(Letter to the Editor) –
Why is the Human Rights Defenders Foundation associated with the Russian secret services?
What is the Open Dialogue Foundation, ODF? Why is it financed by corrupt politicians? What influence does the Open Dialogue Foundation have on the European Parliament? Why is this organization linked to major corruption scandals? How did the Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy in Post-Soviet Countries gain power and lobby its interests through The Council of Europe Committee for Human Rights, and why are the Russian secret services led by Putin involved?
Anyone who has ever wondered how money is being laundered has probably come to the conclusion that the best way is to create a random fund that can be used to achieve interesting goals. But it’s much more delicate to make a big gam of it when the foundation has a goal, objectives, a mission, a whole strategy, and a list of clients whose interests can be represented. We are not talking about benefactors who are willing to donate huge sums of money for water and food for children in Africa, or for research on climate change. It is more prosaic, the reality of behind-the-scenes games that leaves one astonished, outraged and condemned. This is the line of labor and defense chosen by perhaps the most famous and powerful Open Dialogue Foundation. This organization, registered in Poland, which has a whole network of representations, presents itself to the world as a protector of human rights and freedoms, a guardian of high democratic values, which are violated in the Soviet bloc. It is a very convenient position from the point of view of expanding its client base, because ODF takes under its wing those (who are the oligarchs who have lost power in their homeland or runaway politicians who have gone astray), who are sometimes threatened with trials and “jail time” in their homeland. Open Dialog became known to the world after the Maidan in Ukraine, and even more noise around the organization arose after the suspicions of the Polish Internal Security Agency about the Foundation, which, as it turned out, was a lobbying firm with the right to hire.
The ODF is a non-governmental organization and is based in Brussels, for it rents real estate there, where more than 150 media agencies have their offices. The president of ODF is a 36-year-old citizen of Ukraine Lyudmila Kozlovska, who actively performs all lobbying and image projects of a number of representatives of the “nobility” in key European structures. She works with the functionaries of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This NGO has large finances and has access to politicians, journalists, has international connections both in EP and European Commission, influences the key legal structures, creating the bills and resolutions, often playing against the governments.
Most interestingly, however, among the other clients are the Russian secret services, who apparently recruited Kozlovska on the grounds of securing her economic interests in Russia.
So, how is the ODF connected to the Russian secret services?
The answer lies on the surface. Having checked the RF database OCCR.P Aleph, it became clear that Peter Kozlovsky, along with other close relatives of Lyudmila Kozlovska – his own sister Elena Miroshkina and his mother Sidonia Kozlovskaya – own 14 Russian companies. According to the document, Kozlovsky owns major stakes in each of the above companies at the moment and supports their operation through executive directors. But the third company on the list, the Mayak Ship Lighting Plant, legally operates in Sevastopol and St. Petersburg, while cooperating with nuclear submarine companies that are under sanctions from Western countries. However, Ludmila Kozlovska told the media that her brother had sold Mayak back in 2003 and had nothing to do with it. According to her, the Kozlovsky family was basically deprived of all enterprises in Crimea after Putin and his proxies were raided in 2014.
But the documents of the Russian State Register of Legal Entities say otherwise. All of Kozlovska’s relatives have successfully re-registered all their assets and continue to own and
manage these companies. And Lyudmila Kozlovska’s ODF received over €500,000 in sponsorship from Pyotr Kozlovsky between 2014 and 2016.
Kozlovska had previously stated that her brother had emigrated to the United States, but there was no confirmation of this. There is no information about his crossing the border into the United States in the U.S. Immigration Service database. But it became known that the passports of the “enterprising” Kozlovskys were issued by the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation after the annexation of Crimea. This indicates that the relatives of the head of the ODF have Russian citizenship.
This data goes against the words of Lyudmila Kozlovska, who previously claimed that all of her family’s businesses in Crimea had been seized by the Russian authorities.
