A major case of what intelligence experts call “influence operations” emanating from Moscow is this week’s “Rhodes Forum,” which is sponsored by Vladimir Putin’s close associate and former KGB official Vladimir Yakunin. The objective is to divert attention from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, blame the U.S. for global turmoil and problems, and insist on a Russian role in the Middle East and a new Europe.
Also known as the “World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations,” this year’s event is titled, “Preventing World War Through Global Solidarity. 100 Years On.” It proclaims, “the unfolding new Cold War” may give rise to “the threat of a Third World War with truly global proportions.”
Of course, none of this is blamed on the Kremlin.
The global problem for these conference participants is not Russian aggression, or what Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calls Putin’s campaign to destroy Ukraine as a sovereign nation and reconstitute the Soviet Union. Instead, the Yakunin event proclaims that “The roots of this threat reside in the project of a ‘New World Order’ of global domination pursued by a totalizing ideology subduing the diversity of cultural traditions and of the historical ‘world pictures’ of humanity and nature.”
Translated into ordinary English, the “totalizing ideology” is what used to be called the “Free World” or global capitalism—the idea that nations should be moving toward acceptance of free enterprise and democratic forms of government.
President Obama seems to agree that this period in human history is over; he was photographed back in 2008 carrying a copy of Fareed Zakaria’s controversial book, The Post-American World. The book reinforces the anti-American views drummed into him during his growing-up years in Hawaii by his mentor, pro-Soviet Communist Frank Marshall Davis.
Zakaria is a prominent advocate of accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.
Although Yakunin is among the targets of economic sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, his extravagant conferences continue as if nothing has happened. This shows the pathetic nature of Obama’s sanctions and his inability, or unwillingness, to confront Russian aggression.
The billionaire head of the state-owned monopoly, Russia Railways, Yakunin was accused of massive corruption in connection with construction projects for the Sochi Olympics. He apparently uses some of the stolen money on elaborate propaganda conferences designed to lure foreign audiences.
His conference partners include such groups as the World Congress of Families, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Movement for a Just World, and the Iran and Eurasia Research Center. As we have noted, Putin adviser Aleksandr Dugin is the leader of the “International Eurasia Movement,” which includes a “strategic alliance” between Iran and Russia.
Yakunin has “personally handed out awards to Putin and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, among others, at the forum,” states a revealing article on the World Security Network Foundation website. The article examines Yakunin’s work over the years on behalf of the KGB, including at the United Nations in New York, and his close association with Putin.
The article noted his “close links to the hierarchy at the Russian Orthodox Church,” putting him “at the heart of the so-called Orthodox chekists around the president.” The term “chekist” refers to agents of the secret police.