journalists from the VSquare project was researching the problem of Russian propaganda in V4 countries. Our findings prove that Russians are exceptionally effective when it comes to informational warfare. They use propaganda to gain certain advantages and frame the situation in the most favorable way. The way that suits Kremlin’s authorities. Russian propaganda offensive has intensified in 2014, along with eruption of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the „little green men” invasion on Crimea and Donbass. The internet was flooded with anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian comments based on...

Making a Killing: The Pentagon Is Spending Up To $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels

Making a Killing: The Pentagon Is Spending Up To $2.2 Billion on Soviet-Style Arms for Syrian Rebels

The Pentagon has relied on an army of contractors and sub-contractors – from blue-chip military giants to firms linked to organized crime – to supply up to US$ 2.2 billion worth of Soviet-style arms and ammunition to Syrian rebels fighting a sprawling war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Arms factories across the Balkans and Eastern Europe – already working at capacity to supply the Syrian war – are unable to meet the demand. In response, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has turned to new suppliers like Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Ukraine for additional munitions while relaxing standards on the material...

The Azerbaijani Laundromat

The Azerbaijani Laundromat

The Azerbaijani Laundromat is a complex money-laundering operation and slush fund that handled $2.9 billion over a two-year period through four shell companies registered in the UK. The scheme was uncovered through a joint investigation by Berlingske (Denmark), OCCRP, The Guardian (UK), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Le Monde (France), Tages-Anzeiger and Tribune de Genève (Switzerland), De Tijd (Belgium), Novaya Gazeta (Russia), Dossier (Austria), Atlatszo.hu(Hungary), Delo (Slovenia), RISE Project (Romania), Bivol (Bulgaria), Aripaev (Estonia), Czech Center for Investigative Journalism (Czech Republic), and Barron’s (US). This project is part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, a collaboration started by OCCRP and Transparency International. From 2012 to 2014, even as the Azerbaijani government arrested activists and journalists wholesale, members of the country’s ruling elite were using a secret slush fund to pay off European politicians, buy luxury...