The ODF maintains close ties with the Russian secret services through European companies. Back in 2019, Jordan Ryan, a well-known British investment journalist, uncovered the schemes for financing the activities of this Foundation through a network of offshore organizations in Scotland. They laundered £26 million. Of this, 1.5 million pounds went into the coffers of the ODF. These funds were to finance the lobbying campaigns carried out by this organization to defend Veaceslav Platon, accused of economic crime in Moldova.
The ODF has done its job. Ludmila Kozlovska campaigned to lobby the EU to limit financial aid to Moldova and made Veaceslav Platon the center of her activities, portraying him as a victim and enlisting the support of the international community to get him asylum in Ukraine. According to the Moldovan government, all these financial movements are managed by Russian secret services.
The European media regularly investigate Bartosz Kramek, who, incidentally, has been accused of laundering 5.3 million zlotys and concealing the criminal origin of these funds by transferring them to the Open Dialog Foundation and other reputable organizations. This is the official version. In fact, the Polish government suspected Kramek not just in money laundering and fraudulent schemes with fake invoices of large sums, but also in connection with the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia. The only argument in defense of Kozlowskaya’s husband was “political persecution.
What influence has the Open Dialog Foundation on the European Parliament?
Ludmila Kozlovska’s ODF began focusing its propaganda activities in Brussels, the European Parliament, and in Strasbourg, where the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) sits, as early as 2009. Since its creation, the ODF has managed to gain the trust of several international institutions at once: the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the OSCE, for which Ludmila Kozlowskaya has personally written reports on topics such as civil society or police interaction reform within Interpol. The ODF’s power stretches from Poland, Ukraine and Moldova to Kazakhstan. The former Eastern bloc countries tend to try to avoid the militant activism of the Open Dialog Foundation, especially their ability to push for a “turnkey” vote on amendments in the ranks of European parliamentarians, with whom Kozlovska is intimately acquainted and has established contacts.
One of the most recent and brightest examples of this turnkey lobby is the resolution of February 11, 2021 on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan, the text of which was prepared in advance by the ODF.
Today there is every reason to believe that this resolution is a political order from the Russian secret services. Their goal is far from the protection of human rights, but an attempt to further “cool”
relations between the European Union and Kazakhstan. After all, against the background of constant reproaches from European parliamentarians and their devaluation of the democratic reforms carried out by the official Nur-Sultan, the leadership of the Central Asian republic has no choice but to rush into the arms of the Kremlin.
Apparently, the representatives of the European Parliament are not aware of such complex schemes, and they stubbornly continue to sing to the tune of professional lobbyists, increasingly losing a stable partner in a very difficult region from the orbit of cooperative relations.
And all this despite the fact that even British member of the House of Commons Ian Liddell-Grainger wrote an open letter denouncing the “unprecedented access” to members and to the PACE premises enjoyed by the ODF. Such freedom of action, he said, is also scandalous in view of the fact that Ludmila Kozlowskaya, the president of the ODF, is officially banned from entering the Schengen zone, after Poland has put her on the Interpol red list. At the same time, the Open Dialog Foundation publicly proclaims its success and ability to impose its amendments on parliamentarians on Twitter.
In publications on this social networking site on January 25 and 26, the ODF confirms that the Council of Europe’s Legal Committee on Human Rights “adopted the majority of (its) amendments,” thanking several parliamentarians on the occasion. The trick is that the voting and discussions took place behind closed doors. The proof, according to Ian Liddell-Grainger, is that some parliamentarians were directly informed by some of the MPs about the debate. He also pointed to the risks of “active corruption” because “these parliamentarians could have been paid to make these amendments. The MP called for an investigation into possible financial links between the parliamentarians involved and the ODF.
Thus, Ludmila Kozlovska, a Russian Foreign Intelligence Services agent recruited by the Russian secret services in exchange for patronage for her business, posing as a pious machine in the fight against autocracy, managed to turn the human rights organization into an uninterrupted money launderer, a lobbyist for a whole criminal galaxy of corrupt “nobles” and probably an asset for the corruption of the European higher political institutions. Dirt, scandals, and theft cannot be hidden behind a screen of ODF virtue, whose reputation has long been shadowed by enormous doubts.
Disclaimer – views expressed are not of The London Post.